Grow Your Own Happiness With Flowers From Your Garden
Listen to this article in Zulu:
Flowers From Your Garden Are The Gift That Keeps On Giving
Growing your own flowers is like printing your own money
Fresh flowers brighten up any room immediately. Unfortunately, store-bought bouquets can be expensive and aren’t really ecologically sound. The transportation, packaging and refrigeration that it takes to get that unseasonal bouquet of roses into your living room are not worth its cost to the planet.
If you look close enough, your own garden is most likely already growing something you can use in your homegrown cut flower arrangement.
You can find endless inspiration in your backyard – don’t imagine that only lilies or orchids are centre-piece worthy.
Some of our favourite (and easy to grow) garden flowers for cutting include:
These old-fashioned blooms have found a new life in lush triple or quadruple petal varieties, as well as giant side plate-sized blooms. Long gone is the glorified daisy with a single row of petals. Modern dahlias are bright, huge, ostentatious things that command attention through their intricate geometric petal patterns and deep colours. A happy dahlia plant can also consistently provide at least a couple of blooms EACH DAY all throughout the flowering season.
What it’s all about
Dahlias are in the same family as sunflowers, daisies and zinnias. The Asteraceae family of tuberous plants are also known as Compositae. They consist of over 32,000 known species of flowering plants in over 1,900 genera within the order Asterales.
A Dahlia flower starts as small as 5cm pompoms to enormous 38cm blooms. Most varieties grow 1 meter to 1.5 meters tall!
Dahlias do best in moist, moderate climates and grow for about 120 days in a season! It’s best to plant them in the late spring.
Andene’s Flower Farm does dahlias right
For inspiration on how to grow dahlias and where to get good quality tubers, we present a wonderful local flower farmer, Andene Niewoudt. Andene owns Andene’s Flower Farm, a flower wonderland, in Wolsely in the Western Cape. She also has an exquisite Instagram page and website to inspire your dahlia love.
The farm regularly hosts open days where you can walk among the flower beds and see beautiful seasonal blooms. Some of these flowers are exclusive to the farm, as they are hybrids that Andene and her team have created over the years. She is also one of the few local producers of peonies – a notoriously tricky flower to grow in our climate. Andene offers these magical blooms for sale a couple of weeks a year.
The Flower Farm has a wonderful website, with seeds, tubers, and corms for sale. They ship all over South Africa. Each shipped package comes with extensive, detailed, and easy to follow growing instructions, allowing you to get the most out of your purchase.
I received a box of Dahlia tubers as a gift in late 2020 and I have enjoyed two seasons of near-daily blooms from my plant. It really is the gift that keeps on giving!
Roses are (so much more than) red
Another firm favourite for cut flowers is, of course, roses. These days, you can actually buy really good flowering roses from your local gardening centre or nursery.
What it’s all about
The rose family Rosaceae, includes 4,828 known species in 91 genera.
They range from climbing roses to miniature plants and can be grouped into three main varieties:
- Heirloom roses are the oldest version and are the ones you instantly imagine when thinking of Beauty and the Beast. These older bushes come in more hearty and fussy varieties, so choosing the right one is imperative.
- Modern hybrid roses are specially bred to make them easier to grow and keep. They are more long-blooming and are more resistant to disease. They also come in a variety of colours that heirloom roses do not.
- Wild roses are the original bushes that humans have not bred in any specific way. They usually have only one flower per plant.
If you would like to get a bit more invested in your rose-growing, why not ask the experts?
For the ultimate rose inspiration, however, you can make a day of it and visit Ludwig’s Roses in Gauteng. You can enjoy a light meal at the Rose Kitchen Restaurant and spend the day wandering among the colourful and fragrant roses, picking your favourites to take back home.
Everyone at Ludwig’s Roses is keen to share their knowledge and guide you toward the right plants for your home. With regular hands-on workshops in Gauteng and the Western Cape, Ludwig’s roses make the dream of growing roses in your own garden a wonderful reality.
Are you interested in something more low-key?
There are many wonderful blooming flowers that can lighten up any room and don’t have to come from specialised plants or tubers.
Poppies, sunflowers, African daisies, carnations, kosmos and forget-me-nots are all lovely, easy to grow, and inexpensive options for your flower garden.
No rules, no worries!
You don’t have to stick to what your mom used to prefer. Mix long sprigs of rosemary, cuttings of lavender and boughs of jasmin for a fragrant summer arrangement.
Even grabbing some alyssum flowers on your walk around the neighbourhood can add some flair around a candle as a centrepiece.
The important thing to remember when you are making up an arrangement of garden cut flowers is that there are, actually, NO RULES!
A garden bouquet is by nature, a very relaxed and free-flowing flower arrangement.
In the end – just enjoy your garden. It’s a privilege not many share.