Flowers: 5.30.14

Friday, May 30, 2014

 I actually made this bouquet on Tuesday, but didn't find the time photograph it until last evening.  It still looks just as fresh as the day I put it together!  I am always impressed with the vase life of those in the dianthus family.  Included in this bouquet are sweet williams, raspberry leaves, and cupid's dart buds.   

Enjoy the bonus photo bomb by kitten. :)  I didn't even notice he was in the frame until I uploaded these photos onto the computer.

Planting Celosia

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The neon colors of celosia are almost so vibrant you don't believe they are real.  This photo is of my youngest sister Liz and my sister Esther was behind the camera.

This weekend we finished up getting the celosia and a few other things planted in the flower field. 

 We used a bulb planter to punch the holes and then sprinkled in some compost from Victory Organics.  

I started out this spring making spreadsheets and lists of things I did each day, but then spring started flying by and the tasks to accomplish started piling up, leaving recordkeeping to fall through the cracks.  Still, I think we got the highlights even if we missed a few details.  I find capture dates on photos, both my phone or camera photos are my best tools in reconstructing some basic records.

Grow Write Guild #27: Loss and letting go in the garden

Friday, May 16, 2014

While losing some plants over winter is sad, it is not overly surprising.  This spring I had a fair amount of plants die due to a lack of communication.  Seeing their wilted, burned leaves when I went out to check on them one morning was like seeing your puppy smashed dead on the road.   An unexpected and tragic end before their time.

The circumstances are hard to describe if you are not familiar with irrigation, but basically I had sprinklers running while two separate doses of fertilizer were applied to cropland that shares the same water mainline.  I was not aware they were fertilizing and they were not aware that the fertilized water connected to the yard water in any way.  It was just a sad accident.

I lost all of my slicer tomatoes that I had started from seed and my cherry tomatoes took a hard hit, but at least half of them survived.  I will return to my pet analogy and say that the statement "just go buy some new ones" was as well received as telling someone to go buy a new puppy to replace the one that died.  I didn't want new tomatoes, I wanted my old ones back!

Overall, this incident reinforced just why I start my own seeds.  After driving all over to various nurseries in my area I had some plants to replace the ones I had lost, but they were not the same varieties I had carefully chosen from the catalog pages for their unique characteristics.  The plants were not nearly as robust either.

Now that it is done and I have my new babies in the ground, I have perspective again.  I let myself feel sad, but it is time to move on.  I am glad for some new varieties to try---Green Zebra, Indigo Rose and a few other impulse purchases.  I am glad to know that starting my own from seed is worth the effort, but if there is a crisis, new plants can be found and a new start made.

This post is in response to the Grow Write Guild writing prompt found here.

Book Review and Giveaway: Fresh from the Field Wedding Flowers

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

 When I received the book Fresh from the Field Wedding Flowers in the mail to review I could not contain my excitement.  First because I love following Erin Benzakein's blog Floret.  Her posts are inspiring yet full of practical details and real life experiences.  I have also read Lynn Byczynski's book The Flower Farmer cover to cover.  With these two talented and knowledgeable ladies coauthoring this book I knew it would be worth the read.
Opening the book and skimming the photos I was immediately inspired by the variety they displayed.  There are photos of wedding flowers from all over the US and I even spied a couple from the UK visually proving that you can have beautiful wedding flowers sourced locally no matter where you live.  The wide array of flowers, foliage and colors used gives just a glimpse of the myriad of combinations limited only by the imagination.  Green beans will make a surprising but lovely appearance.

My favorite part of the book was the video content.  There are lovely step by step photos in the book as well, but the videos will give you much more confidence.  To watch Erin build a lovely, luscious french bucket arrangement before your eyes, you think, Surely I can do that!  You can see a sample of my new-found skill with corsages here.

The most valuable tip I gleaned from the videos was to realize it was okay not to have it look perfect the first try.  In the past when I attempted to arrange flowers I just expected to add them methodically together until I had something lovely, but now I feel more free to experiment and take things out if they just don't feel right.  Also to see that some arrangements have a bit of an awkward stage before it all comes together but it will work out in the end.  Watching the videos demystified the flower arranging process and gave me confidence I could replicate the looks shown.

To enter to win a copy of the book Fresh from the Field Wedding Flowers just answer the question "What is your ideal wedding flower?" in the comments then indicate you have done so using the Rafflecopter at the end of this post.

As for me, my actual wedding flowers were white alstroemerias but I think garden roses make a lovely, timeless wedding flower.  I am partial to the coral and peach shades.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

New skill: Boutonnieres and Corsages

Friday, May 9, 2014

As I mentioned in a previous post I really enjoy mastering a new skill.  Recently I have been practicing making boutonnieres and corsages following the print and video tutorials in the book Fresh from the Field Wedding Flowers.  (Check back the beginning of next week for a full book review and giveaway!)

With my new found skill I made one for my grandmother to wear on her birthday.  It could also be the perfect gift to make your mother for Mother's Day or to honor a graduate.  Flowers are always nice, but what is better than flowers you can wear?

My garden is not yet an abundance of blooms but I got creative and made these out of hellebore leaves, lamb's ears, two kinds of creeping sedum, a sprig of serviceberries, a pasque flower seed head and some sage buds.

Friday Phone Shot: 5.2.14

Friday, May 2, 2014

Bailey thinks we laid straw down just so she would have a comfortable bed to supervise us while we are planting.  Spring has come to stay and things are getting busy!

Happy May Day

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Composed of: my favorite thrift store pitcher, spirea, weigela, sage, columbine, and pasque flower seed heads.