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Winter's Soft Whites
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.
Photography: Frederic Lagrange2 of 9
Spring: Bright and Early Blooms
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.
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Spring: Tall Tulips
The slender Juliska glass vase is a perfect container for long-stemmed Darwin tulips. I cut the stems as long as the vase and line them up as straight as possible.
Photography: Frederic Lagrange4 of 9
Spring: Lovely Mix
I have a penchant for clear glass containers such as this one, which shows off a wonderful mix of tulips, white bleeding hearts, and the wavy leaves of bird's-nest fern.
Photography: Frederic Lagrange5 of 9
Summer: Garden Glories
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.
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Arranging roses is a glorious task, especially when they are homegrown and scented. David Austin roses make a beautiful display combined with 'Limelight' licorice plant, tiny lady's mantle, puffy canary grass, and fuzzy, fragrant geranium leaves.
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Few of us think to use clematis as cut flowers, but they are excellent as such. Mixed with hosta leaves, irises, and love-in-a-mist seed heads, the flowers are superb.
Photography: Frederic Lagrange8 of 9
Fall: Deeper Beauty
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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Fall: Dark and Dramatic
I love Japanese baskets, and the rich mahogany-reddish shade of this old container looks fabulous with a dusky arrangement of purple hazel leaves, sprays of broom corn, reddish ornamental grass, blackish dahlias, and purple artichokes.