May sees an abundance of flowers in the garden, whether you have your own dedicated cutting patch or are raiding your borders.
Here are six beautiful flowers to pick in May – including perennials such as peonies and biennials such as stocks and wallflowers, which tend to flower early in the season .
Peonies are some of the most sumptuous flowers you can grow and make excellent cut flowers. They’re expensive to buy in the shops, so it pays to grow a plant or two in your garden own garden to enjoy indoors.
Late tulips such as the double, peony shapes or the striking ‘Flaming Spring Green’ (pictured) make brilliant cut flowers. For the best blooms, plant fresh bulbs every autumn.
The pink or mauve flowers of honesty (Lunaria annua) bring welcome colour to borders in May and look great in a vase. Be sure to leave some to go to seed, and you can add the transluscent, disc-like seedheads to winter arrangements.
Wallflowers (Erysimum) are a useful spring bedding plant and pair beautifully with tulips. They come in a range of colours and many are delightfully scented – bring some into the house to enjoy their colour and fragrance.
The acid greens and yellows of the flowers and foliage of euphorbias contrast beautifully with vibrant spring flowers such as tulips and make fabulous fillers in a vase. Be sure to wear gloves when picking, as the milky sap can irritate the skin and eyes.
Stocks (Matthiola) are biennials, which means they need to be sown in July for flowers the following spring. Available in a range of pastel colours, they have very strong, clove-like scent that can fill a room.
Cut flowers early in the morning
Cut flowers early in the morning, when their stems are turgid (full of water). Plunge into a bucket of water straightaway.