Flower Field: 6.23.14

Monday, June 23, 2014

I almost didn't post these photos because things don't quite look how I wish they did.  I got straw down on the first few pathways, but I fell behind on the rest and ended up with a bit of weed jungle.  But I am daily attacking the weeds so just ignore them and focus on the progress of all the lovely plants.

Flowers: 6.20.14

Friday, June 20, 2014

I will be honest, these aren't colors I am normally drawn to, but once I started I really liked the fresh country garden feel it invoked; which makes sense given this arrangement incorporated several edibles.

Composed of snapdragons, yarrow, feverfew, allium, dill, cupids dart, raspberry foliage and spirea foliage.

Worth Growing: Chantilly Snapdragons

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

I have made plenty of mistakes with these plants, partially because they are earlier than most everything else, but also because I don't have much experience growing snapdragons in general.  But these tough beauties have thrived in spite of me, producing second and even third flushes of show-stopping flowers.  I have fallen in love with the open-faced snapdragon and I would certainly plant them again.

We purchased a color mix of seed from Osborne Seeds and I especially love the peach, orange and pink blooms.  They are visually stunning flowers; intriguing people with their unfamiliar shape and delighting them with their bold, trendy colors.  The peach and orange especially have the most beautiful ombre fade as they bloom.  They really make a statement just by themselves.

Ideally, next year I would be more prepared and get at least some of the crop in early with row covers.  I am ashamed to admit that they didn't even get support netting either which resulted in many wasted stems from wind damage, so next year support is a must.  Snapdragons display very obvious geotropism, which refers to the way their growing tips always point up in response to gravity.  It can make for some crazy crooked stems when they fall over.  It is also very entertaining to watch when you bring them inside in a vase.   

I had no problem getting long stems, but I am sure an experienced grower could get even longer stems easily.  I think the open-faced Chantilly snapdragons are a great flower that is worth growing for market but also just home enjoyment.  I remember a seeing garden plan once that included several rows of cutting flowers in alongside the veggies and these would be an ideal flower to incorporate into the garden to give some food for the eyes on your table as well.

Flowers: 6.9.14

Monday, June 9, 2014

This week's flowers aren't necessarily arranged.  I just picked a few of everything out of the flower field to get an idea of how many stems to include in a basic mixed bouquet.  Composed of: allium, sweet william, salvia, catchfly, cosmos, and pinks.

I also made a bonus arrangement of sweet william, cupids dart, and celosia.  I picked up the silver dish at a thrift store and it had been begging for some flowers.

Book Review: Backyard Foraging

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The book Backyard Foraging by Ellen Zachos had me intrigued as soon as I saw the tag line "65 Familiar Plants You Didn't Know You Could Eat."  When I think of foraging, I think of going way out into the woods and wilds to find some exotic mushroom, but this book literally instructs you on eating things already in your backyard.

The first chapter covers some guidelines for foraging, basics like always be sure of the plant before you eat it and get permission before collecting on private land. The remainder of the book gives profiles for each of the 65 edible plants, separating them into chapters entitled: greens, flowers and fruit, nuts and seeds, roots, and mushrooms.  The 7th chapter is called "Superstars", focusing on plants which have many edible parts.  The last chapter describes how to use and preserve your harvest.

Hosta shoots, spruce tips, red bud trees, canna lily, and milkweed were the listed edibles most surprising to me.  There were about 15 plants mentioned in the book that I already had in my backyard.  Some I knew were edible but many that I didn't know.  It also gave me some ideas for multitasking plants to include in the future.  Now we will see if I can convince my husband to eat the milkweed we have growing all over the place...

Note: My book review posts are all books I have checked out from the library unless otherwise specified.