gardening at home with sarah | may colour

Join Sarah at Perch Hill as she shares her favourite May flowering varieties for the vase.

I had a lovely weekend this weekend picking tonnes and tonnes of flowers because the whole garden is opening into sort of extraordinary colour, and one of my favourite things for picking is the Iceland poppy, papaver nudicaule, and the key thing with that to make it last is that you sear the stem ends in boiling water for ten seconds, just the final inch of the stem and then they’ll last five or six days in the vase.

Lupins are also absolutely incredible at the moment, this is ‘Terracotta’ which is the orangey one, and ‘Beefeater’ which is the red one and the thing I love about lupins is that they curve into these incredible shapes once you’ve picked them. So these were completely straight in the garden, but now because they’re looking for the light, they just go into these sort of extraordinary sort of parrot-like, ribbon-like, wonderful, flarey shapes in these amazing blaze of colours, and you have to keep them really topped up with water, and like the poppies, these stem ends were seared, but for longer because they’re a bigger stem, so twenty seconds in boiling water, and then into cold.

And another thing that’s absolutely lovely for late spring early summer picking are Sweet Williams, and this one’s called Dianthus barbatus ‘Electron’, and it genuinely has a vase life of three weeks, I completely love it. It’s very thirsty though, so you have to top up the vases a lot and it has really quite a nice sweet, slightly clovey scent.

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