July 20, 2011
My New Favorite Cut Flower: Astrantia
This spring I've been enjoying the three types of Astrantia (Masterwort) that are growing in my garden: 'Abbey Road' (above), 'Moulin Rouge' and plain old white Astrantia majalis. No doubt floral artists have been well aware of this plant for ages, but I just realized how great it is for arrangements. It lasts a long time in the garden or vase, blends softly with many other flowers, and has long, slender yet sturdy stems that are easy to tuck into arrangements.
These first three photos show 'Abbey Road', which I bought from my local nursery in a Monrovia pot a couple of months ago. The flowers are rosy when they first open (above), then fade to a more silvery color (below). This hybrid is supposed to be especially vigorous and long blooming. Sometimes I regret my impulse plant purchases, but this one was definitely a good buy.
Did I mention how pretty the leaves are? They're glossy, elegant and great for arrangements as well. Astrantia likes full sun if it's growing in moist sun in a mild climate. It needs more shade in really hot climates and areas that don't stay as moist. I have it growing in morning sun and it seems happy.
Above is a photo of the darkest astrantia in my garden, 'Moulin Rouge'. This plant tops out at 18 inches instead of 28 inches like 'Abbey Road'. I ordered it from Heronswood last spring but didn't see any flowers until this year. Next year the floral show should be even better.
Here's a photo from a few weeks after the first picture. You can see how the flowers are a softer color, but still very pretty.
I cut a bunch of these stems and made a bouquet with 'William Shakespeare 2000' crimson English roses. I didn't get a picture of that arrangement, sorry, but the two flowers worked together beautifully.
These last couple of pictures show Astrantia majalis. It has worked well in several floral arrangments with peonies, delpinium, daisies, and salvia.
As I mentioned last week, I have been giving away some of my less favorite plants lately. But these astrantia will definitely stick around and be divided to make many more clumps in the next few years.