There’s masses to pick in the garden right now to bring inside and enjoy, whether you have a cutting bed or well-stocked borders. Peonies make wonderful cut flowers, especially the doubles. Try not to be tempted to pick them in full bloom, but cut them when they’re still in the bud stage so that you can enjoy them as they open all their beautiful layers of petals in the vase. They’ll also last longer if you cut them in the morning. Five or six peony heads of the same or a mix of varieties look great on their own, but work well with other more delicate flowers such as astrantia and forget-me-nots. Some sprigs of lilac and fresh green Alchemilla mollis or Heleborus foetidus work well too.
Iris too are beginning to flower now. At this time of year, I like to combine deep purple bearded iris with frothy nepeta and purple allium for a moody bouquet in shades of purple and blue. And one of the stars of the cut flower garden, alstroemerias, are beginning to come into flower by the end of May. They are very long lasting and come in a great range of colours from rusty orange A. ‘Cahors’, delicate A. ‘Peaches and Cream,’ or dark purple A. ‘Cardinal Purple’. Sweet Williams also make great flowers and smell divine. In terms of foliage, beech branches with their fresh green foliage, makes lovely structure.
As with all floral arrangements, keep changing the water and ideally put the vase out of direct light to prolong the flowers and foliage.