Monday 30 September 2013


For the past month I've been excitedly waiting for my ranunculus flowers to bloom. The buds are swelling and the petals are colouring. It's all the more exciting because in autumn I put in a pack of pastel ranunculus bulbs, which I've never seen flower before. What will they be like?

 Finally, one opened enough to tell. It seems to be a reddish pink shot through with yellow. Interesting!

 But on the plant next door, heartbreak as I discover that something has been in and eaten all the petals away! It's just an empty green cage. I don't even know what colour it was going to be.

 I picked the first pastel bloom and a couple of brights and tried out another recipe from the Flower Recipe Book. It was meant to be made with poppies and roses and ranunculus but I had to substitute the first two. I had jasmine buds to use though. And I substituted freesias for lilies. It smells lovely!

Here's the inspiration pic. I'll try it again in a few months, when my itty bitty poppy seedlings have some blooms!

Wednesday 25 September 2013

On my reading table: The Flower Recipe Book

The Flower Recipe Book by Alethea Harampolis and Jill Rizzo

I love flower arranging. It's one of those little things that just makes me really happy, and I'm always looking for more ideas and inspiration for creating seasonal, natural looking arrangements. When I came across this book in a shop recently I couldn't let it go. There was just no way it was not coming home with me! Have a look at these pictures and you'll see why.

The book is arranged alphabetically by flower type. Each flower type has at least two 'recipes', some simple and some elaborate. The recipes start with an ingredient list, which tells you what flowers are required and how many stems of each, and a recommended vessel. Most recipes are illustrated with step by step photo instructions, which tell you exactly what to add and in what order. This is what is so great for me, as I often have problems with my arrangements flopping. Is it because I don't have enough stems or because I'm adding things in the wrong order? I think that once I've practised with a few of these recipes I'll have a better idea.

The big, beautiful photos throughout are eye candy in themselves. And I really like that most of the flowers and foliage used in the book are ones that are easily grown at home, so I already have a lot of them in my garden. (Except snowberries... which are now on the top of my list for next time I want to buy a shrub to plant.)

Here's my first arrangement based on one of the hellebore recipes (see photo below). I had to substitute a few things - I didn't have any mock orange, so I used stems of wintersweet with its fresh new spring leaves, and some white primulas. And I didn't have tulips so I used hellebores in a different colour. Oh, and the first ranunculus of the season had to be celebrated, so I slipped that in there too! I'm really happy with this one. It's not a carbon copy (and not meant to be) but helped me to arrange in a way I normally wouldn't, and most importantly, nothing flopped!

Tuesday 17 September 2013

Spring snapshots

A few snapshots to remember what spring is like. Fresh green leaves unfolding, blossoms and buds. The grass is lush and pure green - not dry, brown and speckled with dandelions as it will be later in the summer. The garden beds are looking fuller and the bare patches are diminishing. I'm enjoying the architectural quality of the shrubs and trees before they are fully clothed and hidden again. 

Hope you're having some happy promising days in your garden this September.

Monday 16 September 2013

September flowers

Spring is here, and with it lots of pink and pastel flowers for the garden and my vase. Looking around I have blossom on the peach and almond trees, the last of the daffodils and hellebores and the very first ranunculus! I've been filling my vases with more excitement than usual because I have a new book that's inspiring me greatly - more on that in another post. How's your garden blooming this spring/autumn? Are you growing any flowers for picking?

Middle image: hyacinths in vase. Outer images, clockwise from top left: sculptural hellebore forming seed pods, armeria, earlycheer daffodil, peach blossom, unknown but pretty daffodil, Pink Lady hellebore, red tulip, violas, the first ranunculus of the season, almond blossom, another sculptural hellebore, hyacinth blossom.

Linking up to Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day at May Dreams Gardens.

Tuesday 3 September 2013

Ipheion Uniflorum

 In my last post I mentioned my blue star flowers, and how I didn't know the correct name for them. Thanks to Lyn I now know that they are called Ipheion Uniflorum, and after a bit of googling I also know that the common names are spring star or spring starflower. So, I wasn't too far wrong with calling them blue star flowers... and I'll probably continue to do just that!

They make a lovely display with other spring flowers on a gently tarnished silver platter. How do you like to display spring blooms? I always enjoy pulling out my little glass bottles at this time of year.

And, since everything else in this photo is thrifted, I'm linking up to Op Shop Showoff at Blackbird Has Spoken.


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