All posts filed under: Local 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 …

This Week In Flowers – July

 Full blown that’s where we are, summer-wise! Full of everything with more to come. Zinnia, sunflowers, gladiolas and celosia are just getting started, along with the summer “it” girl, lisianthus. We wait all July for her to show up. I’m also very excited about crocosmia, a funkly little red-orange flower on a swooping stem with a sword like, long lasting foliage. (image courtesy of Gardening KnowHow.com This summer, local flowers are filling CSA orders and shelves at Takoma Park Food Coop .  Come find something pretty!

A Proper Table

Felicitations, Friends! The Season of Feasting is here!   This year we begin the delightful tradition of big dinners, buffets and festive get togethers TONIGHT, at sundown, with Yom Kippur.   After that, it’s Halloween Party season then a fast trot off to Thanksgiving and then BOOM! Christmas will be less than 4 weeks after that. So get your linens pressed and put on your party game face because It. Is. So. On. In this center of all this merriment, I hope, will be locally-grown flowers.  My project this year is the foam-free centerpiece, which for those who don’t know, is not always as easy as it sounds.  Many floral designers just assume the long and low oval centerpiece needs to start on a bed of non-biodegradable and toxic floral foam. I say it just ain’t so.  You wouldn’t serve your guests formaldehyde and carbon black, so why put it on your table? A locally grown, environmentally responsible alternative is always available.  I’ll be demo-ing how to do this at various locations this month and next: Today! …

Dahlias in Hot Water

¡Hola Octubre!  Welcome to the BEST MONTH of the whole dang year.  I mean honestly, what can compare? Pumpkins! Raspberries! Golden light on russet leaves! And! AND! The Dahlias look even better than ever. Today’s Washington Post has a great article on another local gardener with a Dahlia fixation.   It’s an easy habit to slide into, what with those giant heads of fluffy love making you lose your mind at the end of every summer, so much so that you dig them up when dead, tenderly lay them to rest in a bed of vermiculite and then spend the dreary winter in such mourning that you scour the internet for Dahlia Porn, lusting over myriad colors and head sizes, ordering more and more tubers until next April when your kitchen counter is covered in potting soil and sprouts and you realize you’ve become a kind of Dahlia Crazy Cat Lady.  Or so I’ve been told. Higgins writes that he prefers smaller head dahlias “because of their love of the vase.”  Many people are disappointed when …

I am a pest

    This past Monday morning was especially tough for many hard workers and I was entirely at fault.   Blundering through the row of zinnias at Red Chimney Farm,  I upset more than a few bees, spiders and butterflies.   I may have stepped on a salamander. A baby bunny gave me the stink eye.  A Praying Mantis spent a long time sizing me up, making it clear that my head could roll if she so chose.  I apologized profusely to all involved in this thrumming, humming hive of industry under the hot July sun, cut my flowers and got my clumsy human butt outta the way.  It reminded me of this recent Robert Krulwich’s NPR Science segment on biodiversity: Cornstalks Everywhere But Nothing Else Not Even a Bee. Photographer David Littschwager studied one single cubic foot of land in different places and then did a sample of the little critters found therein.  He counted hundreds of species; different insects, birds, plants and fungi; all working in tandem with the soil, living in harmony or merrily eating …

Wild Child Babies

 Tucked into bed at the Old City Farm and Guild cut flower farm are wee little baby Celosias…Celosi? perhaps? is there a special Latin plural for many celosia? Well there should be, seeing as how these little floral Wild Childs self-seed every year, spreading messy joy everywhere. I gathered these seeds from a Takoma Farm Market bunch I bought years ago – the ribbons of velvety brain tissue and exotic bird plumes of Celosia flowers drop little black poppy-like seeds EVERYwhere.  It can be annoying if you don’t know what to do with all those little black balls, but once I learned to save them in an envelop and plant the following spring, I have been up to my eyebrows in Celosia every July. I love their free-spirited, tousled, wild bed-head look and those screaming colors.  Even the stem glOWS in vibrant rich red wine shade.   Such a floozy she is.   Having a self-seeding little Party Animal in your garden, it becomes tricky to stay organized. I don’t actually know if these are the brain shaped ones, the …

appreciation

This year’s Spring seems to move as slowly as the glacier that was winter 2014, and I, for one, am going to be grateful for that.  So often the DC-area dives headlong into swamp-like summer after one or two picture perfect days.  This year, we creep and inch along in the chilly drizzle, still wobbly after such a cruel winter. My Farming Friends all note the same slow and timid start on their flowers. Usually Mothers Day week marks the end of Tulips and the peak of Peonies.  This year, however, we have Tulips aplenty and Peonies….well, we’re just going to have to be patient. Nonetheless, local lovelies are still abundant: we have plenty of lilies, ornigathalum (Star of Bethlehem) , poppies, ranunculus and, of course, tulips.  Flowering branch are still available and should be enjoyed and appreciated while we can.  Just like Mom (hint, hint). Holding fast to the cheery chill, for as long as it’s here…

Art Blooms

 Lucky me!  There I was, in the best of all possible places: the intersection of flowers, art and mystery. Thanks to the Walter’s Art Museum in Baltimore and my own Takoma Park Horticultural Club, I was able to send in an entry to Art Blooms, the annual exhibit of art matched with flowers. I have to admit, I did gasp a bit when I ripped open my packet containing my assigned painting: The Portrait of Maria Salviati de’ Medici with Guilia de’ Medici.  Whew, what a mouth full! And my goodness, but what a dramatic, dark, austere, um, not real flower-friendly portrait.  Gee, that’s a whole lotta grey and black going on there…what on earth am I going to do with that? Still, those elongated fingers, the flowing drapes of white fabric and delicate pinky orange of the anxious-looking little girl suggested possibility.  Then, better yet, the painting comes with some significant history AND a mystery. This painting by Pontormo is said to be one of the first depictions of a person of African descent in …