Category: Bloom

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!

Bloom 2019 – Country Casual

I posted this arrangement over on Instagram with the words ‘Sometimes just plonking flowers in a pretty jug looks just as good and an hour ‘flower arranging”.

And it is so true. This was a mixture of everything that was blooming at the time. That’s perhaps one of the most frustrating things about growing your own. They don’t bloom when you want them to. Well that’s my experience but I am getting better.

It may have been the weather or it may have been that I planted at the right time but I’m having a great cutting flower summer so far and have plenty of arrangements to share. But for now I’ll leave you with a metaphor for life…… Pick what you have and enjoy it!

 

Bloom 2019 – Two Littles

Two darling teen vases full of flowers today. Have to say that this year I have been better at cutting longer stems and not worrying too much about loosing potential flowers by doing so. But I still can’t resist a few little cute arrangements too.

Above we have helianthus, calendula, salvia and centaurea in a tea glass that I’ve had forever.

Not sure where the ceramic and pink pot came from but it was a lovely match to the yellow and pink of the helianthus and cosmos. There is also ammi and salvia with a couple of calendula stems popped in for a contrast.

Ah yes having a good flower season so far.

Bloom 2019 – Moody Magenta

I seem to classify deep rich colours with moodiness! Well I have to call them something right? Lol.

This was a delightful vase that I made a couple of months ago when some self sown honesty, the moody part of the arrangement, were in full swing. As I mentioned in the last ‘bloom’ post biennials don’t perform for me like they should. I’m coming round to thinking that I am possibly not feeding them enough? I’ll bear that in mind as I plant this years crop.

Actually this vase has three self sown plants in it. The honesty, lunaria annua, cerinthie and forget me nots, myosotis. I added the pinky wallflowers, erysimum cheiri and a branch or two of a variegated leaf shrub.

The cutting patch is looking great at the moment and I have been picking and arranging lots of flowers so I’ll be back soon with a glut of posts!

Bloom 2019 – Still Learning

I ventured out into the garden earlier today and was thrilled that there were some flowers to pick this early in the season. I’m sure I don’t normally see anything till later in the month.

I knew that I was going away for a week at the end of May, the exact time I usually plant our the seedlings for the cutting patch. I decided to plant some of them out early and this is clearly the reason I have blooms to pick now. How amazing! And I love that I’m still learning. Actually I always knew you could plant hardy annuals out before June but was never brave enough to do it.

Well now I have and I will be carrying on the practice in the years to come.

After the building work last year there are two symmetrical beds for my cutting patch. I planted one up on 23rd May and the photo below is the other one that I planted up on the 9th June.

Maybe I’ll get an extended season by staggering the planting? I hope so.

I’ll share my little vase full soon but in the meantime I’ll point out the newly made netting which supports the plants as they grow. Gav made it for me from a ball of string! I was fed up with all the plastic netting that breaks and tangles so he made me some. He has more patience than I and so far it’s working perfectly.

Here’s to a bloom filled summer.