Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Summer Bouquet in White- Snow-on-the-Mountain

Here in Cary, NC, we have had some pretty hot weather this year. It seems like our temps have been about 10 degrees above normal for weeks. So I was intrigued by the common name for this soft green and white euphorbia- it's called Snow-on-the-Mountain. How refreshing that sounds this time of year, and how refreshing it looks in summer bouquets!
I have grown several different types of euphorbias, but they are spring time bloomers, and by summer they are way past their peak.
This is my first year of growing Euphorbia marginata. And so far I just love it!!! The seeds were sown indoors in early March and the plants started blooming in early June. Next year I plan to do several plantings so that I will have them to add to bouquets and designs for a couple of months.
They mix beautifully with white and cream flowers. In the top bouquet, I used the Snow-on-the-Mountain as a collar around white calla lilies and double feverfew, (all from the garden).
The second and third pictures show it mixed with cream yarrow, white hydrangeas, the single form of feverfew and Akito roses.
Caution should be used when working with euphorbias as they can cause skin irritations for some people. I have had no problems with it myself, but would use care with anyone who has sensitive skin.
I think these beauties are a wonderful addition to the garden and to summer bouquets!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Weddings- Kirsten and Daniel

Yesterday was the wedding day for Kirsten and Daniel.
When I first met with Kirsten, she was thinking of using pinks, yellows and whites for her flowers. But as we looked through photos of some of my bouquet designs, the two that caught her eyes were composed of just pinks, whites and touches of green- so these were the colors that ended up in her wedding bouquet. One of the flowers that she really was drawn to was the light pink Majolica rose. It has that charming cottage rose appeal and a lovely delicate fragrance.
Other flowers included white button mums, hot pink stock, pink lisianthus, raspberry pink scabosia, and from my garden, dark pink hydrangeas. I also added just a few green Love-in-a-Mist (nigella) seed heads. When I brought Kirsten her bouquet, I made sure that she knew she could save these pods and plant the seeds someday in her own garden.
Here are the ceremony arrangements that were later placed in the urns at the church. Each one had touches of soft pink snapdragons, stock and Majolica roses.
The bridesmaids carried bouquets of hot pink Gerber daisies, hot pink and light pink stock, light pink Majolica roses and from my gardens- soft pink yarrow.
There is a newly wedded couple today, and I am praying for God's blessing as Daniel and Kirsten start their lives together!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Spicy Pink Summer Bouquet from the Garden

In all honesty, today's title can be taken Literally AND Figuratively. Here's a fun bouquet from the garden that is filled with spicy fragrance AND spicy pink colors!!! Some of these flowers are Southern favorites such as Bee Balm (monarda) and perilla and are fairly easy to grow. Bee Balm is the flower that looks like fireworks, and perilla is the rich plum colored leaf collar that encircles the bouquet.
These flowers are also edible- now this doesn't mean they really taste good, but they are safe to use around foods as garnishes or decoration. Sometimes perilla is used to flavor teas and vinegar, and the little pink firework blooms from Bee Balm would look sweet sprinkled on top of cupcakes.
Here's a closeup of Bee Balm nestled in with gladiolas florets, pink yarrow and bright pink hydrangeas.
I love all the rich shades of pink that are happening in this bouquet, and many of them will be around the garden for a few more weeks.
Tomorrow I will start to work on the wedding flowers for Kirsten and Daniel. Her colors are pink too, and I know that she likes hydrangeas and the Neon Dianthus. Some of those flowers may find a way into some of her designs...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

New Blooms in the Garden

In the garden, the flowers are always changing. My beautiful larkspur has given its spot up to celosia, (the flowers will be coming soon) and Purple coneflowers (echinacea) are showing up in my garden borders. The bold flowers have bright orange disks and soft pink or magenta petals. Foxglove continues to offer me shorter floral spires of lavender, yellow and raspberry pink. Round globes of pink and purple gomphrena are starting to pop out- they should be around for the rest of the summer and into the fall.
It was such a treat to bring these flowers together in the above centerpiece designs for Emily's bridal shower the other week. They paired well with the last of the larkspur, peach colored yarrow, Neon dianthus and Babe orange spray roses. The navy blue ribbon bands sported fresh pink gomphrena buttons.
Praying God's blessing for Richard and Emily as they will soon join their lives together as husband and wife!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

DIY- Garden Beds 101

Have you ever wanted to try your hand at gardening, but just weren't sure where to start? Or maybe you've made a few attempts, but you just weren't pleased with the results? To me the three biggest roadblocks to gardening in this area (Raleigh/Cary, NC) are the soil, the weeds and keeping things tidy. The picture above show the outer edge of one of our garden beds. A couple of weeks ago it was brimming over with the blue flowers of nigella and lots of feverfew, but now it just looks very TIRED. Today I thought I would give a primer on improving the DIRT in your garden.
Now I am just going to replant this bed edge, but this technique can be used to create a new bed wherever you would like to put in a few flowers or vegetables. Once you've added the new amendments to your soil, you will have an area that you can actually get a shovel in. And in the future all that you will need to do is add a little compost on top, a little fertilizer and your plants.
Yesterday I pulled the "tools of the trade" my short handled shovel and the mattock, (kinda like a pick, but it has a three inch flat blade on one side). Most of the soil in our area is heavy clay- the kind that you just can't go out and start shoveling in. To break this soil up, you need a mattock.
In the picture above, I have removed plants that were past their prime so that I can put in some new annuals and perennials. After these were removed, I took the mattock and broke up the soil. This bed area has been worked some before so wasn't too hard. But a mattock works on even hard clay. Note here: if the soil is REALLY DRY I suggest watering the area the night before you pull out the mattock and start pounding away. Start with a small area- probably about 3 ft. by 6 ft. at the most.
Next step is to amend the soil. Here I have a couple of bags of Black Kow (a composted manure) for a 3 ft. x 6 ft area. If I was working in hard clay, I would also had one bag of soil conditioner (finely ground pine bark), in addition to the Black Kow. Soil conditional aids in breaking up the clay. We also have a compost pile that we use to add organic matter to the gardens, but the first batch of this season has gone into the vegetable beds- Black Kow is a good substitute.
The above picture shows the added bags of Black Kow, a little bit of lime, and an organic fertilizer called Plant Tone by Espoma sitting on top of the bed. The next step is to use the shovel to blend all the ingredients together, kind of like mixing dry ingredients for a cake.
Here is the bed with everything mixed in. Now it's ready to plant.
And here is a picture of the newly added plants. I put in several coral colored phlox- these little beauties are perennials and should come back each summer. The other smaller plants are annual bedding zinnias. I top dressed this little area with soil conditioner to help keep the weeds down and moisture in. Given adequate water, these plants should take hold and hopefully take off for the rest of the summer! I will put up additional pictures to show how this new bed area does.
I would love to hear any feedback or any questions you may have.
Happy Gardening!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Summer Bouquet- Zinnias, Nigella, and More...

The nigella (the common name is Love-in-a-Mist) started blooming around early May, and in mid May was followed by zinnias (one of my Favorite flowers-see the post "My Wedding"). Then there were the calla lilies and the Fairy Roses and yarrow and the foxglove. Whew... everyday the garden has been changing. So I wanted to work up some designs that featured late spring/early summer flowers.
These sweet little flowers are called Love-in-a-Mist because of all the fern-like wisps that surround the sky blue petals. Nigella also comes in pinks and whites, but blue has been the one that reseeds in my gardens for years. The green centers of the flowers eventually turn into little fat pods with whiskers. I sometimes cut the whiskers off. And those pods are full of seeds that can be planted in mid to late September, and after that you'll have Love-in-a-Mist come back every year!
These flowers are just made for each other. Pink zinnias, foxglove, yarrow and Fairy Rose mingled with the soft blues of nigella and lavender. I would love it if they would all stay around for the summer, but here in the South, the nigella, lavender and yarrow will soon be gone. The Fairy Rose will bloom slightly during the heat, but will put on a better show in early fall. I am soooo thankful for the zinnias... keep them watered and they will bloom like crazy all summer long.
I guess I'll settle for zinnias for now. Oh yes, and the celosia and hydrangeas and gomphrena and coneflowers and the dahlias. Summer is coming FAST....

Monday, June 6, 2011

Weddings- Melissa and Ryan

I first met with Melissa and her parents, Frank and Sue, last summer, and I have to say that I really enjoyed getting to know them over the last eleven months. Her fiance', Ryan, also came along to give his support, (I learned that he is much more into hunting and fishing than flowers, but he was there for that first visit which I think is sweet!).
We talked colors, we talked flowers and along the way some things changed, but others stayed the same. One thing that Melissa knew she wanted was lots of yellow in her bouquet. She decided to go with yellow roses and calla lilies and freesia and soft creamy yellow stock. Garden gatherings included dainty heads of white feverfew and yarrow and seed pods of Love-in-a-Mist, (Melissa can save these and plant the seeds in her own garden some day).
The centerpiece designs featured blue Mason jars filled with yellow gerber daisies, blue hydrangeas and stems of feverfew.
There were also loops of lily grass and Kimberly Queen fern fronds.
Centerpieces for the longer reception tables were designed in vintage sewing machine drawers.
Here's a shot of the bouquets boxed up and ready to go.
My daughter Natalie, who helped me set up for the wedding, was really fond of the bridesmaids' bouquets. Melissa wanted her bridesmaids to carry white flowers. She chose gerber daisies looped with bear grass.
The van packed up and ready to go- destination the Sutherlands in Wake Forest. Hilton of Hilton Pittman Photography captured some great images of the wedding- Loved the one on his blog yesterday of the new Mr. & Mrs. And I hope I can share some of his work on my blog sometime.
It was such a privilege to design the flowers for Melissa and Ryan's wedding day! I am so happy for you two and wish you all the best as you start your married life!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Happy Anniversary- Anna and Josh

You get engaged and plan and plan and plan and then comes one of the Most Wonderful Days of your life- Your Wedding... and before you know it, a year goes by. BUT that year is such a treasure as you grow together as Husband and Wife. Today is the first year anniversary for such a sweet couple- Josh and Anna!
I feel so privileged each time a young woman asks me to do her wedding flowers. And it is extra special when I actually got to watch that young woman grow up, (and that young man too!!!)
I hope that today is full of sweet memories as you look back on your wedding day.
And I am praying God's blessing for you as you begin year two!
PS: These wonderful images were captured by Hilton of Hilton Pittman Photography- What a treat to share them!