Celebrations for the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II will take place over this extended bank holiday weekend. My own nod to the Queen’s 60 year reign is with this posy of red, white and blue, picked from my allotment and garden.
It’s made from the white Orlaya grandiflora and Omphalodes linifolia, both are hardy annuals which I sowed last autumn to produce some early flowers.
The blue is provided simply with forget-me-nots and a few cornflowers. Forget-me-nots are a biennial and can be sown in July for flowering the following spring. Once growing in your garden they will happily self sow and pop up of their own accord every year. Some might say this is a nuisance but they are easy enough to remove if they appear somewhere they’re not wanted. The blue cornflowers are such an easy plant to grow and use as a cut flower. They are a hardy annual and can be sown in autumn to over winter and then flower in late spring and early summer. Further spring sowings can provide blooms right through to autumn. They are one of the best flowers for attracting bees and hoverflies into your garden or onto the allotment. Best picked just as the flower is starting to open, they will last a week in a vase.
Finally, the red comes from a few stems of Potentilla fruticosa ‘Gibson’s Scarlet’. A clump forming perennial plant with strawberry like leaves, it is covered in shocking red flowers throughout the summer. The contrast of the red flowers and the green foliage makes me think of the Chelsea Pensioners, stood on Diarmuid Gavin’s garden tower, at this year’s RHS Chelsea Show. I don’t know where, or when, the saying ‘red and green should never be seen’ originated but I love the striking colour combination.
The centrepiece flower is a red Anemone coronaria. These are grown from corms and can be planted in autumn for spring flowers or in spring for summer flowers. I have found them tricky to grow on my own wet soil, even with grit added for improved drainage, and only a few made it through last winter, but they are such beautiful flowers I will not be defeated by them and already have a cunning plan in place for success next year.
I fear the weather knows it’s a bank holiday, as this lovely warm spell looks set to end, with a return to more typical British weather. A wet bank holiday, what a surprise! But whatever you’re doing this weekend, I hope you have a great time.