In conjunction with our regular editorials bringing you the latest news feeds and suggestions from the gardening world, Floral and Hardy will now also be presenting a colour focused commentary - a regular piece that is devoted solely to the co-ordination of floral colour schemes in your garden, kicking off with the primary colours.
This week, we’ll be covering red, perhaps the boldest, and one of the most exciting of colours, producing a dramatic effect in the garden. Here are just some of our favourite red flowers:
Floral and Hardy’s Five Fave Red Flowers:
1. Geum ‘Mrs Bradshaw’
Also known as ‘Bell Bank’ or ‘Avens’, this herbaceous perennial is perfect for early flowering, blooming as it does with double, red flowers on wiry stems from May right through to September, whilst also providing attractive ground cover foliage. Geums should be sited close to the front of your borders, due to this cultivars appetite for sun, so that it cannot be smothered by larger plants and any available shelter should be taken advantage of for, while they’re resistant to frost, the flower itself is vulnerable to weathering. Although Bell Bank can survive in most soils, it will not thrive in either extreme of wet or dry. Heavy clay should also be avoided and for best results the soil should be enriched with compost before planting.
2. Papaver ‘Goliath’
Oriental Poppies are one of the most vibrant additions one could make to an early summer garden, this one with huge, papery, red flowers with black centres and distinctive foliage. The only disadvantage is that once they have finished flowering the leaves tend to die down leaving a gap in the border, however, if you cut the plant down once the flowers go over, you may get a repeat flowering in the same season. Although they like sun, too much heat can stunt their growth, nor do they react well to high levels of humidity. Make sure you’ve a few inches of soil above the crown of the plant and avoid clay based soils as once the roots are established they need to remain well drained, also make sure the soil is close to neutral as high acidity will inhibit growth.
3. Kniphofia uvaria
Also known by the handles ‘Red Hot Poker’ and ‘Torch Lily’ due to the tiki torch resemblance that the form of its red-tipped blooms have, this striking plant will flower from July – September. This plant has high light requirements, however, due to its long stem should be provided with support canes if it is to be planted in exposed areas. Fortunately other aspects of the plant require very little attention as it is known for its drought and heat tolerance. For best affect the base leaves should be trimmed following the summer bloom and the flowering stems cut down.
4. Dahlia ‘Bednall Beauty’
This cultivar will make an excellent addition to the rouge palette. With an Award of Garden Merit (AGM) to its name, this vibrant perennial prefers full sun and a well-drained soil. It has deep bronze-purple foliage, contrasting beautifully with its dark red, double flowers from late summer to autumn. It is recommended that the Dahlia be located in a sunny, sheltered position and a rich loam soil will also help the propagation of the flowers, as will watering and regular dead-heading throughout the summer. If you live in a mild location, you can risk leaving the tubers in the ground over winter, but, if not, wait until the foliage is blackened by frost, then lift the tubers, remove the stems and foliage and store in a dry, frost-free place until spring when you can plant them out again.
5. Euphorbia griffithii ‘Fireglow’
A relative of the showy ‘Poinsettia’ that we tend to only see at Christmas, this outdoor variety of this popular perennial is much longer lasting! It is aptly named as it will bloom a beautiful, carmine red, with an orange core, through late spring and early summer. The Euphorbia is one of the most agreeable cultivars on our list, being happy in full sun or part shade, exposed or sheltered and in soils of most levels of acidity. Though it is suggested that the soil be fairly dense and humus rich, as light soils can invite Euphorbia’s invasive nature.