Summer provides a large number of seasonal pretty and perfumed flowers, especially roses. This is the month when roses are at their best and are flowering profusely in our English gardens and countryside. Roses are still the most popular flower for weddings and our traditional buttonhole. There is an explosion of varieties of every size, shape, and color, except the ever-elusive blue. Blue roses can be sourced, but they are fed a blue dye in their water supply, coloring not only the petals blue but also their leaves, and your hands.
Meanwhile, the petals of the dog rose to grow in our country hedgerows may look alluring but are fragile. These blooms are best left until the autumn when their rose hips are much more valuable for use in floristry. June has seen most of the spring flowers coming to an end, but peonies are grown in French polytunnels then imported through Holland, along with Dutch field varieties, are available until July and should still be of good quality.
Peonies are big, feminine, and blousy and are a natural choice for bridal bouquets and other arrangements. Although available in white, cream, yellow and many shades of pink and deep crimson red, not all varieties will be available for the entire season. Other summer flowers like delphiniums and larkspur have stronger, thicker, and taller stems that will withstand arranging in floral foam without the stems bending and needing extra support, making them excellent flowers for immediate impact in large displays.
Stocks in pink, purple, and violet are wonderful for filling up a reception room with their sweet perfume, while sweet William, in white, pink, and red, is a useful stabilizer in hand-tied bouquets and is great for adding texture. Dainty but thin-stemmed Astrantia needs supporting in and among other flowers for hand-tied designs.
Classic hydrangeas are now available with more than 100 different varieties to choose from. These are frequently grown and imported from the Netherlands. Home-grown spring flowers have made way for moon daisies, buttercups, grasses, and cow parsley from our wild country meadows and waysides. English flower farms should now be harvesting the first crops of their wonderfully scented sweet peas, a very quick and easy flower to fashion into a hand-tied posy, as there are no leaves to trim from the stems. There are too many summer flowers to list, and certainly enough to keep any bride happy. Indeed, we are now spoilt for choice! New growth on ivy and spring foliage has now become turgid enough to use without it wilting and can be gathered from the garden or foraged from our hedgerows.
Summer is here!