Monday, April 25, 2011

If Life Were Like The Movies...

...I would have been a florist. Well, actually, if life were like the movies (where everyone is beautiful, has plenty of money and plenty of spare time) there are a lot of professions I'd love, but florist is toward the top of the list. To feed my inner florist, I can often be seen tip toeing around my yard filling a basket full of clippings of this and that. I never know what I'm going to do with it until I am inside with my bundle of blooms and an assortment of bottles, but that is all part of the creative process.

Grandpa George plants and Chives
I have discovered over the years that I have a certain aesthetic when it comes to flower arranging that comes partly from personal taste and partly from the reality of using garden blooms from my own yard.

Roses and Thyme
First, I like mini-bouquets. This is because in addition to being adorable, they allow you to stretch the number of blooms you have (which can vary wildly between seasons). Instead of having one large lush bouquet on your kitchen table you can have five little ones scattered about your house, bringing little bursts of joy in unexpected places.

Carnation and Mini Roses
Second, I like tightly bunched short flower arrangements. Packing a large number of blooms into a tight space makes them pop and look far more lush and put together than a loose bouquet. Short arrangements are also easier to make because long straight stems are often not what you find when collecting garden blooms. I only go for sparse if I have a few particularly beautiful roses and an equally beautiful/interesting vase. In that case, I clip them at different heights and sort of let them lounge in their vessel.

Roses and Mint
Third, I like to incorporate non-traditional plants. There are plenty of things growing in most peoples yards that they wouldn't think of as traditional choices such as herbs, horsetail reed and vining flowers. These work great to add a new texture to your arrangement or to simply act as filler around some beautiful flowers.

Roses and Lavender
Lastly, and I suppose this is more of a recommendation, interesting containers are a good way to shake things up. When working from your garden you are going to be using the same types of flowers a lot, so different containers can add variety and pose fun new challenges. Thrift stores are a great place to look and don't just think traditional vases, old soup cans, canning jars, and carafes make great "vases" too!

Grandpa George plants with Jasmine buds

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Rouge Tomato

As many of you know I have been pretty sick since coming back from Mexico, only leaving my couch to heat up some tea or refill my water cup. Today, however, I was finally able to return to work. As I made my first weary steps out the front door toward my car, some weeds in the herb garden caught my eye. Being unable to help myself I stopped to pull a few of them, only to find this little guy hiding amongst them.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the plant above, it is a tomato. Now before you call me silly for planting a tomato in the midst of my herb garden (which would totally destroy the herb garden theme) you should know, this was never meant to happen. I racked my brain trying to figure out how this ridiculously healthy looking tomato plant (it puts my intentional seedlings to shame) popped up in this location. I envisioned trixy little hobbitses running around my garden at night scattering seeds, or an equally trixy little Jeffry planting a single seed on purpose because it broke his heart to see it go to waste.

After much speculation, this is what I think happened. When I was putting the herb garden together, I stole some dirt out of my raised beds because it needed just a touch more in the elevated areas. A tomato must have fallen in the raised bed last year and decomposed, leaving its seeds behind in the soil. This seed was then transferred to my herb garden along with the soil, where it has been carefully watered and pampered along with the herbs. I have no idea what kind of tomato it will be. I think I shall try to transplant it to the tomato section of our yard and wait to be surprised!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Garden in Bloom

I've been meaning to post some pictures up all week, but getting ready for our Mexico trip has left me running out the door late in the morning and not finishing with stuff I need to get done until well after dark! Then last night of all things it was hailing when I got home! Luckily everything seems to have come through pretty unscathed so enjoy some lovely photos of Asbury Farms in bloom.

One seedling tray sprouting away.

Strawberry blossoms waiting to transform into plump red fruits.

Green strawberries ready to ripen.
Tomatillo flowers.
I love how tomatillos look like little paper lanterns hanging from the plant.

I can't believe our citrus is already blooming again!

Sweet apple blossoms outside our bedroom window. The bees
are in heaven.

English lavender.
Our wild tangled mess of jasmine. The sent that greets my nose each
morning when I go out to water.
The first set of blooms on our double delights are especially red.
By far my favorite flower in our garden.
This ground cover has endured  a winter's worth of
 attacks from Baby Chick and somehow still lives.