Monday, March 28, 2011

Let's Go Shopping!

Spring hasn't set foot in my garden just yet. This morning is down right frosty and the ground is still snow covered. 

Today as a distraction, I thought we might go shopping. 

Don't worry about wearing comfortable shoes so you can trek from store to store for this shopping excursion. Just sit back and get comfortable. Nor do you have to stress about what will greet you when you stand in front of a mirror under those unflattering florescent store lights. The only thing you are going to see here today is "pretty". Best of all, everything is for the garden.

Window shop or if you are brave enough to turn over the price tag and check out the price, click the link below each picture and that should take you to the retailer's site/price page.

Carmel Collection at Restoration Hardware.

Restoration Hardware is doing interesting things these days. Take this vignette- not a flower in sight and yet everything looks beautiful.

Imagine these filled with moss or a collection of sedum.

Metal Push Cart at Pottery Barn

A random collection of plants in pots can look messy, but if you group them into a collection, they can really look terrific. Visitors to your garden will also be better able to appreciate pretty pots if they are up closer to eye level.

I love this vignette.  If you have a blank wall, why not add something interesting like an old rusty gate. Add some plants in interesting containers, a climbing vine and some comfortable seating and you are transported instantly to somewhere in the south of France.

Just a quick note about the new additions to the top header. It became obvious to me from a few recent comments that I needed to add some contact information to my blog. To that end, I have created a new contact tab so you can now contact me directly by email. While I was modifying the header, I also added additional placeholder tabs that will contain general background information in the very near future.

Hope you had fun window shopping.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Color Essay Number 10: Shades of Red

I love absolutely love red. My dining room is red. I have a whole range of decorative accessories that are red. I even have a collection of red sweaters for pete's sake. So how is it that there are hardly any red flowers in my garden? I have been pondering this question as I put this post together. 

When I began my garden I did not have a color scheme in mind. Nor did I consciously set out to favor certain colors and exclude others. Yet, I seem to have ended up with lots of white, pink, and mauve flowers. Other colors, like yellow, show up and hog the stage for a brief time, but they are interlopers, not main characters.

I have a few red roses like the one above, but I have to say I would choose a pink rose over a red rose every time, hands down. Pink roses just seem prettier to me somehow. And of the all the pinks, I prefer dark pink roses best. Softer pinks seem to fade in the bright sunlight and end up looking washed out.

So where is the red in my garden? It is limited to a couple of roses,  some bee balm, a couple of oriental poppies (which are arguably deep orange in color) and smattering of gallardia. 

In this post, we will take a look back at the reds of the previous garden season- not in my garden so much, but elsewhere as noted.

Gallardia flowers- a great sun loving, self-seeding flower in my garden

This vine is an invasive nuisance in my garden, but doesn't it look beautiful
 in its fall colors on this church in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

Red gladiola flowers from the Kingston Farmer's Market

A collection of birdhouses decorate my neighbor's garage door.

A colorful wagon from Canada Blooms 2011

Spigelia Marilandica or Indian Pink in the Kavassalis Garden Oakville. (see the garden here)

Yvonne Alexander Rose at the Royal Botanical Gardens. (See the rose garden at the RBG here.)

A hollyhock in the Kavassalis Garden Oakville. (see the garden here)

Rosehips in my garden

Red summer cherries. Yum!

Currants at the local Farmer's Market and below in my garden.

A row of red cherries.

Red dahlias from the Farmer's Market.

A dragonfly sunning himself. Aren't his red eyes wild looking?

Robert W. Auten Peony at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Hamilton.

Berries on a Canadian Yew just behind the back garden.

A burning bush in the fall.

Crazy red Swiss Chard growing in a vegetable plot at Edwards Garden Toronto.

Another shot of red dahlias. 

One of my Japanese Maples turning red in fall.

My frost covered red roses.

When it comes to my favorite color, am I a traitor when it comes to the garden? A guess I have to say that I am.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Fresh Take on Floral Arrangements at Canada Blooms

I am sad to report that I was a bit disappointed with the big garden displays at Canada Blooms. In fact I was so underwhelmed, that I took hardy any pictures of them. Still, I enjoyed my day at the show and so I want to start off by focusing on what did catch my eye.

At the show I made new contacts, found resources for future projects and even saw some fresh ideas. Take these pretty floral arrangements. I thought that they were simple, but effective. Best of all, they would be easy to replicate:

Take a plain, inexpensive glass cylinder vase and wrap it in colored yarn. To do this, fasten one end of the yarn with a piece of clear tape and then wrap it around the circumference of the vase. Tuck the loose end in up under under the wrapped yarn. Attach another contrasting color and wrap it randomly overtop of the first layer of yarn (tuck the loose end of yarn in under your first layer).

I have also seen a similar kind of floral arrangement done using different colored rubber bands on glass cylinders. If this look is too contemporary for your tastes, you could try wrapping rough twine for a more rustic or romantic take on the idea. A final variation would be to wrap a pastel shade of ribbon and tie the loose ends with a bow to create a pretty Easter arrangement.

For best effect, I'd suggest you group 3 vases of different heights and circumferences.

Here is another idea I liked. Take two or three floral stems and wrap them with some decorative wire. Twist the loose ends to make curlicues. These freesia were them placed in champagne flutes.

Gather 5 stems together and warp them round with metallic or colored decorative wire. Place the flowers on an angle in a clear glass cylinder. Easy and fun!

Snipping the odd spring bloom shouldn't lessen your outdoor display and can really brighten up the house. Gather bud vases in groups of three or five.

These tube vases make it effortless to arrange flowers. If you don't have a vase like this, simply group bud vases of differing heights together.

Finally, it is easy to pay so much attention to the flowers when you are creating a bouquet, that you forget to think about the flower stems. I always try to remember to consider the bottom half of the arrangement, when I put flowers into a glass vase. Twisting or organizing the stems really can really add to the visual appeal, as this arrangement at Canada Blooms demonstrated beautifully.