Bring the beauty inside and say proudly, ‘I grew that’

    Gardeners, cut your flowers.
    I know you’re worried that you’ll sacrifice the beauty of your garden for a bouquet on the kitchen table because I, too, used to be stingy with with flowers from the garden. But I’m here to tell you to just do it.
    The garden has moved past its mid-summer slump and is awash in color. Dahlias, which I admit to planting an obscene number of, hydrangeas, zinnias, coneflowers, black-eyed sustains and so much more have all exploded into bloom. The flowers are coming so fast and furious that deadheading is nearly a daily activity.
    I love seeing the garden in this nearly wild state. By most measures it’s overgrown, but I love the look. It also makes it less painful to cut a few flowers for the house.
    Having a beautiful bouquet of flowers I’ve grown in the house, even when there’s no one else around to admire it, is as satisfying as savoring the vegetables I’ve nurtured from seed. Saying “I grew that,” feels good.
    Here’s how I recommend you get over your fear of pilfering flowers from your garden. First, start a collection of small vases that don’t require a lot of plants to fill. Mason jars are great, as well as thrift store finds that you won’t mind not seeing again when you move onto Stage 2 of flower cutting, which is sharing them.
    Next, accept that some flowers from the garden just don’t last that long in a vase and use this to your advantage. This means that you can use flowers that are just a bit past their prime because you are expecting them to last only a couple days. In a day or two you’d have to deadhead these anyway and you’re encouraging more flowers to form.
    And lastly, look around the garden for foliage or seedheads that make interesting additions to a bouquet.
    When I decided to break my flower stinginess, I forced myself to make a bouquet from the garden every week. Bringing flowers inside became a habit.
    My floral design could use some work, but a simple handful of cosmos in a little pitcher is just as beautiful as highly designed arrangement.
    This weekend I challenged myself to create a bouquet in all orange. I relied heavily on dahlias, including a lovely terracotta colored ball dahlia called Maarn, zinnias, cuphea and an orange celosia that slightly resembles brain coral. I added foliage from an orange-hued heucherella and dangling viburnum berries.
    There was no dinner party to show off my bouquet, just a spot on the kitchen table where I could admire it and say, “I grew that.”
    

 

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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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