Long-lasting Bouquets

This arrangements features filler plants that have spent at least
two days in a vase. I realize the peony colors don't go well;
they were added for illustration purposes.
We didn't need the rain. And my peonies didn't appreciate the heavy downpour. I'd captured 'Judith Eileen' in photos the day before and it's a good thing, because the plant would never look the same again, at least not this year.
Heavy rainfall during peony season can be an excuse to make bouquets. Not that you need an excuse. I'd been experimenting with mixers, and how long they lasted as cut flowers. One of the longest lasting has been Ornithogalum magnum, an inexpensive and hardy bulb that's easy to grow and goes well with everything. I like that it can be flexible or upright, has a see-through presence, and lasts nearly a week in a vase. It grows about 30" tall and doesn't need to be staked. In fact, compared to the somewhat soggy appearance of its neighbor, peony 'White Wings', the Ornithogalum is positively perky.

Another plant I like to use as filler for bouquets is Nepeta or catmint. Most varieties have nice bright blue flowers, and the foliage doesn't give off a scent unless crushed. And of course, blue goes with everything.

I knew that Lady's Mantle or Alchemilla mollis makes a good filler, lasting several days in a vase. But two sleepers that tend to fade into the shade beds impressed me with their longevity.

I've been on an Epimedium kick lately, and have expanded my repertoire by adding three new cultivars. But one variety that has expanded happily through my partially to full-shaded beds is Epimedium x versicolor 'Sulphureum'. I cut a few of its wiry stems to add to a test arrangement. Two days later it's as perky as if it were freshly picked. And for a plant that tops out at no more than 12", it's got incredible presence.

Epimedium (at right and center) holds its own with scene-stealers like this peony.
Another plant I like to use as filler in a vase is Thalictrum aquilegifolium, or columbine meadow rue. And I wish I knew which perennial geranium I have growing on the east side of the house. Its foliage reaches about 2' tall and also makes a nice filler. It's shown front and center in the first photo at the top of this blog.

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