By Debbie Bosworth
“Lay the seeds of your wildest dreams and grow a patch of wonderful.” Debbie Bosworth
As a gardener there’s nothing more rewarding than stepping out into your own flower patch early in the morning, snipping a handful of home-grown beauties and building a bouquet. My Gardenia Peony put on the most beautiful late spring show of blousy, soft, creamy white blooms. I just have the one plant and look forward to those blooms every year. And every year I swear I’m going to plant more, but instead I get swept-up with the busyness of spring and summer and I never quite get to planting more peonies. Sigh. Maybe that’s why they’re so special? Especially in a fresh cut garden bouquet!
The beauty peonies bring to the garden (and my nose) is short-lived and not to be wasted. For a solid week they fill the entire house with the heavenly scent of gardenias. Like other seasonal flowers in the garden I always cut them just after they start blooming and bring them inside.
The peony, like a rose or dahlia, can stand alone displayed in any kind of vessel but they also play nicely with many other types of flowers, herbs, shrubs and native cuttings. The white blossom of the floriferous Gardenia Peony is complimented beautifully by the cool, calming colors and foliage of other late spring plants such as catmint, chive blossoms, forsythia, Christmas fern, ( native ) Russian sage and autumn sedum joy.
Herbs with blossoms ( and interesting foliage ) are a natural for bouquet fillers. These edibles add a casual element to bouquets while infusing an earthy aroma sure to surprise those who are tempted to lean in for a closer whiff.
Building a backyard bouquet is nothing to be intimidated about. Loosen up, have fun and let the flowers to the talking!
Here are a few simple guidelines to follow for achieving a pleasing arrangement and by that I mean flowers that look happy and healthy in the vase and leave you smiling. The best backyard bouquets have an easy hand-picked appearance as if they were just gathered and plopped in a vase without too much fuss.
• Cut flowers in the morning between 6 and 10 am or in the late afternoon or early evening. These are the least stressful times of the day for flowers.
• Place your best flowers in a bucket of water as you cut them. Leave them in the bucket as you pick and choose which flowers to use in your bouquet.
• Cut off any foliage below the water line. This keeps your water fresher, longer.
• Before cutting for the vase, hold flowers and fillers upright next to your vase and eye how tall you want it to be. Then cut the excess off to your desired length.
• Begin tucking in additional flowers and fillers until your vase is full and you are happy with the arrangement.
• Look at your arrangement from all sides and make sure it is pleasing from every angle.
• When it makes you smile, you are done!
Ta Da! Your turn! Build a backyard bouquet. Think outside the box when looking for flowers and fillers for your arrangement. As you look around your yard in your flower beds and below the native trees surrounding your yard keep an eye out for interesting things to add to your bouquets. No flowers? Bring in the green. Make an all foliage arrangement with cuttings from shrubs, trees, and wild things growing in or near your yard. Just have fun and enjoy the beauty of all growing things this time of year. Backyard bouquets will replenish the soul and refresh the spirit.
Until next time, feel free to email me any cut flower growing questions @ firstname.lastname@example.org
Put down some roots and BLOOM!
PS. I’m happy to be bringing my 100% home- grown, fresh, local cut-flowers to the Plymouth Farmers’ Market this summer. Look for Dandelion House ~ Fresh ~Local ~ Flowers.
Debbie Bosworth writes from Dandelion House in Plymouth MA. where she lives with her family and Max, the Corgi, her constant garden companion (and chief cherry tomato thief) who also watches over his small flock of backyard chickens. Debbie is a contributing writer for MaryJanesFarm Magazine and Community Chickens and you can visit her on Facebook. This summer, Deb will sell her own backyard bouquets at the Plymouth Farmers’ Market at Plimoth Plantation, Thursday afternoons.