flowers

flowers

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Discovered as a seedling of Euphorbia characias in a garden in Tasmania, this phenomenal spurge has both variegated leaves and flowers, combining blue-green with creamy white. Upright stems are a forest of linear leaves, forming a dense shrubby mound. In spring through early summer, large heads of flowers hover on 2- to 3-foot stems, pale yellow and cream, with small green bow-tie centers. Evergreen where winters are mild. Zones 6-9.
Your typical sunflower (Helianthus annuus) is one huge flower on a towering stalk — not exactly vase material. But breeders have selected a host of cultivars that produce multiple smaller flowers on shorter, branching stems, perfect for cutting. ‘Jade’ is a unique color — pale green — which goes with everything in a bouquet. Each 4-to-5-foot plant produces loads of 4-to-5-inch flowers.
Want your bouquet to really pack a punch? How about a fiery red-and-yellow dinner-plate dahlia up to 11 inches across! Dahlias can take a little effort (staking, pinching, storing tubers over the winter in cooler zones), but the results are worth it, and anyone who loves to make floral arrangements has them on the list of must-haves. ‘Bodacious’ can produce flowers midsummer into fall. dahlias.com, dutchbulbs.com
An award-winning collection of Canterbury bells (Campanula medium), the Champion Series includes pink, blue, light blue, white and lavender. Though the species is biennial, this series can be grown from seed as an annual, blooming the first year, with upward-facing bell-shaped flowers more than an inch long. Each plant can have up to 10 stems, 2 to 4 feet tall. soquelnursery.com
Sea holly is a powerful texture for the vase, whether fresh-cut or dried as an everlasting. Eryngium planum ‘Blue Glitter’ has shimmering blue pincushion flowers perched on spiny ruffs, produced in abundance on pewter-colored stems. It also makes a sparkling perennial for the border.
Hydrangeas are classic big, pretty flowers, and the reblooming  Let’s Dance series from Spring Meadow Nursery takes it to the next level, with saturated colors and lush plants. ‘Moonlight’ is a mophead form in rich pink that ages to chartreuse; in acidic soils the flowers are blue. Hardy to Zone 5.  gardencrossings.comspringmeadownursery.com, stargazerperennialscatalog.com
The Bloomingdale series of Ranunculus from Sakata Seed America sets the standard for Persian buttercups, the luminous tightly packed petals reminiscent of the tissue-paper flowers everyone makes in grade school. Their dainty looks are deceiving, though, as these flowers are durable and long lasting. I saw them during Pack Trials in Northern California, holding their own in gale-force winds.
This perennial hibiscus, a spectacular culmination of the rose-mallow breeding program of Walters Gardens nursery and selected from among thousands of seedlings, has enormous 9-inch-wide ruffled blooms of deep magenta with a red eye. Sturdy, full plants make a striking specimen in the garden from midsummer through early fall.
A winner of the highest honor for daylilies, the American Hemerocallis Society Stout Silver Medal, this luscious early to midseason bloomer has big, 5.5-inch flowers of glowing golden yellow centered with dark red and a matching red picotee edge. Strong 2-foot stems make this a versatile midsize daylily good for large or small beds and borders.
This brand-new version of an old-fashioned annual flower gets high marks for pure romance. Part of the mixed-color Double Click series of double cosmos from Thompson & Morgan, this pretty-in-pink form is the first single color to be released. Rosy pom-pom blooms sit atop sturdy 2- to 3-foot stems. Like other cosmos, ‘Rose Bonbon’ is an easy-to-grow, long-lasting cut flower. tmseeds.com
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