Advance warning – I went a little crazy photographing all of the hydrangeas in my gardens today! To be fair, we have at least a dozen different varieties, and they’re all so drop-dead gorgeous that I can never choose a favorite . . . so this time, instead of trying to choose, I’ve included them all 🙂 I love how many different ways there are to highlight the beauty of hydrangeas in photos, but in truth, nothing can match how transfixing they are to me when I stroll through the garden at dusk, just as the sun is setting.Pin It
This is what the view looks like right now when you stand under my snowbell trees and look up 🙂 And the fragrance is amazing!
I can never wander into a garden or flower shop without finding something I can’t live without – like this succulent, which goes so well with this vintage-looking milk glass jar:
Or this unique, perfectly spring and perfectly pink flower arrangement, that complements the milk glass jar-turned-vase perfectly:
The store is Starflower on SE Belmont in downtown Portland – just a little nook of a shop, but so many beautiful things to choose from!Pin It
I love growing flowers, but just don’t have a knack for arranging them 🙁 A friend of mine came over this weekend and we wandered through the yard with our clippers – I never remember to cut enough filler plants for greenery and background color! Here’s what she came up with – aren’t they beautiful?
Here’s my attempt with the leftovers:
I think that the key is not to worry too much whether different flowers “go together,” because sometimes the strangest color combinations look really good together! What’s most important to to have a variety of textures, colors, and a mixture of some “spotlight” blooms, combined with textural greenery and foliage. It’s more time-consuming than just cutting a bunch of the same flowers and tucking them into a vase, but I really like the results 🙂Pin It
This honeysuckle vine grows over the entrance to my rose garden – it blooms only a few times a year, so I make sure to really appreciate it when it’s this beautiful!Pin It
I love to grow flowers, but I’m not very skilled at how to display them, especially when it comes to combining different varieties, or when they don’t all have long, straight stems. For example, I have this wonderful old-fashioned yellow rose bush, but the roses grow on short, weak stems, and tend to droop downwards. Here’s my latest attempt at finding a way to cut and display them to best effect:Pin It
I’m working on cultivating an ever-growing field of irises:
They’re wonderful flowers – drought-resistent, need very little care, and can grow in poor soil. The only major maintenance issue is that they need to be divided every few years – which is becoming a real task, given how many I have growing now!Pin It
The delphiniums are in bloom! I’ve tried to grow these gorgeous perennials for years, with minimal success – mostly, I think, because of slugs and possibly the other mice, voles, etc we have so many of in the garden who like to nibble on fresh new plant shoots.
However, this past year, I moved all of the delphinium plants into my new raised beds, and as you can see, they really like it here! I think that after the blooming season, I’ll move the lilies that are sharing the bed with them and plant a full bed’s worth – I’d like to get some in whites and light blues, to round out my blue to purple color spectrum.
I think that delphinium growing in the garden are beautiful, particularly in big groupings up against a fence or a wall. Unfortunately, I need to grow mine in beds, which doesn’t give the same effect, but I think they’re still worth growing. They don’t make the best cut flowers – I combine them with other varieties in a vase for best effect, and when they die, they really make a mess, shedding petals everywhere. That’s why I like them best growing in the yard 🙂Pin It
Mother Nature gave me a wonderful Mother’s Day gift today: blue sky, sunny weather, about 70 degrees and a light breeze. On days like today, there are few places more beautiful than Oregon! Here’s what I saw, wandering around my yard with my camera this afternoon:Pin It
I loved this collection of Tamara Kate’s Helen’s Garden fabrics showcased here, and originally thought about making hand warmers too, but it just doesn’t usually get cold enough around here to put them to good use. So, I thought I would mimic the look of the hand warmers all laid out by replicating it in a quilt.
At first I tried reverse appliqué, just for some variety, but it was much more difficult than piecing and I didn’t think it looked different or better enough to merit the extra effort, so I reverted to traditional piecing. My quilting simply followed the lines of the fabric blocks, which I thought nicely echoed the overall pattern. The finished quilt is approximately 50″ x 60″ – a good throw or lap quilt size.
I used the reverse appliqué portion I’d started as a pillow front, and then experimented with improvisational piecing to create a second pillow. I interspersed some solid-colored fabrics from my stash, to keep the patterns from becoming too busy when they were all combined together and sewed next to each other. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be – I think I so much prefer clear instructions and exact cutting measurements, it was real work for me to try to be spontaneous! If I want to do more improvisational piecing, I think I’d better take a class and work in real-time with an instructor.
The quilt and two pillows (each 16″ x 12″) make a good gift set. Something about the color tones and the floral patterns really appeals to me and brightens up the room 🙂Pin It
Autumn Joy sedum darkening from rose to mauve, the last of the Black-Eyed Susans, and big rosy-red rose hips . . . sure signs of fall in the Pacific Northwest, my favorite season!Pin It
To me, dahlias epitomize the beauty of late summer – just when everything else is reaching the end of its bloom, and the rest of the plants are looking bedraggled from all the hot days, here come dahlias!
Another reason I love these flowers is because of the huge variety of sizes, shapes, and colors they come in.
Because I was married in September, dahlias were featured prominently in my wedding bouquets. They are long-lasting when cut, and brighten up any room!Pin It
I love going to the local farmers markets here in Oregon – there are so many of them, and the selection is endless! I don’t usually buy flowers at the markets because we have so many growing that I just need to get out and cut, but I can’t grow sunflowers at all – the ground squirrels that have created a commune in our rock retaining wall find the seeds and eat them. Even if I plant them as starts, the squirrels (inexplicably) hunt them down and break their stems off at the ground. Frustrating!
So, when sunflowers start showing up at the market, I can’t resist – to me, they’re the mascots of the dog days of August, when it’s still so hot, but you feel, nevertheless, that fall is coming. They make me think of late summer days and the start of school just around the corner. And, they’re just about the cheeriest flowers I know 🙂Pin It
Beautiful late-season blooms – the rudbeckia (commonly known as black-eyed susans) are such a deep gold, they provide the perfect transition into fall, and they contrast nicely with the sedum (this variety is Autumn Joy) as it changes from green to pink to deep mauve. The only downside to rudbeckia is it makes a horrible cut flower – dies almost immediately – but on the flip side, the sedum is lovely in flower arrangements, and it lasts and lasts.Pin It
Even though we’re melting into August now, there is lots still blooming – largely in part to the wonderful, gorgeous summers that we have here in Oregon!
Phlox (smells amazing!)
Morning glory:Pin It
The garden is producing fast and furious now . . . this morning we harvested broccoli, onions, green beans, beets, carrots, tomatoes, and a huge bowl of sungold cherry tomatoes that have already been eaten:
Gladiolas, dahlias, a second blooming of delphinium, and sweet-smelling phlox are blooming faster than I can cut them, in glorious colors of pink, purple, orange and red:Pin It
In order to create a unifying effect, I planted perennials around the cottage that primarily bloom in shades of red and orange; also, I focused on plants with a mid-summer bloom time. The effect is really striking, and the hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies love this area of the garden the most.
I’m not sure what all I have planted here – I’ve tried so many different varieties, replacing and supplementing year after year – but I know I’ve got nasturiums (which aren’t perennials, but do self-sow), monarda (also called bee balm), crocosmia (also called butterfly weed), and Helen’s flowers, to name a few.Pin It
I love this flowering perennial – also called butterfly plant, and I can see why, it’s incredibly popular with the tiger swallowtail butterflies! It’s carefree, doesn’t require a lot of water, comes back year after year, and, best of all, it flowers so crisp and white during the heat of the summer, when many other flowering plants have given up. We plant it in drifts along the pool and it almost glows in the evening when the sun sets.Pin It
The hummingbirds that live in the nearby cherry trees absolutely love bee balm – when I sit outside on the nearby patio at twilight, I watch them dive bomb, soar, and chase each other around and around. I guess they’re very territorial, and don’t like to share their flowers. Bee balm doesn’t work well as a cut flower, but its height and color make it a stunning centerpiece for the cottage garden, where I’ve limited the color palette to reds and oranges. And, it’s a prolific self-sower, so it comes back year after year without any help from me.Pin It