Saturday, May 31, 2008

Quick & Easy Floral Arrangements

You don't need long stem flowers or a fancy vase to make a floral arrangement. With a few common flowers from your garden you can create a quick and beautiful floral display for a friend or for yourself. The vase I chose is an antique one I picked up at a thrift shop several years ago for fifty cents. The vase is only about 4 inches tall and has a small mouth, so no floral foam was needed. Pictured above is the bouquet I put together this morning in about 10 minutes. All of the flowers are growing in my yard. There is Shasta daisy, red and gold yarrow, lavender and the greenery is from the hopseed shrubs growing near my front door.

Sometimes you can even make a bouquet with shrub branches growing in your yard. Look for foliage with different colors and textures to give interest to your arrangement. Here I have used dusty miller, rosemary, variegated vinca leaves, and climbing rose leaves. Again, the vase I am using is milk glass I picked up at a garage sale for a nominal amount. Footed vases are nice for drooping foliage like the vinca vine.

If you want fresh flowers and don't have any growing in your yard stop by my gardens. I have fresh and dried flowers and ceramic vases in my gallery/gift shop. This week there are fresh English lavender bouquets available in different sized bouquets. I also have Shasta daisy and gold yarrow picked this morning. Lavender bouquets can be enjoyed fresh or hung upside down to dry. Gold yarrow is nice in an arrangement and when the arrangement fades, you can dry the yarrow and it lasts a very long time. If you're still intimidated by making your own floral bouquet, bring your own small vase with you and I'll help you put together a bouquet with flowers from my shop.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Deformed Leaves On Dahlias ?

For the first time this year I decided to grow some dahlias. I planted them in my raised bins. All but two came up. I have noticed a problem with some of the leaves and can't quite figure out what is wrong. Perhaps someone else knows? The photo below is from one of my healthy looking dahlias.

Now here is photo of one of my dahlias with deformed new growth leaves. Does anyone know what is wrong with this dahlia? If so please let me know. I would really appreciate any advice. The healthy dahlias are putting on buds and I can't wait to see the blooms. I'll be posting some as soon as they open.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Beauty & the Beast in the Garden

Look what's blooming in the garden this week! Many beauties and a few beasts. Well maybe not beasts, but strange, and oftentimes illusive, creatures have been seen in the gardens recently. Stop in for a visit, you never know what you might see.

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Lavender is Blooming ! ! !

Over the next several weeks the lavender will be blooming here. Our gardens are set up so that different varieties of lavender are blooming each week. We grow many different types of English, Intermediate, Spanish and French varieties of lavender. Despite a frost on April 21st, this year the lavender is blooming a full two weeks ahead of time. The first lavender to bloom is the French Lavender, Lavandula dentata and it has been blooming for over a month now. Some of the varieties of lavender I have growing here are Abrialli, Alba, Bella Pink, Buena Vista, Dutch Mill, Fred Boutin, French, French Gray, Graves, Grosso, Jean Davis, Munstead, Premier, Hidcote, Hidcote Giant, Seal, Lullingstone Castle, Otto Quast, Provence, Royal Purple, Royal Velvet, Sara, Silver Edge, Silver Frost, Vera, and Yellow.A Growers Workshop and Tour is scheduled for Monday, May 12 from 9:00 am to 11:30 a.m. If you are thinking of growing lavender on a larger scale, this workshop will cover everything you need to know to grow and market lavender successfully. Sign up early as space is limited and advance reservations are necessary. Please call for more information. Our Growers Workshop and Tour will cover the history of lavender, lavender varieties and selection, soil and site planning, planting and maintenance, harvesting, lavender crafts, pruning, propagation, marketing and resources.
When lavender is in bloom it is a sight to behold. We expect the lavender to be blooming until the end of June, so plan on making a visit to the gardens soon so you won't miss out on this year's bloom time. We will have fresh lavender bouquets available in our gift shop as well as all our regular items. Hope to see you soon.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Death In The Garden

I hate to be morbid, but I think this information is important to share. I was watering the potted plants around the gift shop and saw a dead bird. I thought poor little bird, and wondered why he had died. I picked him up with a napkin just in case it died of the bird flu. I examined the bird and could see no bite marks so I knew my cat was not responsible. I carried the bird to the trash can. On my way back I saw my cat had caught a gopher and he was eating it. I didn't feel bad for the gopher since the gopher provided a meal for my cat, but I was really saddened by the dead bird.

Later I came back to finish my watering and around the corner I saw another dead bird lying on the iron bench. I looked up and saw the mirror on the side of the gift shop and my heart sank. There was a perfect reflection of the willow tree in the mirror. The reflection was so realistic it looked like I could just walk right up to the tree. I knew what had happened. I had inadvertently caused the death of two beautiful birds. I realized both birds had flown into the mirror and had been killed from the impact. I carried the second bird up to the house. I quickly grabbed a can of paint from the garage and ran down to the gift shop and painted over the mirror to prevent any other birds from flying into the mirror. I am hoping someone will know what type of birds these are and will post a comment here.

Several months back I heard a pop on my window. I went outside to see what had happened. I saw a little bird lying on the ground and convulsing a bit. Since he was still alive, I picked him up and cradled him in my hands trying to keep him warm. Later he warmed up and stopped convulsing, but he seemed petrified. I tried putting the bird on a branch, but he couldn't stand up. I got my camera and took a photo of the bird in the shrub. I thought the bird wouldn't make it propped in the shrub since it was a cold day. So I got the idea to get a terry towel from the house and wrap him up in the towel only leaving a small hole for his head to peak out. I placed the bird in the towel in a small shrub in the front yard. Later, I went back to see if the bird was there and he had flown off, I was so happy. Perhaps someone knows what variety this little bird is too.

I did a some research on the Internet and read that it's estimated 90 million birds are killed each year from flying into windows. I wondered what could be done to reduce these numbers. After all, birds bring such joy to the garden with their song and beauty, not to mention the fact they reduce insect populations. Karen Bridges wrote about five easy steps onHow to Prevent Birds From Flying Into Windows.

This week I am going to do an assessment of reflection hazards around my home. I will also paint a couple of birds on the mirror. I hope if you have mirrors or window reflections in your garden you will consider some of the tips on how to prevent birds from flying into windows.