I grow a lot of flowers, all year long, in three different gardens in three locations. My objective is to have beauty to look at wherever I am, but most important, to have flowers and foliage to cut for seasonal arrangements for my homes. Over the years, I have learned what grows best, what blooms when, and which flowers "cut" well and last longest.
I grow a lot of amaryllis in my greenhouse. Because it is difficult to display the flowers with the bulbs, I often cut the flower stalks and use them in bowls (sometimes I fill out the arrangements with purchased blooms). When combined with Southern magnolia leaves, these burgundy-centered cream-white flowers make a striking arrangement.
This is my favorite season for homegrown flowers on my farm in Bedford. Small bulbs bloom first, followed by tulips, hyacinths, bleeding hearts, and flowering shrubs.
A European tulipiere was designed to display one tulip in each "finger." I love to mix small fringed tulips with early viburnum and muscari in this vessel.
Summer is when the garden explodes into myriad shapes and colors. Peonies, irises, roses, lilies, delphiniums, astilbes, and annuals can be cut by the dozens.
This Japanese bowl was given to me many years ago. When I received it, I had never seen a yellow, peach, or mauve tree peony, but obviously the painter of the bowl had. Finally my tree peonies have matured and now provide blooms of almost the same colors.
This is a great time for flower arrangers because the garden is so generous in its bounty. The colors in the garden become deeper and more vibrant. When I'm looking for flowers, I can find many other subtle things that will result in original displays. Flower arranging can actually become more inspired.
A large Staffordshire tureen, fitted with a giant floral frog, is the perfect vessel for a stunning arrangement of three unusual fall blooms: striped dahlias in orange and white, papery Chinese lanterns stripped of all leaves, and dill gone to yellow flower heads.
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