FLOWER ARRANGING 101
E A S Y D I Y D E S I G N
If you are hosting graduation parties, Mother's Day events, or decorating for the prom or bridal showers, here is an easy DIY flower arrangement using backyard blossoms and blooms. The white arrangement includes three elements - apple blossoms, bridal wreath spiraea, and bittersweet vine.
Bridal Wreath Spiraea
Choose a vase one-third the height of the desired arrangement. The container in the photo has a four inch opening allowing the stems to be relaxed instead of stuffy. Fill the vase half full with water. Add stems one by one, letting them fall naturally around the top of the vase. Place a curly vine in the center for added height, interest, and artfulness. If you clip pretty branches loaded with flowers, this arrangement is a NO FAIL design. Let flowers awaken the spirit of creativity in you.
In his garden every man may be his own artist without apology or explanation.
Louise Beebe Wilder
If you have questions about the flower design, be sure to ask... or leave a comment for a chance to win the monthly giveaway - A Door Swag by Natural Designs.
Celebrate with flowers.
H A T S & T O T E S
Some of my favorite garden hats and totes were found at flea markets. Old straw purses can be re-purposed for a stylish grab-and-go tool kit. Simply hang the tote in the potting shed or garage to keep supplies handy and ready. No more searching for hand tools that get left behind in the garden.
Here are some of my recent flea market finds. In my opinion, one can never have too many garden hats or totes. They look attractive among the dried flowers in the drying attic.
Who said that gardening isn't fun? A variety of hats in the potting shed provides all your helpers (child or adult) with a perfect style and fit. A straw hat protects the face and shoulders from the sun. The woven reed helps to prevent heatstroke by allowing air to circulate the head while shading the face. The health benefits are worth giving the old garden hat some consideration. Do you agree?
Here's to a new season of gardening. Have fun and enjoy all the benefits it has to offer.
IN THE GARDEN
L A V E N D E R & C R O C U S E S I N T H E S N O W
Some days we have to dig to find a ray of hope. I was certain the crocuses were in bloom so I whisked away the snow until I found these tight little buds huddled together as if trying to stay warm.
SUNSHINE & TULIPS
M E D I C I N E F O R T H E S O U L
I couldn't resist buying a bouquet of yellow tulips at the market today. Some people may consider this a frivolous expenditure, but these fresh tulips nourish my soul like warm sunshine on a spring day.
For a cheery centerpiece, make a grouping of bottles and place a single stem in each bottle. The vases can be distributed throughout the house to get the most out of your fresh flowers...the bath, the bedroom, sitting room, or kitchen window sill are great places to spread a little sunshine.
Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into.
Henry Beecher Life Thoughts 1858
W I N D O W S I L L F L O W E R S
Beautiful geraniums bloom in many Amish homes this time of year. Pink, red, and salmon colored flowers line the kitchen window sills in recycled-soup cans. My Amish friend Fanny, simply fills the can 2/3 full with potting mix then slips a cutting directly into the soil and waters thoroughly. She doesn't even bother to punch holes in the bottom for drainage. She usually does this in the fall and by spring her flowers are full of cheery blooms.
I was inspired by Fanny's geraniums every time I'd stop at her house for eggs, so I decided to grow my own in aluminum cans- personally, I think the humble containers make the flowers more vibrant.
Geraniums are exceptionally easy to propagate from cuttings. Why spend money for greenhouse plants when you can start your own? Here are a few tips to get you started. Don't have any geraniums growing? Ask a friend for a start or purchase a healthy plant and take cuttings from it. Geraniums grow well indoors over the winter then may be planted directly in the soil for outdoor summer annuals.
How To Start Geraniums From Cuttings
Prepare Soup Can Containers:
Thoroughly wash the cans to remove any residue or bacteria either by running them through the dishwasher or soaking them in a mixture of bleach and water.
Fill cans 3/4 full of potting mix. Add water until soil is soaked.
Prepare the Cuttings:
Cut the plant stems at an angle about 1/2 inch below the leaf node. Immediately place cutting in damp soil or wrap in damp towel until ready to plant.
Place on a window sill that is neither too sunny or shady and not too hot nor cold. A plastic bag over the top of the cutting will create a mini greenhouse until the stem takes root. Check every day for water and growth.
Some cuttings take several weeks to root.
PRESSED FLOWER CHARMS
S I M P L E R E M I N D E R S O F W A R M E R D A Y S
These pressed flower charms are perfect for Valentine Day gifts or just to use for magnets on your fridge. I bought the frames from a five & dime store and replaced the pictures with my own pressed flowers. I think they're very cheery on a white refrigerator or where ever you want a little garden color.
PRESSED FLOWER VALENTINES: CARDS
H A N D M A D E C A R D S F O R F R I E N D S A N D L O V E D O N E S
During the Victorian Era, flowers represented the many expressions of love and feelings. Flower language presented a whole new way of communicating with friends and sweethearts. The art of pressing flowers to embellish letters and cards grew in popularity at that time. Scrapbooking and flower pressing continue to be revived with every generation.
Cards, envelopes, and minature boxes embellished with pressed flowers become works of art and designer gifts for weddings, birthdays, and special occasions like Valentine's Day.
For best results in pressing flowers, collect posies in the noon day sun after the dew and all moisture is gone. Place the flower heads on a sheet of paper. Put another sheet of paper on top of the flowers and slip into a large thick book to press. Add several more books on top to weight it down. Do not disturb for 2 to 3 weeks or until dry. The length of time may vary depending on the humidity and room temperature.
Experiment with pressing a variety of flowers and leaves to find your favorites. Some will fade but remain pretty while others turn dark and moldy from too much moisture. Do not use a catalog with glossy pages to press flowers as it will not absorb moisture or permit the flowers to dry properly.
The gold heart is made with two pressed tulip petals.
Instead of glue, use red wax and vintage stampers, as was the practice in Colonial Days, to seal the envelopes and letters.
Decorated boxes containing love notes, jewelry, or scented potpourri make ordinary days special.
Columbine is my favorite flower to press for crafting special cards. It grows in the shade next to the outbuildings near my garden. A smaller variety grows wild throughout the woodlands of Pennsylvania in springtime. I take an old phonebook with me on walks and tuck the flowers inside on a piece of paper that can easily be removed (instead of putting them directly on the page). When I return home, I slip the book under something heavy and forget it until the snowy days of January and February.
TODAY, let someone know how much you love them. Get in touch with an old friend or do something fun with a child and take a break from the stresses of life.
SUNSHINE ON MY WINDOW
M I N I A T U R E A R R A N G M E N T S T O B E A T W I N T E R B L U E S
Winter days can be very dark and short, so brighten up your favorite reading spot, bed stand, or desk by making a small arrangement of hardy winter greens. These stems can be easily found outside or plucked from indoor plants. I used glossy Rhododendron leaves, soft Geranium leaves, and crisp forest moss to create the arrangements below. Place clusters in a handmade vase or bowl to add a bit of whimsical character to a small bouquet.
Such inspiration can make the bleakest of days brighter!
TOURING THE HERB GARDEN
M E M O R I E S O F S U M M E R & W H I S P E R S O F W I N T E R
The garden's beauty is quietly fading; the flowers are gathered, the teas are dried, and the Sweet Annie is harvested. All that is left are a few yellow Chrysanthemums and purple Salvia to greet visitors as they enter. I designed and planted this herb garden on the remnants of a corn field 15 years ago. It has matured quite nicely. Most of the herbs are used for arranging and medicinal purposes- they're stored in a drying attic for safe keeping all year long.
The Tour will resume next Spring,
RUSTIC GARDEN BENCHES
Every garden needs a place to sit and relax, if only for a brief moment in a busy day. Taking time to watch the monarchs heading south or the hummingbirds tanking up for their travels or the bees working over the last blooms of summer provides moments of calm and grace to reflect.
This garden bench is tucked behind the boxwood hedge so the discovery comes as a suprise instead of being the focal point of the garden and blends with the natural surroundings. Best of all, the bench is made of wood left over from other remodeling projects. The seat is a 4x8 ft oak beam supported with 6x6 treated lumber posts for legs. Several screws in each post holds it all together. The project takes only 15 minutes. Don't you love finding decorative solutions that are easy, creative, and resourceful!
In those vernal seasons of the year when the air is calm and pleasant,
it were an injury and sullenness against nature
not to go out and see her riches,
and partake in her rejoicing with heaven and earth.