Recommended fillers instead of Euphorbia Marginata?

hvander(5B ON)January 3, 2006

Thanks to all those who replied to my earlier query regarding Euphorbia Marginata. Can anyone offer suggestions on fillers that are relatively low maintenance, but look great?! What about Cinnamon Basil and Sedum? I've heard good things.

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pitimpinai(z6 Chicago)

I use Feverfew, Larkspur, Asters, ornamental grass, berries and any vines in the garden. I love vines in arrangements. Here are some of my attempts. Some didn't come off right, but I am learning. :-)

This one was going on a lecturn. Front:


The purple aster above is a NOID one but the little white with pink eye is 'Lady in Black'. That Solidago is 'Golden Fleece'. That pretty laciniated Dahlia is 'Marvelous Mans'. The pink berries below are Symphoricarpos 'Magic Berry', I think. It bore fruits the first year I planted it. Wish I had planted more than one.

Poochella, the sad looking Dahlia in the last pic is Bracken Bellerina. I don't know why she never last long in my arrangements. I like the football mum and that Karma Sangria together. Most of these flowers came from our gardens at the temple. The red and two tone Dahlias and the Buddleia came from a member's garden.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2006 at 7:14PM
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Henry, I'm thinking your question was: If I choose not to grow Euphorbia marginata, what other choices do I have for foliage?

Your selection of foliage is as important as your choice of flowers. Foliage adds interest and helps bring your bouquet to life. Basically, you want your bouquet to look like a piece of the garden. You'll want the foliage to make a contrast with the colors in your bouquet. We're not keen on neat, structured arrangements. Because we create hand-tied bouquets, that's not our style.

You will want to grow lots of primary foliage because you will be needing to use many of these in your bouquets. Some suggestions for you: honesty (Lunaria annua), honeywort (Cerinthe), dill, fennel, basil, oregano, lemon balm, lemon mint, bells of Ireland (Molucella), Lady's Mantle, hosta, fern, emerging spring leaves from shrubs, spikes of unopened blossoms, peony leaves, ornamental grasses, millets.

Remember to grow ammi majus and some of the green amaranthus. And, yes, we do use cinnamon basil in bouquets. We also use sedum before the blossoms have opened.

I'm not sure about the relatively low maintenance part.


    Bookmark   January 4, 2006 at 9:25AM
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hvander(5B ON)

Thank you Trish and 'Pitimpinai' for your suggestions. Trish, I guess when is said 'low maintenance' - I was referring to the need for horizontal netting and drip tape. Do your suggestions of herbs require these elements? And, do you direct seed the herbs or start them from plugs?

    Bookmark   January 4, 2006 at 7:26PM
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Henry, Have you made this your full time gig?

We have irrigation pipes in our fields and water overhead when necessary. No support netting in the field. We really, really don't like harvesting flowers through the netting. We do, however, use it in the hoophouses. We're also making use of drip irrigation in the hoophouses.

The only seed we direct sow are the sunflowers. We don't direct sow zinnias so much any more. The plugs have a better chance of growing faster than the weeds. We still hand weed and hoe. That's just part of farming.

We succession plant our plugs. So, we're pushing those plugs through the greenhouse the entire season. You're not going to be able to rely on just one planting to supply flowers for the entire season.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2006 at 10:08AM
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hvander(5B ON)

Trish - Unfortunately, I can't quit my day job yet! But, I do have more questions!

You mentioned previously 'green amaranthus'. Is this Amaranthus 'Green Thumb'?

What varieties are you growing in the hoophouses that require support?

Would you recommend using support netting for Veronica 'Sightseeing'?

    Bookmark   January 5, 2006 at 7:52PM
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I wonder if anyone has had any experience growing Bupleurum griffithii. I read about this euphorbia-looking plant in Sarah Raven's _The Cutting Garden_ but I haven't been able to find any references to it on this site. So I'm wondering if it's something that will grow well here, or perhaps we know it by a different name?

    Bookmark   January 5, 2006 at 8:20PM
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Yes, well, don't quit your day job unless you really like living in a tent, eating beans in January. Bet it gets pretty cold there in your region. It certainly does here.

Some green amaranthus we have grown: Love-lies-bleeding (Amaranthus caudatus), Green thumb (A. hypochondriacus), and from the Twin Towers Series - Green. We also grow the other colors. Amaranthus, Hopi Red Dye is the best red. Copperhead or Hot Biscuits are fairly new and a nice fall color.

We use support netting in the hoophouses because the plants grow much taller than if they were grown in the field. When we lay the support netting in the bed, the grids also help with spacing. Maximizing space in this environment is really important. The use of hoophouses is important to us for season extension -- especially in the beginning of the season.

Here are some of the plants we grow in the hoophouses with support netting: dahlias, tulips, anemone, stock, snapdragons, bells of Ireland, bupleurum (yes, Diane, it's griffithii), celosia, delphinium, sweet peas (vertical), lisianthus, sweet william, foxglove, larkspur, salvia leucantha, saponaria, ornamental peppers, sunflowers. In crates: callas, freesias, lilies, crocosmia, iris, daffodils.

Veronica, Sightseeing (pretty) reaches a height of 24". (You like the blue, pink and white combination?) Maybe grow some of the smaller, pale yellow sunflowers with these. Unless you are in an extremely windy area, it doesn't need support netting. We have wind at times during the growing season. Last year it seemed more than usual. We still don't use the support netting. Sometimes our scabiosa gets pretty winded and tangled. Nobody likes harvesting this one -- support netting or no support netting.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2006 at 10:23AM
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I love reading your posts, and am always amazed at how much you grow. I'd love to see your operation sometime, but don't know when that could ever happen! I just had a couple of questions for you. (sorry to get off the original subject.) What kind of anemone do you grow? Is it the white, 'whirlwind'? Which saponaria is it? One of my customers has a tall one that blooms in spring, has hot pink flowers on it, is that the one? I grow crocosmia in my field and it seems to do fine, good height and nice blooms, what is the advantage to putting them in crates? Do your freesias overwinter in the crates outside? You must have 2 or 3 greenhouses to be able to grow so much in that mannor. I'm really hoping to get one up this spring. Thanks for all your input, it's very helpful.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2006 at 7:30AM
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The anemone we grow are 'Jerusalem.' This one is the heat tolerant variant of 'deCaen'. The corms are a little more costly; however, the stems are longer, stronger, with superior flowers.

Saponaria is direct seeded in the hoophouse in February. It's Saponaria 'Vaccaria,' Beauty Series. It grows 2-3 feet in the hoophouse; and, is available in white and pink. It makes a nice filler.

We also have crocosmia in the field. The advantage to growing in crates is, of course, the forcing factor. These can be forced at any time during the season since the corms are brought in pre-chilled (very inexpensive). A month ahead of market competition is always a good thing.

Freesias can only be grown in a greenhouse or hoophouse in our climate. The fragrance of this flower is just exquisite. When we harvest, they are usually cut down to the soil line. Growing new corms is best left to the experts as the pre-treatment is rather complicated. We always order in new, pre-cooled corms. The advantage of growing in crates is that they can be moved out of the hoophouse quickly in order to make room for fall crops. Many of our bulb crops are sacrificed; however, we do have some of the best compost for our fields!!!

We do have hoophouses/coldframes for season extension. Sometime I will post a picture of our seedling/propagation greenhouse. It was our first; and, every year we think it should be replaced. Then, we always say: "One more year. Just give us one more year!!" That structure has been patched and propped so many times we have lost count.

And, thank you for your interest and kind words.


    Bookmark   January 7, 2006 at 10:47AM
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Thanks for explaining things so well. I believe freesia's will added to my list, but maybe not this year. Your crate growing system sounds very efficient.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2006 at 1:09PM
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Jeanne_in_Idaho(z5 N.Idaho)

Trish, thank you for so much information! I don't need to be a market grower to profit from what you know.

I've never grown Veronica 'Sightseeing' in a greenhouse but grew it for years in a field. The blues got nice and tall, the pinks were only sometimes tall enough, and whites never. But, then, I was looking for 24" stems, at least, for my market bouquets. The pinks and whites would be plenty tall enough for home use - now I wish I hadn't let them die! There was one drawback with the nice tall blues. Once the stems got nice and full with lots of buds, they had a tendency to relax outwards (lie down, in other words), then the tips would continue growing upward from there. I just couldn't use stems with a 90-degree bend. Once I started using support netting on them, I never had a problem again. They made great filler, either with color with the florets open, or just solid green before the buds opened.

I might try a few freesias in my hoophouse this spring, for a little fragrance to bring indoors. I have huge pots I can grow them in - the beds are already committed to mostly veggies. Fortunately, there is still plenty of room for pots. Are the white freesias more fragrant than the mixed colors? For some reason I seem to remember that, from growing them years ago in California. Is that right? And don't they like cooler temps? They might actually LIKE my early-season, almost-freezing greenhouse!


    Bookmark   January 18, 2006 at 1:48PM
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Freesias originate from South Africa. They're not good candidates for an unheated hoophouse (No. They do not like freezing). Freesias are short day plants, and require 15 to 17 weeks from planting to bloom. If they are planted in the spring, they are going to be way too short. For these reasons, they are planted now in a 65 degree heated hoophouse. The temperature is lowered to 50 at night after we see five to seven leaves. There are not alot of mixed colors in freesia. And, the yellow freesia are the most fragrant. This flower works well for our early market in May.

We don't grow Veronica Sightseeing in the hoophouse either. I was answering Henry's question about using support netting in the field.............


    Bookmark   January 18, 2006 at 4:08PM
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