Summer tall arrangements need not look like bad wedding florals from the ’80s. They also do not need to be comprised of the same white Casablancas or Stargazers. The key often is using unexpected flowers that are available only seasonally…specifically right now!
The above arrangement of Lilacs, Irises and Gladiolus is as fragrant as it is beautiful!
If you have a small patch of green, and invest the time to grow a few of these favorites you will not be disappointed. All three of these flowers come in varieties that will re-bloom come late summer or fall. While you might be hard-pressed to find Lilacs, Irises and Glads at your local Farmer’s Market or grocery store, many varieties will re-appear in your backyard as summer comes to a close. Glads pop up again in mid-late August, Irises and Lilacs in end-of-September early October.
Lilac is one of the easiest plants to grow and is now available in a re-blooming variety called Josee Reblooming Lilac.
Josee Reblooming Lilac, springhillnursery.com, $6.95
Contrary to common belief, Lilac can be grown and thrive in Southern California. However, there is a specific variety that does best in a climate that never freezes. ‘Lavender Lady’ is a favorite for Southern California dwellers.
Some tips for growing Lavender Lady in Southern California include:
• Stop watering them after mid-September allowing them to survive solely on rainfall
• Allow the plant to go dormant (it looks almost dead, don’t be surprised)
• Resume watering when the first leaves and buds appear in the spring
• Keep them from growing too tall by pruning thereby stimulating the younger heartier canes that produce more flowers
There are a tremendous number of Irises out there and you really cannot go wrong with any. Planted in well-drained soil they multiply and provide more and more pleasure in years to come. One of our favorites from Dutch Gardens is: the Florentine Silk Iris.
Florentine Silk Iris, dutchgardens.com. $17.96 for 3 plants
Winner of multiple awards with 6 to 8″ flowers it is one of the tallest bearded irises and is a rare repeat bloomer. The color combination is stunning and it is a perfect cut flower for arrangements.
Finally, the gladiator Gladiolus, impossible to do wrong or kill!
Gladiolus are amongst the absolute easiest flowers to grow. They simply require some simple staking. Once the bulbs are in the ground you can expect a riot of blooms just 90 days later. The best time to plant bulbs is anytime after the threat of frost passes in the spring. Gladiolus will always re-bloom as summer draws to a close.
In the past we have purchased both a sak of one color, or a jumbo sak of multi-colored gladiolus and randomly distributed them along the border of our yard. The results are always surprising and beautiful.
Coral & Cream Gladiolus, brecks.com, $11.99 for 8 bulbs
Deluxe Glads Mixture Super Sak, breks.com, $29.99 for 80 bulbs