Summer Flowers for Flower Arranging

Should your mind run, one summer’s day, to the richness of purples and lilac, burgundy and amaranth, cramoisy, ruby and garnet, you can—with a basketful of old roses—create such a cascading symphony of colour.

For us, who love and collect them, the term ‘old roses’ means primarily the gallicas, the damasks, the mosses and the albas. They are my precious hobbyhorse. 1 should like to persuade everyone with a garden to grow some of the old-fashioned roses. They have perfection in colour and shape on the one hand, romance and indescribable scent on the other.

These are not the kind of roses that you can arrange in tall vases. You can either cut short stems and mass them in bowls, or you can pick long, heavily-flowered branches.

Old roses are essentially summer flowers, for they have no second annual bloom. Also they have no yellow colouring at all. The comforting thing is that you may cut them at will without doing any harm. Cutting them is, at worst, a slight reduction of the richness; at best, a gentle pruning.

The finest of the damask roses is, to my mind, Madame Hardy, a large, pure white, fragrant rose showing, when fully open, a pale green eye. Of the French roses, Cardinal de Richelieu has a sombre and exotic richness. Of the moss, Jeanne de Montfort and Nuits de Young are beautiful.

But keep plenty of room in your heart for the common moss rose. This is a poor name for it—for this is the rose that inspired the composers of valentines and the decorators of china long ago. It has slender, beautiful buds which open to the prettiest of pink flowers, and the scent is ravishing.


Summer comes for me, whatever the official date may be, with the first, flower-laden bushes of mock orange. The scent, the grace and the lavishness of this flower tell the glory of summer. It should be arranged in high, wide and glorious profusion.

Almost anyone can grow this shrub. It will grow and flower in a town yard, and you may pick it freely, without fear that you are stealing years of growth. A very fine variety is Virginal, some say one of the finest of the hardy shrubs, bearing quantities of delicately scented, double, white flowers and flowering in late June or early July.

16. February 2012 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Featured Articles, Garden Management, Gardening Calendar | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Summer Flowers for Flower Arranging


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