Category Archives: Slow Flowers

gardening by the calendar

The garden chores get accomplished around here usually when I have time. I find it hard to follow any kind of schedule . Much as I love phenology and enamored as I am with the romantic notions of gardening by the moon phases, most of the time it’s catch as can and stuff gets planted way too late or pruned according to my schedule as opposed to the plants best interest. But, Independence Day, celelbrated as it is on July 4, means two things always and always.

First, it is the last safe day here to cut back late summer and fall bloomers to either delay bloom, decrease the height of a tall variety, or enforce bushiness as opposed to legginess. July 5 ( and later) is a no-go for pruning anything you want to bloom late in the season, there just won’t be enough time for it to recover.

Second, like clockwork, July 4 is when the iris ensata will start blooming. Why? I have no earthly idea why they are so prompt. I could probably investigate , but sometimes  it is best to just enjoy the mystery of  it all. :)  iris ensata DSC_0003 (2)

Happy Independence Day!in

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american flowers week

This  is week 25 of the Slow Flowers Challenge, and it has also been declared

“American Flowers Week” by those in the slow flowers movement. As such, it is time to celebrate growing our own or using locally source flowers in our homes and for our events  . There is such a wealth of choices when planning a garden you can use for cutting  and I am overjoyed every time I walk outside ,clippers in hand, to make something beautiful. To celebrate I will be filling a vase a day and hopefully posting them all here  ( and on pinterest and instagram)  although the rest of the posts will be wordless, just photos with descriptions.

Today is my favorite little English china vase filled with sedum ‘October Daphne’, rosa glauca foliage and hips , clematis’Ernest Markham’, as astillbe plume, and heuchera’ Magnum’ . In the back are two ‘Dolly DSC_0003 DSC_0004 DSC_0005 DSC_0006 DSC_0007Madison’ lilies you can’t see well . The astillbe will last only for a few days, but the clematis should last a week or more, as will all of the foliar  elements.  If any of you are celebrating with me, please link back or add a link to your photos on any social media so I can check them out!

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Now the fun begins

The months of June July and August are just phenomenal for the flower gardens. there is such bounty to choose from to cut  it seems every day I am inspired by something else. It also seems at this time I can relax a litttle and just cut a few beauties to look at up close and personal instead of doing full blown arrangements , and switch them out as much as I want.

Today when I went out to do a little pruning I could not keep my eyes off this new hydrangea called Let’s Dance Moonlight”. It is a reblooming hydrangea that was recently introduced by Proven Winners and it has just amazingingly vibrant color. DSC_0008 I have planted it in a container as it is relatively small ( 2-3 ft) and at planting time I added a little aluminum sulfate to make the flowers more blue than pink. WOWZA are they ever beautiful. I have also been eyeing this honeysuckle called  ’Scentsation’, also a Proven Winners selection for it’s intense color .DSC_0009 Putting the two together is just perfect and add in the fragrance and it is over the top!DSC_0002

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Slow Flowers week 17

Today was 80 degrees, to heck with Spring let’s just jump on into Summer.  Grrrrrrr. Angry face. Now that the snow has melted the ground is dry enough to work in the gardens the weather is getting too warm too fast. The chirpy little weather girl grinning ear to ear telling us all ” No rain in the forecast for days and mid 70′s to low 80′s” is seriously ticking me off. We need Spring people!!! Nice 50-6o degree days with cooler night, lots of rain , so the tulips, daffodils and  minor bulbs can put on their show. Today I had top ut the sprinklers on for gosh sakes  .   Hellebores that were in the last bit of  frozen ground here less than two weeks ago haven’t even opened up yet   , tulips that are  just opening  and quickly fade. Which is all the more reason to get out and cut  . The earliest of my tulips are usually the species t. clusiana , but this year the purissimas beat them. Tulip  fosteriana purissima and t.  fosteriana ‘Flaming purissima  which are also known as  Emperor tulips , are some of the best tulips you can add to your garden because of their willingness to perennialize  , meaning they will reliably come back year after year unlike many of their brethren.

Flaming purissima  has a very cool color story. Some will bloom all red , some very red with cream  streaking, and some cream with reddish streaking. you never know what you are going to get. I added them to the garden a few years back and woke one day in Spring to see about half the bulbs had  been dug up and dragged off   by some critter . ( who left very neat holes by the way). Since then those that were left have come back  without issue, so last year I added some of the  plain cream colored Purissima  or White Emperor .Click for Options Both are blooming right now in different locations, but it is the Flaming Purissima I used in this weeks arrangement.DSC_0025

I used an old galvanized chicken feeder I lined with a large ziploc bag to hold the water. I walked around and around and around the garden looking for foliage, not a lot has leafed out here yet. I cut twigs off three different spireas, the branches of a pear tree, and then placed around the edge the leaves of the scented citronella geranium I just hacked back  as it gets ready to spend the summer outside. There is also a branch of lindera benzoin in there, for no reason other than I wanted to  cut it.DSC_0016

It feels like every year we climb this very steep mountain in the garden where slowly ,almost one by one, things come into bloom. Then one day out of the blue ,  we crest the hill and go full barreled all out rolling down in an avalanche f flowers that come wave after wave for the rest of the season. I fell like today I was standing on the top of the mountain . Bring it on!DSC_0014

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Slow Flowers Week 15

DSC_0290Spring flowers are finally starting to appear in the garden en masse this week making the work of arranging all the easier, Daffodils , once they have begun blooming in The Burrow , will continue on well  into June ending with the very latest of the bunch ‘Baby Moon’. Unfortunately ( or fortunately depending on how you look at it) I plant countless daffodils a year that come in mixed bags from wherever I can find them so they are cheap, but unnamed. The earliest that are blooming now fall into the cheap and unnamed category, except one little miniature that I am sure was intentionally bought and planted, I just can’t find the label. Oh well. DSC_0224

 

I have been waiting patiently to use the container  in this weeks arrangement.DSC_0222 It is a little frog in the shape of  turtle and is sweet beyond words.When I found it at a consignment shop  I envisioned using very short stems and covering the shell  , and still plan on doing that, but today went for a different look.  There are 10 or so holes on the top making it easy to insert and support the flowers and it’s diminutive stature made it the perfect vessel to incorporate minor spring bulbs, in this case siberian squill.   Sweet turtle boy has been sitting on my bookshelf looking adorable even without flowers in it since the depths of winter ( I remember ever so clearly  climbing through a 5 ft. snow banking outside the shop to get to the parking meter  the day I bought him) but I am glad the time has come to start using him to arrange.

The only flowers used in this are three different daffodils, including the miniature, and squill, no foliage or fillers. I love how the sunlight plays with the very translucent tepals and coronas of the daffs and bounces off the glass and shiny silver of the container.DSC_0247DSC_0244

I am going to leave this in the kitchen that gets flooded with sunlight every  morning where I can enjoy it as I start the day. sfweek15

 

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Making Do

DSC_0073Just in case you thought  I was giving up  all hope of completing the Slow Flower challenge 2105, know this…I am not. I never give up. But , if I did , who could blame me?

When I decided to commit to it I looked at the calender and the bloom records from the garden and thought to myself, “Self , You can do this. For only a few weeks you will have to force bulbs and branches but by March you  should be good.”

But, as my self and other selves in these parts now know, that is not the case.The snow has been melting at the slowest pace possible, and the slow melt and continual refreezing has caused a catastrophic phenomenon of ice packs and permafrost in the yard. I had to shovel the front walkway and damn near killed myself doing so. The weight of it is unbelievable and as it finally recedes it is breaking many of my shrubs right down to the ground.  Needless to say snow drops and hellebores are no where to be seen yet, and frankly I refuse to head out to find flowers from another local source because the envy would be too much to bear  for my winter weary soul.

Luckily something else has lifted my spirits…. the new furniture for the office and adjacent sitting room has arrived ( it was the reason for the shoveling) and  arranging it and putting up the finishing touches has occupied my time when outdoor work is impossible.

So I would not fail in my task though, I cut a stem of flowers off a begonia, a stem of red bracts and tiny white flower of a misguided poinsettia, and it’s out of time friend Mr. Caladium. Neither should be doing their thing now, but they are, so I cut them.

Just those three stems into a pewter bud vase on the table next to my new very comfy office chair is enough to ward off  the winter blues.  DSC_0063

If you notice, the book placed there I picked up at a book sale done after a meeting of the New England Chapter of the National Rock Garden Society  on Saturday. Do you like the title?  I do!  It fits me to a tee :) DSC_0065

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The Slow Flower Challenge

For those of you unfamiliar with her work, let me introduce to you one of my flower arranging heroes, Debra Prinzing. Debra is a champion of what I call loca-flor and what she calls Slow Flower arranging, which is using material that is locally sourced ( either farm grown, garden grown, or roadside picked) to make beautiful seasonal arrangements for your home year round.

As she has done  in the past, Debra is carrying out a Slow Flower Challenge in which participants cut and arrange using whatever they have and post their work onto Pinterest.com.  ( this link will take you to my personal board). You can find all the official  details here.

I plan to add as many arrangements as I can throughout the year and also to spend lots of time enjoying the creations of others. What is so fun about it is that everyone has  different climates, and different taste in what they grow and cut, and therefore although you will see a few things you may grow, you will see many that you don’t ( and even some you immediately add to your ever growing wish list!)

My first arrangement was a little cheat. I found the gorgeously colored carnations at the local supermarket for dirt cheap and just had to make something with them. I scavenged outside and came back in with lavender and santolina stalks that remain as yet unburied by snow ( sigh),curvy  branches of Harry Lauder’s Walking stick with their fancy catkins hanging down, magnolia branches with fuzzy gray flower buds, a single stem of the reddish rosa glauca, and some branches of butterfly bush that remarkably  are still holding gray foliage.Seed pods of poppies, leaves of the arrow head plant ( a houseplant) and vines from a bougainvillea that is overwintering in my window finished it out. DSC_0138

As an added bonus, weekly misting of the magnolia will hopefully make those buds open to reveal  gorgeous purple flowers .

Even if you only follow along and enjoy the creativity and eye candy , it is worth checking out this year’s Slow Flower Challenge!DSC_0153

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