Growing Shrubs And Trees For Arrangements

Growing Shrubs And Trees For Arrangements

Many shrubs produce suitable foliage for cutting and I have already mentioned two with silver-backed leaves, senecio and olearia; these grow well in coastal areas. In both these genera you will find many species to choose from, if you visit a good garden centre or nursery.

Do remember when you plant shrubs with a view to cutting them for flower arrangement that they must be given a chance to establish themselves before they are robbed. Once this time has passed the shrubs will need attention. Weak wood, crossing or rubbing branches, misshapen pieces and traces of damage or disease will need to be cut away. If you do this when you are gathering materials for your flower arrangements you can do two jobs at the same time.

Pussy willow should really be reserved for a large garden and should never be planted near a building. Salix daphnoides produces lovely catkins which have a slight purple tinge while they are still in the ‘kitten’ stage. Those who enjoy making stylised arrangements will like the fasciated willow Setsuka, with twisted, flattened growths.

Another catkin tree, not so well known but much more acceptable for a small garden—since it can, and indeed should, be planted against a warm west or south wall if no other protected site can be found—is the evergreen Garrya ellzptica. Its grey-green tassels, some tints lighter than the leaves, are both elegant and freely produced. Elaeagnus is a lovely evergreen which comes in greys and variegated forms. Flower arrangers like it not only for its long-lasting golden and other brightly coloured leaves but also because these will take a glycerine solution well and perform well as a dried material. The result is nothing like the fresh foliage. The leaves turn to various tans, extremely pleasing and with the texture of soft leather.

Blossom for forcing plays an important part in the flower arranger’s garden. The flowering currants, both the well-known pink or American kind and the sweet-smelling yellow or Buffalo currant will take little room. And of course if you do cut them freely you will be able to keep them well under control. You can cut any branch of any shrub or tree for forcing indoors once the shortest day has passed.

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