Phlowers – Welcome Spring

“God is an artist of Nature;
He paints in colors, so rare,
The bursting bud in the Springtime,
The lovely trees everywhere.”
~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham



“Nature’s beautiful dancers — flowers, water, leaves
Dancing to the music of God’s sweet breeze.”
~Terri Guillemets

“Come forth into the light of things,
Let Nature be your teacher.”
~William Wordsworth

Phlowers & Plants – Yellow

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge  for this week is yellow. I love yellow. I plant yellow flowers, wear yellow clothing, and find ways to use yellow in my artwork and projects. For me, yellow signifies joy.

Mint seed head with yellow bumblebee in background
Mint seed head with yellow bumblebee in background

The photo challenge for this week is the word “Local.” The challenge states—

This week, show us where your heart is.

Nasturtium
Nasturtium

My heart is happiest when I am in my home or garden, add my family into the setting, and I will not be able to think of any situation sweeter. Today as I strolled around the yard, camera in hand, searching out bits and pieces of yellow for Cee’s challenge, contentment filled me much the same as the yellow sunshine flooded warmth all about me. Yellow…a perfect celebration color for an Autumn afternoon. Thanks Cee. Your challenge brought me joy today.

Zinnia
Zinnia
Marigold
Marigold
Fallen Oak leaves
Fallen Oak leaves
Gold Marie Vining Bean
Gold Marie Vining Bean

I end this post of yellows with one of my favorite vegetable garden plants – Gold Marie Vining Bean. This luscious bean grew prolifically in my garden this year. I planted the seeds  after the cucumbers bloomed their last in mid-summer. I enjoyed the color and taste of these beautiful beans. Even better, they were easy to grow and needed no help vining around the trellis. These beans and other heirloom vegetables are available at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

P.S. This is not an old photograph, it was taken today. In mid-October the vines are still producing fabulous beans.

Phlowers – Tulips

It’s tulip time at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

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Tulips come in a wide array of colors and dazzle the eye in mass plantings in the Longwood garden beds.

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This bright purple perfectly displays the “Vivid Violet” of today’s Color Your World – 120 Days of Crayola Challenge.

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My favorites are the coral-pink variety.

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They are beautiful planted in abundance, but I prefer to zoom in on a smaller group and enjoy the beauty of the sun’s rays shimmering through each petal.

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Phlowers & Pressed Phlowers – Periwinkle

I’ve begun pressing flowers again now that the weather has warmed and early wildflowers and foliage are emerging.

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Periwinkle (Vinca minor) are one of the earliest flowers to blossom. An amazing groundcover, the ground vine can also become invasive if left unattended.

perwinkle 2

I pressed these periwinkle blossoms and stems only a few days before taking the photograph. Because I pressed in a hardback book, rubberbanded, and then microwaved, the flowers are ready to be used within a few days. The color of flower petals will usually darken a bit. The periwinkle blue of these flowers darkened to a Purple Mountain’s Majesty hue, a perfect choice for today’s Color Your World/120 Days of Crayola challenge. Always press more flowers than you think you will need to avoid disappointments, not every flower will press without blemish.

Directions for pressing flowers/foliage in a microwave.


When the flowers are dry I remove them from the book I used for heating. If I leave them too long in the original book they could become impossible to remove.

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As you can see in the photograph, the stem of the periwinkle easily lifts, but the more delicate flower is sticking to the page. I first lift the page and roll it a bit to help loosen the petals.

periwinkle 4

If rolling the page does not totally release the flowers, use a soft bristled paintbrush and gently tease the edges of the petals away from the page.

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A pressed flower will stand on its own if it is dry enough to use in projects.

Prompt – The Celandine Flow

The flow of celandine 1

When I read today’s Daily Prompt title, “Flow,” I immediately thought of celandine. Also known as the fig buttercup, celandine rivals the common buttercup in the wow power of its brilliant gold petals. Add to that, its propensity to follow the flow of running water, in this instance a creek, and you will find a wildflower that creates a  carpet of gold  to greet the early warmth of March.

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Celandine is considered invasive in some states. It can be toxic to grazing animals. On the other side of the problem of its invasive tendencies, is the ease of gathering and pressing, if you are a presser of flowers and foliage. Celandine retains its gorgeous gold color and presses well for me in traditional methods and in the microwave. Because it is very abundant, I never fear I am taking more than I should. Each year when I return to my favorite gathering places for celandine, I find the flow of flowers has taken over even more of the land.

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The color yellow, at least in the realm of wildflower spunk (I’m thinking dandelions, buttercups and celandine here) usually signals, “Charge!”

Phlowers & Poetry – Daffodils

Today’s Color Your World – 120 Days of Crayola color is Goldenrod. I don’t have any goldenrod flowers on hand, but I do have the promise of daffodils growing in my garden. Yesterday, I walked around the yard and found the promise of Spring in the midst of a nice clump of daffodil leaves.

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“I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.”

~ William Wordsworth

daffodil meadow

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.”

~ William Wordsworth

The entire poem by William Wordsworth can be found here: I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud by William Wordsworth

daffodils close-up
Daffodil Photographs were taken at Longwood Gardens Conservatory, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

Phlowers & Quotes – Pink Roses/Welcome February

“Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses.”
~Alphonse Karr

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“One of the most tragic things I know about human nature
is that all of us tend to put off living.
We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over
the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are
blooming outside our windows today.”
– Dale Carnegie

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“Loveliest of lovely things are they on earth that soonest pass away. The rose that lives its little hour is prized beyond the sculptured flower.”
~ William C. Bryant

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Vibrant – Roses in February

Phlowers & Phloral Arrangements – Alstroemeria

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“Alstroemeria, commonly called the Peruvian lily or lily of the Incas, is a genus of flowering plants in the family Alstroemeriaceae. They are all native to South America although some have become naturalized in the United States, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Madeira and the Canary Islands.” ~ Wikipedia

Alstroemeria (Peruvian Lily) are one of my favorite flowers for floral arrangements. When I trained to become a floral designer, I learned a few tips about this plant. The first step in floral arranging is to remove all the foliage that is below the water line. Alstroemeria has an abundance of leaves. One odd fact about alstroemeria is the foliage along the stem will yellow and die before the flower petals begin to fall. Most floral stems lose their flowers first. When I prepare alstroemeria for vases I remove ALL the foliage BELOW the blossoms. I keep the leaves intact that are attached to the blossoming offshoots. Your flowers will stay fresh longer if you remove the lower leaves. Alstroemeria are available anywhere you buy flower bunches and come in an amazing array of colors. They are very thirsty so check your vase and arrangement water daily to keep them hydrated and fresh.

Postscript: Thanks to Lulu for reminding me about the very best characteristic of Alstroemeria…they are one of the longest-lasting flowers to use in arrangements. 🙂

Phlowers – Friday Flowers/Sweet Peas

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Sweet peas are a favorite of mine, an old-fashioned vine with a delicately scented bloom. Sweet peas, much like pansies, will not survive the entire summer growing season. When temperatures start to sizzle, sweetpea vines will dry out and die back.

I find sweet peas tricky to germinate and grow. This year only three seeds sprouted and grew to a good size for me. The three vines are doing a great job climbing up the string I strung alongside a butterfly house.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac has some good tips on how to grow sweet peas. It’s probably too late to grow the vines for blooming this season, but keep them in mind for next year, and if you have a friend with some vines…ask them for some seeds*.

Some terrific tips from the Old Farmer’s Almanac on how to grow Sweet Peas.

Quick Tip for Pressed Flower Hobbyists – Sweet pea flowers have never pressed well for me, but the curly tendrils make a nice addition to pressed flower compositions.

* Sweet Pea seeds can be toxic.

Phlowers, Plants and Pressing – Scented Geranium

Scented Geranium in Hanging Basket
Scented Geranium in Hanging Basket Pot

I grew a scented Geranium last year called “Grey Lady Plymouth,” a rose-scented pelargonium.

“Pelargonium graveolens ‘Grey Lady Plymouth’. A wonderful rose-scented variety whose large, sage-green leaves have a hint of white around their margins. Height is 2 to 3 feet. Lavender flowers.” ~ DeBaggio’s Herb Farm & Nursery

Because I was so in love with the plant I brought the pot indoors in the fall, and also took some cuttings. The rooting did not take, but the plant thrived all winter in a sunny window. Grey Lady Plymouth is hanging on the porch now for a summer vacation. The plant is perfectly placed for rubbing the leaves as I walk out the back door

“Scented geranium care is pretty basic. You can grow them in pots, indoors or out, or in the ground. They prefer lots of sun, but may need some protection when the sun is at its strongest. They aren’t fussy about soil type though they don’t like wet feet.

Fertilize them lightly and sparingly while they’re actively growing. Scented geranium’s biggest downside is they tend to get leggy and need to be trimmed back to promote bushiness. Over-fertilization will only increase this problem.” ~ Gardening Know-How / Additional tips on growing scented geraniums.

Scented Geranium Flowers and Buds
Scented Geranium Flowers and Buds

Scented geranium are grown for their foliage, but I love their small, nickel-sized pink flowers too. They are unique and press perfectly for pressed flower crafting. Because they bloom sparsely, each blossom is worth saving. I press these inside absorbent old books, and also use the microwave method of pressing. Microwave the flowers inside rubberbanded books for only 15 seconds. The foliage of scented geraniums does not press well for me using any method.

If you have a chance to purchase a scented geranium this growing season, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
Martha Stewart’s tips on using scented geraniums.

Phlowers – May Day

APRIL SHOWERS HAVE BROUGHT MAY FLOWERS…

Crabapple Blossoms
Crabapple Blossoms

MAY FLOWERS ALWAYS LINE YOUR PATH AND SUNSHINE LIGHT YOUR DAY.

MAY SONGBIRDS SERENADE YOUR EVERY STEP ALONG THE WAY.

MAY A RAINBOW RUN BESIDE YOU IN A SKY THAT’S ALWAYS BLUE.

AND MAY HAPPINESS FILL YOUR HEART EACH DAY YOUR WHOLE LIFE THROUGH.”

~ IRISH BLESSING

Phlowers & Pholklore – Daffodils II

“The daffodil is a symbol of rebirth – a sign of the new beginnings that come with spring. Daffodils are often found connected with Easter and Easter religious services because of their new birth significance. In Wales finding the first daffodil of spring is expected to bring more gold than silver to your life and home during the following 12 months. The word “Daffodil” didn’t come into the English language until the 1500s. The old name for daffodil was “Affodyle,” believed to originate with the Old English “Affo dyle,” meaning “that which cometh early.” It ultimately derived from Dutch de affodil meaning “the asphodel”(of Greek mythology).” ~oocities.org

Longwood Daffodils
Longwood Gardens Conservatory Daffodils

Daffodils are considered by many to be the best Spring bulb. Tulips are gorgeous too, but do not have the reliability of the daffodil. The sad truth is tulips eventually decline in their blooming ability. Most of us take daffodils for granted. Their abundance, created by the ability to quickly reproduce and create naturalized fields of flowers, cause many to consider them common.

This year, I almost lost a large clump of my daffodils through neglect. Accidentally uprooted when I transplanted favorite flowers to overwinter in the house, they were left exposed on the ground for months. When the ground became too frozen to replant the bulbs, I brought them into the garage.

Forgotten daffodil bulbs
Forgotten daffodil bulbs

My good intentions were soon forgotten, and the daffodil bulbs languished in an old sweet potato box for several weeks. A few days ago, I noticed them, and was overjoyed they had begun to sprout. The garage stayed cold enough through this brutal winter to give them the “chilling” time they needed. I soon had them planted in some potting soil in a terracotta pot.

Potted Daffodils
Potted Daffodils

The terracotta pot fit perfectly inside a beautiful urn, I eagerly await the blooms. Wishing you a daffodilly of a day! 😀

Daffodils
Daffodils