The story of a special floral frog

floral frog front view

front view of the floral frog

Hi there! I hope the weather is pleasant where you are, and that you are able to do what you enjoy. For me, I enjoy flower arranging, and I have planted several rose shrubs just to be able to bring flowers into the house to enjoy their beauty and fragrance. David Austin roses are so showy and can be incredibly fragrant, so I have several. The only problem I have found with these roses is that their stems are quite short! Putting them in a vase can be problematic, that is, unless you have a floral frog. ūüôā

side view of floral frog

side view of floral frog

“A what?” you ask. A floral frog! It is a heavy metal object that is filled with what appears to be short nails, which are placed closely to one another. They are so handy to have!

David Austin 'Boscobel' roses

David Austin ‘Boscobel’ roses

Now, if you happen to have one of these in your carry-on bag going through the airport security, I can attest that you will be stopped and checked. I bought one on our last trip to the States and inadvertently packed it in my carry-on – these things happen, right? The thing is, the timing was everything in this story. Let me back up to when I first learned about floral frogs. My neighbor in Manlius, New York, was a dear friend and also a master gardener and floral arranger. She, and her husband, had a huge, positive influence on me (and my family) over the course of the 10 years we were neighbors. A while back I wrote a “Wordless Wednesday” post (that was quite full of words, actually) about Betty. Sadly, Betty just passed away during my trip to the States. I can’t accurately convey in words how this affected me. I was heartbroken. She will be sorely missed by her friends and family.¬† She was a very special woman, as was her husband Harold who sadly passed away 2 years prior.

Betty is the one who introduced me to floral frogs. I have not seen one in many years (I moved away from Betty & Harold almost 11 years ago) and I don’t have one. Well, I came across one at a gift shop on our trip shortly after Betty passed. Absolutely no coincidence. It didn’t even belong in this shop, in my opinion. But I scooped it up, bought it and couldn’t wait to use it when we arrived back home. Except that at the airport I was convinced it would be taken from me… Somehow, I was allowed to wrap it back up, put it back in my bag and resume with our travels. Betty was definitely looking over me ūüôā

David Austin 'Boscobel' roses

David Austin ‘Boscobel’ roses

Those small stemmed roses can now be displayed in just about any container I want to place them in. I chose a small pottery bowl that would fit 4 open roses. The flowers fit in perfectly and stood upright. Whereas tiny vases won’t fit multiple stems due to how wide the blooms are with such short stems, the floral frog can fit at least 4 open blooms, which is a perfect small bouquet. Just a note that even though the floral frog is small, it can be used for tall stemmed flowers as well.

Boscobel Rose single

David Austin ‘Boscobel’ Rose single

So many wonderful things already remind me of Betty, and my new floral frog is one more special reminder.

Dana, Betty & Harold

Dana, Betty & Harold

Thank you Betty and Harold for being the special neighbors you were, especially encouraging my love of gardening. You will forever be in my heart.

In peace,
Dana

It all comes down to Personality!

Morning sunshine gives a warm hue to the hydrangea wreath

Everything we do, and how we choose to do what we do, comes down to our individual personalities. For me, my personality is such that I like to find second uses for things. I don’t like to waste, or get rid of something if it can possibly have a second life. What better way to give a second life to flowers than arranging them in a wreath or a floral arrangement? None, I say! ūüôā

This is how I dry my flowers ūüôā

Hydrangea are great for drying. It is best to use “mature” blooms, which have a more substantial (papery) feel to them. If they aren’t mature, then the leaves tend to curl. There isn’t anything wrong with curled leaves, I just don’t think they are quite as pretty (although my wreath has some of them, too!)

It all starts with a straw wreath frame and some floral “u” pins.

Wreaths are so easy to make!¬† In my book, it is essential to have a straw wreath frame, floral “u” pins, and some Spanish moss.¬† Anything goes for the rest! My hydrangea didn’t flourish this year, due to the drought this summer I presume. So I did get some lovely deep cherry colored blooms from a friend. I traded her zucchini bread for hydrangea blooms, that’s fair isn’t it?

These green colored blooms are hydrangea Incrediball.

I have all of my colors on the table, or hanging on my Flower Tree, and I just dive in.¬† The hydrangea paniculata ‘Vanille Fraise’ had very small, beautiful blooms this year, but their stems weren’t very strong and most of them broke while pinning them. That was a bummer, as they were really pretty!

Piece by piece the wreath comes together.

I made this one night after work this week. I felt the need to create something! Since I don’t have anything on my crochet hooks, it had to be with dried flowers. I still have loads of lavender around my house, too! (See what I did with that further down the post.) I really enjoy working with my hands, and I’m glad to have such beautiful materials around me to create with.

Ta-dah! This is where my wreath will reside in our kitchen.

Purple, cherry, green, blue, pink: it’s all in there.

Inside lighting doesn’t give the exact coloring.

Nothing beats natural lighting, but then of course there is morning sunshine and evening sunlight, both of which slightly change the coloring again!  You can see for yourself in the following photos.

Bright daylight, but no direct sunlight: This coloring is probably the closest to reality!

This picture has the tiny pink hydrangea paniculata Vanille Fraise.

The dried hyrdrangea is mostly hardy to work with. The green stems are actually doubled-up stems that I have smushed together after taking off brown markings on them. You can really do anything with them (as long as their stems are strong!).

My go-to photo place for wreaths is our playhouse door! This is just for photos as I wouldn’t leave this outside…

Morning sunshine gives a warm hue to the hydrangea wreath

Like I mentioned, I still have loads of lavender “drying” around the house (that I really need to put away!).¬† I decided to create a simple arrangement, using a magenta colored vase which happens to perfectly match some of my dried roses.¬† Yes, these little things just get me all excited! First of all, I was able to use a lot of lavender to fill this vase, and secondly, that magenta color is *gorgeous*!

Dried Lavender + Roses = beauty

magenta colored roses and vase

And here is where they will live:

Home sweet home for my vase of lavender + roses.

It’s the little things! I’m glad to give a second life to my flowers, and the lavender and roses really do have a beautiful fragrance.¬† This is me, this is who I am, and this is my personality.¬† ūüôā

What’s your personality like?

In peace,
Dana

Our playhouse in the morning sunlight.

Wordless Wednesday: Gladiolas & a flower arranging trick

This is how we start

This is how we start: Gladiolus ‘Dark Knights’

Hello Wordless Wednesday friends! A quick little post (with very few words) about using plant material to help keep flowers in place when arranging them.

neat little thing

neat little thing

Materials: strong plant stems, rubber bands, scissors, some patience.

so easy and so helpful

so easy and so helpful

The “guard” sits right on top of the vase and helps to keep the tall stems upright.

Gladiolas

Gladiolas

Perfect!

Gladiolus 'dark knights'

Gladiolus ‘dark knights’ in the garden

The end! ūüôā

In peace,
Dana

Brighten your day with cheerful colors

In the beginning...

In the beginning…

I love flower arranging. ¬†My husband knows this and he very kindly bought bunches of bright cheerful colored roses for me to “play” with. ¬†Isn’t he sweet? ūüôā

Adding colors one by one

Adding colors one by one

I started with the orange roses.  I trimmed a bit off of the bottom and then took most of the leaves off (just my personal preference).   The orange color is really pretty.

Natural lighting in our front hall

Natural lighting in our front hall

The yellow roses were the largest roses and I really like them. I only trimmed the tiniest amount off of the stems to keep them nice and tall.

Full view

Full view

I prefer not to have all of the flowers the same height in order to give the arrangement some depth. So I cut some pink roses quite short and have them throughout the middle and the outside of the vase.

Outside lighting

Outside lighting

The colors all went so well together.  To me, it is quite cheerful!

Cheerful colors for everyday

Cheerful colors for everyday

What a lovely “pick me up”! ¬†And so easy to do. ¬†The vase is a very plain¬†large opening glass vase, which was perfect for the amount of roses.

lighting just not working for this picture...

lighting just not working for this picture…

It might be St. Valentine’s Day tomorrow, but really, why not have flowers in our lives everyday?

Happy “Flowers Every Day” ¬†to you!

In peace,
Dana

In a Vase on Monday: Sweet Pea Sweetness on a Pot

Sweet pea in a vase sitting on my antique potty chair

Sweet pea in a vase sitting on my antique potty chair

I’ve missed a few “In a Vase on Monday” memes, so even though it is¬†11:40 P.M. ¬†I am sneaking in with my post! ¬†You can join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden, and all those who have linked to her blog, ¬†to see what everyone¬†has gathered from her garden this week. ¬†Here’s the link:¬†https://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/2015/08/03/in-a-vase-on-monday-xtravaganza/

in our front hall

in our front hall

I was having a little bit of fun with this. ¬†You know, sweet smelling flowers on a potty chair! ūüôā

sweetness on the potty chair ;-)

sweetness on the potty chair ūüėČ

I love the evening sunlight coming into our front hallway.

Sweet Peas in front of the sweet peas

Sweet Peas in front of the sweet peas (you can just make them out in the background)

My Father-in-law started these from seeds he’d collected from my plants last year. ¬†Phew, did you get that? ¬†He gave them to me in cute little pots that were supposed to be planted right away… Eventually we got to planting them in the ground! ¬†So my plants are very late. ¬†I’ve been cutting them now in the hopes of bringing on more flowers. ¬†We’ll see!

last week's sweet peas

last week’s sweet peas blending in with¬†the garden

My vase of Sweet Peas was even more full last week!  I loved how they kind of flopped all around in the vase, so I used the same vase this week.

blending well in the garden

blending well in the garden

 

up close

up close

 

adding a lovely scent to our   back room

adding a lovely scent to our back room

Last week I had the vase in our back room.  The scent really does fill the room!

What’s growing in your garden this week that you can throw into a vase? I’d love to see it!

Happy Monday!
Dana

In a Vase on Monday: Pink, White & Blue

Delphinium, shasta daisy, Dusty Miller Lychnis Coronaria

Delphinium ‘cobalt dreams’, shasta daisy, Dusty Miller Lychnis Coronaria

Just recently I found myself looking through my past blog posts. ¬†My husband and I had a discussion and he felt I’d strayed away from my original ‘blogging about the garden’ plan since this past year I mainly posted on Mondays for the meme ¬†‘In a Vase on Monday’. I saw his point in that I certainly need to blog more about what is going on in the garden. ¬†But I loved looking through what flowers I was able to create arrangements¬†with during the different months.

close-up of that pretty blue!

close-up of that pretty blue!

So I will continue to join Cathy on Mondays at Rambling in the Garden¬†https://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/2015/07/06/in-a-vase-on-monday-baby-face/¬† ¬†for her ‘In a Vase on Monday’ meme, and I will set a goal of having at least one other post per week. Start out small and go from there! ūüôā

our pewter water goblet

Our pewter water goblet. Can you see the picture of the ‘stamping of the grapes’?

This week my delphinium ‘cobalt dreams’ had one stem that was broken. ¬†I bought three of these plants just this past month and they are doing so well. ¬†They are quite showy! I think the blue and white are lovely. So I was happy enough to use the broken stem.

dusty miller

Dusty Miller Lychnis Coronaria

The dusty miller Lychnis Coronaria is just going crazy in my garden this year! It has taken over half its bed.  All of this is from one small plant two years ago! I will have to move some (a lot?) of it to another location where it an spread without getting in the way of other plants.

Daisies and Delphinium

Daisies and Delphinium

The above picture shows my blue delphiniums and my not yet blooming shasta daisies (to the right of the delphiniums)! ¬†That was taken late last week and they only started to bloom yesterday! They were divided early this spring, so they’ll be in two places along the ditch-wall garden.

a very 'red, white and blue' look

a very ‘red, white and blue’ look

A rather simple arrangement, with an almost red, white & blue hue! ¬†Maybe you’ll join the meme? ¬†Or at least visit to have a look-see at what others have created? I hope you will.

Happy summer!
Dana

In a Vase on Monday: Peony Pause

Peony and Bluebells

Peony and Bluebells

Peony are such lovely flowers.  It is a shame how short their lives are!  I have to be sure to pause and take a moment to really enjoy them because all too soon they will be gone.  My plants have finally established themselves enough for me to cut a bouquet to enjoy in the house.

Peony in vase

I had a couple of monkshood stems left from a bouquet I had made last week (which I never posted about!).  I like the purple and red together, although the two stems seem to me like antenna.  This is the first year that I have been able to fully see that hosta on the left.  Normally the slugs eat it completely!   I rather like it.

Peony in a Vase3

Up close and personal.

among the plants

among the plants

The vase is among the plants due to the high winds we’ve been experiencing! ¬†I do really hope that warm weather comes soon. ¬†I am linking up with Cathy at Rambling in the garden ¬†https://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/2015/06/01/in-a-vase-on-monday-pink-and-proud-of-it/ for her “In a vase on Monday” meme. ¬†Won’t you visit and join us?

Happy start of summer!  May the warm weather find us soon!

Peace,
Dana

 

In a Vase on Monday: Parrot Tulips and a vase of misfits

Parrot tulips

Parrot tulips

Given that I had a vase of flowers from the garden, I could hardly let my Monday go by without contributing to Cathy’s meme “In a Vase on Monday”! ¬†Thank you Cathy, of Rambling in the garden https://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/2015/05/04/in-a-vase-on-monday-in-your-own-hands/¬†, for hosting such a fun meme! Pop on over to Cathy’s blog to see some great ideas for creating arrangements from what is in¬†the garden now from gardens all around the world!

up close

up close

These parrot tulips are new flowers for me. We planted them last fall, and they have provided a lovely pop of colour in the garden.

front garden with parrot tulips

front garden with parrot tulips

They are rather unusual, or shall I say “sloppy”? ¬†Yes, I’m sorry, I think they are rather sloppy the way they open up and seem to almost hang with their arms wide open! ¬†I still like them, I just find them rather … odd?

different backdrop

different backdrop

Their petals have a fringe to them, too, just to make sure they are completely different looking to other tulips! ūüėČ

My second vase is filled with flowers that¬†were either on the ground, or I cut them because they were on their way out…

what a stormy sky for a backdrop

what a stormy sky for a backdrop

Lovely colours, even if a bit tattered looking!

miscellaneous tulips

miscellaneous tulips

I’m loving that I had enough tulips to cut for a vase. ¬†I *still* struggle with cutting flowers from the garden! ¬†It’s not so bad if they are nearly gone though.

view from above

view from above

I’ll finish with one more look at a most unusual tulip…

Parrot tulip

Parrot tulip

Happy Monday!

Dana

In a Vase on Monday: Confessions from Mom (and One final week of Daffodils)

Daffodils in my new watering can

4 different varieties of Daffodils in my new watering can

Well, it is Monday, it must be time for my weekly blogging confessions! ¬†I arrived home from work tonight to find our kitchen counters completely covered and in a very un-pretty state. ¬†This is not unusual at our house since the kids don’t really care about having tidy counters. ¬†So before I can do anything I have to clear off the counters. ¬†Here’s the confession part: then, instead of making dinner, I took pictures. Phew, that wasn’t so bad!

clear (and clean) counters

clear (and clean) counters

What is it with my kids that it doesn’t bother them if empty containers are left on the counter? ¬†or the compost container overfloweth? or someone left the counter covered in crumbs??? ¬†arg ūüėČ ¬†Lucky for me that is all I have to worry about!

lots of leftover flowers

lots of leftover flowers

I actually have quite a few containers of flowers in the kitchen at the moment!  Some are usually on the table, but that was just too much work to clear for a picture (especially when I was getting hungry for dinner).

Hellebores from the garden

Hellebores from the garden

I thought I’d be able to work the hellebores into my daffodil arrangement, but they really did not go together.

my new watering can

my new watering can

Above my watering can arrangement is my favourite quilted pot-holder.  It was made for me by my dear friend Betty who was 80 when she made it. She is now 86 and still making beautiful quilts!

Watering Can Vase

Watering Can Vase

I bought the watering can this weekend out of necessity. I have finally planted some (read: LOTS and LOTS) ¬†squash seeds and when I went to water them with my regular watering can I nearly drowned them! ¬†So when I was at¬†the store I opted for the much prettier metal can rather than the (cheaper) plastic one.¬†It is cream and I think it¬†matches our kitchen nicely. ūüôā

another different variety

another variety of daffodils from the garden

second round of life for a bouquet that was "spent"

second round of life for a bouquet that was “spent”

This picture is of flowers which were in a bouquet last week. ¬†There were other flowers in the original bouquet but they are now good and dead. ¬†I cut these guys nice and short and put them in a much smaller container and they look really happy! Don’t you think so?

daffodils on the deck

daffodils on the deck

And finally, I show you my back deck containers of daffodils (and bright pink anemone). ¬†There are two pictures, and look how different they are by just kneeling down, or standing up! ¬†I couldn’t decide if I liked seeing the grass and no sky, or the hedges and fields beyond so I combined them both into one collaged picture. ¬†Which do you prefer???

I will be joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for this fun meme “In a Vase on Monday”. ¬†Won’t you join us?¬†https://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/2015/04/13/in-a-vase-in-monday-more-rug-than-carpet/

Happy Spring!
Dana

In a Vase on Monday: Easter Monday Daffodils & Anemone

up close

up close

Hello there! I would first like to start with an apology. ¬†I have not had a chance to reply to the lovely folks who commented on my post last week. I know, I feel terrible. As well as that, I haven’t had a chance to visit the blogs that I so enjoy seeing and reading. ¬†It¬†is only because of lack of time, and I’m planning on catching up this week. I hope you’ll forgive me!

a splash of purple from  anemone and muscari

a splash of purple from anemone and muscari

The task at hand is posting for “In a Vase on Monday”, a fun meme hosted by Cathy of Rambling in the Garden (https://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/2015/04/06/in-a-vase-on-monday-having-my-cake-and-eating-it/ ) ¬†. After reading her lovely post about her Vase, you can then follow the links to others who always have something interesting to see!

How many varieties do I have?

How many varieties do I have?

Today I feature two different varieties of daffodils. I wasn’t able to find their names, unfortunately. ¬†The white variety came from my father-in-law. ¬†He gave me a bunch of¬†bulbs¬†a few years ago. ¬†The flowers are quite delicate looking. ¬†He is an amazing gardener! ¬†Here is a little peek at his daffodils:

Patsy's Garden

Patsy’s Garden

They completely cover the back garden!  It is lovely to see.

all yellow, with so many layers

all yellow, with so many layers

The yellow narcissi are a dwarf variety. I have them planted out by our fence.  They are new to us this year, so I know I have their name written down somewhere!

Highland Stoneware from Scotland

Highland Stoneware from Scotland

My vase this week is a Highland Stoneware jug which I picked up a few years ago on a “get-away” weekend with my husband. ¬†We went to Edinburgh to watch Ireland play rugby. Nice romantic weekend away just me, hubby, and 50,000 supporters ūüėČ ¬†It really was a lovely weekend (and thankfully, Ireland won!).

loads and loads of daffodils

The rooster side of the jug

the other side of the jug

the hen side of the jug

Perfectly glorious weather

Perfectly glorious weather

I actually put this arrangement together today (Monday), as opposed to the usual Saturday before.  Being Easter Monday, everyone had off of work, and the weather was simply perfect.

beautiful blue skies

beautiful blue skies

We worked in the garden most of the¬†weekend. ¬†I’m pretty sure every muscle in my body was used! The garden needed so much work. I am so, so happy with all that we were able to get done. ¬†I just might get an actual gardening post in this week (fingers crossed!).

my jug floweth over with daffodils

my jug floweth over with daffodils

Too pretty not to photograph

Too pretty not to photograph

I did manage a number of breaks during the day as I simply felt compelled to take pictures.  Everything in spring time is so pretty.

Thanks so much for stopping by.  I hope you are enjoying lovely spring weather, too!

Peace,
Dana