Beauties From The Bush: Three Western Australian Native Wildflowers Suitable For Bouquets

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The arid, seemingly lifeless expanses of desert that cover much of Western Australia don't seem like the most intuitive place to find some beautiful flowers, and yet the poor and barren soils play host to some of the most striking and beautiful wildflowers in the world. This is a fact not lost on florists the world over, and once obscure flowers now take pride of place in bouquets, wedding arrangements and commercial plantings.

However, not all of these remarkable flowers are suitable for ornamental purposes. Some are poisonous or prone to provoking allergic reactions, while others wilt and die almost as soon as they are cut or potted. Still others are sadly becoming increasingly rare and protected by law. With all this in mind, here are three wildflowers that are legal for horticultural use, though perhaps not used as commonly as their beauty suggests:

Everlastings

An ancient species of daisy, everlastings get their name from the remarkable amount of time they live after cutting, sometimes well over a month. These small, vibrant flowers are members of the Chrysocephalum genus - bear this in mind, as the term 'everlasting' also refers to some unrelated species of daisies and shrubs, and is sometimes used as a generic term for flowers that respond well to drying. 

Western Australia's colonies of everlastings are generally white, pink or yellow, and grow in enormous carpets across much of the outback. Their tiny, colourful petals make for striking displays alongside larger flowers, but bear in mind that their dry, airborne pollen can aggravate hay fever quite badly.

Sturt's Desert Pea

Yes, these are peas. These remarkable wildflowers are quite famous (you probably recognise the desert pea as the emblem of South Australia, but the plant is actually native to central and north-western areas), but surprisingly underused as cut flowers. Properly tended, and supplemented with water-soluble plant food, cut peas can live for a long time in water. They also grow in a range of colours, with natural red and pure white forms complemented by hybridised and tricolour cultivated variants.

As bird-pollinated flowers, desert peas are unlikely to provoke hay fever or other allergies, and their nationwide range makes them easy to find in spring and early summer. Be aware, however, that they start shedding their petals and large seed once cut, and these can poison the bouquet's water if left to rot in it. They also require a permit to be harvested from public land.

Geraldton Wax

Perfect for subtle, leafy arrangements, these dry and hardy flowers are endemic to Western Australia, and can live for several weeks after cutting if kept well (if kept potted they can survive for well over a decade). Small blooms of round, pink (less commonly purple) petals dot long stems covered in slender, waxy leaves, making them an ideal backdrop for larger, extravagant flowers.

Though these plants are very resistant to dry heat and drought, humidity can drastically shorten their lifespans, as well as causing their long stems to droop. The aromatic, herby scent of their leaves is also not for everyone.

Talk to your local florists about incorporating these blooms into your bouquets and arrangements.

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27 February 2015

Shopping for pretty shiny things

I'm a girly girl, and I'm not embarrassed about it in the slightest. I like to plan my next purchase of handbags, shoes and jewelery perfectly. I get inspiration from everywhere: magazine, blogs, books and newspapers. The trends are always changing, and I like to be perfectly on trend. I'd love to be a celebrity and have an excuse to glam up on the red carpet regularly, but it in the mean time I'll just concentrate on buying my next bit of bling and looking fantastic in my selfies. Read on and see what has been catching my eye lately!