There is increasing interest in hardy annuals and perennials as cut flowers. Take a look at any flower stall, market or wholesaler and you will find familiar border flowers at almost any time of the year.
Of course there are more in summer, when they are in season. However some make appearances throughout the year, flown in from more distant production areas.
The traditional accompaniment to sweet peas grown in cottage gardens, today gypsophila is the height of designer sophistication, often creating a one man show at weddings.
It has a long, tuberous root, like a slender parsnip, and was often sold as a dormant root; it does not suit pot culture, making it rather incompatible with the main range of garden centre perennials.
So what are the best perennials to grow for cutting? I see all sorts of things recommended, however here is my pick of 10 of the best perennials for cut flowers.
These are all easy to grow, free flowering and last well in water. They won't litter your house with fallen petals within hours and won't wilt at the first opportunity
The lime green hue works with everything, complementing and accentuating. Cut back as soon as the blooms start to turn mustard yellow, to encourage fresh flowers.
Adds a touch of fine embroidery wherever it is used. Exceptionally long lasting, easy to grow and seeds itself, if it likes your soil.
Campanula glomerata ‘Superba’
Dense heads of sapphire bells suit tightly packed arrangements or posies. Personally I think it is at its best as a bunch of flowers in a vase. I love it in a pewter tankard or a simple blue and white striped jug.
One of the easiest and most enduring perennials for the front of a border
They repeat flower over a long period and their lasting quality, both in the border, or in a vase is quite remarkable.
Leucanthemum x superbum ‘Sunny Side Up’
They last remarkably well and suit informal country-house style arrangements and loose bunches. They are also brilliant for church decoration for those summer weddings. White daisies, gyp and some alchemilla - you can't go wrong.
The familiar perennial Caucasian scabious is a heavenly bloom which lasts well and is worth growing, if you have alkaline soil.
It hates wet and is not great in acid conditions. I'm on neutral to acid sand and it doesn't like it. Look out for 'Clive Greaves', an old variety, still one of the best blues.
Achillea filipendulina ‘Gold Plate’
Look at the way it works with deep blue, orange, wine and purple in the border. Try bringing those rich border hues into a vase.
They now fetch a high price as cut flowers in autumn, so why not grow some for cutting. These are ideal of a semi shaded situation; maybe a rather hidden corner.
They are not attractive during summer, but stunning when the lanterns turn orange in autumn.
The big bonus is that it is at its best when the flowers have faded and you are left with the seed heads.
The round bead-like pods, arranged along the branched flower stems are a stunning addition to contemporary designs and large garden arrangements.
The ribbed, sword shaped leaves are good for cutting too.
Sedum spectabile ‘Autumn Joy’
The flattened flower heads, fleshy leaves and stout stems are a contrast to the lighter, more delicate character of most other cut flowers - just as sedums are a contrast in the border.
They are particularly useful in decorating jobs where the flowers can be short of water.
Join Charlie Ryrie on her 4 week online gardening course entitled The Cutting Garden: How to Grow Flowers For The House