Curious Lola

Smell This!

No, really. You’ll like it.

Tis that time of year where I head off to Cedarbrook Lavender & Herb Farm for the annual Sequim Lavender Festival happening the 16th, 17th, and 18th of this month. And what better time than now for me to plug my parent’s farm.

I won’t tell you about the quite amazing farm cats, the most amazing burger mastered by my pop, the fact that, yes, upon entering Sequim, the skies do open and it IS sunny (even though a cloud may be dumping on your head on the mainland), the adorable quail babies…

… but the flowers…. will… be… fantastic…. Especially this year, the flowers have all been preparing themselves to be ripe with beauty just about the time you and I roll in. I stopped by last week to take a few pics of what you can expect.

This Folgate lavender is one of the most vivid purples and is our best culinary lavender. It is also a great landscape plant! That’s green santolina in the back.

Green Santolina ready to burst.

This plant is Ballotia. It is organized into fuzzy tiers of a beautiful mint/ light lime color. I love this plant because of its long lasting beauty. It’s received a large serving of neglect in my yard and has performed wonderfully. I love using this plant in bouquets.

This plant was new to me. I’ve never noticed it before. It’s burnet and is edible like a lot of the plants in Cedarbrook’s Garden. My parent’s use herbs from their gardens for cooking and garnishing the dishes in their restaurant.

Some weird curry? Smells like it. I tried using this in a floral arrangement last year. No bueno. But it does look great in the landscape.

Fennel! Delicious AND beautiful.

This is another of my all time faves. AND Cedarbrook is the only place I’ve ever seen it sold. It is an ornamental oregano called ‘Kent Beauty’. It is so lovely that people gasp when they walk by it. It is so delicate and fabulous in hot spots and containers.

More Folgate (an angustifolia, by the way).

With the recent heat, I bet these peonies will be popped. The peonies on this farm are nearing forty years old. Forty years. And I’m fairly certain it gets nearly no maintenance. Its roots are probably shakin’ roots (that’s how plants meet, right?) with the heritage pear clear across the garden.

This adorable little Spanish lavender is tender but so cute in containers. It is L. stoechas ‘Pinnata’.

Here is a more robust Spanish Lavender with flower heads like big fat bumble bees. Which reminds me, bees love lavender but fear not! Through years of wrassling bee laden lavender plants at harvest time (sometimes up to 40 bees per plant), I have yet to be stung. Our honey guy says they are drunk off of nectar and if you are nice about shoo-ing the happy flyer, they don’t bother you.

This is one of my favorite lavenders. It is L. angustifolia ‘Royal Velvet’. I love its mid length stem, great landscape size, and neatly organized whorls of buds.

You say agressive, I say easy to grow. I never get sick of Stachys.

Thyme! Again with the delicious and beautiful.

The flowers and festivities are worth checking out. And where will I be during all this? Spreading landscape design advice? Creating gorgeous flower arrangements? No. You will find me at the food hut pushing sammies, herbed sodas, and lavender lattes. They will also be delicious and beautiful.

Rock. flower. frog.

I’m often filling my pockets with beach rocks, twigs, and pods. I’ve got the stuff spilling out of bowls on shelves, in and around frames, just everywhere. Usually it sits there waiting for me to use it in some manifestation of craft glory. Most of the time it collects dust and sometimes houses an unlucky bug.  I finally pulled these larger rocks down to put together a quick, easy, but elegant floral arrangement that could be placed solo on a table for simple elegance, or massed for an odd, minimalistic nature scene. Used are iris and tulips. The leaves I removed. I kept some to arrange independently in the frog and others went to the compost heap.  A frog is a heavy piece of metal either with dense spikes, or a cage to separate and hold stems in a vase.  I used this monstrous one, but there are small frogs the size of a button that are more inconspicuous.

These arrangements were not in a vase, so they did not get watered. I suppose a small dish with small frogs could get enough water to the flowers and still conceal the mechanics.

Here are the arrangements,

This is so fast, cheap, and simple that it would be great for a DIY bride or party host to throw together, or delegate to a helper.

The whole water thing can be tricky however. I had never figured out how long these flowers would hold up out of water. I figured I’d bring everything to my office and see which flower came out on top in a battle to the death. Here are the results:

Please keep in mind, these flowers were removed from water at 7:30, handled at my morning coffee shop stop, and then endured a jostling bus ride to my office. The tulip got the brunt of the abuse on the bus by unknowingly being tossed under a seat, resulting in an awkward encounter with a stranger and an even more awkward conversation about fabric weight of slacks these days.  AND it’s cold here in Seattle so the flowers did not have the heat to contend with (important if your party or event is in the summer or in areas with hotter climates).

Ultimately, my not-so-scientific experiment tells me that a tulip can handle about 2 hours of no water while the powerful iris can handle about 5. Also interesting was that when placed back in water at the end of their tortuous ordeal, both flowers perked right back up.

Taira + Kyle

Here are some lovely snippets from Taira and Kyle’s wedding this fall on Camano Island. Taira’s bouquet consisted of four types of roses and stephanotis hand tied into an enormo bouquet. I loved working with this down to earth, fun-loving couple. And nice work on the rock, Kyle. Gorgeous.

Man flowers…

Well, these still maybe girly, but somewhat less fluffy than some of the English gardens I’ve seen groom’s and their packs awkwardly sporting. Maybe truly manly boutonnieres will be a future post topic…. I’m envisioning legos, transformers, a pez dispenser.

I had a few roses left from a late November wedding (post coming soon) and thought I would make some man adornments (mandornments?… nevermind) that could reflect the mood of the wedding without sacrificing masculinity.

In general, I think man’s look is more balanced with a very petite boutonniere. That way it supports the ensemble rather than bombards it. There are so many other places I’d rather look than the man’s lapel. Most of my leftover roses, however, fell into the bombardment category. Here’s what happened.

Boutonniere 1: Forest-inspired (can you sense an obsession yet?)

What is it made of?-  ‘Anna’ Rose, Brassilia, Ruscus, lichen, twig. I love the subtle colors in this rose. The outer petals (removed) actually transition to a magenta stripe.

Boutonniere 2: Titanic Lace… Okay, so this one is totally girly. But I love the flower so much.

What is it made of?- ‘Titanic’ Rose with lace wrap. My endlessly patient model cringed when I forced this one upon him. But I like it.

Boutonniere 3: Prairie

What is it made of?-  ‘Vendela’ Rose, Snowberry (one of my faves), scabiosa pod, and a couple sprigs of grass flowers. This rose is a smaller rose and was a good scale. The grass I thought twice about but now I love. It adds some airy, country feel to it.

Boutonniere 4: Sea Disco

What is it made of?- ‘Vendela’ Rose, bear grass, turquoise and green sequins with black sequin wrap! YES!

Boutonniere 5: Birch

What is it made of?- ‘Mt. Everest’ Rose, Some kind of beach growing grass, and birch bark.- Given the chance again I think I would forgo the white bow.

Boutonniere 6: Autumn garden

What is it made of?- Asters, Ceanothus (purple), myrica foliage, spiraea seed head, and twine. I love this. It’s like a miniature bouquet all with items pulled from the garden… and garage.

Boutonniere 7: Pink

What is it made of?- ‘Titanic’ Rose, brassilia, and groundcover roses with blue ribbon wrap. This rose is definitely a big one, but with a shorter stem and the small accents, I think it looks balanced and fantastic. And though it is way pinker than the other pink boutonniere with the same rose, I didn’t get any weird looks from my model.

Stay tuned for wedding photos, Rose analyses, and easy arrangements involving fun with rocks.


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