Flowers of the week, astilbe and aster
Friday 26th May 2017 – Flower of the week
One of the most charming things about fresh flowers is that they carry history and wonder in them. And each flower has its own unique personality too!
Here we take a closer look into the lives of astilbe and aster, two gorgeous flowers just brimming with character.
The aster family affair
To give this aster its full name, one must take a rather deep breath before pronouncing, or attempting to pronounce it. Symphyotrichum novae-angliae ‘Herbstschnee’ is, no joke, this flowers real name. White aster is a little easier on the eye-to-mouth coordination, so from hereon in, I’ll refer to it as such.
Aster a daisy-like herbaceous perennial, a member of the tribe, Asteraceae. Asteraceae is a huge flower family – it’s impossible to keep track of all the birthdays – a few of the relatives include sunflowers, daisies, marigolds, dahlias, zinnias, echinacea and many more.
I love the delicate texture astilbe it brings an arrangement. It adds volume too, though in quite a subtle manner, so it’s perfect for pairing with larger-headed flowers such as blooms or roses. In this arrangement I combined them with some big, blousy blooms which complement the aster so well.
Arranging your fresh flowers
Remember to always start with a clean vase. Fill it with a few inches of fresh, room temperature water and add flower food. Trim your stems and add each group of flowers in stages (see my youtube channel for more on this). I often arrange my flowers in the round, so they can be admired from every angle.
Watch how I arranged this bunch as I battled the windy wilds of Wandsworth Common. You’ll see I start by creating a teepeee structure with the blooms, then use that grid that creates to stand the asters up in, phlox and then the astilbe in.
White phlox and astilbe (my beating heart) bring even more texture and beauty to the flowerful get together. Read a little more about phlox in my other blog here.
Astilbe, astilbe, a frothy little stem
A chap called George Arends (1862 – 1962) was the German botanist responsible for introducing many of the astilbe cultivars. Astilbe seeds are roughly the size of a speck of dust (that’s the scientific term) so propagating them was no small task.
He didn’t just have a steady hand – he also had a rather lovely way with words. He gave many of the plants German names. There’s astilbe brautschleier, ‘bridal veil’ which is white, astilbe Straussenfeder, ‘ostrich plume’ which is pink, and finally – a patriot through and through and through – there’s the pale pink astilbe Rheinland which I probably don’t need to translate for you.
The word astilbe comes from the Greek, meaing ‘without lustre’. Which seems a little harsh as they are really sweet little things. It refers to the non shiny leaves, rather than the flowers. Astilbe is a jolly pretty name and somehow reflects the intricate, delicate nature of the plant.
Astilbe love a drink, so give them a little more water than you would other fresh flowers, and keep it topped up.
Reviving your flowers after their journey
Our flowers are incredibly fresh and unlike some shop bought flowers they’ve only been out of the field a day or two in some cases. This means we can deliver them out of water, however they may look a little tired and thirsty. Worry ye not though. Trim them and pop them in water (even if you’re dashing out of the door and need more time to arrange them later on) and they’ll perk up in no time.
I love our flowers and I think you will too! If you’ve yet to experience the joy of a Freddie’s Flowers box, you can sign up for one right now!
They’re just £22 a pop. You can skip deliveries using your online calendar and you’re not tied in.
In your first box you’ll receive a small guide to looking after your flowers and arranging them. In addition, we’ll send you arranging tips with every box, as well as sachets of flower food.