Grow Your Own Dried Flowers

Grow Your Own Dried FlowersIt is easy to grow dried flowers from seed. Now (May and early June) is a good time to start. Many dried flowers are sown from seed in the late spring.  This is because sowing can be done straight into the garden, rather than starting indoors earlier in seed trays. The plants grow quickly in the warm spring sunshine and look great in the summer. They are then harvested for dried flowers that deliver a long-lasting indoor display over winter.

To Try

Here are a few to try this year:

Helichrysums or Strawflowers – These are some of the best ‘Everlasting’ flowers to grow from seed. They are available in a wide range of colours. The 'Choice Mixed'  variety is good if you are looking for a range of colours for dried flowers. Or choose individual shades for your borders and if you are growing for an event. ‘Silvery Rose’ and ‘White’ are popular varieties for wedding flowers.

A mix of Helichrysums and Limonium flowers

Sea Lavender – Also known as Statice and Limonium. These are slender and ethereal plants with attractive sprays of flowers, often splashed with white. Try Apricot for a warm winter colour. Or Iceberg for wedding flowers.

Poppies – Annual poppies are one of the easiest plants to grow from seed. Let the flowers open fully and fade away, as you pick the seedpods for drying rather than the fresh flowers. Poppy ‘Danish Flag’ is a good choice. Or try a paeony poppy called ‘Paeony Scarlet’. Perennial Oriental Poppies and Icelandic Poppies also grow attractive seedpods. ‘Icelandic Mix’ is one of the best poppies to grow in a garden as they have a long flowering period.

Poppy 'Icelandic Mix'

Dried poppy seadheads

Quaking Grass – Grass flowers add movement and drama to a dried flower arrangement. They can also be added to fresh flowers to mix up the colours and textures.

Briza media flowers

To Grow

The ‘wildflower’ approach: Choose your packets of seeds and mix the seeds together in a bowl. Clear a sunny section or ‘river’ of soil within your garden. Clear the section of weeds and prepare a seedbed. Scatter the seeds into the seedbed, rake over and water. The seeds germinate in 1-3 weeks depending on the air temperature. The colourful mix of flowers can look dazzling, verging on gaudy, so it is a matter of taste and artistic flair. Sow more than you need if you are looking for a strong floral display in your garden, as flowers for drying are picked early, and you leave the excess in the garden to flower on into autumn.

The ‘organised approach’: Flowers grown for picking are traditionally grown in rows in the productive part of a garden. Or they can be sown in individual groups or drifts of colour in your garden - you sow one variety of seed at a time. If using this approach, prepare drills in the soil, or circles or crosses, and sow each packet of seed sparingly into each drill. Cover the seed lightly with soil and water. This approach gives you more control of the timing, colours and quantity of flowers you want to grow. It also helps with weeding as it is easier to distinguish weed from seed when the seedlings are small.

To Pick and Dry

Time the picking of the flowers carefully. Helichrysums are best picked just before opening fully and Sea Lavender when just opened and fresh. Poppies are left on the stems until the pods have turned from green to brown. Quaking grass are best picked once fully formed and before autumn wet sets in. Pick long straight stems, tie them together in small loose bunches and hang upside down in a cool and dry place away from direct sunshine. Avoid direct sun as this causes the colours to fade. The flowers dry over a period of a few weeks.
Created On  21 May 2021 17:00  -  Permalink

Success with Salvia seeds

Success with Salvia seeds

Thanks to customer Roman for sending in a photo of his Salvia seedlings today, less than one week after sowing.  25 seedlings from 26 seeds is a good result and I like to celebrate the green fingers of our lovely customers!

He has sown Salvia 'Victoria Blue', and the seedlings grow into plants with beautiful blue flowers next summer.

 Salvia 'Victoria White' is another in the same series, with plants looking great growing together in drifts or blocks of colour.

Created On  18 Sep 2020 12:58  -  Permalink

Plants at the Veryan & Portloe Store

Plants at the Veryan & Portloe StoreWe have a small number of spare plants available in our local shop.  We normally put them out from March to when the bad weather sets in (mostly October).  This year we chose Monday 16th March to get started - the sunniest day of the year so far, and the first dry day for a month!  Drop by the Veryan & Portloe Store to have a browse.

Alongside us you will find the beautiful flowers and vegetables produced by our local Calendra Collective.

Created On  17 Mar 2020 8:57  -  Permalink

Find our seeds and trays at the Veryan & Portloe Store

Find our seeds and trays at the Veryan & Portloe StoreA reminder to our local customers and visitors that PlantGenesis seeds are available at the Veryan & Portloe Store here in The Roseland, Cornwall.  If you can't find what you are looking for, please visit our website for lots more seeds, which are delivered free to TR2 postcodes in The Roseland.  Remember to select the 'Free Delivery' option when checking out.

Alongside the seeds are Steve's sturdy wooden seed trays for those of you wanting to reduce the use of plastic in the garden.  Made here in Cornwall from larch.  Get one here.

Our 'polyhouse' delivers a few plants each year raised from germination tests and cuttings.  They are mostly grown by us, but not all, as some are handed on from friends and fellow plant enthusiasts, so we have quite an eclectic range at times!  They will appear in front of the shop in the next few weeks.  Watch our blog, Facebook and Instagram for their arrival. 

Created On  6 Mar 2020 17:50  -  Permalink

Spring is on the way! Wild Primroses are in flower

Spring is on the way! Wild Primroses are in flower

You know for sure when spring is on the way when the wild primroses start to flower.  It may be cold, it may be raining a lot, but it is a wonderful sight and I know some warm weather cannot be far away.  The main photo is the wild primrose (Primula vulgaris).  It is a hardy plant, growing widely across the UK and will always start flowering as early as February, especially here in Cornwall.  I let them grow in my garden as they are such beauties.  This one is quite pale, with many wild plants flowering in a stronger shade of yellow.  Sometimes they flower in pink.  There are lots of colourful cultivated forms available in garden centres.

It got me thinking what reliable and versatile plants Primroses can be.  These early flowers are followed by other species that flower well into the middle of summer.  Many are worth growing from seed.

 Cowslips (Primula veris) follow shortly after from March to May, with bright yellow flowers on taller stems.  Also a wild plant, they look good in borders and even gravel gardens.

 Vial’s Primrose (Primula vialii ‘Miracle’), a cultivated form of Primose, has unusual and appealing bi-coloured flowers in June and July.

 And the Candelabra Primroses (Primula x bulleesiana), which are cultivated hybrid plants, sit tall, with whorls of very colourful flowers, also in June and July.

Primroses are good plants for the UK as they like damper soils and can cope with part shade.  On this rainy and cloudy day, they somehow feel perfect for our sometimes soggy islands!

Created On  21 Feb 2020 17:32  -  Permalink

Mediterranean garden perfect colour combination

Mediterranean garden perfect colour combination
I visited Abbotsbury Sub-Tropical Gardens with a friend last year in Dorset.  It’s a really fantastic garden and well worth a detour to get there.  We went in high summer on a very hot day and the Mediterranean garden was looking truly wonderful.  I was particularly taken with the combination of silver, yellow and blue planting, contrasting so well with the dry landscaping.

The silver and yellow colours are from the Curry Plant (Helichrysum italicum) and the blue from English Lavender.  I’m not sure of the Lavender variety in this case, but Lavender ‘Munstead’ would be a good choice.  Or Lavender 'Hidcote Blue'.

 Curry Plant      Lavender 'Munstead'   

This is not a difficult look to re-create in your own garden.  You need to find a sunny position, with well-drained soil.  Plants grow best if the soil is not too fertile, so heavy duty composting is not required!  Try and find space for groups of plants placed in drifts and this is where growing from seed is so helpful, as you can raise a large number of plants in one batch at low cost.  Allow the first year to germinate and grow the plants, plant them out in the summer or early autumn and in the second year you will have a lovely Mediterranean display.

Created On  13 Feb 2020 18:09  -  Permalink