Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Country Bumpkin

I maxed out the size limitation on my last post.  Here's me in my country bumpkin form.

mud on my face
grandmother's hat
I'm super tired now....

Summer Cutting Garden, continued

This weekend was a scorcher in Western MA.  Proof:

It was hot and humid, but the heat didn't stop me from building a shade garden, a small full sun garden and planting the rest of my flower beds.  

The shade garden.  We cut down part of an old rhododendron and whacked some weeds and turned the earth.  In the process, I dug up a spotted salamander (looked like a fat slug rolled in dirt).  By the end of six hours, we had laid down 4 pink astilbe, 2 red bleeding hearts, 2 white bleeding hearts, 1 pink bleeding heart and 6 hostas and several wheelbarrows of mulch.  Oh yeah, it was work. 

view from the street

i think bleeding hearts are my new favorite.  the plant is too young for cutting, but can't wait for next season
hosta transplanted from another part of the yard

The sun garden.  Not too many pictures; I'm not sure what happened.  Mrs. Foxglove (Pete's mom) had a couple of surprises for me when I arrived:  2 foxglove plants and 2 pink scabiosas.  We decided to add amend an existing bed of blueberries and catmint with the foxgloves and scabiosas, pink and blue veronica.

sun garden
blue veronica
cat mint and foxglove
Cutting garden.  OK, I didn't neglect one of our main reasons for visiting western MA.  I planted two dahlia beds and finished up my annual plantings mixed in with the sweet peas.

dahlia beds

clematis seems to be doing well


Monday, May 21, 2012

Wedding Party at SHI

I was (oh so very) excited to help out with some last minute flower arrangements and photography for a wedding party this weekend at SHI in Long Island City.  I put together a combo of red peonies and roses (red is the groom's favorite color).  In hindsight, the arrangement is somewhat fitting for the Asian-fusion venue.  I'm not a scholar on Chinese culture (or any other Asian culture for that matter), but the color red symbolizes good fortune and there is a legend connecting peonies to the Chinese Empress Wu and something to do with moving her court to an area with a climate more suitable for peonies.

For these arrangements, I used Scarlett O'Hara peonies (magenta/red peony with yellow center), Red Charm peonies, Freedom roses, unripened blueberries and viburnum in a simple leaf-lined 4" cube vase.

@ the b-hive; getting ready to move out to SHI
pre-party picture

Monday, May 14, 2012

More Mother's Day Arrangements

I'm a tired bee.  And an out of shape bee.  I need to hit the gym, DESPERATELY.

Here are pics of Friday's arrangements.  You must forgive me on the pictures -- took them very early in the morning before heading to work.  My apartment (a.k.a. the b-hive) was a mess but I managed to find an uncluttered spot for these pics.  

I have an event this Sunday and I'm totally excited.  The color scheme is red which I haven't done in awhile.  Hopefully, these pics will hold you over until my next post.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

I've been quite busy this week with arrangements for Mother's Day, with deliveries on Friday and today.  I have the best clients in the world.  They give me (pretty much) free reign over the color and design; I'm so very fortunate.

For Sunday's deliveries, I created three color combinations:  coral, blush and purple.  Admittedly, it's pretty difficult to shop for three color palettes in the same shopping trip.  Thankfully, I had Pete to help me keep my stem count and color combination straight and a bale of unripened blueberries for inspiration.

BTW, I reached my first milestone.  I finished an entire (small) roll of cellophane!  I use a combination of cellophane and waxed tissue paper to help my arrangements.  I bought the roll in February and didn't think I'd finish it until next February.  Who knew?

almost ready for delivery
Blush Arrangement:  'Gardenia' peonies, 'Festiva Maxima' peonies, 'Miranda'
garden roses, viburnum, unripened blueberries and mountain laurel
I think this is my favorite out of the set.

Why can't unripened blueberries be available always?
Purple & Pink:  purple and pink peonies (don't know the exact names), 'Rosalinda' garden roses, 'China Pink' hyacinths,
mountain laurel, unripened blueberries and viburnum

Coral:  'Coral Charm' peonies, 'Juliet' garden roses, sweet peas, ranunculus, 'China Pink' hyacinths, viburnums,
unripened blueberries and mountain laurel.  The sweet peas, garden roses and hyacinths were the only non-local
elements.  I think that's pretty cool. 

I'll post pics from Friday's arrangements after dinner tonight (only if I don't pass out straight after).

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Summer Cutting Garden -- Phase 4

I know some of my readers have been wondering about the status of the cutting garden.  It's coming together and I've just planted my perennial bed.  I put in 3 clematis vines, 10 scabiosas, 3 icelandic poppies, a few mounds of lady's mantle and 5 small bunches of coral bells.  The remaining beds will be planted on Memorial Day weekend, which I understand is the traditional planting time for this area of Western MA.  I've got enough dahlia tubers for two beds and if the sweet peas show no gusto by then, they are going to be dug up and replaced with annuals.


Few things are more pleasurable than being outside and working on my cutting garden, except for happening upon a small patch of freely growing lilies of the valley.  I've known about this patch for some time, but seldom have been around when the flowers were in bloom -- except for this time!  The lilies haven't reached their peak yet, but their fragrance is really unparalleled to any bottled perfume.  While their glory is fleeting, these lilies are one of the reasons why I love and look forward to spring so much.

you'll have to look closely to find them

the flowers are at their peak once the green buds turn into tiny white bells

Saturday, May 5, 2012

For Mom

In Massachusetts this weekend to visit my seedlings and start planting in my garden.  Unfortunately, the sweet peas aren't doing as well as expected, but I decided to give them until Memorial Day before I surrender and dig up the bed.  Also went shopping for clematis today to pair with my scabiosas.  It was so tempting to keep buying, but limited my purchases to three plants.

And, of course, Pete and I spent some time with the folks.  Won't be seeing my mom next weekend for Mother's Day but I wanted to do something special for her.  Mom's favorite color is purple and she loves peonies (yes, the peony theme continues).

lilacs, fritillaria, peonies, calla lilies, sweet peas and lady's mantle 
forgot to lower the ISO settings and photo's graininess is a reminder that I need a new camera
I added some salvia from our yard to this one -- mom's idea
can't wait for the peonies to fully open

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Bainbridge Island

I had planned to post pictures of some arrangements that I made last week but alas, I rediscovered these old pictures and couldn't help but get sidetracked.  Things never go as planned! 

This arrangement is very special to me for several reasons.  I was on Bainbridge Island in the summer of 2010 and it was the perfect season for wildflowers.  Together with Pete's grandmother (a.k.a. Grandmother), his mom and his sister, we gathered the flowers from the woods nearby.  Never have I've seen six foot tall wild foxgloves and butterfly bushes so heavy with fragrant blossoms (I'm a city girl after all).  Not everything was so bucolic though -- I nearly stepped on a snake!

Grandmother was so knowledgeable about all the flowers.  She showed me how to cut and shouted her support when I was literally "in the weeds" to reach some flowers.  I wanted to do this again with her once back on the East Coast but sadly, Grandmother passed away about 4 months later.  This arrangement is part of my memory of her.  

In hindsight, I love the verticality and looseness of this arrangement.  Somehow, all the colors worked out and the daisies provided a gracious gesture.  It's because of this arrangement that I realized that I needed to make flowers a permanent part of my life.