Category Archives: Flower Arrangements

WINDING DOWN

You may recall that spring was a bit late this year.

With four freezes continuing through the end of April.

We had a late start to the season.

That’s why I have reveled in this glorious fall.

Endless days of crisp air

And sunshine

And all this color.

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I knew it would eventually freeze.

But I am grateful for the “catch up” time

Mother Nature has given us.

Last week it did finally freeze.

Not a light frosting

But what we gardeners call

A “killing freeze”.

I did pick

Green tomatoes.

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The last batch of produce for Loaves & Fishes.

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The last roses of summer.

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And cosmos.

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And hydrangea.

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But a hard freeze is inevitable.

Necessary really.

We need things to die

So that we can clean up

And put our child to bed.

Mounding it all up to compost

So that we can return it to the earth.

But before I can even begin to think about all of that

I have to finish planting

ALL THESE BULBS!!!

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What was I thinking?

So on Saturday

I began.

Digging trenches

One section at a time

Along the path

Leading to the garden house.

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Then over planting

With Pansies.

Now I won’t bore you with the details

Since it’s the same process

We walked through

In the front

A few weeks ago.

But I will tell you

I’m glad to have it done.

It’s a big job

That needs a chunk of time.

Pulling up

Cockscomb, cosmos, tomatoes and peppers

Can be done in small snippets of time.

As is the case in most years

I was ready for the freeze.

To rest.

Gail

The last rose of summer.

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Filed under cockscomb, Compost, Cosmos, Fall, Fall Vegetables, Flower Arrangements, Gardening, Green Tomatoes, Hydrangea, Peppers, roses, Uncategorized

GRATITUDE

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This morning our minister, Andrew, spoke about gratitude.

This afternoon I’ve been puttering away in my garden.

A place where it’s almost impossible not to feel grateful.

And I am.

For the glorious weather we have been having.

For the gift of fall roses

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That seem a bit different from their spring sisters.

Perhaps they’re a little sturdier knowing that

They are among the last of the season.

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For the abundance of tomatoes

Both green

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And ripened.

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For peppers that take all season to grow.

And come into their own as others fade.

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After all, if I were a pepper

I’d wait till all that squash finished showing off

Before I made my appearance.

And you can’t write about gratitude this time of year

Without talking about dahlias.

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They are among the most amazing of all the things I grow.

And yes, I’m even grateful for cockscomb.

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But…

As glorious as this day has been.

And as giving as my garden continues to be.

It pales in comparison to my friend Suellen.

Last week after 11 years of silence.

The miracle of the Cochlear implant was turned on for her.

And she can hear.

Think of it.

The voices of young grandchildren she had never heard.

Birds singing

Crickets

Music

Even traffic.

There’s likely no one else I know

Who’s more grateful tonight.

There’s a community of those who care about you

Who are grateful to the bone.

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Gail

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Filed under Bouquets, Cochlear Implant, Dahlias, Fall, Fall Vegetables, Flower Arrangements, Gardening, Gratitude, Green Tomatoes, late summer garden, Peppers, roses, Uncategorized, Vegetables

Arranging With A Purpose

You may not know but…

This is Rally Weekend

At least it is at my church.

That first weekend after Labor Day.

When people return to the pew.

It’s an unofficial new beginning

In many churches.

This year we also were re-dedicating

A room that has recently undergone a remodeling.

All of this required flowers

Lots and lots of flowers.

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So I spent Saturday morning

Arranging flowers

Something I love to do.

It all actually started on Friday night.

If you have the time

And remember

It’s best to cut flowers in the cool of the day.

Morning is the best

Evening will do.

Cut what you think you will need

And let them sit over night

In buckets of water.

Soaking up moisture from end to tip.

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If the stems are thick

Or woody

Make a slit in the bottom of the stem

To ensure they get a good drink.

Brunch was being served in the breezeway.

Which is basically a large open space.

That means a large arrangement is called for.

Luckily I have a big white vase

Just right for this space.

Big surprise!

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I also happen to have

Several other white vases

Two tall and narrow

And two low.

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All of which will do nicely.

Now I must confess that there is one flower

I have little to no luck growing.

Sunflowers

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Imagine that

I live on the prairie

Where they grow wild everywhere

But I can not get them to grow

In my own backyard.

So…because they are so wonderful

And absolutely say

Look at me

It’s fall.

I had to buy a few

To add to my own

Cockscomb

Dahlias

Phlox

Roses

Veronica

And Zinnias

Suddenly you have 8 fun fall arrangements.

Getting them to the church

Required the help of my friend Mary

Sitting in the back seat holding on.

And a second trip where

The flowered filled brass vases from the sanctuary

Were buckled into the backseat.

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Transportation is always interesting

And often truly comical.

I love doing this.

You never really know when you start

What you are creating.

It seems that each time I make arrangements

They turn out differently.

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But isn’t that what gardening is all about.

Enjoying the journey

Trusting the process

Having faith that it will be OK

That there is enough.

An abundance mentality.

Gail

 

 

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Filed under Bouquets, cockscomb, Fall, Flower Arrangements, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, late summer garden, Perennials, roses, Sunflowers, Tall Garden Phlox, Veronica Spicata, Zinnia

MAXINE’S VASE

If you are going to grow flowers

You’ll eventually need a vase

Or two………….dozen.

Somewhere over the last few decades

I developed the habit

Of finding old vases

At garage sales

And estate sales.

At first I wanted crystal vases.

That’s what my mother had

And now her vases grace my dining room china cabinet.

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Mother loved crystal.

And so do I.

Then early in our marriage

John & I ventured to Europe.

Where we discovered pottery

In Florence

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And Barcelona

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And lugged a bit of it home.

But my vase collecting

Really kicked in after we settled in here

And began to make connections with people

Of all ages.

Many of these were women I knew from church.

It seems when you’re a Presbyterian in these parts.

You have a long

And interesting life.

So as these and other ladies around town died

I would go to their estate sale

And find a single thing

That would remind me of them.

The first was this vase

From Gladys.

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Gone now probably 30 years

I still remember her spunky nature.

Eventually I focused my purchases

On painted pottery from the 40’s and 50’s

McCoy is the best known brand

Thus you can find many knock offs

Of their soft color palette.

I’m partial to white, yellow, soft blue and lime green.

My mother in law’s blue pitcher is a favorite

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Along with a yellow vase my friend Marilyn

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Brought from her mother’s home in Louisiana.

Then there is this terrific lime green Claire Lerner

That I found at a neighbor’s garage sale

At a cost of $1.25!

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I have two rules.

Don’t go crazy on price $10. – $15.

Is usually my max.

And you have to know where you are going to store it

Before you bring it home.

The second rule has forced me to slow down a bit

Since my garden house cupboards are filling up.

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So it was this history

That followed me to the estate sale of

My friend, my neighbor, my fellow Presbyterian

And wise women extraordinaire

Maxine Sanford Austin.

Maxine died this year at the age of 102.

Her life

And her home

Were filled with treasures.

She was a poet

A teller of tales

A loyal friend

And fiercely opinionated.

I just loved her.

When she married in 1933

Her mother made her wedding veil.

Long and trailing

With lace flowers embroidered on it.

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Her daughter Ann wore it in 1961

And Maxine wore it when she married again in 1993…

At the age of 80 something!

She was both traditional

And non traditional

All rolled into one.

It took me three trips of wondering through her home

To find my memory memento of Maxine.

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I can’t tell you anything about this particular vase

I’m guessing it was from her mother’s travels.

She told me once that after her father died

Her mother began traveling around the world.

It’s very different from any other vase I own.

Doesn’t fit the mold.

Won’t have a shelf of similar stuff to join.

It’s unique.

It’s Maxine.

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AWARENESS

by Maxine Sanford Austin

In every day we have, dear Lord,

Let us truly see

The things we should:

The flight of bee.

The flash of bird,

Sun on a brilliant flower,

Then thunder heard

Before a sudden shower.

In all things, dear Lord,

Let us truly know

That this is Thy World

And in our actions show

That we truly know.

Thanks Maxine,

Gail

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Filed under Flower Arrangements, Garden House, Gardening Friends, Gardening Mentors, Hydrangea, Uncategorized, Vases

SHARING SEASON

Gardeners are known for sharing.

They love to share

Information

Plants

Flowers

Seeds

Cuttings

And, of course, the bounty of their gardens.

Zucchini comes to mind.

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For me it’s all of the above

But mostly flowers.

I have long contended that flowers

“Are food for the soul”.

That we need flowers

Just like we need food.

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I think this goes back to college

And John.

When we first began dating

He brought me flowers several times a week

For months on end.

The most spectacular was that first spring.

He brought me an enormous bouquet

Of Iris.

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Years later I realized that florists don’t sell that kind of Iris.

You know them – German Bearded Iris.

The kind that grow in little old ladies gardens

In college towns.

I’m not sure she intended to share!

His choice of vases was most unique.

A plastic pumpkin

Left from Halloween.

Simply had to marry the guy after that!

And so in the ensuing 40+ years

I’ve made it a point to make bouquets

And spread them around.

I’m pleased to say that Elliott and Kristina

Are carrying on the same tradition.

Kristina rarely leaves home for an evening with friends.

Without a bouquet in tow.

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And she always has fresh flowers throughout their home

When we come to visit.

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I must confess here that this year my bouquets are going

Not to individuals so much

As to places.

On Saturday I pluck whatever is happy

For church on Sunday.

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Then during the week

Loaves & Fishes gets a bouquet.

A cheerful greeting for the volunteers

And clients who come in need of help feeding their families.

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Now all of this is well and good.

Lovely really

But it doesn’t hold a candle to the real pros

When it comes to sharing from your garden.

Those of you who focus on vegetables

Leave the rest of us in the shade.

Just this week

Kelly came by with a basket of green beans.

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Yum!

Earlier in the week the Koehns

Brought tons of cucumbers and squash of all sorts

To Loaves & Fishes.

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Mitch brought squash, too

Ann gave her weekly supply of basil

And assorted veggies.

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Then yesterday the fun and lively members of the Freed family

Called at the end of the Farmers Market

To donate what was left to Loaves & Fishes

I met them there.

Their 4 sons, daughter and her friend

Unloaded hundreds of pounds of freshly picked produce

Watermelon

Cantaloupe

Peppers

Eggplant

Squash

After working at their produce stand all morning.

They loved the cooler.

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What a great family

Working together

Laughing

Sharing

Those are lucky kids.

I know

I come from the same kind of family

And it has painted my life

With sharing.

Gail

Early 1950's

Early 1950’s

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Filed under Basil, Bouquets, Farmer's Market, Flower Arrangements, Gardening Friends, Herbs, Iris, Uncategorized, Vegetables

LARKSPUR – THE NEW BLACK

Most women own way too many black clothes

I am among them

But we all know that black “goes with everything”

And it does.

So every time the fashion industry

Wants to sell a new color

They dub it

“The New Black”

I’ve decided that larkspur

Is the new

And the old

Black of the garden.

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It truly does go with everything.

This spring is an amazing example.

I’ve been a little under the weather since the first of May

Very little time has been spent in the garden

As a result every single seed that dropped last spring.

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Has bloomed and bloomed.

Never got around to thinning

Or just plain murdering

All that volunteer larkspur.

I’ve been cutting away at it

Making arrangements when needed.

But it hasn’t made a dent.

It’s everywhere

And it’s thick.

Some paths are impassable.

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But it’s true.

It goes with everything.

Now we all know that purple and yellow

Are a great combination.

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Being “secondary” cousins on the color wheel and all.

But it’s also great with pink roses

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And crisp white lilies

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And softer shades of yellow

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And the more golden ones.

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So when I was forced to the gardening sidelines in early May

And the A team took over

God knew exactly what to do.

Let the larkspur have its way.

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Spread it everywhere

Bringing cheer and happiness to every corner.

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Once again

Gardening echoes life

Or does life echo gardening?

Step aside – pull back – relax

God’s got it covered.

Gail

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Filed under Flower Arrangements, Gardening, Gloriosa Daisy - Rudbeckia, Larkspur, Lilies, roses, self seeding annuals, Uncategorized

MEGAN

A couple of decades ago my job was designing, installing and maintaining perennial flower garden

All around town.

It was fun and very hard work.

During the summer maintenance season

I would hire daughters of friends to help me.

Megan, Cristina and Ashley outlasted them all.

For instance Megan’s sister Katie told me at the end of the first…and only summer for her.

“This has been fun, but I don’t ever want to do this again.”

But it was Megan who just kept coming back.

She worked from Jr. High through High School.

Then in college she would come back each fall to help me plant bulbs.

Even post college she was there for me digging trenches

And burying bulbs.

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We’ve had great conversations

That have matured with each year.

We often talked about the garden party I would have for her.

When she married.

Last fall when Megan came for our bulb planting ritual

There was only one subject of conversation

JP

So it was no surprise that at Christmas Megan and JP were engaged.

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After years of dreaming about Megan’s wedding and parties

The planning began.

What’s that saying about making plans.

“If you want to make God laugh…tell him your plans.”

Well God must have doubled over with laughter at this one.

Because JP is in the Navy

Scheduling of everything was on Navy time.

In this instance that means fast.

A mid-April wedding was planned not at home

But in Corpus Christi where JP was stationed.

No problem…if there’s anything Megan loves as much as JP and gardens

Its’ the beach

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But there was only time and space for family and a few close friends.

No problem…we’ll have a reception here

In my garden

Just like we planned

Sometime in Mid-May when all is happily blooming!

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Well…maybe not.

JP and Megan have to be in their new destination by May 6th.

OK we’re flexible

May 2nd it will be.

A simple ice cream social with wedding cakes

Friends and family in attendance for the perfect send off.

Well…maybe not.

The morning of May 2nd brought

Sleet

Rain

Clouds

30 mile an hour north winds

With gusts to 40

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OK God I get the idea.

Thankfully for once I half way believed

Our over zealous weather forecaster

And cut every tulip that was blooming

The Saturday before the party.

They spent the week in the safety of my spare refrigerator.

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And the day before the party Kay – Megan’s mother suggested

“We might want to go ahead and cut whatever else we need.”

So we cut buckets of Boxwood and Viburnum

And even cut a few Lilacs from Kelly’s yard.

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We simply brought the garden indoors.

Now there’s no doubt that I was disappointed

That I couldn’t give Megan the garden party of her dreams.

But here’s the thing.

When Thursday night came.

Megan and JP were beaming

Friends who have watched her grow up

Family who loved her from the moment they knew she was coming into this world.

All of us were there

Eating gelato and wedding cake.

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And sending Megan & JP out into the world

Knowing that they are deeply loved.

That they are rooted and grounded in this place with these people.

As my sister Pat said at Elliott & Kristina’s wedding.

“We have loved giving you roots and wings

It is the greatest satisfaction of our lives.

Know that we celebrate with you as you join hands,

Spread your wings and fly.”

Here’s to a happy life Megan

And gardening all over the world.

All my love,

Gail

 

 

 

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Filed under Bridal Showers, Flower Arrangements, Garden House, Gardening, Gardening Friends, Gardening;Perennials, Perennials, spring, Spring Flowering Bulbs, tulips, Wedding Flowers