Before you hurl your prunings or, later in the year, the border trimmings onto the heap or feed into the chipper, it might be worth evaluating what you have in your hand. Have you ever thought about making contact with your local florist to see if they would be interested in any foliage or seed heads? I am often the recipient of a ‘twig parcel’ from a gardener friend, sometimes even a bunch of mature Hellebore flowers before they spread more seed. As wonderful as they are, you can sometimes have too many seedlings! I am always grateful for extra material when I am in the middle of the wedding season and particularly evergreens nearer Christmas. Free stuff is wonderful, but some shops/freelancers are happy to pay something for it. You need to come to your own arrangement….free, small charge or charity donation. Church flower arrangers can also be grateful recipients. But think before you throw!
I supply colleagues from my garden, small though it is. In the winter/spring I have Arum italicum which to the more creative florists is a wonderful offering. Pittosporum is always popular too. My neighbour two doors down is a great source of that for me! As the weather gets iffy and clumps of perennials collapse from the weight of water, materials like Sedum spectabile can be useful to a florist. Alchemilla mollis is also very acceptable in the summer.
Unusual twisted branches like the Chocolate vine (Akebia quinata, Kiwi (Actinidia chinensis), Honeysuckles, Clematis, contorted Willow and Hazel are all to be found in New Covent Garden at amazing prices. Members of a local Flower club would probably welcome unusual branches with open arms especially during the Flower Festival season. So it is worth evaluating your rubbish heap. One gardener’s bonfire heap is a flower arranger’s source of inspiration!
The pictures here were all taken by David Lloyd an amazing photographer from the Forest of Dean and are from my book 'A Flower in My Hand'.