Bring some of the garden indoors

Body: 

The flowers in the garden are in full bloom from now until the autumn frost arrives. Let’s just hope that we don’t see that until mid-October this year. We had a late start, so a late end would be so nice. Every day I find myself taking a 15-minute walk around to see what is new in the garden for the day. Sometimes there are big changes and other times there are few, but all times there are changes. I find if I miss a day, or even a full weekend, that there are some things that bloomed and I missed for the year. That is a risk we gardeners run when planting a diversity of plants.

Having worked in the floral industry for nearly 18 years, I grew an admiration to various styles of arrangements and having fresh flowers in the house. I do have to admit, when you take home all the old product, there are times your place is filled with flowers and you lose the fondness of their unique characteristics. In a way, I got desensitized to their beauty as I was around it all the time.

Now that I have a garden that blooms most of the growing season, there is always something different to choose from in order to make a unique home-grown arrangement. Now I have to admit, there was a long time that I wouldn’t have dreamed of cutting a flower from the garden to bring indoors. Then one of my best friends broke me from that mold when he said all he ever wanted was a cutting garden strictly for vase arrangements. I was thinking, “You have no problem cutting those delicate blooms from the garden?” I know it sounds odd, but it took me a long time to get comfortable with that process. Turns out, flowers are always replenishing themselves in the garden and the ones you cut are never missed. You just have to choose a few from all areas and not clear an entire spot out.

There are many flowers in the garden that are good for cutting. There are the line items which are used for a vertical accent such as veronica, delphinium, liatris, lithrum and gladiola. Then there are the disc flowers such as zinnia, coneflowers, dahlias, carnations, roses and daisies. No arrangement is complete without the filler flowers such as babies breath, solidago aster, heather and statice. Then there are also the cascade selections such as amaranthus and wisteria, along with a few foliage selections like weeping willow or various fountain grasses. All of these types can create a uniquely dynamic arrangement.

To start, collect a vase that isn’t too large as it takes a lot of product in the garden to fill one with their thin stems. Make a collar of foliage such as hosta leaves to fill some space and to anchor in the flowers you stem in. Then begin by placing the tall vertical types in the center, then adding a variety of disc-type flowers to fill the large space all around and fill in the blanks with the filler flowers to make it complete. For a nice little accent, add a weeping selection to cascade down the side to give it an artistic flair.

Each arrangement you do throughout the season will be different as different selections are blooming at various times. Know that one arrangement will probably not be duplicated often and that each will have its own unique display.

When placing your stems into the vase of water make sure any stem below the surface is stripped of leaves to eliminate the creation of bacteria in the water. Change your water every couple of days to make the blooms last their longest and never allow the water level to become too low. A cool location will extend the life of your fresh arrangement.

Take a chance on making your own arrangement from the garden and see what you think. You might just get hooked into making it a common practice in which I have gotten to that point myself.

This past week we had a great turnout on the garden tours with lots of ideas and this coming Tuesday (July 24) I will be opening up my yard from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. to allow you to walk through and ask some questions. It will be a pleasant evening of discovery and conversation. The address is 1601 7th Ave. SE in Jamestown and there will be red balloons attached to the mailbox. A freewill donation box will be available, which will be given to the Arts Center to support the activities in the Hanson Arts Park. Drop in a quarter, a buck or five to make a difference and enjoy an evening. Hope to see many of the readers there … and then some.