Growing my own bouquet?

Posted on October 4, 2008. Filed under: garden, inspiration |

That flower in the header of this site? It came from my neighbor’s front yard! We live in a house once owned (for four decades!) by a Master Gardener in a perfect part of the country for growing things. We’re getting married in late May.

In keeping with my sentimental nature, I want a bouquet made of flowers plucked from our neighbors’ yards. I want to anoint our space with flowers cut from our own property. I want the green backdrop of our trees and grass and foliage to be enough “decoration.” Oh, yea, and I don’t want to spend a bunch of money on flowers that will die.

We don’t know a thing about gardening. Let the research begin.

My plan is to use all white for everything else — linens, chairs, napkins. Because I don’t know enough yet about what kinds of flowers we’ll pull from the garden, white is safest.

But, what flowers can we grow and count on in late May? I started with my favorite flowers, then narrowing down the list to those that will bloom at the right time.

Hydrangeas. Love, love, love. My neighbors have a fabulous hydrangea bush that produced the flower in the header as well as this one (still alive and well 10 days later). I plucked this one in September, but I’m pretty sure I cut a bunch in June as well. Endless Summer hydrangeas seem to be the way to go.

Roses. This bouquet was cut from our completely neglected rosebushes last Mother’s Day.
Beautiful, right? Perhaps not as professional looking as, ya know, bouquets by the professionals, but good enough for me. The big purple one in the top center is fragrant, as are the tiny yellow roses you can barely see in the bottom left corner.
Carefree Spirit shrub rose at Jackson & Perkins. Wouldn’t this make a happy and bright single flower bouquet?
Or how about Sweet Freedom? And it’s fragrant!

Tulips. Happy! Spring-ish! Bright! I don’t know, though, for some reason this seems like the easy way out. Also, I think that late May is too late for tulips in Tennessee.

Poppies! So happy and silly all at once. Stylish. Unfortunately, my research shows that they are delicate, bloom only briefly, and did I mention that delicate things and I don’t mix well?

I almost forgot peonies! How could I? I don’t know much about them except that they’re often hard to get shipped… assuming they’re delicate? I’ll have to do more research.

Mixed inspiration bouquet.
He-llo, beautiful. Nice to meet you, Garden Rose. I think we’ll be friends. (Joined in this picture by maidenhair fern — looks like parsley — and pale pink cymbidiums).

I’m leaning toward roses for a couple of reasons. First, I know they can grow on our property. Second, both of my grandmothers and my recently departed grandfather loved roses. Third, they’re perennial, and I’d love to cut a bunch every year for our anniversary. Fourth, we don’t have to plant bareroot roses until March, giving us time to pick colors and locations. Finally, we can plant a bunch and see what blooms. Worst case, I can beg flowers from my neighbors or buy a bunch at the florist at the last minute.

I’d love to plant a rosebush in memory of each of my grandparents and one special rose to commemorate our marriage. Adding in a bloom or two from our existing plants will tie us to the history of this property (and the 40+ year marriage it housed), and perhaps our neighbors will contribute another bloom or two as a symbol of our fabulous community.

On the other hand, I love me some hydrangeas. They’re elegant and beautiful, simple and showy (but not flashy!).

I have so many questions. Will roses continue to bloom all summer? Will they bloom early enough? Will they bloom the first year we plant them? Can we count on hydrangeas in May? Do I need to pick a color, or can I throw them all in together? How badly can I mess this up?

Any gardeners out there willing to point me to a good book or link for learning about roses and hydrangeas? Any brides who grew their own flowers?

Stay tuned… I still need to figure out what to do with the clearing!

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Garden Bride

Posted on October 1, 2008. Filed under: garden |

Have I mentioned any of the plans we have for our wedding? No? Shame on me! The F* and I bought a house together in April of this year, and we discovered that it came with almost two acres of land. Yowza. So, in addition to the lot that you’d expect — front yard, side yard, and a narrow slit of a backyard — we also have a trail that leads down the side of a big hill to a clearing about 50 yards across. It’s amazing, and we are so lucky to live in a home that was well-loved by our predecessors.

(Excuse the crazy filters on these pics. I got a new camera and was playing with the settings.)

{Incidentally, the couple who lived here before us moved in in 1961 and lived the remainder of their years here. She died in 1997, and he died in March, just a few months after he moved out. He was a Master Gardener — and apparent handyman, judging by the DIY light fixtures, cedar-lined closets, and basement decor. More on that later.}

The F suggested early on in our marriage discussions that we should get married in the clearing. How romantic! Except that I’m not only romantic, I’m pragmatic, and all I could think was, “Oh, crap, we have a lot of work to do. And how will we power a sound system without blowing the fuses?” You read that right. Fuses. While we got original oak hardwood floors, the aforementioned cedar-lined closets, and 5 foot wide hallways, we are also the proud owners of a 1700 square foot creepy basement apartment that was last updated in the 70’s, an overgrown trail and clearing, and an electrical system based on fuses.

I’m very excited to be married to my favorite guy ever on the grounds of our first home together, and can’t wait to show our kids the pictures. On the other hand, we have a lot of work to do before spring, not least of which involves learning enough about gardening to clear and augment the great piece of property we live on.

Are there any gardeners in the audience? What would YOU do with this trail and clearing? Clean it up, leave it wild, or try to tame it with new plantings?

*F = Fiance, though I might sometimes use FH (Future Hubby) instead.

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    I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt (and divorce papers) to prove it. Here I am again, pledging my life to my (new) love with eyes wide open (and heart racing) knowing full well how emotionally traumatic this can end… and doing it anyway.


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