FAVORITE CUT STEMS OF SUMMER
hot days ahead...
I’ve always found it difficult to find well cut stems I gravitate to in the summer. It’s hot and dry here, and let’s face it, cut flowers are dying flowers, heat just speeds up the dying process. I’ve learned the hard way when it comes to choosing stems in the summer-- Don’t be fooled by those beautiful blooming dahlias! I won’t touch them until the temperatures cool in the late summer/fall.
Here, I’ve compiled some of my favorite locally sourced cut summer stems. I find these to hold up relatively well in the heat as long as they are first processed properly, kept hydrated, and not left in direct sunlight after placement. These are just a few, and there are so so many more really great cut flowers for summer. More favorites unnamed below are: Zinnas, Yarrow, Queen Anne’s Lace, Cosmos, Smoke Bush, Olive, Clematis, and Foxglove.
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oakleaf and lacecap hydrangea
Not your run of the mill hydrangea! These beauties offer a breath of fresh air! Plenty of negative space, lacey tops, and drool worthy foliage! You can order these through your wholesaler as well as grow your own. Tip for keeping them fresh in the hot summer months: Dip the ends in Alum Powder after a fresh cut (a pickling agent found at your grocery store). Let your stems drink up overnight and they’ll stay perky for you in the heat!
These colorful leafy stems can transform and blend palettes of sweet and sour. If cut from well established plants, you'll have no trouble keeping these perky in a vase for at least a week. They come in a variety of muddy shades of black, copper, green, and russet. Sometimes I get lucky and can order wholesale cut stems, but I find this method unreliable. Most garden stores carry these throughout summer. Best of all, you can cut now and then plant in your garden to use again and again!
Nothing says summer more than a bowl of fresh sweetly tart berries to savor during these hot months! Raspberry clippings are go-to stems for creating lush, mid-summer designs. The vibrant red and lovely soft pink-yellow berries bring a delightful unexpected form of texture and character to any vase. You can purchase raspberries/blackberries from your wholesaler or grow your own! I find home grown tend to be a bit more long limbed and lanky, whereas purchased bulk are stiff and fruit laden.
Ah, these little fairy flowers are an absolute favorite! I find I like the delicate garden varieties over the bulky wholesale campanula, however, I use the larger wholesale campanula perfect for ceremony installations, and the smaller garden varieties best for bouquets, and vase arranging. I’ve had these last for weeks if stored in a cool dark place! Campanulas have a wonderful arching bell shape that brings the garden “look” to any design. They come in many colors, white, periwinkle, pink, and lavender (shown here is Elizabeth Campanula).
Roses are made for the heat. If processed and stored properly, they’ll last cut on the hottest of days. Roses are especially resistant to fainting too quickly in those problematic summer bouquets, which can easily melt like a popsicle on a hot summer day! Keep in mind, it’s especially important to cut these stems underwater and let them rest in a cool, dark place overnight before you design with them.
When looking for a delicate bloom and soft vine to pair with my heady stems, I find myself often turning to Vetch. This particular variety, Crown Vetch has a lovely soft pink-lavender color flower. They are in the pea family and offer charming pods in the late summer and fall. Unfortunately, this is currently not available at wholesale markets, however, you can purchase plants at your local garden store or order online and grown your own to cut from.
These summertime fruiting branches are laden with yellow, apricot, and sunset colored edible fruit. They can make a perfect ingredient to any statement or centerpiece. Style your designs with extra fruit that has fallen from the branches. I find I like to cut away most of the foliage on the branches so that the fruit can stand out. I cut from overgrown trees in my area, found in parking lots or hanging over walkways. Be sure you ask permission if the tree is on private properly and cut responsibly at a fork of a limb or base of the limb at the trunk.