A half century birthday calls for a serious bouquet – and notice the handle wrapped in a hosta leaf.  Except for the peonies which were chilling in the fridge, here’s what’s I picked for the birthday bouquet – yellow foxglove, foxtail lily, bellflowers, yarrow, heliopsis, and hosta.    My talented sister Deb arranged them; she first arranged them in a plastic florist bucket which we then set  inside the metal bucket.

Happy 50th Shelly!

It’s a mystery.   For years I’ve tried to grow this clustered bell flower for cutting, and regardless of where I moved it or what care I showered upon it, as far as a cut flower – it was a failure for me.  Then a few summers ago as I was strolling through a friends garden, I halted in amazement as I stood before an enormous bunch of purple clustered bell flowers.  The funny thing was, she didn’t even know what they were, just ‘some plant’ she got as a gift from her kids.  I begged a few starts from her, and this summer they are just as stunning in my own cut flower gardens.  A few years ago I wouldn’t have recommended this plant, but as the photos show, you can grow some stunning clustered bell flower for cutting – some as large as the palm of your hand!

Growing information:

Hardiness – zone 3 – 8

Height – 20 inches

Bloom time – early summer

Light requirements – Full sun to part sun

After reading ‘Animal, Vegetable, Miracle’ by Barbara Kingsolver last Spring, I rushed to order the La Ratte fingerling potatoes she raves about in the book.  Now we are harvesting them, and let me tell you, it is quite a prolific harvest!  One plant had 20 fingerlings, though the average was probably about 8 or 9; anyway, we have filled many boxes with just this one variety.

The La Ratte fingerling potato is described as having a nutty flavor, making it extremely desirable by chefs and cooks serious about their food.  I have cooked them for a few meals, and I’ll have to be honest and say that so far they haven’t tasted any more flavorful than any other potato varieties we’ve harvested this year.  What I do like about them is the fact that a quick scrub is all it takes to prepare them for cooking, which is right up my alley – I quit peeling potatoes years ago when I discovered skin-on mashed potatoes; well, except for Thanksgiving, gotta have white mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving.

I’m glad I gave these a try, but I’m not sure yet if I’ll plant them again – perhaps they will get nuttier tasting as they age and sway my viewpoint, but for now the jury is still out.

July 16th, 2010

Flower prep the day before the wedding – sister Deb made six hand held  bouquets,  40 or so tabletop mason jar arrangements, two pulpit arrangements and the flower girls basket – all with flowers from my garden except for a few dozen roses that we ordered.  We used hundreds of peonies that had been sleeping in my fridge since May and June!

Florist designer - sister Deb

sorting peonies for the wedding

Scott and Becca’s wedding – July 17th, 201o

Storm watching before the wedding

Scott and Becca's rainbow

Funnel cloud over the church after the wedding

Becca's bridal bouqet

Handheld bouqets all in a row

mason jar arrangement

Made with love

Family pictures to follow soon!

Mid summer bouquet

July 8, 2010

Mid summer brings a burst a colorful perennials and annuals:  purple liatris (gay feather), pink echinacea (coneflower), purple and white scabiosa (pincushion flower), solidago (goldenrod), pink clary sage, phlox, rudbeckia ‘Indian Summer’, blue delphinium, poppy seed pods, variegated grass, and hosta leaves.

Fresh bouquet ~ 6-28-10

June 29, 2010

Delphinium, white phlox, asiatic lily, drumstick allium, baptisia pods, pink bachelor button, peony and hosta.

Fresh bouquet 6-7-10

June 15, 2010

Huge peonies became the focal of this arrangement; they are accompanied by Salvia ‘Carradonna’, Salvia plumosa, false Queen Anne’s lace (ammi majus), ‘Husker’s Red’ penstemon, Buplureum, Goat’s beard, and hosta.

Fresh bouquet 6-5-10

June 10, 2010

Peonies, ‘Carradonna’ salvia, bellflower,  goat’s beard, lady’s mantle, and hosta.

To market, to market

May 28, 2010

What’s blooming today and heading for market?  Lupine, peonies, false queen anne’s lace, sweet william, goats beard, coral bells, buplureum, and salvia.  Most of these flowers are blooming weeks ahead of schedule because of an unseasonably warm weather pattern that we’ve been experiencing.

I picked these flowers late in the evening and let them condition in a bucket of water overnight.  Then early the next morning I made them into bouquets and put sleeves around each one for protection and a nice appearance.   Then off to market to find a new home.

What’s blooming in your gardens today?

This $10.00 bargain vintage bed from a Thrift Store had ‘garden’ written all over it the moment I set eyes on it.  I’m glad I didn’t pass it up, both the head board and the foot board now add interest to my gardens.