Lady Bird Johnson,
Welcome! You’re just in time for the first tour of the day of my Backyard Blossoms Flower Show! Every day, every hour brings something new in the garden and I’ve got a yard full of sunny faces just waiting to greet you!
I don’t remember another time in my life when I have been more ” in the moment” or aware of my ” inner sage” ( other than falling in love or when our children were born
) than the time I’ve spent in my garden this year. I know each leaf, each petal, each bloom intimately. I promise you will too by the end of this post!
Let’s walk (and talk ) among the flowers shall we?
Some of you may be wondering why a person ( um, me ) would plant soooo many flowers when she could be growing veggies, herbs, and fruit to sustain her family through the ‘ non-growing ‘ months. Well, in ( her ) my defense, I DID plant some tomatos, cucumbers, basil, mint, peppers, and onions, with some success this year. But, that’s not the focus of this blog now, is it? We’re talking yard flowers today and lots of them!
Growing flowers for the soul purpose of cutting them is a luxury for sure, but we farmgirls know that isn’t the only reason to nurture a blossoming flower patch. We do it to create memories. Memories for ourselves and each other. We do it to learn, share and grow deeper in love with the wonder of gardening. We want and need to be in awe of something greater than ourselves. We need to witness daily beauty and miracles to thrive. What better way than to get down and dirty with the ingredients God gave us and go to work!
Here’s the longview of the cut flower garden from one side of the pathway between the dahlias and zinnias. The Garden shed is to the left, the Little Red Hen House is centered at the end of the path and that’s the greenhouse to the right.
QUICK FLASHBACK: Remember what this area looked like when I first dreamed up this idea?
This image was taken on February 16th 2012
This photo was taken on August 13th 2012
Here’s a wide view of all 8 4×12 beds brimming with life!
The bees and butterflies have grown used to my presense and the quick shutter of my camera during my multiple daily rounds.
They flit and flutter from stem to stem feeding on sweet nectar as I walk among the glory checking for new blooms and signs of pests.
Speaking of pests… I have the insects under control with an organic pellet that I sprinkle on top of the soil every few weeks but I wasn’t prepared for the vision I saw out of my kitchen window this week. I acutally saw a squirrel purched on top of a very bent over sunflower ‘harvesting’ seeds! I wish I had my camera handy to show you how hilarious it looked. However, I can show you proof of the little varmets mid-day snack attack.
Here you can see where the squirrel plucked away at the center until it exposed the seeds underneath.
Miracle Moment ~ Pause with me for a sec. I find it A MA ZING that it only took one seed to grow this sunflower and look how many I got back in return? It makes me wonder how many other times in my life I have had all I needed and then some and let it all go to the squirrels because I didn’t recognize it as the sort of abundance I wanted at the time. Hmm? I think we’ve all been there don’t you?
Below you can see where the squirrel robbed my sunflower… All of those tiny bare pockets used to hold the seeds to next years sunflowers!
Look at those chewed up seeds spread on top of this leaf just below the ravaged sunflower! ARG!
Obviously my little friend was just trying to fatten up for winter. I have no problem sharing my yard with the squirrels. Heck, I let them eat all the bird seed I put out in the winter ( which is mostly sunflowers by the way ) but, I want to try seed saving this year and they’re not helping me!
Here’s a simple way to harvest your sunflower seeds.
1) Once the petals have fallen off wait for the center to shrivel and the back to turn brown. Then it will be ready to harvest. ( usually late summer )
2) Remove the sunflower head by cutting it with a knife or pruners. Leave one foot of the stock attached to the sunflower head.
3) Cut three or four holes in the bottom of a paper bag. Place the sunflower seed heads in a paper bag upside down.
4) Hang the bag in a dry, warm location and allow the seed head to cure for two weeks.
5) Remove seed heads from the bag and hold over a bowl removing the seeds by rubbing your thumbs over them.
6) Store in small glass jars with clear lables making them easy to find come spring time.
I planted Cut and Come again Zinnias and boy they weren’t kidding!
Like human families, each bloom is different than the next, yet also similar. One flower may have bright pink petals and a tall center crowned with a yellow halo; the next will have a vibrant orange bloom with the tiniest hint of pink at its center but you can still recognize the common strands of DNA!
With fresh change of water every other day or so Zinnias will last a good week in the vase.
I’ve been having fun playing with different floral arranging ideas using vessels I already have on hand. The one pictured above is ULTRA simple and just plain fun! The ‘vases’ were dug up behind our cottage and salvaged. We thought we hit the mother load when we found an old milk bottle probably a remainder from when a past resident used to deliver staples like bread, milk and eggs to beach residents. I’m not sure what the tall green bottle was, the lable is faded but the very tiny bottle that could have held vanilla extract or something medicinal ( if ya know what I mean ).
Ah… We’ve reached the Dahlias!
Take a gander these garden stars!
Hands down dahlias are the grande dame of my garden. Who knew such beauty could be so easily accessed in one’s backyard? I certainly didn’t until I was struck by them at my local garden center back in March. Somehow I mustered up the courage to buy thirty something tubers destined for my newly prepared raised flower beds. I always thought they were beautiful and had admired them from a distance but I feared they would be fussy and difficult to grow. How wrong I was! I can hardly take credit for these lucious blooms. All I did was make sure they had rich draining soil to live in, eliminate pests quickly, and feed them every two weeks. That’s it! Oh, I did have to stake them up once they got to be about a foot tall. When they began to flower I had to do some more staking with taller bamboo garden stakes tied with jute twine.
The Dinner Plate Dahlias are nearly 5 feet tall and fertile with more blooms to come.
Each petal is painted with such delicate beauty and precision.
They swirl and curl like whipped frosting on a fancy cake! Dahlias can be down right full of themselves and simple and sweet too like the single petal variety below.
In the beginning of planning this garden I had visions of selling my flowers at the local farmers market. But as my flowers blossomed I realized I really didn’t have enough blooms to sell on a regular basis and I’m just fine with that because instead I’ve been sharing them with my family and friends! I think it’s safe to say we are quite soulified in the flower department! And, I hope you are too!
Well sisters, I’d love nothing more than to linger in the garden with you all day sipping tea and talking flowers but homemaking and garden duties call…
Thank you for visiting with me today! It’s always a joy to share with you!
Here. These are for you!
Linger as long as you like and enjoy the bounty!
If you have questions about any of the flower varieties or pest control just ask in the comments section below and remember to DREAM BIG! Great things can come from a tiny spark of imagination, humble beginnings and a small budget!
Until our next shoreline visit~
Beach blessings and Garden Glories to all!
* Here are some links you might be interested in!