Garden Bounty

While I may not be very experienced  when it comes to laying out a garden and choosing complementary plants, the garden does provide bountiful beauty from spring until fall.

Gardening is a learning process filled with errors and rewards.

The reward comes when the garden blooms making it possible to cut a few stems varied in color and texture.

flowers/rhdodendronThe rhododendrons are all but gone,

peony but coming in right behind them are peonies changing daily from tight little buds

peonyto partially open teasers

peonyto full blown beauties.

They don’t last long, especially if it rains, so I cut them and fill the house where they can be enjoyed.

Their differing colors and textures make each bloom a special gift.  Salvia, which tries to take over my little garden, provides wonderful contrast, and the alium which is past its prime adds an interesting texture.

So grows my garden.  It may not be perfect, but the same is not true for the beauties that grow there. 

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Gardens Galore

 

Trials and Miscues

I’ve never been much of a gardener choosing to make a yard as low maintenance as possible.  In Maine, however, it’s impossible not to get a little excited about gardening as flowers are, in the words of one daughter, so brave and outspoken.

All you have to do to see that is visit a nursery

where the selection of growing things edible and decorative is overwhelming.

My attempts at gardening so far are mostly trials and even more miscues.  What I am striving for is a cutting garden  with blooms lasting through the summer and into the fall.  While that is possible, there’s lots to learn about what works.  Take delphiniums which are beautiful to look at, but they get so top heavy they topple over, especially after a rainfall.

And, that flower around them, which I think is a type of geranium, is the right height, but rather than stand up it spreads all over the place destroying other plants with their weight.

So what have I learned about gardening? A successful garden has a blend of annuals and perennials.  That means investing in new plants every year, but to get the right combination of color and texture, it’s worth it.  Thanks to a series of trials and miscues I realize that defining scale and developing a cohesive color scheme is a must to avoid chaos.

Flowers and herbsPerhaps the most important lesson is that successful gardening can be done in pots! It is ever so much easier to combine interesting plant materials in pots than to try to balance them in a garden.

 As I continue to learn to create the bigger picture, I’ll not abandon my successes!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Gardens Galore

First Glimpses

As soon as we’ve pulled into the driveway, I’m out of the car to get a first glimpse of what is new in the yard.  

This time of year is still springlike in Maine, so first blooms are just visible.

Rarely are any of my tulips still in bloom, but thanks to a late spring arrival, they are still showing off.

The climbing hydrangea appears to be ready for a banner season

 and rhododendrons are just beginning to bloom.  A day or two of sunshine and they will be a mass of color.

peony budPeonies are still just tight little buds, but it won’t be long until they are in full bloom.  That i can never get enough of!

I can never remember the name of this bold beauty that stands tall and lifts its head to the sky.  When they are done, I dry a few to use in fall bouquets.

The discovery that always brings a smile is this one that stays hidden

jack in the pulpit 2keeping the jack in the pulpit that lives inside a secret.

At the same time I see beauty and the promise of what is to come, I notice all the work that needs to be done in the yard.  That’s always the case, but there is plenty of time to get it done.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

 

Art As Inspiration

After introducing you to Florescence, I cannot resist showing you more of the incredible floral arrangements interpreting the show’s challenges.  Before going on I should tell you that Florescence is one of the largest competitive national flower shows sanctioned by the Garden Club of America in the U.S.  

It is impossible not to be awed by these creations

and seeing them displayed with the art that inspired them makes them even more dramatic.

I was blown away by creations inspired by  couture dresses from the Museum of Fine Art’s collection.

As I look again at this photo, I notice that the arrangement mimics the flow of the dress…..absolutely stunning!

Here a styrofoam head wears an elaborate headdress made primarily of natural plant material.  What sea goddess wouldn’t love to be so adorned?

Many times I see wooden boxes used on tables as centerpieces. Unique here is the mix of succulents, roses, lilies and tropicals that demonstrate how anything can work together provided the choices are selected with a critical eye.

Particularly interesting were arrangements incorporating abstract qualities inspired by pieces in the Museum’s contemporary art collection.

The varied materials used with flowers and plant materials was wonderful,

and I will be keeping my eyes open for elements that add interest.

 Though I marveled over over the elaborate creations, I could not see such in my future.  I was attracted to the ikebana technique because it seems a little more doable,

 and I like the simplicity both of the containers and the flower design.

If I were to step a little out of my comfort zone, however, it would be to do something like this, so full of color and whimsey.

Oh, there is so much more I could show you, but hopefully, there is enough here to encourage your own creativity.  It would be wonderful to see the results.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Flowers As Art

Beautiful floral arrangements are works of art, particularly when they are created to meet a challenge such as that demanded by Florescence, an annual themed flower show in Houston. For two days the entries are displayed at the Museum of Fine Arts where huge crowds marvel at the astonishing creativity. 

 With so many of you interested in tablescapes, how could I not share these with you!  The arrangements  were to depict a dining experience at an exotic destination on a functional table for two. You may not find every element of the tablescape to be practical, but there is inspiration on each for our at home tables.

This is a very formal table with layers of textiles complementing the gold accents on the stemware and china.

Unique features are the unexpected use of orchids on the candlestickand the fish jumping into bowls filled with iridescent baubles.

As with the first table, a tall arrangement is the focal point.   I couldn’t help but think of sitting at either and wanting to move the arrangement to the side.

Two things, the teacup as a containerand a natural leaf secureing the napkin, are features  worth remembering.

This table is all about fun and thanks to the clever arrangement I could almost forgive its size as a centerpiece.  The use of pattern and color is consistent in every detail

right down to the elephants suspended at the layered corners.  What sets this table apart is its touches of whimsey.

Here pattern is key,and the layered textiles define the color palette used in both the flower selection and tableware.  

Overall, this is a simple table made warm and inviting by color and texture.  Did you notice that the floral arrangement is on the side?

So, there you have it, four different looks.  Keep in mind that in each case the table is secondary to the floral design. As beautiful as they are, the arrangements are a bit overstated for an at home table, but there are wonderful ideas for presentation and flower selection. Hopefully, there is something on each table that would translate to your personal style be it flower selection, color combination, the layering of cloth, the mixed textures or touches of whimsey.   I’d love to know your take away.

  i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Once Again

dahliasI’m crazy for dahlias, but no matter how hard I try to grow them they never do well.  Dahlias need lots of sun and my yard is shade challenged!

DahliasSo, I get my dahlia fix by making an annual trek to Endless Summer Flower Farm where  at least 250 varieties flourish.

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They come in all sizes from small 

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to medium

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to almost as big as your head.

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They are so perfectly formed and the texture so waxlike you have to touch the flower to make sure it’s not artificial.

And the colors….well, it seems they are limitless!

dahliasThere’s no walking away without a bouquet of these beauties

tablescape/dahlias & gourdsand no matter where they are used, they are perfect.  

I’m thinking next year I’ll try again to grow my own, this time in pots.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

What’s With Delphiniums?

IMG_6797So many plants grow easily in Maine.  My problem is not being very expert about any of them.  Take delphiniums.  They are beautiful, but little did I know about how tall they grow.  As I watched them mature, I thought it possible that I’d planted one of Jack’s beans!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe taller they g0t the more top heavy they became meaning they bent and broke no matter how carefully they were staked.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWell, I thought, I’ll just cut these beauties and take them inside.  As soon as they were disconnected from their stem the blue ones began raining petals, but the lighter colors proved to be long lasting on table tops throughout the house.  On this table runner, they were also the inspiration for a casual table.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was one of those nights for a house favorite, fish chowder.  Playing off the yellow in the  runner, these plates served as a charger for varied colored bowls.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor salad, I chose these harlequin patterned dishes.  I never tire of using them as they are so versatile and add interesting pattern.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANapkins are one of my favorite table accessories as they are not only functional but add a little artistic flair to any setting.  This one is a simple accordion fold which when spread becomes a standing fan.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs this understated table shows, it doesn’t take much to make the ordinary special.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow, about those delphiniums.  I felt so defeated by their unruliness that I cut them down to the ground, but they are a very determined flower.  Here it is September and they have come back ready to bloom and still growing!  We’ll see if I’m any luckier controlling them the second time around.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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