Here in New England we are hitting a stretch of winter ( late Jan through mid Feb) that is cold, dark and snowy. Those of us who adore the climate here, relish the thought of a snow day , and get giddy over blizzards, are happy campers indeed, while others complain and are miserable . What used to be “water cooler ” talk about the weather has become social media blitz so all the whining about the cold, the shoveling and snow totals is posted round the clock via status updates , photos and shared videos.
Here in The Burrow, where there lives two knitters and thus a plethora of woolly goods for warmth, two adorable corgis who rejoice when the snow is falling, and people who generally don’t mind the weather, you will find no complaining. Zero, Zilch. Nada.
And here, in the comfort of this house we are enjoying seasonal delights including flowers from the garden. Winter and garden flowers may seem incongruous, but if you have been following along for any time, you know I cut stuff year round to bring inside. The months of January and February can be a bit of a challenge because deep snow will bury things and also make walking around out there difficult, but I have tall boots and Yaktrax for traction when needed. Add to that a “can-do attitude and of course I agreed to pull together an arrangement for Flora in Winter at Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston to promote my talk Feb 8th at 1 titled “Grow It! Cut It! Arrange It!
I decided from the get go that it would be a mass arrangement. There are many cool ways to showcase what I can cut now, namely forced branches from flowering trees and shrubs, evergreens, and forced indoor bulbs, but it made sense to me that showing a full arrangement of many things that are easily grown/found would inspire people to try it on their own rather than a smaller and maybe more creative piece.
The theme given to the designers was “Rustic Elegance” which is thankfully in line with my own personal taste.
Container first- I had an old wooden box that was my Grandfathers and I painted it in a distressed- layered and crackled finish , with the base color being a deep purple that would echo the color of my magnolia and azaleas. The addition of fancy hardware rescued from a very old desk gussied it up a bit.
I used a whole lot of stems to fill it starting with branches; some still bare, some with catkins or unopened buds, some evergreen and some blooming.
In no particular order: chaemacyparis ( ‘Nana Lutea’ and ‘Sun King” ), magnolia,azalea,yellow twig dogwood, flamingo willow, Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick , unopened pussy willows, and forsythia.
The color theme was intentionally left simple. Yellow, purple, green and white. I added ‘Kiwi” aeoniums and Firestick cactus ( which is really a euphorbia but I didn’t name it so don’t blame me for any confusion) , which both have a yellow hue to them, euonynous’Gold Splash’ ( a favorite filler of mine ) and white birch bark curls and poppy seed heads for texture.
The only thing in it that regrettably did not come from here are the white hyacinths as I started them too late for this show …in fairness I was only asked to do this show a few weeks ago so there was no long term plan. I do have hyacinths and tulips and crocus bulbs all being forced for use in the next few weeks but none that were ready now so I had to buy some. Kind of a bummer, and I wish I had known so I could say EVERYTHING came from here, but alas, I did not. I don’t think it takes away from the idea that you can and should use your garden and window sills to grow stuff to arrange year round, because it is possible with proper planning.
Over the past few days we have had a genuine full on blizzard with 34 inches of snow ….yes 34! The days have been gray and dark making photography difficult at best. I snapped a boatlaod of pictures using every camera setting I could, but as Faith reminds me all the time , it is dark in here, ( well, I say cozy) so they are not great. Once I get better light I will try again, or you could go to Flora and see it for yourself!