What an autumn! We are still getting days in the high teens here (celsius of course) and some sun every day so far. Long may it last. But not all the flowers are lasting as long as the late summer heat so the selection of flowers for bunches is starting to reduce. The statice just keeps on blooming and is just so useful. This year I grew the unusual French marigold ‘Pots of Gold’ from Thompson & Morgan. This is a tall (60cm) rather scrawny variety that I like where I need something to fill space – though I actually grew it round the carrot patch to try to confuse the carrot fly. It is a blend of three colours: gold, red and striped though the striped has a different habit to the other two and was almost absent in the batch I grew – maybe due to inadvertent selection when pricking out. Anyway, it is good for cutting if you dress the stems a bit since the new flowers grow above the old ones. The stems are brittle when you are picking off old flowers and lower leaves.
I was deadheading some achilleas that had grown among the arching flowering stems of the beautiful Anemanthele lessoniana (previously the much easier Stipa arundinacea). This is a beautiful grass that changes to russet and pink shades in autumn with diaphanous flower stems. They are not easy to pick because they are interlinked and the stems are hair-thin and brittle. I had to pick a handful and carefully separate them to use in the bouquet. I needed something contrasting in colour and texture to hold the grass stems upright. I had no fennel left so I had to find something else. For some reason all the flat-leaved parsley had run to seed and although that is annoying in the herb garden it gave me an interesting option and the green freshens the look.
The bunch is a bit odd in that it is all small flowers and the statice is, I suppose, a bit on the pink side but it does pick up on the sheen on the grass so works in a way.