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Gerbera funk up the volume; Colourful blooms are sure to suit any palette.

Byline: Vivienne Lee and Nick Priestly

If you're looking for funky flowers this summer then you can't go wrong with gerbera.

A simple arrangement will add some zing to your outdoor party table, bring some summer sun indoors or make the perfect gift to cheer up your best friend.

Gerbera are a popular flower and available in most florists.

Depending on the variety, they range from around pounds 1.20 to pounds 2 a stem. With their big flower heads, this means value for money.

If you want to spend a little less then choose germini - the smaller version of the gerbera. These only cost from 50p to pounds 1.20 per stem.

To ensure the flowers last, ask your florist to wire each stem and when you get them home, make sure you recut the stems at an angle and change the water in the vase every couple of days.

They come in every colour except blue so offer a real opportunity for you to be bold with your colour choices.

Choose all one colour and contrast this with some coloured water using dye from your florist.

Alternatively mix the colours - try cerise pink and bright orange, or red, orange and yellow.

So whatever the weather, this week's step-by-step arrangement will brighten your home..

Vivienne and Nick own Mood Flowers, Design Studio and Flower School, Unit 51, Anniesland Business Park, Glasgow G13 1EU.

For more information call 0845 362 0982 or see www.moodflowers.com

Gardening With Carolyn Spray

Q My rhododendrons have flowered but some have developed yellow leaves.

What has caused this? A Rhododendrons require an acid soil but too much lime raises the pH and induces iron deficiency. Correct with an application of an iron chelate such as Sequestrene.

Q My double mauve lilac has just flowered but it is turning into a single white. What's wrong?

A Many double lilacs are grafted on an understock of another variety. Its shoots need to be cut off to maintain the double flowers.

Q I brought a hanging basket of strawberries last year and it fruited all summer. Why?

A There are several new F1 hybrid seed-raised strawberries which, unlike conventional strawberries, give tasty fruit all summer. Elan is a good example.

Q My potato leaves turned black and slimy last summer and I had a very poor crop. How can I avoid this happening this year?

A Sounds like potato blight, which is always worse in a wet summer. Spray regularly with an approved fungicide.

Q I was in France and saw fantastic bearded Iris in wonderful colours. Will they grow in Scotland?

A They will do well if you have a hot sunny border. Plant the rhizomes on a small mound and don't cover them as they need the sun to ripen to ensure plenty of flowers.

Q I have a small yellow pea-type weed in my lawn. I have treated it with a combined weed and feed but it is still flourishing.

A It sounds like it could be the lesser trefoil. Spray with a hormone weed killer containing MCPA such as Verdone.

Q I bought some New Guinea impatiens for my pots and put a handful of Growmore in each pot but the leaves have wilted and gone brown. Why? A Growmore is very soluble and, if applied to excess, can kill roots. Use a controlled release fertiliser instead such as Osmocote.

You will need..

Ingredients:

13 orange gerbera

1 aspidistra leaf

Blue water dye

1 pearl pin

Materials cost: pounds 1.20-pounds 2 stem

STEP ONE Starting with a central gerbera, create posy by arranging five more around the central flower.

STEP TWO Create a second ring of flowers by adding the remaining seven blooms, taking care that the petals don't overlap.

STEP THREE Tie the posy with string and wrap around an aspidistra leaf securing with a pin.

STEP FOUR Fill vase half full with water and add water dye.

STEP FIVE Cut the stems to the desired length and place into vase..
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 28, 2009
Words:671
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