Category Archives: Wedding Flowers


It’s the height of summer here.

Endless sunny days.

And because we had all those wonderful

Badly needed rainy days.

The humidity is back


So what’s a gardener to do.

This time of the year is basically for maintenance.

Deadheading and weeding and watering are the order of most days.

I love it because it can all be done in little snippets of time.

But there is one more activity for high summer.

Flower arranging.


For some reason I don’t bring a lot of flowers into my house.

I have a few here and there

But mostly we enjoy them from the inside of the house

Or on the morning garden walk.

So it’s great fun

When I have a reason to make flower arrangements.

Friday night was just such a reason.

We were one of several host couples

For a shower for our minister Andrew

And his bride to be Katie.


Now it’s too hot to have the party in my garden

So it was held at a local lodge.

Decades ago it was part of an amusement park

And has been lovingly restored.

So along with chamber music

Yummy food


Including crab claws In honor of Andrew’s Maryland roots

Family from home


Church members

And local friends

We needed flower arrangements

And lots of them – 26 to be exact.

First order of business

Find 26 vases.

I’m embarrassed to say that 25 of them

Were alive and well living in my garden house!

The schedule went like this.

Weekend before dig out all the vases

And wash them

Tuesday the vases were taped with cross hatch pattern

To hold the flowers in place.

It was also the day to cut Euonymous.


And Hydrangeas.


They last for days if you sear the end as soon as you cut it

And let them rest in buckets of water up to their necks.

Wednesday morning Linda came to help with the harvest.


We cut buckets of Phlox, Purple Coneflower, Dahlia & Dusty Miller

We added bits of White Balloon Flower, Veronica Spicata, Hellebore leaves and blooms.

Linda and Virginia each cut a bucket of Zinnias – one fuchsia and one pale pink.

I even used the blooms on the radishes that should have been pulled long ago.

Wednesday night the arranging began.


Linda, David, Mary and Gay came on Friday morning to complete the arranging

And haul it all to the lodge.

It takes a village!


Friday was a warm evening.

Not just the temperature.

But the people, the place and the occasion.

There’s something wonderful about small towns.

When I looked around the room

There were people I had known for decades.

We have raised our children together.

We have buried our parents together.

We have thrown a million wedding and baby showers together.

We have welcomed newcomers together.

Those newcomers have become new friends.

What is there to do in a garden

In the mid- summer heat?

Share it.


Photo Credit David Meara



Filed under Bouquets, Bridal Showers, Dahlias, Dead Heading, Euonymus, Flower Arrangements, Garden House, Hellebores, Hydrangea, Purple Coneflower - Echinacea, Radishes, Tall Garden Phlox, Uncategorized, Vases, Veronica Spicata, Wedding Flowers, Zinnia


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.


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


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


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


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!


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




30 mile an hour north winds

With gusts to 40


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.


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.


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.


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,





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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


A single H. Macrophyllia Endless Summer Hydrangea Bush

A single H. Macrophyllia Endless Summer Hydrangea Bush

Nature has a way of evening things out.

Last year my Hydrangeas bloomed

And fried within days.

It was sad

Oh so sad.

This year is Hydrangea Heaven.

I’ve seen banks of Hydrangeas on Cap Code.

They inspired me to plant my own.

But never did I dream that they would put on such a show.

All over this part of the country

Hydrangeas are blooming gloriously.

And making up for last year.

Thank you.

Now I realized that in my short 1 + years of blogging

This is the third blog about Hydrangeas.

In previous blogs I’ve told you

Where to plant

Morning sun afternoon shade

If possible.

How to water


And what fertilizer


If you want the long version you can go back to May and July blogs of last year.

So this year I’m going to just enjoy.

I do want to report that I’ve been cutting like mad this week

Sharing them with

A new mother

A bride and groom for their wedding

Bucketsof Wedding Hydrangea

Buckets of Wedding Hydrangea

Which I love doing

Since my friend Martie did me the same favor 8 years ago.

Memorial flowers for the church

In memory of the real lady of this house

Whose name was Ivy.

As well as table decorations for

Saturday Manna

and a Sunday church picnic.

But isn’t that the point of all of this.


I love an abundance mentality.

There’s plenty for everyone

If we simply share.

Hope you will share yourself with someone this week.



Filed under Bouquets, drip irrigation, Gardening, Gardening Friends, Hydrangea, Manure, Wedding Flowers


Gardening is for me

a solitary pastime.

I love having people drop in

to see what’s blooming.

But I spend hours alone in my garden

Singing to myself

Admiring my work

And plotting my next adventure.

Roses & Iris

Roses & Iris

Perhaps that’s why I love having gardening neighbors.

Someone close by to share with

and borrow from.

Kelly and I have been that kind of gardening neighbors

Even before we were actual neighbors.

Now that we are only a block apart we are

Dangerous together.

Between the two of us we are constantly changing things.

Sharing things

Learning things

Our gardens complement each other. 

Where mine is good-sized.

Kelly’s is mammoth.

Where I have endless varieties of perennials

Kelly wisely has focused on flowering bushes.

She has much more space to fill

And filling it with annuals or 4″ perennials is


She moved back to this part of the country from Seattle.

There she had learned a great deal about Roses and Peonies.

She brought that knowledge with her.

And has over the years adapted it to our “slightly” different climate.

She helped me overcome my fear of growing Roses.

Rosa Aloha

Rosa Aloha

I in turn introduced her to Hellebore.



Over the years she has planted a “river” of them.

That’s the thing I love about gardeners.

They are so willing to share.

Actually, I can be a little annoying that way.

I’ve been known to give TMI  too much information!

This  week is a good example of that sharing.

I did a flower arrangement for a bridal shower.

I needed hot pink and oranges roses.

Since my Katy Road Pink is blooming out of it’s mind right now.

Rosa Katy Road Pink

Rosa Katy Road Pink

I’ve got the pink part covered.

Orange on the other hand is a problem

Especially since it’s one of the few colors I don’t do.

Lucky for me Kelly has a whole row of the most glorious orange roses.

It’s a Weeks Rose called Colorific.

Rosa Colorific

Kelly's Row of Rosa Colorific

And it is terrific.

So I took my favorite pruners and a bucket of water down the street

And cut a few.

Roses ready to arrange

Roses ready to arrange

Now it won’t be long till I can return the favor

Because next week Kelly needs 14 table decorations. 

I have lots of spring bloom

Wild Orchid

Wild Orchid

And an endless amount of Euonymus for filler.

So you’ll find her cutting in my garden.

And because those Colorific Roses are so terrific.

I’m thinking of adding a few to my garden.

Shower  Arrangement

Shower Arrangement

Gardening neighbors.

Good friends.

If you don’t have one.

I hope you find one soon.

It doesn’t get much better than this.


And speaking of gardening friends,

my friend Debra sent this marvelous quote.

“I think gardening is nearer to godliness than theology. True gardeners are both iconographers and theologians insofar as these activities are the fruit of prayer ‘without ceasing.’ Likewise, true gardeners never cease to garden, not even in their sleep, because gardening is not just something they do. It is how they live.”

Vigen Guroian, from The Fragrance of God





Filed under Bouquets, Garden Planning, Gardening, Gardening Friends, Hellebores, Peonies, roses, Wedding Flowers


It was such an easy thing to do.

Simple really.

Grow zinnias.

Have them blooming wildly by Labor Day weekend.

Even the timing was simple.

Zinnias bloom for an incredibly long time.

Anne couldn’t have picked a better flower for a late summer wedding.

Strong, unassuming, easy,  fun.

Interesting how the choices we make often reflect who we are.

Anne is a zinnia.

And what a relaxed bride she was.

No bridezilla here.

The process began like one I have done many times.

On Thursday evening before the Saturday wedding I began to cut flowers.

We were making two big vase arrangements for the front of the gazebo where the ceremony would take place.

Cockscomb arrangements in front of gazebo

Backyard weddings don’t require tons of flowers.

You are, after all, surrounded by nature.

So you begin by cutting the longest lived flowers first.


Buckets of cockscomb.

After cutting them strip the leaves off the bottom half.

Then with your pruners split the stem up an inch or two.

Let them sit in buckets of water till you are ready to arrange them.

This will allow them to soak up all the water they need for the weekend.

Then on Friday morning I cut all the green hydrangeas I could find.

Green Hydrangea and Purple Zinnias

Surprisingly even after our tough summer there were plenty.

Over planting sometimes pays off.

Remember to dip the freshly cut stem in boiling water for a few seconds.

Remove all the leaves and put them in water up to their necks.

They need this hydration for at least 24 hours before arranging.

They will last for over a week if you do this.

Then came zinnias.

Cut them, strip off the leaves and put them in water.


We cut tons of zinnias

Big and small

Zinnias and more Zinnias

First all the purple we had

Then we just cut away.

On Saturday morning Anne, her mother Cheri and bridesmaids Meghan and Morgan arrived.

Coffee cups in hand.

None of the bridal party had much experience with flower arranging.

Simplicity was the order of the day.

Simple hand-held bouquets.

So you just start by picking out the flowers you like

And hold them in your hand.

Keep adding to them till you are happy.

The bride went first.

Anne with her bridal bouquet

Being an artist she did much better than most first time arrangers I have seen.

Her bridesmaids quickly followed

Morgan & Meghan making their bouquets.

Then small bouquets were made for the mothers and grandmothers.

Cheri, Anne & lots of bouquets

Finally boutonnieres.

Not my favorite.

Anne jumped right in

Figured it out

Anne, Morgan & Meghan creating a wedding

Before you knew it a wedding was done.

We packed it all in baskets

Baskets of wedding flowers

Filled the car

Off they went.

The evening came.

Strings of zinnia filled vases on the gazebo

Family and friends gathered in the backyard.

The rain held off well into the evening.

The bride’s smile was only eclipsed by the groom’s.

Adam & Anne

The joy was palpable.

Thank you Anne for letting me be a part of this moment.


Some photographs (the better ones) courtesy of Kayla Hoffsommer.


Filed under Bouquets, cockscomb, Hydrangea, late summer garden, Uncategorized, Wedding Flowers, Zinnia


Kelly's field of Wedding Zinnias

There’s a small “tradition” in this neighborhood.

Wedding zinnias.

We grow them for wedding amongst other things.

It started seven years ago

Elliott and Kristina were marrying that June.

We wanted to grow as many wedding flowers as possible.

Kristina’s mother Mary brought cut hosta leaves from her Wisconsin garden.

Mary's hosta leave in Kristina's bouquet

A dozen friends gave the florist “cutting rights” the week of the wedding.

My friend Kelly had a few empty beds in her orchard.

She offered to plant them to zinnias.

I ordered zinnia seeds.

In bulk. 

Waaaaay to  many seeds.

Since the wedding was mid June we started planting early – mid April.

Kelly tilled up the soil and we sprinkled seeds.


Soon we had a great crop of baby zinnias.

They would grow into a small field.

The perfect backdrop for Kristina and friends at her bridesmaid luncheon.

Kristina - Friends - Zinnias

For their intended use at the rehearsal dinner.

Rehearsal Dinner Arrangement

And back up flowers when the wedding was moved into the church after lots of rain.

Last minuet pew arrangement - thank you Ryan!!


They continued to bloom throughout the season.

By the end of the summer Kelly had cut buckets and buckets of zinnias.

She had done an entire wedding of zinnias for another friend.

Florists, neighbors and anyone with scissors and a bucket of water took home zinnias.

It was a splendid summer.

Now it’s my turn.

My friend Cheri’s daughter Anne is getting married late summer.

She wants purple zinnias.

So Cheri ordered in bulk.

She’s planting lots at her house.

I’m planting at my house too.

Remember last week when I talked about weeding and thinning my way through the garden.

I’ve been working on that process.

Removing and cutting back early spring flowers that are spent.

This makes little empty places all through my garden.

Once they are cleared I work up the soil and sprinkle in zinnia seeds.

I’ll use my favorite mix and add Cheri’s purple seeds.

Spread soil back over the area.

Tamp it down.

Give it a drink with a soft spray

There you have it.

In a week or two you’ll begin to see summer’s glory.

Just remember to keep the area moist so the seeds can sprout.

Now since my garden is mostly perennials I can’t plant a field of zinnia.

But I can find lots of little spots for a few seeds.

Zinnias love the heat

They’ll give you patches of color all over the place.

Bright color.

The kind that will take the summer heat.

I’ve also planted cosmos in the same way.

At the same time.

But I must confess.

I can’t seem to grow Cosmos in this garden.

Don’t ask me why.

A mystery.

But…I keep trying.

So, I’ll sprinkle cosmos along with the zinnia.

A little planning and planting this month will give you flowers well into the fall.

You have a big window of planting opportunity.

Actually you can plant these seeds as early as mid April and continue on through the 4th of July.

I never seem to have the time or space until about now.

I clip packages of seeds to my calendar every week or so to remind me to keep planting.

This plan will give you color and cut flowers throughout most of the growing season.

Zinnias just seem to make people smile.

What more could we ask for.

Happy Anniversary Elliott and Kristina.





Filed under Cosmos, Uncategorized, Wedding Flowers, Zinnia