How to: say 'Holidays!' with flowers
Photo - Robin Powell
In the dictionaries of florigraphy there are floral choices for expressing emotions as complex as a tepid affection (daffodils!) and appreciation of loyalty (violets) but there is no floral choice expressing the sentiment ‘Yay it’s holiday time!’ To redress the lack, here’s our choice of the top 5 flowers that wave happy holiday flags though summer.
Perfect for hot spots and pots, red geraniums are excellent as gifts or for speedily decorating the outdoor table for Christmas lunch. Look for ‘Big Red’, which has bigger flowers than usual and is a strong performer. (If you are a radical rule breaker at Christmas and wish to avoid red, it also comes in pink!)
You’ll get a rainbow of colour from one packet of zinnia seeds. Or, if you’ve left it a bit late, you can find zinnias in flower in pots in nurseries now. Mix up the colours to get the wildest effect. Zinnias flower best in full sun – keep an eye out for mildew late in the summer if the weather is humid.
These simple but dazzling flowers bring on Hawaiian fantasies of balmy nights and cocktails (grass skirts optional!). There are lots of cultivars bred to do well in pots, so choose the colour and style that suits and feed often to keep the flowers coming.
Agapanthus 'Queen Mum'
This is our favourite of the improved agapanthus hybrids – extra large flower heads of white and blue-rinse, which keep coming throughout December. Fewer seedheads mean it’s not a pest like the ordinary aggies.
Queen of the night jungle cactus
This flower that lights up the night garden. Each bloom only lasts a single night, but my what a show! Perfumed, glowing like the moon and as big as a plate, few flowers can challenge the queen for impact and sheer enjoyment.