It’s lovely to step out into your garden with your scissors and snip flowers and foliage for the home at any time. If you plant your garden for year round interest you will be able to fill a vase with seasonal cuttings even during the darkest days of winter. Buy locally wherever possible or grow your own, avoiding shop-bought blooms which can be lacking in fragrance and freshness. For a stunning display in spring, plant bulbs the previous autumn to add colour to the garden in the early months of the year. A drift of white tulips in a border is a garden design classic, and having blossom to pick is always uplifting. As spring moves to summer, traditional highly scented favourites like roses, sweet peas and lavender will always be a hit, and work well planted in borders with fragranced herbs such as rosemary, mint and sage. Fill in with stocks, sweet williams, nigella, nicotiana and scabiosa, while euphorbias will provide structure to your design. All will look fabulous displayed indoors. Select some blooms for drying in a warm dark place to add to vases later in the year. In autumn, a bold pop of colour in the shape of a single dahlia is great for bringing into the home. And foliage such as variegated pittosporum, berries and ivy will provide a fresh seasonal display in winter.
Stimulate your sensesImported blooms lack fragrance partly because of they have been overbred for hardiness and quantity of blooms, and partly because they are harvested too early in their growth cycle so that they will not blossom before they have reached the shops. Treat your all three of your senses and choose seasonal flowers instead.
The soft terracotta blooms of disease-resistant Rosa Just Joey make good cut flowers and can be found at Country Roses
From holly berries in the winter to apple blossom in spring, create a welcoming atmosphere in your home with season-appropriate scents and displays. Judith Blacklock of Judith Blacklock Flower School says: "Lilies-of-the-Valley are worth growing because they are expensive to buy and bruise in transit. I'd choose lavenders 'Hidcote' or 'Munstead' for the best colour, and rosemary for fragrant foliage. I prefer single dahlias that can be cut from late summer, and for foliage, I would suggest berried ivy, from November to February; beech and wiry-stemmed heucheras, which are lovely in summer and autumn."
Nectar-rich scabious is ideal for late-summer interest and can be found at The Real Cut Flower Garden
Nothing beats the heady aroma of a freshly picked summer bouquet of roses Charlie Ryrie of The Real Cut Flower Garden says: "Euphorbias are perfect bouquet fillers just dunk them in water up to their necks to neutralise the sap. It's also worth sowing a few stocks every year for their incomparable scent (but not night-scented stocks as they do not make good cut flowers). I would also recommend astrantias, Nigella hispanica, Eryngium planum and E. Alpinum, lime-green nicotiana and late-summer Scabiosa caucasica."
The unfurling flower head of a Candy Bianca rose, which can be found at Cookes Rose Farm
The best way to have seasonal and fragrant flowers is to grow them yourself Karen Watson of The Real Flower Company says: "For scent and repeat-flowering, I plant blush-white 'Margaret Merril' and hot pink 'Gertrude Jekyll' roses. I underplant with rosemary, mint and purple and green sage. I grow berried ivy, variegated pittosporum and the smoke bush Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple' for foliage, and blackberries, while the fruit is still green, for arrangements in late summer."
Paeonia lactiflora Sarah Bernhardt flowers prolifically and can be found at Babylon Flowers when in season.
The shorter time between picking and selling means that locally grown seasonal flowers will last longer than imported ones.
Home-grown lime-green Molucella laevis (bells of Ireland) and white tulips make an inviting display and can be found at Babylon Flowers