Flower Guide

The variety and abundance of flowers available for arranging is truly inspiring and a constant source of delight, but selection from such a wealth of materials can be daunting. A listing follows of useful flowers with details of their physical characteristics and suitability for different styles of arrangement. Information on life-span, availability and drying is also included.

Hippeastrum

Large lily-like blooms on tall stems in red, apricot, scarlet, white or pink. Very similar in appearance to amaryllis. Used alone in tall glass vases, the flowers have an austere air. Cut down and surrounded with glossy foliage, such as camellia leaves.

Strawflower

Vividly coloured rounded flower heads with papery bracts instead of petals. Firmly established as dried flowers and rarely used fresh, they create eye-catching blocks of colour when clumped together. Easy to grow.

Sunflower

Very tall, large-headed flowers with golden-yellow petals radiating from a large, dark centre. Grouped in an earthenware vase, they have rustic, Provencal connotations, but are also impressive when set against richly coloured flowers and foliage in modern displays.

Sneezeweed

Wild-looking sprays of yellow, orange or brown daisy-like flower heads with prominent centres. With their summery, country-style charm, they are best used en masse in a rustic jug or mixed with flowers such as red hot pokers and sunflowers. Quite long-lasting.

Gerbera

Daisy-shaped flowers with a fresh, cheerful look, in brilliant, even garish, colours, including cream, yellow, orange, red, pink or brown. Particularly suitable for large-scale arrangements or vase displays where the vibrant colours can boldly clash together.

Broom

Lovely arching stems of small, scented flowers now available in many colours, including white, pink, peach and yellow. Combine with spring flowers such as narcissi or tulips, or display on their own.

Gardenia

Ivory or white flowers in single or double varieties with a heady, rich and exotic perfume and a simple, elegant form. Effective as house plants, they are also stylish and romantic in buttonholes and wedding bouquets. Flowers are easily bruised and should be handled with care.