How to pick and arrange your own flowers and foliage from the garden this Spring. This will make a lovely gift for Mother’s Day.

I’m sorry that we won’t be able to hold flower workshops and talks over the next few weeks as planned, but there’s no need to go without cut flowers this weekend, Mothering Sunday, or any other time this Spring.

Why not look in your own garden, for flowers and foliage to bring into the house?  

How to cut, condition and arrange a shrubby Spring arrangement like this one

It is best to cut stems either in the early morning or at dusk.

1. Collect quite large bunches of Viburnum tinus and Viburnum burkwoodii. Strip off the bottom leaves, cut a 2” slit from the centre of stem upwards from the base. At this point you can also dip the bottom of the stem into boiling water for half a minute or so to ensure the plant doesn’t wilt. Put the stems straight into a bucket of tepid water.

2. Cut Camellia stems, about 5 or 6, with some open flowers and some buds which may open if they are showing colour.  Prepare (condition) as above.

3. Cut Wallflowers, about 5 or 6 with stems as long as possible. I have used a lovely purple variety.  Pink Ribes (redcurrant) work well too. Put the bottom inch or two in boiling water for 20 seconds and then put straight into tepid water, going quite high up the stem. Pick the wallflowers from the garden when some of the lower flowers are out, and the rest are showing some colour.

4. Rest your flowers and foliage in a cool dark place such as a garage for at least four hours.

5. Choose a robust, clean vase or container for your arrangement and half fill with water. It will need to be quite sturdy as the shrub foliage can be heavy.

6. For extra hold, put sticky tape or pot tape over the top of the pot in a criss-cross pattern to support the foliage, or just start to build up a solid base of stems in your vase using the two Viburnums — take more foliage off if needed to make sure that none of the foliage is submerged under the water.

7. Keep adding the Viburnums until you have created a rounded shape.  Add the Camellia flowers through the arrangement.

8. Use some Wallflowers and/or Ribes to provide a scented spiky shape as a contrast to the shrubs.

9. Keep in a cool place away from heat sources. Make sure you keep the water topped up as it is surprising how much is taken up by the foliage.


*If you don’t have any Camellias or Wallflowers, the Viburnums look lovely on their own, or add a few stems of pussy willow, red cornus stems,  tulips or daffodils if you have them.

*I’ve used mainly pink/purple/white shades for this arrangement, but another spring one could use as base of  Forsythia, white Ribes, Lonicera fragrantissima, Blossom, Narcissi, Anemones, then add  Euphorbia or  Tulips plus some spiky stems of  Lonicera Baggens Gold, or Pussy Willow, for a lemon/white colour palette. I will put this alternative arrangement together next so watch out for it in a later post!