Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Select the best cut flowers for your floral designs. There are a number of award winning varieties from which you can choose. Some of these are suitable for cut flower gardens.
Gaillardia Red Shades
This was among the best performers at the Michigan State University’s horticulture and demonstration gardens in East Lansing.
A very full, well branched, lush plant, this is hardy to zone 2. It reaches over a foot in height.
The uniform, space saving plants usually begin blooming in early summer, and continues into early fall. The three-inch-wide blossoms are deep red. Nearly a fourth of the blooms will have some yellow on the petal tips. This is a unique color for blanket flowers. This variety produces lots of stems for cutting all season. Red Shades is related to Arizona Sun. It blooms the first year from seed.
Cut stems of gaillardia can be used much like any other daisy-type bloom. Generally, the stems of the gaillardias are somewhat shorter than some daisies. They have a vase life of around five days or so.
Rendezvous Dutch iris was very popular during the 2010 cut flower trials. New for 2011, this has exceptionally large, gorgeous purple blooms. The purple color seems to shimmer.
This series also includes another new color released for 2011. Silvery Beauty is a bicolor in tones of blue and silver. As with Rendezvous, it also has very large flowers.
Kale Lucir Series
These gorgeous cut kales were very popular at the cut flower trials in 2010. For 2011, there are two new colors available. Though they resemble the Crane series so far as shape is concerned, the Lucirs are quite colorful. These are considered even more showy and beautiful than the Cranes. These were bred specifically for cut flowers.
The shiny, rounded leaves provide a sharp contrast between the brightly colored centers and the outer leaves. Nearly three foot tall, these are less than a foot wide. The other colors in the series include Rose Lucir, which is a rose pink, and White Lucir, a creamy white.
The kales are frequently used as cut flowers during the spring and fall. They have a vase life of about five to seven days. These are used as a large mass flower. The frilly leaves also add interesting texture to floral designs.