Category: Bloom

Bloom 2019 – The Autumn One

Couldn’t resist sharing this very autumn looking arrangement I made the other day. Think I’ll wait to share the rest of the summer ones until after Christmas when we’ll all need a bit of cheering up!

I love looking at all the autumn flower arrangements on Instagram. I tried to make an autumn wreath a few years back and although it didn’t turn out very well I liked using the brown ‘dead’ stuff to give a different effect.

Here we have a few greens – garrya eliptica with those amazing tassels, cotinus (not green but still alive) and jasmine. I added crocosmia seed heads, beech leaves, spirea flower heads and some of those seed pods that I dried, scabious stelata.

Really glad I tried something different and used what was available from my garden. Next up a wreath! Love, love Christmas arranging.

Bloom 2019 – Sunset and Sunrise

I have been sorting through photos from the last few months for Project Life® and our recent holiday and I have come across another six flower arrangements I’d forgotten about! Life eh? I guess when you take as many photos as I do and love to make arrangements some are going to get lost.

Well thank goodness I found them. Here are a couple.

A feel that the vase above is a totally different colour scheme with its zingy orange calendulas and purple/blue cornflowers. Larkspur also features and a few yellow sunflowers. It’s great to ring the changes.

More pinks below.

Ammi and phlox, antirrhinum and scabious seed heads mix in with deep and light pink cosmos and white and pink salvias. And right there at the front is another dahlia crazy love.

I’ll keep sharing these summer scenes it will cheer us up as the winter begins to loom!

Bloom 2019 – Pink Mix and Tiny Tangerine

Only a few more of these to share now. Just writing that got me thinking about how to bridge the long gap between summer flowers and spring flowers. I have a half formed plan to at least make Christmassy arrangements in the form of a wreath or two (using some of the flowers pods I have dried) but I also think the garden still has gifts to give I think I need to look harder!

Anyway on to the flowers I have arranged.

Dreamy and romantic. I love that I managed to convey a mood with this one. All thanks to the flowers. Cosmos in white and pink, nicotiana, antirrhinum, salvia and that gorgeous consolida that elongated the shape perfectly for me.

And from dreamy pink…

To teeny tangerine (and white!)

Perfect for that old yeast tin, this was a delicate yet punchy addition to the mantle. Calendula with white cosmos, scabious and salvia. Those white salvia were just amazing. I’ve grown the pink and purple before but this was my first packet of white ones. Will definitely be sowing those again!

Okay, I am going to wander down the garden and look for autumn things…..wish me luck!

Bloom 2019 – Golden

Okay so the arrangement isn’t golden but boy the vase is. A charity shop find and a perfect vase for flowers. Thought I better get sharing the last of these arrangements as summer is a distant memory now!

Cosmos, white and pink salvia and beautiful dahlia labyrinth. A lovely explosion of pink and white.

I was thinking about lifting the dahlias this weekend but the weather has been too rainy. Hope to get them done soon though and label them up properly for storage….. I can but hope.

Bloom 2019 – Shades of Pink

Another vase full of flowers and this time a punchy pink one. Just looking at this arrangement from a few weeks ago make me realise that there is still so much to explore in this hobby of mine.

Mood for example. I have concentrated on the shape of my arrangements, pushing that creative boundary without giving much thought to mood for these past few years. Mainly because I use what I have, what I grow. I don’t trot off to the florists and buy anything even when I see stunning arrangements on Instagram filled with romantic roses! (I think it’s time to buy rose bushes…..)

And to be honest I am always rather pleased with my arrangements especially this year where I feel at last I have a better understanding of the lopsided vaseful!

Anyway here is an almost lopsided one filled with the nameless pink dahlia, cosmos, malope, salvia, antirrhinum and a few touches of white with scabious and ammi. I also added in some sweet pea stems. And yes this is going back to when my fav vase was still in one piece!

I love having these insights and the opportunity to keep learning and growing…… oh dear bad pun!

Bloom 2019 – Thoughts on the Season

The light is fading earlier now and like it or now the season is changing. The annuals are giving themselves up for seed and producing very few flowers. Such is their life cycle.

As I have said many times before this growing flowers for cutting is a constant learning experience and this year I tried six new to me annuals in an attempt to flex my flower arrangers muscles.

That beauty in the photo above is Phlox ‘Creme Brulee’ and it has become a new favourite even if it wasn’t as prolific as I’d hoped. Totally my fault as I planted them out late and didn’t pinch the growing shoot to encourage branching stems. But they still gave me some blooms and lasted a long time in the vase to say they are so delicate.

Another new to me were the Malope. They are the bright pink ones in the photo above. I have tried to grow these before without success so was very pleased I got them to germinate and provide some stunning flowers. Their colour falls into that bright bright pink, similar to our native foxgloves, that is hard to capture on ‘film’ but certainly packs a zing into a vase.

Also new were Scabiosa stellata, Orlaya grandiflora and Ridolfia pictured below from their seed packets.

The scabious was great. Grown mainly for its seed heads it is so unusual and beautiful. I did use the flowers too.

So delicate. You can see the seed head emerging under the petals. I’ve saved lots of those for winter arranging.

Both the orlaya and ridifloia didn’t do so well. I only had one orlaya plant that produced blooms which was a shame as they are so lovely. The ridifolia didn’t get going at all. I’m not daunted yet though and have sown both as part of an autumn sowing experiment. I always say I’ll sow hardy annuals in September and never do but this year I did it!

The final annual I tried was another that I’ve attempted to grow before and like the malope this was the year of success. It is Delphinium Consolida perhaps better know as larkspur, the annual delphinium. As instructed on the seed packet I put the seeds in the freezer for three weeks before I sowed and at last I got about three seedlings.

Here’s a peek at an upcoming arrangement and you can see the beautiful purple stems of the larkspur off to the lower left.

They also lasted for a week in the vase so even if they are tricky to germinate I’ll be growing these again. So lovely.

I had two cutting patch beds this year plus a space out on in the kitchen garden (or allotment!) for the Dahlias and sweet peas.

I planted one of the beds in mid May, another first but I was going off to Portugal and wanted something planted so I got on with it. Much to my delight it worked great and they started producing quicker that I remember in past years. Will definitely be planting both bed as early as frost allows in 2020.

Another important factor that I always have in my mind when growing leads on from that idea of late spring frosts. The weather. It has much to do with my success or lack of success in the floral adventure. It’s just the way it is up here in the north of England. This summer has had rain and sun, heat and cold. Pretty much typical but some years it’s much cooler and others, like last year, are baking. I can’t do anything about the weather so although I know it has an impact I need to remember to get on with early planting anyway.

I have had my most productive year of dahlias yet in 2019. Still not bucket loads but a very decent crop and now I have labels tied to each stem I know what I have and can add some different colour and flower shapes next spring. Above is another photo of Cafe au Lait. She is such a beauty. Hope that tuber survives the winter but if not I’ll be buying another because it is heartbreakingly beautiful.

All in all it had been a great season of flower growing.

Still some more arrangements yet to share in the next couple of weeks and then I can start pondering Tulips and Daffodils…….

Bloom 2019 – Dahlia Delight

I can’t believe it’s September already and almost October! The cutting patch has slowed down and I’m only picking short stemmed flowers now. But is has been a bumper year for longevity, variety and production.

The Dahlias have been good. And maybe next year I’ll get them in the ground sooner and have more blooms. I can always hope.

The dahlia that is the star in this vase is ‘labyrinth’. My fav.

Not very keen on this arrangement, too symmetrical but I like the limited flower variety and the zingy colour combo. Always learning and love doing it.

Only three other flowers to go with the dahlia. Cerinthie, calendula and centaurea ‘black ball’. And yes my Grans stool is now the only place I seem to take photos of my arrangements!

Bloom 2019 – A June Arrangement

Yes I am going back in time to share this vase full of flowers from a few months ago.

And it’s bitter sweet because the vase in question, my favourite vase for medium sized flower arrangements, has since broken! I am lost without it.

Luckily my new found love of the charity shop had led me to another pretty vessel but I do miss this one.

Anyway I arranged lovely sweet williams with knautia seed heads, self sown oregano and some of the first clary from the cutting patch. Country pretty and looking great on my Grans stool.

Bloom 2019 – Red and Yellow

You know, I don’t think I’ve waxed lyrical about Euphorbia oblongata recently. I adore this short lived perennial. I bought one packet of seeds many, many years ago and have had a constant supply of plants as they have self sown year on year. Now that is value for money!

The only downside to Euphorbia is that when you cut them you must avoid the milky sap and then sear the stem ends in boiling water for 30 seconds to prolong the vase life and stop the flow of that sap.  Other than that this family of spurges is a winner in the garden and the vase.

This arrangement has the aforementioned Euphorbia and also ‘griffithii’. That is the red/orange flowered variety. I tucked a few stems in for a different leaf shape. I like to pick at least one vaseful of the red Crocosmia and this year I paired them with the beautiful yellow sunflowers. I think these are ‘valentine’.

This one certainly packs a punch and I love all the more for that.

For the Love of Dahlias

Growing up Dahlias didn’t feature in our garden. I think my Gran grew some, probably the tight pom-pom varieties because when I think of the flower that is what comes to mind first. But these days there are many more types to choose from they are and some of the most elegant flowers you can grow.

Over the years since I have been growing flowers to harvest I’ve tried a many different varieties and had varying rates of success with both the growing and the over wintering. Here in Leeds we can’t leave the tuber in the ground over winter. After the first frost we lift them and store them as dry as possible and hope the make it. The professional Dahlia growers go through the process of washing all the soil off, drying the tubers and then storing. But that sounds like hard work to me…..

The way we do it not all survive but I decided that price was okay to pay!

When we dig up the tubers it is inevitable that the labels have gone missing so last autumn we ended up with a pile of tubers and no idea which was which. Gav in his usual comedic way labeled them all ‘Dahlia’ when he potted them up in spring this year…… Funny. Not.

I vowed right then back in April that I would endeavour to identify them all when they flowered. And this post is a way to document what we’ve got so next year, if they all make it through the winter, I’ll have a head start.

Right up there at the top is the vibrant ‘Rebecca’s World’. Next is my favourite ‘Labyrinth’ then comes ‘Bishop of Leicester’. The pink one above eludes me. There are so many pink Dahlias that when I searched on the internet I got to many to whittle down…..

The one above is ‘Karma Choc’ and lastly we have ‘Crazy Love’.

There is one plant yet to flower as I was very late getting it into the ground. Hope it’s a different one so I can add it to my collection. I know they may not all survive but if they do at least I know what we’ve got and what new ones to buy to add to the collection!