Creative Floral Fun

Hello there! You are very welcome to my blog. Today I was working with my 16 year old daughter, making face masks together. It was her first real sewing project, and she was deservedly proud of herself. I was glad we did it together, and even more glad that she had initiated it. But confession time: sewing is something I am not comfortable with. I just never fell in love with it. I’m hoping that she will learn how to sew and learn to really enjoy it, too. Now – working with flowers – THAT is something I love to do!

I had a bunch of chores to do around the house yesterday. As a ‘treat’ to myself for doing all of that, I decided to make another flower arrangement. ๐Ÿ™‚ All work and no play makes for a very dull day. Just like I did for my last arrangement a few weeks ago, I walked around the garden with my secateurs and snipped whatever I fancied. The tricky part was finding something ‘lofty and light’, which honestly I couldn’t find. But let me walk you through what I did use, and why:

Leycesteria formosa – also known as Himalayan honeysuckle or pheasant berry. This is great for creating structure. I love how the berries hang – giving a curve to the ends of the branch. The deep burgundy color of the berries and flowers is very pretty, too.

Pittosporum Tom Thumb – this deep, dark (purple/burgundy?) colored shrub with curly edged leaves is so easy to work with. I used it as filler to help hold things in place and to hide the white tape (see below for why I used white tape).

Rosemary – I liked the different texture of this plant. These are straight spikes and given I couldn’t really maneuver them in my container (I’ll explain below) I only used a few sprigs.

Erysimum ‘Super Bowl’ Mauve – I added these light purple stems to break up the strong tones of burgundy in the arrangement. Each stem only had a couple of small flowers on the very end of them, so I added two stems for each place that I added them. They more or less stayed together.

Clematis Purpurea Plena Elegans – this flower worked so well last time, I couldn’t pass it up. I was able to bring some of the flowers quite high, which is what I was hoping for. They are also a burgundy color.

Poppy pods – you know me, I have HUNDREDS of poppies in my garden! I collected small pods (the pod is what is left after the flower finishes blooming, and which holds the seeds) with long stems. In the center of the arrangement I have a group of them which I cut to all the same height. The rest of the pods I fanned out high above everything else.

Ornamental grass. I have one stem of this grass fanned out just on one side of the arrangement – to flow with the poppy pods and the sideways leaning Leycesteria formosa.

David Austin Roses – Eustacia Vye (an apricot-pink color), Lichfield Angel (cream), Boscobel (salmon), Scepter’d Isle (light pink) and possibly one more light pink variety but I can’t recall which one! There were too many beautiful roses in the garden to not put them in an arrangement.

The container I used is part of our pottery collection from when we were married 24 years ago (Suzanne May Irish pottery). I still love it! I used two frogs to hold the roses, but that wasn’t nearly enough for the rest of the plant materials. So I used white tape along the rim to create a bit of a grid to support the stems. Honestly, it worked well enough! You can see the white tape around the rim of the container in some of the pictures.

I gathered some flowers, started the arrangement, and then went out and gathered some more. I was delighted to have so many different plants to use!

For me, the moral of the story is, do what you love to do! I’m so glad to have planted materials that I can use for flower arranging – and I can’t wait to add some more!

I hope you are enjoying the last little bit of summer! Stay safe and healthy.

In Peace,
Dana

Plant materials
I started with some roses, Pittosporum Tom Thumb, Leycesteria formosa, and some short stems of ornamental grass which I later traded for one full, very long stem with several strands of grass, and some Rosemary. In this picture is also a single dahlia (a deep fuchsia color) which didn’t make the cut.
arrangement in progress
This is how we roll! The container on the table is filled with apples from a branch that broke from our tree. They are patiently waiting to be made into pie, or crumble or apple sauce! But back to the arrangement: I used 4 strips of tape to create a grid which more or less worked to support the stems.
Leycesteria formosa flower closeup
A close up view of the Leycesteria formosa flower.
Full arrangement close up sun day 2
I made the arrangement yesterday, but the weather was rather dull. So these pictures were taken today when it was lovely and sunny, because everything looks nicer with blue skies! Some of the roses are more open today, day 2.
Full arrangement day 1
See, isn’t there a very dull feeling to this picture, which was taken yesterday?
Close up Eustacia Vye day 1
The center rose, Eustacia Vye, is such a lovely mix of colors (apricot and pink). Here it is slightly open on day 1.
Center of arrangement full sun day 2
The center rose, Eustacia Vye, has really opened up on day 2!
Lichfield angel tall cream rose
The buds of the Lichfield angel rose are a peachy pink, before blooming into a lovely cream color. In this picture there is also a small green poppy pod, some Rosemary, and some Erysimum ‘super bowl’ mauve. I thought the mauve color brought some nice change to the strong burgundy theme.
Lichfield angel above
A view of Lichfield angel from above.
back of arrangement close up full sun day 2
This is a close up of the back of the arrangement, with a focus on the Boscobel rose. I knew there was going to be a front and back and I’m going to blame my inability to anchor items properly for the poor design of the back. The two roses are just lost in space here. Nevertheless, I still love the front, and will take note of changes for the back for next time!
Back of arrangement full sun day 2
Full view of the back – there is room for improvement!
Eustacia Vye center sunlight day2
Eustacia Vye, center rose on day 2, with Clematis and Pittosporum Tom Thumb.
Eustacia Vye center day 1
Eustacia Vye, the center rose on day 1.
Full view arrangement in sun
It was a fun floral project, and I think that perhaps my Poppy pods, although not light and lofty, had a similar effect.

I hope you enjoyed your visit to Mom in the Garden! I am very happy to say that my daughter was quite happy with her sewing project and made several very nice masks. I’m so happy for her! Take care! ๐Ÿ™‚

my daughter using the sewing machine
My daughter did a great job learning how to sew and how to use the sewing machine!

A summer flower arrangement

Hello there! We have enjoyed some absolutely beautiful summer days recently. I definitely get more accomplished on sunny days! (Is that the same for you, too?) I hope you have also had good weather, wherever you are in the world. As you may know, I love flowers. I always have in mind, when I’m planting flowers, if I can use them again – either in a live or dried flower arrangement. Last week I had a free morning on a beautiful sunny day and I decided to make a flower arrangement. I should add that just a few months ago I bought myself a book on flower arranging. It is called Floret Farm’s A Year in Flowers, by Erin Benzakein. It is filled with 300 pages all about ‘designing gorgeous arrangements for every season’ and complemented with the most beautiful pictures. It is a fantastic resource for learning everything you need to know about flowers, foliage, containers, flower care and of course, design. The premise is to use as many local flowers as possible, incorporating items that might not have typically been considered for arrangements. Something else that I liked seeing and learning about was creating a loose and airy look. I found it to be the motivation I needed to try something different.

I did not have a visual of the arrangement in my head before I started. I walked through the garden with my clippers and just clipped anything that I thought might work. I noted that in the book, Erin had used clematis, which were lovely additions to arrangements. That is not a plant I would have thought would be usable for arrangements! It’s great to learn new things. ๐Ÿ™‚

Post arrangement, I found that my Japanese anemone did not fare well. I possibly should have tried a special method for their hydration (which I would do next time). Also, an obvious note was that the roses that looked ‘perfect’ when picked, were fasted to drop. My David Austin roses tend to have short stems, so I was more concerned with finding flowers with longer stems than with their maturity. But other than that, the flowers all did really well for the week. I was super lazy and didn’t even add water to the container (O.K., so I probably shouldn’t admit that).

As for the container, I’ve had that little gem for nearly 20 years. It was a gifted flower arrangement (I save everything). I think this is definitely my favorite thing I’ve done with it, though! It just seemed to all fit together nicely.

I hope you like my arrangement! I’d love it if you would please leave me a comment below, telling me which is your favorite flower, or if you enjoy flower arranging, or just say hello!

Thanks so much!

In Peace,
Dana

Rose arrangement

The container has two frogs in the bottom, which I used to secure the roses in place. This probably isn’t recommended, but I also used glass marbles to help to hold the rest of the flowers in place – that’s called ‘making due with what I have’! Most of the roses are David Austin roses, although I still have one rose plant that is not a David Austin rose, and I did use one of those roses.

Rose arrangement collage 2

Above is a closer look at the ceramic container. Also, just a couple highlights of the flowers: the Leycesteria formosa – also known as Himalayan honeysuckle or pheasant berry, is a hanging burgundy color flower with berries and green leaves – it also sometimes has white flowers. The tall yellow flower is fennel. I used it to tie in the yellow centers from the pink Japanese anemone. The spiky purple flower is Russian sage – Perovskia atriplicifolia ‘Little Spire’, which also dries really well.

Rose arrangement collage

The only other flower to highlight is the clematis, Purpurea Plena Elegans, which is also a burgundy color.

Rose arrangement close up
A close up of what I consider the front of the arrangement.
Rose arrangement full view 3
Full view of what I consider the back of the arrangement.
Rose arrangement full view 2
Full view of the front of the arrangement (with ornamental grass behind it).
Rose arrangement in kitchen
Well I had to bring it inside at some stage!

I loved every minute of creating this arrangement! I have to say that I was happy with my end result, even though at the back of my mind I know there were some techniques that might have been ignored. Nothing ventured, nothing gained! ๐Ÿ™‚ Take care!

A summer garden tour

Hello! Welcome to my blog, where I find peace and happiness through gardening and flowers. Anyone else need some of that? ๐Ÿ™‚ This week I’m going to give a view of what is happening all around the garden. We’ve had a strange summer, weather-wise: a very dry spring followed by a very wet early summer. Our summer so far has been cooler than normal with lots of rain. Thankfully, the sun has not been a complete stranger!

Helenium and daisies
Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’ with Shasta Daisy
Helenium and bee
Bees love Helenium, too!

I really like the contrast with this combination of Helenium and Daisies. I’ve propped up both plants this year as they get really floppy. The Shasta Daisy have spread, and spread, and spread!

View of the Ditch Wall Garden July
Our ditch wall garden with daisies, helenium, and yarrow.

You can see in the full view of the ditch wall garden that there are a lot of daisies! I have a few varieties of yarrow, too. Lots of floppiness going on as they all seek the afternoon sun from their position under the Hawthorn trees.

Clematis view
A view of the Clematis Purpurea Plena Elegans, lychnis coronaria rose campion, and perennial geranium.

This little corner is rather happy, although it might be a bit happier if it weren’t quite so windy where we live. This Clematis – Purpurea Plena Elegans – is very pretty, with a deep burgundy color. The Lychnis Coronaria Rose Campion is quite prolific! It has sprung up in a few places around the garden! Thankfully, it is quite a pretty fuchsia pink flower with a silvery stem. I actually have a few plants in this garden that just like to take off. The Japanese anemone is just now starting to come into bloom (only one light pink flower on the left of this picture). The perennial geranium is a pretty light pink, and is quite hardy and also enjoys moving about the garden! At the very back of this picture is a tall Rosemary plant. It is now quite woody, but otherwise we still use it for cooking. There is a Japanese Maple tree in the middle of all of this – but it is not thriving due to the wind. I am quite stubborn and I am always hopeful that it will grow big and strong enough to handle the wind. We’ll see!

Clematis Purpurea Plena Elegans single
A close up view of the Clematis Purpurea Plena Elegans
Clematis Purpurea Plena Elegans full view
Clematis Purpurea Plena Elegans
lychnis Coronaria rose campion
Lychnis Coronaria Rose Campion – one of my favorite flowers
Japanese Maple Garden spring
A view in April of our Japanese Maple garden

The above picture is a view of the same bed back in April. I was quite proud of my shaping of the boxwood shrubs! The green ground cover in the front left of the picture is the Japanese Anemone. It loves to spread!

Hydrangea Selma full view
Hydrangea Selma

In this same ‘Japanese Maple’ bed, I have a hydrangea ‘Selma’. This is the best it has ever looked as it has loved all of our rain! The mophead flowers are redish pink around the edges with a white center. The leaves are a very pretty burgundy color.

Hydrangea Selma single
Hydrangea Selma

Moving to another bed – sometimes I get my plantings right, sometimes not so much. The Russian sage – Perovskia atriplicifolia Little Spire – is really happy in this bed. The plant next to it on the left – Zantedeschia aethiopica Arum Lily – although not dead, doesn’t produce any flowers. I don’t think it is happy. I’ll be looking to move that eventually.

Russian Sage
The Russian Sage has really filled out. The Zantedeschia aethiopica Arum Lily would love to be in a different location, preferable near water. A mistake on my part!

The bed beyond the Russian Sage plant is the Rainbow garden. It has a lot going on in there! I just want to focus on one plant, though, the Buddleis BUZZ ‘Dark Pink’ Butterfly Bush. It is really showing off this year!

field view
A view of the fields and the Rainbow garden
Buddleis BUZZ Dark Pink Butterfly Bush July
Buddleis BUZZ Dark Pink Butterfly Bush in July
butterfly bush closeup
butterfly bush closeup

The next part of the garden to highlight is our front gate bed. I’ve been saying this a few years now, but I really need to move my hydrangea Incrediball. It gets a lot of sun where it is, and it would much prefer to be in shade! This bed is full of beauty. There are two lavender plants, which are super fragrant. The Pittosporum Tom Thumb is great for some different texture. The Lychnis Coronaria Rose Campion is a fabulous splash of color (even if it decided for itself to join this bed) and all of the way on the far right is the Leycesteria formosa – which is also knowns as Himalayan honeysuckle or pheasant berry. There are a lot of wonderful things going on in this bed! I’ll be sad to see the hydrangeas go, but I’m sure we’ll find something lovely to fill their places.

Front Gate Garden full view
Pittosporum Tom Thumb, Lavandula angustifolia Lavender, hydrangea Incrediball, hydrangea paniculata, lychnis Coronaria Rose Campion, Syringa v. Beauty of Moscow Lilac, and Leycesteria formosa, Bergenia and Iris ‘Benton Storrington’

The below picture is of planters that are at my back door. That is the first thing I see in the morning when I go to let the chickens out of their coop and feed them. Just a few planters with a bit of color and different sizes, shapes, textures. They’ve done really well this year!

Back deck flowers
Pots of plants at my back door. Lots of hosta, some dahlia, calla lilies, and soon to bloom marigolds, and gladiolas.

I hope you have enjoyed the tour! The garden seems to change on an almost daily basis. No matter what goes on in the outside world, life and growth continues in the garden.

Stay safe and healthy!

In Peace,
Dana

Hosta in sunlight
Hosta flowers in evening sunlight.

Character in the garden with Leycesteria formosa (Himalayan Honeysuckle)

Leycesteria formosa

Leycesteria formosa

Having something interesting to look at in the garden during the winter is something that most gardeners set out to achieve.ย  One plant that gives character to a garden throughout the summer and winter is the Leycesteria formosa, also known as Himalayan Honeysuckle or pheasant berry.ย  I hadn’t heard of, or taken notice of this lovely plant before seeing it in my friend Susan’s garden.ย  It’s funny what happens sometimes when you compliment someone’s garden … they just might share some of it with you!

A young Leycestria formosa plant

A young Leycestria formosa plant

When I first planted the Leycestria formosa, it appeared to be just a stem with some roots.ย  I was not sure how it was going to survive. Not only did it grow, but it has done well in my very windy garden.

Leycesteria formosa supported

Leycesteria formosa supported

The flowers are pretty, and hang down in clusters.

a cluster of drooping flowers

a cluster of drooping flowers

Still young Leycesteria formosa

Still young Leycesteria formosa

After the flowers are finished, the plant is adorned with lovely berries.

Berries late in season of Leycesteria formosa

Berries of Leycesteria formosa late in the season

While walking through a park in Dublin this past July, I noticed some mature Leycesteria formosa plants. They were beautiful and nearly as tall as me!

Mature plants in the park

Mature plants in the park

Close up in the park

Close up in the park

At the time, I was still unsure of the name so I appreciated the tag. For this post I’ve typed the name what feels like a hundred times so hopefully now I will remember it! ๐Ÿ™‚

ID tag

ID tag

The plant still has character in the winter.ย  Look at these stems:

Close up of the stems

Close up of the stems

Winter garden

Winter garden

They remind me of bamboo.ย  The stems are hollow and can grow as tall as 6 feet (1.8 meter) in one season.ย  The plant grows in moist, fertile soil.ย  As for maintenance, it should be cut back to the ground in the spring.

Late summer garden

Late summer garden

The Leycesteria formosa is on the left in the full garden photo above.ย  I’m really happy with it and how it changes throughout the seasons.

Are there any plants that you like to share?ย  I was able to share some of my strawberry plants recently.ย  What a great feeling, especially knowing that they are appreciated. A special thank you goes to Susan who has shared so much of her garden with me!

I hope your garden has lots of winter character.
Dana