A Bouquet of Native Flowers?

Gardener’s Corner | Questions and Answers with Local Experts 

By Dan Songster, 2013 May

This column is a regular newsletter feature offering chapter members and local experts a chance to briefly share information on many things related to gardening with natives. This Issue’s question was “Which native flowers do you most like to pick for an indoor bouquet?” 

Chuck Wright – “Whatever is blooming and will last for more than a day or two. Scarlet Bugler and Coral Bells and of course dried flower stalks, which last forever and even come with decorative spiders as a bonus. In the fall, the bright red rose hips of Rosa californica are hard to beat.”

Rob Moore – “Even though I have a wildflower meadow in my backyard, I don’t typically pick the flowers for indoor arrangements, but seeing as this particular day happened to be my wedding anniversary, I decided to pick a bouquet for my wife. I can still smell the Salvia spathacea, and purple sage on my fingers as I type. Others I chose for the arrangement included: Encelia californicaClarkia unguiculata, Lupinus succulentus, Gilia capitata, and just for kicks I threw in some Leymus condensatus and Lepichinia fragrans. I topped it off with a handful (ouch) of some of that annoying Asparagus setaceus (non-native) that I can’t seem to get rid of. The wife seemed to like it…think I’m good for another year!”

Ron Vanderhoff – “Probably Encelia, or California sunflowers are my favorite. Mostly because their appearance is so cheerful, but also because I can usually find a few in bloom just about any time of the year. A second choice would be one of the Everlastings or Pseudognaphaliums. These never get enough love, but are wonderful in a vase, often fragrant, and last forever.”

Bob Allen – “Salvias from my garden.”

Thea Gavin – “Right now (April) I like to make up a vase of aromatic woolly blue curls mixed with elegant clarkia in shades of pink, with one tall lupine spire in the middle, and a few sprigs of silvery/spicy Artemisia californica for filler around the edges.”

Jeanne Carter – “I love to use yarrow in bouquets as it lasts so long and comes in several colors. A side note on yarrow—I saw a house in Fullerton where it is used as a replacement for grass, mowed very short.”

Orchid Black – “Clarkia unguiculata, because they last so long, blooming up the stem.”

Stephanie Pacheco – “I leave all my bouquets for the bees, birds, and butterflies outside.”

Laura Camp – “For cut greens, I rave about Ribes viburnifolium, Catalina Perfume. Shiny, fragrant, round, bright green leaves on reddish stems last for months, even rooting in vase water. For flowers, Tidy Tips, Irises, Pitcher Sage, and Coral Bells.”

Dan Songster – “Woolly Blue Curls are astoundingly lovely, smell great, and last as long as almost any flower I have tried. The native bulbs often do well too, if you can bring yourself to clip them – all of the Dichelostema (Blue Dicks, Firecracker Flower, etc) as well as most Triteleias (like T. laxa-Ithuriel’s spear) and the native Alliums (Onions).”


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