Homeyer: Cut Flowers

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(Host) Summer is a busy time, especially for gardening guy and
commentator Henry Homeyer, so lately he’s decided to begin each day
with a visit to the garden – just to pick a few flowers.

I’m trying to slow down a bit. Even in the garden, I tend to buzz
around like a hyperactive hummingbird. Planting, weeding, watering,
trimming, mowing – moving perennials and starting new projects. Summer
is short, and there’s so much to do. I haven’t put up my hammock yet,
and some of the Adirondack chairs are still in the barn.

here’s my strategy. Each day, I’ll slow down and pick a few flowers to
put in a vase. I’ve started doing this, and I like it. Most days, I have
dozens of kinds of flowers in bloom, but sometimes I only notice the
most bodacious. But there are those understated beauties that are shyly
showing their petals. So I decided to start my day by wandering around
the property, a vase in hand, looking at what might please me and make a
nice arrangement.

The first day I did this I began by picking
old fashioned pink roses – they are lovely in scent, form and color. I
picked flowers from one that I got when I traded with a dentist – a root
canal for me, free garden help for him. He had a rose he no longer
liked, so I dug it out, brought it home, and it’s now a joy. Near that
climbing rose was a dark red one, Abe Lincoln, I believe it’s called.
Although it’s not supposed to be hardy in my climate, it has survived
for 20 years. Some years it does better than others. This is one of its
good years, and I selected a perfect blossom.

I like contrast in a
flower arrangement, so I looked for something white and frilly. I found
two flowers that met that description. The first was a meadow rue, or
Thalictrum, though I’m not sure which one. These often grow by the side
of the road and require little care. I have other, fancier ones, that I
bought at garden centers, but this one was probably a wild one that just
showed up in my garden. Later, in August, my ‘Lavender Mist" meadow rue
will bloom and grow to be taller than me. All meadow rues are nice

Then I picked a stem of a goatsbeard whose scientific
name is Aruncus dioicus. This is a big plant with white plumes of fluffy
blossoms on stems that are up to 3 feet long. It thrives in part shade,
even in dry shade. It’s a plant that deserves more recognition than it

Lastly, I picked some leaves for contrast. Hosta leaves do
well in vases, and look good on the lower, outside edges of an
arrangement. Then I picked a few stems from an arctic blue willow and
from a purple-leafed common ninebark, one called ‘Diablo’.

My garden has always been a joy for me. And now it’s teaching me how to slow down … and, as they say, smell the roses.

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