All posts filed under: backyard flowers

Foxgloves – Heart Stopping Magic

  Here we are at the solstice, climbing the big hill of the calendar like kids in the first car of a roller coaster. We could try to savor the moment but summer is off on a roaring start. Hang on tight! Shooting up like rocket and lasting only as long as a ride on the Coney Island Cyclone, is Foxglove, Digitalis purpea, a giant poisonous beauty used to make digitalin, a common heart-disease medication. Could it be a coincidence that it’s so stunning it makes your heart skip a beat just to look at it? I doubt it. Foxglove grows like weeds in England which is why it has become visual short hand for the quintessential cottage garden. In typical Brit fashion it is also the stuff of elfin legends; covered in freckles, aka “elf fingerprints,” they are also known by the names “Dead Man’s Thimbles” and “Witches Fingers,” no doubt because its poisonous sap keeps insects away. But not Fairies. The plant is, so they say, lousy with fairies; sleeping in the blooms, making a living …

mud balls

a bit of Spring experimentation going on…   …these days with several new projects keeping me busy…I wish I could say out of trouble as well, but I have turned into a bit of a stealthy little Moss Bandit, decimating friend Laura’s backyard as I steal borrow a teeny bit of the gorgeous green velvet that grows behind her camelias.  But all in a good cause as I had fun making little mud balls of joy. Kokedama is the Japanese word for moss ball and this “poor man’s bonsai” as it is often called is nothing more than an ingenious way to grow plants, no pot needed. They are happy sitting on a plate of rocks or suspended from the ceiling on fishing line or macrame – all the better to enjoy the plants distinctive shape. In Japan everything from herbs to trees are fair game.  I was lucky enough to learn the craft from our area’s best creative design team, Sarah and Shinki at Mimoza Design, who were kind enough to lend me a cup …

arranging clouds

There is a stillness at the end of winter – a hesitation while the snow melts and the lawn heaves a bit from the thaw, like Mother Nature rolling over under a blanket of sod. This breathlessness makes me think, for some reason, in white and green color palettes, of tentative new beginnings and tender young shoots. It’s like arranging clouds. Adding in crystals and silver only underscores that icy thrill. Here’s a look at some of my end of winter projects – a hanging garden of hellebores, the last of the poinsettia and wee little baby fern heads, and an attempt at a curly willow spiral with pussy willow, pieris and chandelier crystals on a silver dish, filled out with ferns and succulents in hidden shot glasses of water. Hope you enjoy arranging some clouds. ***AND big thanks to Christine de Beer for her lovely curly willow spiral project – I attempted here in an altered form, wrapping a curly willow garland around two bottles, one clockwise and the other counter-clock wise. Her spiral …

The Perhaps Hand of Spring

Will Spring ever get here? Is it gone already? Was it ever so lovely? Was never a sky so blue or a garden so bursting? Gosh it’s hot. Wait…is that hail coming down now? Will it ever be normal again? Did you hear that? Did the tulips just explode?  It’s just such a mystery, Spring. How did it happen? It’s just so E.E. Cummings: spring is like a perhaps Hand in a window (carefully to and fro moving New and Old things,while people stare carefully moving a perhaps fraction of flower here placing an inch of air there)and without breaking anything. Nothing did break, but the hard working local growers surely did sweat bullets of worry; going from frozen ground and no flowers one minute to suddenly not having enough buckets to contain the explosion of flowers. Suzanne Montie @ Red Chimney Flower Farm Which was a lucky thing for me and a few brides and birthday girls this past month.   The Perhaps Hand of Spring reaches out to tickle us, then wrap us in an affectionate …

isn’t sheeeeeee….?

Cue the mid 80’s for this one… October is not normally a Pinky-Pink Time o’ Year, what with the sudden avalanche of leaves and pumpkins, but I have had to make room for a bit more pastel.   My yard is lousy with it.   A sweet little fall blooming camelia pops up in my yard this time of year; a bit challenged in the timing department, showing up with wide-eyed baby pink innocence while the rest of the yard goes on a boozy wine-hued bender.  She’s like a Barbie Doll showing up at a Goth Party. Camelia do not have a great vase life, it’s true, but the fallen petals remain tragically beautiful, scattered on the table, while the yellow stamen stay put; thrilling and bare. Kinda a burlesque fan dance thing she’s got going on, so give Little Pink Camelia credit.  On top of that, I received the wrong dahlia tubers from an mail order company.  I had thought my autumn would glow with saturated burgundy, plum and tangerine blooms, but no.  I was shipped an Alfred …

Summer Play Time

We have been busy having fun.  So easy to do when your playmates (in this case, flowers from Red Chimney and Wollam Gardens and my flower plot @ Old City Farm and Guild) are up for anything.   Here, my friends sunflowers and celosia are playing dress up with croton leaves,  and here we get dizzy playing ring around the posie….   More dress up as zinnias and dahlias are going all pretty princess.    Don’t tell Mom we used the good crystal!    Here we have a little go-cart action with locally grown crocomosia and castor bean.  I thought this one had a groovy hot wheel racing vibe to it.  Must be the CastorOil (get it, castor beans = motor oil…no? Well, I guess you never spent your summer vacation on the in field a Formula One race track,huh? Thanks, Dad!  not my favorite summer vacation memory, but I did spend a lot of time picking clovers in the infield, so good for something. Still – vroom! Vroom!!!   Garden wise – The Old City Farm …

it takes a village

I dropped this little cutie off at my neighbor’s house earlier this week and post it here as a part of Love ‘n Fresh’s Backyard Bouquets project.   It’s a compilation of flowers from our two backyards – a sweet collection of her Peony, Baptisia and Garden Rose, with my Callas, Strawberry Bush, Spiderwort, Spyria, Snaps and Hosta leaves.  It was a hard winter here and while I would normally have an abundance of Peonies, this year some of my most trustworthy specimens refused to produce even a single bloom. My local Maryland growers noticed the same thing on some of their normally proficient bloomers.  As if Madame Peony was insulted by such a rude and borish winter.  As well she should be – I will be cursing that polar vortex for quite some time.    However, don’t tell my sulking Peonies that we got along just fine w/o her help; my dear Neighbor’s AMAZing roses matched exactly that faint blush inside my callas – it was as if they were meant to be. Here’s hoping I get to …

it’s like that.

 Something very D.A. about this…like I can see Mr. Carson bringing it into the parlour, eye brow raised and holding it out at arm’s length as if there’s something very wrong, but Lady Cora cooing, “oh! how lovely!” and the Dowager Countess muttering that it looks like the gardner was drunk, but Lady Cora insists it go on the Louis XV commode in the Drawing Room and Mr. Carson sighing “Very Good, Madame,” cuz he actually agrees with the Countess, but what are you going to do with these Americans and their hap-hazard styles. Not that anyone notices how things are going to pieces around here… Later, while clearing ashes, Daisy steals a bloom to tuck into her mousy hair, wondering when on earth was Alfred was ever going to notice, then Thomas comes in to taunt her about being so slow and after she dashes off back down stairs, he knocks the whole thing to the floor and contrives a plot to blame it on Mr. Bates.  And so we see, yet again, that Mr. Carson …