Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Welcome Summer!

As if the warm weather wasn’t indication enough, summer if officially here!  What better way to kick off the season of sun & fun than with a party (or two)?

MilestoneBirthday6.18.11This sizable bouquet was for a milestone birthday celebration.  A big bunch of Viburnum created a base for tufts of Cockscomb plumes, yellow Roses and tall stalks of blue Delphinium.

grad61911 We also had a very special graduation party this weekend (so proud of my sis-in-law!).  She’s off to Nazareth in the fall so we created arrangements in the school colors – purple and gold.  To add a fun touch, glitter balls filled glass cylinders and the arrangements “floated” over them.  Flowers: Yellow Roses, purple Agapanthus, purple Stock and purple Daisies.

So welcome, Summer, with your lazy beach days and backyard BBQs.  We’re glad to have you back!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

What’s Blooming {Poppy}

 commonpoppy collectorsprintsYou may have seen the recent photo (on our Facebook page) I took just the other day of a gorgeous salmon pink Poppy growing in one of the gardens we tend to.  Trust me, the photo doesn’t do it justice!  These bold and billowy blooms command your attention.

Poppies (we’re talking about the ornamental kind here, not those used for edible seed or illegal activity) are a very attractive and easy to grow flower of both annual and perennial varieties. The large, crepe-like petals (4-6, depending on variety) come in all shades and sit atop stems that can grow up to 2 1/2 – 4 feet high.  The flowers only last about a week, but are showstoppers until their petals open flat around the blue pollen coasted stamen and eventually drift to the ground.  They will also reseed themselves in the same manner.

Besides adding punches of color to a landscape, they make great for great cut flowers as well.  Though they have long been used as symbols of both death and sleep, Poppies are a popular flower found in the markets during the spring season.  If you cultivate them in your yard, be sure to cut them in the early morning when the buds are just barely unfolding for a long lasting bloom in the vase.  Once the season for Poppies has petered out, the markets will still have their pods available.  They are used as botanical accents to add texture to design.  A plant of many uses!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What’s Blooming {Iris}

 IrisYikes!  It’s been nearly a week since I last posted and this next flower is already making it’s retreat from the heat.

Iris is technically a genus of 260 species of flowering plants, but the name is also widely used as a common name for all  the species.  Apparently the name is taken from the Greek word for a rainbow, which is fitting for a flower with such a variety of colors.  My favorite is a beautiful shade of butter cream yellow found in the garden, but they also come in the more common shades of purple, “blue”*, maroon, white, etc.  You’ll often see blooms of “blue”, bright yellow, and white at your local flower shop.

Irises are perennial herbs (though don’t try using them to spice up dinner tonight!) with long flowering stems growing from a base of sword-shaped leaves.  They come bearded or beardless (weird terms for flowers, I know).  Bearded irises are constructed with three petals that grow upward while three other petals open away from the center.  Kind of like a fleur-de-lis, which, not so coincidentally, was designed after the flower itself!  The open petals sport a strip of fuzz or the “beard.”  Though it usually looks more like a caterpillar than a beard.  “Mustached” would even be pushing it.  The variety that you find in the floral cooler are beardless and all the petals eventually open in full.


* I use “” marks because there is no true blue iris.  They are all varied shades of purple, some cooler than others, giving the illusion of “blue”.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

What’s Blooming {Peony}

Pierre J Redoute

We all have our most favorite flowers.  You know, the one you covet most on your list of loves.  The one that makes you go weak in the knees and sigh with delight.  For me, that’s the Peony.  Their large, romantic blooms embody such grace and simplistic elegance that I can’t help but swoon in their presence.  No others come close, though there is a long list vying for second place.

During their painfully short season (late spring/early summer – otherwise know as NOW!), I’m like a kid on Christmas morning; slipping my galoshes over pajamas and sneaking out of the house, all the while hoping no one sees me, to clip a few of the feathered flowers before I start my day.  This morning I cut an extra few just in case the weather turns on us.  Have you heard about these tornado warnings in NH and MA?  What’s that about?!

I favor the “Double” flower type (so lush with petals!), but would also take any version.  With well over 25 species, peonies can be classified by both plant growth habit (herbaceous bush or tree) and by flower type (Single, Japanese, Anemone, Semi-Double, Double, and Bomb-Double) - each category becoming more complex and numerous in the arrangement of petals. Herbaceous peonies die back in winter and springing from “eyes” in spring, while tree peonies lose their leaves and leave their woody stems to winter.  The flowers range in shades of white to pink, red and even yellow.

The peony is named after Paeon, a student of Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine and healing. As goes many of the myths responsible for the names of some of our favorite flowers, this was a story of a relationship gone wrong.  Asclepius became jealous of his pupil and Zeus stepped in to Paeon from his teacher’s wrath by turning him into the peony flower.

Well thank you, Zeus, for if it weren’t for you, I would be without my most beloved of blooms!  I’ll soak up every last second of happiness they bring me before the summer heat ushers out their last flowers or before the tornadoes whirl them out of sight.  I suggest you seek them out as well.