Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Flowers for floral designs can come from many sources, including woody plants. Here are some shrubs that offer great cut flowers.
Bridal wreath spirea has long been a favorite spring flower. Depending on the climate, this can begin blooming as early as February in some areas. The pure white blossoms are saucer shaped. They’re fully double. These are small—less than one-third of an inch in diameter. They open in umbels up and down the length of the stems. This is hardy to zone four. Bridal wreath spirea has been in cultivation since the mid-1800’s. It was introduced from Japan.
The flowering indigo bushes make delightful cut flowers. These include one particular species, Indigofera amblyantha. This is recommended for zones six through nine. The delicate looking pink blooms are reminiscent of pea flowers. Around one-fourth inch in diameter, these open in upright clusters that are nearly five inches long. It blooms from late spring into early fall. Indigo plants are resistant to heat and drought. This was native to China. It was introduced to England during the early 1900’s. It received an award of garden merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in 2002.
Ruby Spice summersweet is an award winning variety of the native summersweet. Wonderfully fragrant, the blooms are a very unusual color. These are a deep pinkish-red with white centers. The buds are pink. They open during July and August. The blossoms open in large spikes at the ends of the stems. This is recommended for cutting gardens in zones four through six. The plant is three to six feet in height. This was named a Cary award winner in 2000.
Windlesham Ruby Scotch broom does very well as a cut flower. The flower color is remarkable for Scotch broom. While most are yellow, this is deep reddish-mahogany. The blossoms open all along the lengths of the stems in May and June. The blossoms are about an inch long and nearly an inch in diameter. They can occur singly or in pairs all along the lengths of the stems. Scotch broom is recommended for zones five through eight.
Spirit laurustinus is a type of viburnum. This is a fairly recent introduction. This evergreen is noted for its abundant white blooms. The masses of white blossoms open in flat rounded clusters, which are up to four inches in diameter. These are pink in bud. This blooms non-stop for months at a time.
In the southern U.S., this shrub usually blooms from January onwards. Because it is a winter blooming species, it wouldn’t be suitable for very cold climates. It is only hardy to about zone seven. The species has been in cultivation since the 1500’s. It was originally native to southern Europe.