April 8, 2011 — Gardeners are always looking for something to make their garden stand out? How about a garden of truly versatile plants?
Ernst Benary of America has a number of varieties that are not only easy to grow in a wide range of climates and soils, but they also work well as stunning, long-lasting cut flowers. Each one has outstanding garden performance, but does double duty because you can pick these for amazing, and inexpensive cut flower arrangements for your home.
Scabiosa japonica ‘Fama Deep Blue’ (also called Pincushion flower) is not like any other scabiosa. ‘Fama Deep Blue’ has 4 to 5" flowers with a delicate cluster of silver blue florets in the centre that are edged petals of elusive deep blue. The blooms are supported on long sturdy stems, just perfect for a bouquet.
‘Fama Deep Blue’ is a hardy perennial in USDA Zones 2-8 that will yield 15-25 flower stems in the first year, and more in the following years. It grows 20-23" in the garden so it can be used as a tall background plant or even a colourful focal point in a large mixed container.
In a vase or bowl, ‘Fama Deep Blue’ will be the star of the show when paired with simple texture elements like eucalyptus or baby’s breath.
With a garden height of 24-30" tall, these statuesque beauties are truly “Queen” of the garden. Zinnia ‘Queen’ comes in two head-turning colours: Lime and Red Lime.
‘Queen Red Lime’ has a centre of lime green that deepens to a rich mauve towards the edge of the 3-4" blooms. ‘Queen Lime’ keeps its clean chartreuse colour all season long.
These zinnias are as easy to grow as you remember from your childhood, but Mom never had these cool colours! ‘Queen’ zinnias are very weather resistant and work well in a large decorative mixed container; as a landscape background; or as cut flowers.
‘Queen’ Zinnias can be combined with many simple things in your garden such as ornamental grasses, berries, and even dusty miller for dramatic floral arrangements.
Gaillardia ‘Arizona Red Shades’ (you might know it as Blanket Flower) is a hardy perennial in the U.S. (USDA Zones 2-10) that reaches about 12" tall in the garden so it can also double as an easy-to-grow flower that can be picked for shorter, “conversation friendly” flower arrangements.
Once established, ‘Arizona Red Shades’ is quite drought and heat tolerant and will flower year after year from spring until frost. Its unique deep red blooms are tipped in yellow add interest to any combination. Also look for sister varieties, ‘Arizona Sun’ and newly announced AAS winner ‘Arizona Apricot.’