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.

16 comments:

  1. I started to get some of these a few years ago and couldn't figure out a place for them. I love the flowers. Would love to see the whole plant also. I bought the red pincushion and love the flowers but the flower stalks are so high above them that I don't care for the whole plant. Your Astrantia is beautiful though.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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  2. Hi VW,

    I love Astrantia too, so you're not alone at all! My show has been quite poor this year and I'm a little disappointed, my 'Major Roma' as always has put on a great show and I hope for another flush later in the season, however all the rest have been less than impressive so I hope next year they will do much better!
    I have Major Rosea, Snowstar and another I cannot now remember the name of. Snowstar is new this year so I can understand the poor show, however Rosea and the unnamed are into their second year and should have given me plenty of blooms!

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  3. Hi again,

    Whoops I forgot to mention that normally I too have them in vases and as you say they last a long time and actually also have a charm about them even when dried!

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  4. They are so beautiful. I have grown my first one this summer and I just love those burgundy-silver blooms. Makes me want to add more for certain. Beautiful pictures!

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  5. They are beautiful! Your photographs do them justice. I just discovered these last year and wonder why more folks don't grow them. You have some lovely varieties.

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  6. You're so right. I love my Astrantia. I've read that they can be dried too although I haven't tried it yet. Great photos.

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  7. I have never heard of Astrantis before, they look very pretty. The bracts look like they are hard and papery? I can imagine how lovely they would look in an arrangement of WS!!!

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  8. Hi Sunray - my astrantias are all tucked in between other plants, so it's hard to get a good shot of the whole plant. I bet they would look less good without other types foliage around them, though.
    Phoebe - despite their appearance, the bracts are really soft and whispery, which makes them so ethereal in arrangements.

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  9. What a great post - and love the recommendation! I'm going to see if it'll grow here... surely? :-)

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  10. beautiful flower, I am thinking I need some of this!

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  11. I love Astrantia, but it has never gotten well-enough established in my garden to produce masses of flowers for cutting; so, at most, I get one stem of Astrantia to include in an arrangement of other flowers. I think it needs more moisture and organic matter to be truly happy than my "well-drained" soil (read: amended sand) can provide. -Jean

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  12. This is a beauty, though I can't say I have seen it here in the southeast. Love that dark one, Moulin Rouge

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  13. Gorgeous and I'm so glad to see a blog post about masterwort.

    This is a plant that I've lusted over in the pages of UK gardening magazines! I've been too afraid that it won't like our summer heat, but seeing your beauties, I may have to try just one to see how it goes next year.

    Thanks!

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  14. I love them too! I just really discovered them last year...bought a handful of sale 'Abbey Road' last fall. Planted them right away, then we got frost a week later. Much to my surprise, they all came back like gangbusters this year and have been blooming for over a month! They are so lovely, can't wait for them to fill out in the coming years. This spring I've added 'Alba', 'Roma', 'Ruby Wedding', 'Star of Beauty', and 'Alba'...I guess I'm a bit addicted :-)

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  15. les Astrances font partie de nos plantes préférées et ont une remontée florale exceptionnelle cette année due à l'humidité.A conseiller sans modération

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  16. I have planted several Astrantia this summer thinking that they could still do their "stuff" in quite shady conditions. I guess I will see if this is true come next season.

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