Monthly Archives: May 2015

  • Decorate Your Home With Cut Flowers From Your Own Garden

    As you have seen in all furniture ads, home magazines, and anyplace where our living areas are displayed, flowers are added to make the space inviting, more attractive, and as recent research has shown better for our well being. Summer is a great time of the year. You can go out to your garden, no matter how small, and bring in a little color. Summer garden flowers are plentiful enough that they are a great value to purchase as well. The varieties range from ageratum to zinnias. The flowers you purchase have probably been grown locally and very fresh. We grow our own at our greenhouses in Churchville and often are in our customers’ homes the same day they were cut. To get the maximum enjoyment out of these summer flowers there are a few things you should know.

    Cutting and Collecting Garden Flowers

    Photo by ( Flickr )

    Planning your arrangement Flowers and foliage will instantly improve the ambiance of a room. Select a spot that will catch your eye, pick out a container that seems to be the right scale for the spot, and roughly measure how high and wide you would like the arrangement to be. The container could be something as simple as a glass jar. Then go out and find the materials that will fill the space with the right colors and shape. Don’t limit your imagination to any specifics. Dead or dried branches could be great for height, as could be tall grasses. Broad leaves like hostas could fill a vase in a mass design. Even rocks could be used as accent pieces. But of course, the flowers will usually be the main event. As different varieties come into bloom, take advantage of their beauty by bringing some inside.

    Cut lilacs and tulips in vase

    Photo by ( Flickr )

    When and how to cut

    It is best to cut in the morning or at least when it is cool. During the heat of the day, flowers are already in stress and this stress shortens their vase life. Cut the flower with as long a stem as possible but above a node. This is the point on the stem where leaves join the stem. This will allow the plant to send out more shoots for more flowers in a few weeks so don’t think that you will be losing the outdoor beauty. Your actions will actually stimulate more flowers later. The plan will also look better for there will not be any unsightly half stems sticking out.

    Purple garden flowers

    Photo by ( Flickr )

    Care and handling Probably the single best hint is to take a bucket of warm water with you and put the flowers in water as soon as they are cut. It would be best to use a plastic bucket with water that includes flower nutrient. The commercial flower foods interact with metal and that would harm the flowers. Warm water is used for it goes up the stem more quickly. This first drink by the flower is very important. This is the time that the flower is hydrating and the stem will stiffen up. Many times people cut the flowers, bring them in the house, lay them on the table and don’t arrange them for some time. During this period, the stems soften, the flowers wilt as does the enthusiasm of the flower arranger. When you buy your flowers this first conditioning step has been done for you.

    Cut zinnias from the garden

    Photo by ( Flickr )

    Arranging tips Be certain the container you are using is squeaky clean. The least bit of residue will contaminate the water and dramatically shorten flower life. Use flower food here as well in the dosage prescribed for on the label. With flower food, too much is just as bad a too little. If you are using Oasis brand flower foam, soak the foam in water that has the nutrient added. Either group the flowers by color or variety. A mixed bouquet of one variety of flowers is stunning. A few black-eyed susans in a small pitcher is easy and very effective. If the container has a large mouth, first add foliage or branches, ivy is a great choice. Re-cut the stems and take off any foliage that would be below the water line and insert the stem into the container. As a general rule, put larger flowers or those with darker colors deeper in the arrangement. Most flowers have a face. That is a side from which you would view them. Design the flowers in a way that the faces are aimed in a way that the viewer can best see the full beauty of each blossom. If you need to visualize something, think of the garden; a natural look will certainly show off the flowers. Be sure to keep the arrangement away from the sun or heat. For instance, do not put the flowers on the TV. Every day or two fill the container and if the water becomes discolored, change it. Your flowers should last at least 5-7 days.

    Cut sunflowers in vase

    Photo by ( Flickr )

    Hints for selecting purchased flowers When buying summer garden flowers, you should check the foliage and stems. They should be firm and a healthy shade of green. The flowers should not be bruised and usually fully open. Most varieties, like zinnias, will not open in water. Buy the flowers from someone you trust and if they do not last at least 5-7days, take them back.

  • When is the best time to plant your garden?

    This is a question that misses the mark of gardening.  Gardening is not a task but a life style.  Proper gardening is not done for the result of a nice garden but for the enjoyment of building the garden and seeing the changes through the seasons.  My personal experiences flow from the anticipation of spring through to the frost in winter.  Here are some of those experiences.  I point them out to help those who may be missing some of the joy of having any size garden.

    Woman planting plants in the garden

     

    Image Source ( Flickr )

    End of winter

    Assess winter damage and plan for spring activities-

    • What plants will need to be replaced due to freezing.
    • Hardscape repairs such as cracks in the patio or re-pointing of stone or brick walks or walls.
    • Trim dead wood from trees and bushes and clean out beds.  Only trim obviously dead branches for some plants don’t show growth until it gets warm.
    • Pressure wash patio and walks
    • Fill the birdbath

     

    Garden in the Spring

    Image Source ( Flickr )

    Spring

    Enjoy the first flowering from bulbs and flowering bushes and trees

    • First cut of grass, including edging, and begin lawn care program of weed and feed.
    • Plant summer blooming bulbs such as Gladiolas.
    • Plant pansies in focal points for early color.
    • Weed.  This is especially important to be sure they don’t go to seed and then multiply the problem.
    • Trim plants of all dead wood and hedges to shape.
    • Replace dead plants.
    • Plant annuals in beds and pots
    • Fertilize and Mulch beds.  Be sure mulch is not piled up against the trunks of trees or wood siding on your home.
    • Have large trees trimmed in manner to prevent them from falling or breaking off and causing damage.  They many, such as flowering fruit trees, should be trimmed in a way that lets more light in for growth.

     

    Summer Garden Plants

     

    Image Source ( Flickr )

    Summer

    Every morning as you go out to water, take in the beauty of the garden and the changes that come from growth and the new perennials that bloom at different times through the year.

    • Water everyday that it doesn’t rain
    • Replace pansies with summer blooming annuals
    • Remove spring flowering bulbs from focal points and store in dry cool place for fall planting.
    • Fertilize annuals weekly and other plants monthly
    • Inspect for insects and diseases.  If present, deal with according to directions on insecticides and fungicides.
    • Deadhead flowers that need it such as Geraniums.
    • Trim flowering shrubs immediately after they flower.  If you wait until the fall, you will cut off the buds that are forming for next year.
    • After flowering cut roses back to the second set of five leaves.
    • Weed frequently to not only keep the garden looking good but to help eliminate them in the future.
    • Stake up any plants that need it.
    • Cut some of your flowers and bring indoors.

     

    Autumn Garden

    Image Source ( Flickr )

    Autumn

    Possibly the best time of the year in the garden.  The light from the sun is golden and the air is clear.  The colors of your plants are as vibrant as they will ever be.  Your annuals are at their largest and the beds full.  Weeds no longer pose a problem and watering is not necessary as often.

    • This is the best time to see if there are any places that garden sculpture will add a special look to a part of your garden.
    • Take out any annuals that are finished and plant hardy mums in focal points.
    • Plant spring bulbs.  These can be planted deep in the focal point areas so that annuals can be planted over them.
    • Trim back plants like Roses and certain Hydrangeas
    • Rake leaves.

     

    Winter garden flowers

    Image Source ( Flickr )

    Winter

    Good gardens have a special look during the winter.  The dried pods and stems of perennials along with the bare trees and look of evergreens give a different character to your landscape.

    • Ponds need to have a pond heater or bubbler to prevent the pond from freezing over.
    • Walks should be de-iced carefully so that excess salt does not build up in the beds.
    • Keep the bird feeder filled
    • Research what possibilities there are for you to improve your garden once the winter is over.

     

    You can tell if you are a true gardener by how you look at the above.  A true gardener looks forward to these tasks as pleasurable experiences not as chores.

2 Item(s)

Flowers to get you out of the doghouse

Dried Flower Wreaths

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