Sweet Pea Specialists
Lace Flowers (Queen Anne's Lace, Chocolate Lace and Green Mist) are light and airy flowers that are used as fillers in floral arrangements. The umbel flowers look like floating clouds. Their simplistic beauty also allows them to shine in an arrangement on their own.
Queen Anne's Lace (Daucus carota) is an attractive plant with fern like foliage growing from 1m to 1.8m. A biennial plant that grows from a taproot resembling a carrot can be eaten when young. Just do not confuse it with Conium maculatum which is poisonous. You will notice Queen Anne’s Lace smells like a carrot.
Queen Anne's Lace with its open and airy flowers make an excellent filler for floral arrangements. Harvest flowers early morning when the stems are fully hydrated. Select branches with a couple of open heads with several heads about to open. Remove all foliage that will be below the water line. Cut stems under water with a sharp knife. Place flowers in warm water for two hours before using them.
Queen Anne’s Lace is also suitable for drying. To get the best results with Queen Anne’s Lace you should select blooms that are just at their peak or even just before full bloom. Hang flowers upside down in a dry, dark and warm place. It will take around 2 to 3 weeks for the flowers to dry.
Chocolate Lace Flower ('Dara' Daucus carota) or Pink Queen Anne’s Lace is perfect for cottage, meadow and cut flower gardens. It is an annual plant carrying tall lacy umbels of the palest beige through pink and burgundy, growing between 40cm to 1.3m in height. These flowers will bring the pollinating insects to your garden. Chocolate Lace Flower prefers full sun to a little light shade.
Pick flowers when more than half of the little flowers have opened. Vase life is normally 4-5 days. To harvest, cut early in the morning and cut very low at the base, right above the rosette of leaves. This will ensure that the plant will keep producing new stems right at the bottom of the plant. It is recommended you do a "wiggle" test to check the sturdiness of the stem. Strip most of the leaves and plunge into a bucket of cold water. It is important that the water level is almost to the flower heads. Let them condition for at least 12 hours if not more.
Flowers can be dried in the same manner as Queen Anne's Lace.
Green Mist (Ammi visnaga) also known as False Queen Anne's Lace or Lace Flower is a hardy annual with fine foliage. It is free blooming with umbrella shaped heads of pale green to white flowers, the colour going with almost anything in the garden. It flowers Spring and Summer, attracting numerous beneficial insects.
When harvesting the flowers, pick when about 75% of the flower head is open, cutting with sharp secateurs and then remove the lower leaves. Flowers will last 6-8 days in the vase.
Flower heads can be hung upside down in a dark room to dry. If left to age and set seed on the plant, the flower heads fold in, giving a 'straw broom' appearance.