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Homegrown Wedding Flowers

Whether you’re saying “I do” in spring, summer or fall, there are a bounty of blooms that are easy to grow for use in arrangements and bouquets. Here are a few of my favorite, garden stems for these three seasons.
Spring
Daffodils – If you’ve been to my farm, you know daffodils are one of my favorites. Plant the bulbs in the late fall and you’ll enjoy vases full of the yellow charmers as soon as the temperatures begin to warm.

Peonies – Peonies are one of the hardiest and most resilient plants in the garden. What’s more their prime time for blooming starts in mid-May and runs through June – perfect for the wedding season. If you plan to cut peonies from the garden, I suggest selecting half-opened blooms, simply because they will last longer.

Tulips – You can find a tulip in just about any shade and there are a variety of bloom shapes too. Plant bulbs in fall. Check the bloom time for the variety to make sure it will be in flower at the time of your ceremony.

Bouquet Idea
Contrast the cup shape of tulips with the soft curves of calla lilies. I think yellow calla lilies paired with pale yellow to cream tulips would be lovely.

Summer
Hydrangeas – Because hydrangeas are so full you only need a few stems to create a lush bouquet. It’s important to know Hydrangeas do have a tendency to lose their vitality, so you’ll want to keep them in a cool place and give them plenty of water after they are cut. If possible, cut them the morning of the wedding to ensure the freshest bouquet.

Lilies – Lilies will come back year after year and be prolific producers of open full blooms. White Oriental lilies make for an elegant and fragrant bouquet. For the best color selection choose an Asiatic variety. Be sure to remove lily stamens to keep the pollen from getting on clothes.

Zinnias – Plant zinnias and you’ll enjoy a bounty of wildflower-like beauty from early summer until the first frost. I like cutting these and loosely arranging a mason jar for an effortless look. For a bouquet, I suggest tying with natural raffia.

Bouquet Idea
For casual, but colorful flowers mix red, yellow and orange with pink and green zinnias.


Fall
Sunflowers – An iconic symbol of the close of summer and start of fall, cut a few sunflower stalks and loosely assemble with ribbon for a tied bouquet or simply enjoy their beauty in tall metal or glass vase.

Cockscomb – With a vase life of 5-10 days, cockscomb’s modern look makes for a hardy bouquet. Mix with other seasonal selections from your florist or market, such as button mums, for a fall display.

Dahlias – One of the most cheerful blooms in the garden, you’ll want to plant your dahlias around the same time you put tomatoes in the ground. You can expect to have cut flowers from late summer until the first frost.

Bouquet Idea
Any of these blooms would be lovely for a monochromatic arrangement or bouquet. All three offer varieties that produce different bloom forms so you can pick flowers in the same color family, but with different shapes.

If you are interested in any of these varieties to grow yourself, you can find several here!

Summer Bulbs

When a gardener mentions planting bulbs, the first flowers that often
come to mind may be daffodils and tulips. We plant these types in our
gardens in fall for glorious displays in the spring. But if you are
willing to expand your definition of a bulb, you will find a whole
new season of beautiful blooms and foliage in what I refer to as
summer bulbs. Now technically these plants include true bulbs,
along with tuberous roots, corms, and tubers or rhizomes, but
it is just simpler to use the blanket term – bulbs.

The plants that grow from summer bulbs will add a tropical touch
to your garden. Many varieties have thick fleshy leaves and exotic
flowers, which makes sense because most originate from subtropical
regions such as South American and South Africa. I like to mix them
in with my more traditional annuals and perennials to add a little
flair to my flower borders and containers.
Summer bulbs should be planted in late spring or early summer when
soil temperatures have warmed to about 55°F. In general
they should be planted close to the soil’s surface, about 1 to 2
inches deep. Choose a location that has well drained soil, unless
they are suited to boggy conditions. One of the nice characteristics
about these plants is that many types, such as elephant ears and
caladiums, will perform well in partial to full shade.

True to their sub-tropical heritage, these bulbs thrive in heat and
humidity, but you can also grow them in northern gardens. The trick
is to lift and store them in the fall before the first frost. How
you store the bulbs depends on what type of plant it is. Most are
lifted from the ground and stored in peat or vermiculite in a cool,
dry area.

To find unique varieties of summer bulbs you may have to go through
a mail order source. You can find a few of my favorites here!

Low Maintenance Garden

I live in the country, but work in town and find I have less and less time for my flower beds. I need some advice on how to make them more maintenance free, but still have some color and beauty.

I can certainly sympathize with your plight of not having enough time to spend in your flower garden. I love to garden and find it very relaxing, but there are times when it is just plain work.

 

My first suggestion would be to determine the amount of time you have to spend in your garden and then consider the size of your garden. Keep the design simple. Maybe reducing the manicured portion and enlarging the natural portion would alleviate some of the problem. Later on down the road if you find that you have extra time on your hands to spend in the garden you can always expand.

 

To make your flower beds easy to maintain, evaluate how your plantings work with their surroundings. A garden that works with rather than against the environmental conditions will save you time and effort. Group plants with similar cultural requirements together and in the right spot. For instance, combine drought tolerant plants in areas that stay dry and group plants that enjoy moist soil or ‘wet feet’ in a wetter area.
If you’re spending a considerable amount of time watering, consider putting in some drip irrigation lines and irrigate each zone separately.

While both perennial and annual flowers are beautiful, they can be heavy maintenance, especially if deadheading is required to keep them blooming or they spread aggressively. Be selective in your choice of plant material as some require much less care than others. And do the research; make sure the ones you choose are not prone to disease or insects. Consider using some of the smaller or dwarf flowering shrubs as they require less maintenance and flower beautifully. As an added bonus, look for those that are fragrant as well. At heights of 12, 18 or 24 inches, they integrate beautifully in flower beds.
Other ideas include installing a mowing strip such as a brick edge to your beds so you can mow close and eliminate line trimming. Use landscape fabric and mulch to help retain moisture and control weeds. Replenish your mulch once every year. Use ground covers as ‘living mulch’ to fill in bare spots. When you are ready to plant it the area simply pull out the ground cover. And keep your tools handy and organized. Wasting time searching for the right tool means less time spent enjoying your flowers.

 

There are a couple pieces of equipment I keep on hand to make garden tasks a little easier, too. The Garden Scoot, Bypass Loppers, Double Cut Hand Pruners, and a weeder and trowel set are a few things I can’t do without!

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Which Roses are Right for Your Garden?

My love affair with roses began when I was pursuing my graduate studies in England. During a tour of Arley Hall, I met Lady Ashbrook and we became fast friends, bonding over our love of gardens, design, and painting. Years later, I dedicated the rose garden at Moss Mountain Farm to Lady Ashbrook, who taught me so much about these charming flowers.

Once you start growing roses, I am sure that you will fall in love with them the way I did. Below are some of my favorites. No matter what conditions you grow in or the kind of roses you want, there’s an option that’s right for you. Read more

DIY Paperwhites Support

Paperwhites are one of my favorite plants to keep inside during the winter, and they’re so easy to encourage to bloom indoors. Unfortunately, those happy flower clusters can be a bit too heavy for the stems. The good news is . . . It’s easy to make supports out of just about anything. Read more

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7 Plants to Use for Borders

I like to structure gardens so that there’s something eye-catching on each level. I find that it’s often easy to forget about the plants right at your feet. So, when you’re planning your garden, consider these plants for forming borders, either in a bed or along a path. Some of these do really well in containers too! Read more

Which SunPatiens Are You?

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Scarlet Red SunPatiens You are a social butterfly! You get your energy from being around others, and you are happiest when spending time with family and friends.scarlet red sunpatiens

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21% - 35%

Magenta SunPatiens You have boundless energy! Even if your free time, you like to be doing something—cooking, baking, or pursuing a hobby. But you don’t like to waste your time. You do your research so that you do things right the first time.magenta sunpatiens

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Blush Pink SunPatiens You’re a sensitive soul! You tend to be very aware of your feelings and other people’s as well. To relax, it’s important for you to “check out” from the world and be in the present moment.blush pink sunpatiens

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Create a Living Fence with Evergreens

Aside from the vibrant color, there are a number of other reasons to plant evergreens. Large trees can create a screen to provide privacy that won’t wane with the seasons. Additionally, these trees and shrubs can create a buffer or noise barrier between your garden or home and busy streets or loud neighbors. Here are my favorite evergreens to use in creating a living fence. Read more