By Jules Collins
It now really feels like summer is in full bloom...and so is your garden! Now is the time to be revelling in your favourite flowers to pick and plant. And thanks to NZ Gardener Magazine, we are giving you the rundown of this season's best blooms...
FLOWERS TO PLANT NOW
1. Bearded Iris: these bulbs can be planted in December, February and March in a free-draining area that has sun for at least half of the day.
2. 'Esther Read': this is a superbly cut flower with stems up to 1.3m high which blooms from the middle of summer through to autumn in sun or part shade.
3. 'Pink Cat': this is a neat catmint that has a moulded habit to 40cm high. It is a wonderfully hardy perennial that keeps on flowering.
4. Phlox paniculata: another perennial, this plant blooms in summer and with regular dead-heading, it will bloom again in autumn. It is perfect for picking as it has such long stems.
5. 'Diana Blueberry': this is a new release and is compact with terrific dainty flowers that are great for small posies. This wonderful plant will go all year long, just not in the coldest months.
6. 'Gypsy Pink': this is a new take on white baby's breath and has double and semi-double soft pink flowers.
FLOWERS TO PICK NOW
1. Philadelphus: sometimes called mock orange, these are wonderful old-fashioned shrubs with fragrant flowers in spring or summer.
2. Gladioli: these flowers are best picked when only half of the flowers on the stem are open. Place them in a vase and be sure to water them regularly as they can be rather thirsty, but filtered water is better for them than tap.
3. Trachelium: this plant blooms throughout summer and will last two weeks in the vase.
4. Larkspurs: great for cutting and drying, these plants are prolific bloomers. Cut them when around a third of the flowers on the spike are open and get into water with a preservative added.
5. Astrantias: dainty little flowers that bloom in spring and early summer and will last up to two weeks in the vase. Best to pick when the top flowers are completely open.
6. Dahlias: these will flower like no ones business through summer and autumn provided they get lots of sun, food and water.
7. Stephanotis: this is sometimes called Madagascar jasmine and is very popular for wedding bouquets due to its white flowers and sweet smell. Pick when one or two flowers per cluster start to open.
Adapted from NZ Gardener Magazine