Friday, August 14, 2015

hello....

After 5 months I kind of feel I have to start with a "hello"... 

So... HELLO!  My break of just over 5 months was not planned, just sort of happened.  I've spent a lot of time outside and reading these past months and somehow just didn't get around to posting anything.  I even have uploaded pictures and written a number of posts but never quite finished them... Of course some became out of date... do you really want to hear about Easter decorations in July, um no.

These past months have been busy, we've experienced one of the driest and warmest spring and summers in the Pacific Northwest.  It's kept us busy outside between watering and the FAST growing, well everything means weeding and harvesting, constantly!

Of course I've spent time outside relaxing too.  I came across an article in Martha Stewart Living magazine (and now this month's Country Living) about a local flower farmer, Floret Flower Farm.  Her farm is about 45 minutes south of me and is unbelievable.  On just a couple of acres, she grows flowers to sale at places like Whole Foods but what is really fantastic is that she also is a wedding/event florist and creates the most beautiful arrangements.  She also hosts workshops at her farm, has a blog and is constantly giving tips on so many things with growing flowers for cutting.  I'm definitely trying her tips for sweet peas next year and am looking for some of the Cafe au Lait dahlia tubers she has grown and used... they are so unusual, pastel in colors ranging from beige to a pale rosy pink.

Following her story these past few months has inspired me to try my hand at a bit of farm flower arranging.  Since she displays and photographs her arrangements on cool, rustic tables I also attempted a bit of this for my photo too.  This was Sunday's arrangement, my second, and I used my bench made of barn wood to display it.  The cute little milk pail was a recent find at a new local shop.  I initially thought I'd do something pink but came across some zinnias in the garden in shades of coral.  I added some lime zinnias (Envy), dahlia, white cosmos, a small lime colored hydrangea, clematis seed-swirl thingies, a few fern fronds and finally some cilantro that had gone to flower/seed for filler.

I basically went around my entire yard looking for anything in the color palate of coral and lime.  Perhaps next year I'll grow more colors and varieties for this.


My first attempt a couple of weeks ago was inspired by this little market basket and my birthday present.  Two vintage metal folding chairs... one red and one green.  I wanted to create a fun arrangement that really said "farm flowers".  I used both chairs and took my pictures on an overcast day in front of the barn.

This arrangement was bigger than the second attempt.  I started with sunflowers and added daises, dahlias, blue bachelor buttons, aster foliage and cilantro again... it actually makes a great flower and since I basically have it growing wild, I have tons!

To keep the arrangement lasting, I didn't want to put it on the dining room table or front porch which are both direct sun locations, I decided this chair in the living room was a great spot.  It lasted for about 10 days, so I was happy with the flower longevity.  Next up will be something with pink as the focus.  Hopefully my Queen of Sweden rose, which is on it's third flowering this year, will still have blooms to add.

And all those flowers?  This year has been pretty spectacular for flowers at Red Gate Farm.  With hot days and warm nights everything has pretty much exploded!  Surprisingly for how hot it has been most plants aren't looking too shabby yet like August usually means.

Well this dahlia was used in both.  Don't remember the name but it is a pretty shade of apricot/coral and is very prolific.  Also a smaller flower with lots of branching.  For the second arrangement I used a couple of branches rather than one flower stem.

Bachelor buttons in shades of blue, pink and a soft lavender are always a great pop of color as well as filler.  These are grown in my vegetable garden.

Sunflowers!  I have many, many different varieties to pick from.  Some specifically grown for cutting flowers.  Although I have these in a few spots the gardens I only cut flowers from the ones growing in the vegetable garden.

Dinner plate dahlias.  Dahlias grow in the front of our chicken coop.  It is dry and south facing and seems to work really well.  I don't even dig up the tubers for winter since it stays so dry and protected!  My kind of gardening.

A favorite hydrangea, Vanilla Strawberry.  It grows on the corner of the barn and is really beautiful this year.

A hydrangea that started out as a pink hydrangea with striped petals... after 5 or 6 years it's now more lavender/blue.

This hydrangea didn't bloom for years!  The last 3 or 4 it has really matured and is always covered in blooms!  The blooms start out that kind of reddish purple before turning into a deep purple color.  Also one of the better ones for the petals to hold up and not get those brown spots from watering.  Hmmm... did I say pink would be the next arrangement?  Perhaps purple is the needed color!

My pots of petunias on the porch were started from seed.  I've been pretty successful with starting these early, like my impatiens.  Finally you can buy million bells or calibrocia from seed so next year this will be an experiment for me.  I think they are pretty similar to petunias (if not actually related) so I'm hoping this will be a success too.  I use this flower a ton in both pots and my window boxes.

The hot, dry summer has taken a toll on the lawns, especially old grassy areas like this one.  But my roses, white impatiens and all hanging baskets are pretty spectacular this year.

I replant my hanging baskets each year and this one is certainly a favorite.  I think I'll try to recreate it exactly the same next year.  It hangs next to the garden glider and is actually hanging on a tree (you can see it on the above picture to the right).  I used 2 kinds of ivy geraniums and I like how the darker pink plays off the color of the Knock Out Rose below it.

Of course I've spent countless hours watering and weeding!  With warm weather the weeds seem to grow faster than I can pull them.

And speaking of weeds... Miss Bee has been growing like one too!  Back in early April on Easter, just over 10 months.

Later in April... close to 11 months.


At Red Gate Farm for an overnight visit... mid May and about 11 1/2 months old.

And a "birthday bee"!  Miss Bee turned one at the end of May.  Here she is at her party talking to her grandpa (Mr. Red Gate Farm).

And finally a smile!  I've had a post regarding her party all ready to go... I'll have to get on that.

Again at Red Gate Farm, the end of June so about 13 months.  This face is pretty hard to resist!

On my birthday in mid-July.  We all went to the zoo in Seattle... not sure what her and Grandpa were looking at but they were best buddies for that trip.

Another visit to Red Gate Farm at the end of July.  Officially 14 months old.  Hard to see but she is actually finally getting some hair... just like her mama in that regard.  Although she looks to be waving she was actually pulling up her dress and had just let it go...

And one of my favorites to date... such a serious little face!  She is turning into such a funny little person.  Talking up a storm and inquisitive about everything.  She certainly keeps me on my toes when she come to stay.


Hanging onto summer days,


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