Pods and Neato Botanicals
There’s a jerk of a weed in my garden that spreads by smacking my face with catapulted seeds as soon as an arm hair so much as moves the wind next to it. I, a giant in comparison to this weasley, green beast have been brought to the ground, incapacitated by a recklessly strewn seed in the eye.
While I hate it, I have to marvel at its guerilla, offensive survival tactics. I can marvel much more painlessly, at these little natural wonders which, like the “I hate you” weed, have found unique ways to promote their species in a much more pleasant, defensive way.
Pods! Secure, nourishing, safe homes in which seeds can rest before coming out into an uncertain and dangerous world. Their function is roughly the same but their shapes and textures are so variable….and beautiful.
When putting together plans for your fall wedding or your autumn celebration, seek out these pods and others left over by the summer.
The bold, graphic shape of lotus pods lend itself to edgier arrangement. Love-in-a-mist pods had a lovely blue flower on them. The tendrils give the pod an other worldly feel but can also be very delicate in a naturalistic arrangement. I always make a point of gathering scabiosa pods from my parent’s farm, Cedarbrook Lavender Farm , in the fall. I get more compliments about this pod than anything I use.
A cone is kind of like a pod. I remember a girl in my neighborhood made cone roses like these when I was a wee one. I thought she was magic. These Badam pods look like a cross between an oyster and a heart. These would work great as unique boutonnieres. This dainty tamarack cone makes a wonderful rose shape. Yucca pods would look great with gold paint on the inside.
I’ve never seen these ram’s head pods before. They are amazing and I can’t wait to use them. What a great alternative to fiddlehead ferns which can be expensive and squishy-stemmed. Fruit is kind of pod-like. How about dried or fresh pomegranates? And snowberries are in season now. I love this white berry in bouquets because there is no scare that it will end up looking like a pb&j sandwich on the bride’s dress.
Wall of Flowers & My Trusty Sketch Pad
For the last two years I’ve been providing floral arrangements for Seattle University. The best part is, I get to put down my bouquets, throw on my utilikilt (not really), pull out my sketch book, and construct something large. 20 feet long by 10 feet tall to be exact. This time, it is… THE WALL OF FLOWERS! (sorry the photos are a little grainy)
This post is not so much to show you how neat the wall was, but really to bring up a communication medium that should be promoted. Sketching. I use it daily to communicate since words, when spewn from my mouth, take on a kitten-thrashed yarn ball quality. I don’t notice this happening to others as often, and it may just be my own perception. But, many times I find myself staring at a client, mouth ajar, words smacking into each other in my head, but none floating to the top. These are not hard words. I’m talking about words that I had probably used several times that day, like progress, or notify, or discuss…stapler. Luckily, I have a pen, paper, my hand, your napkin, to pick up where my brain checks out. (By the way, this also means I am a champion blind-drawer, and have an uncanny ability to spell backwards during bouts of Cranium… This also means that if you are a person who likes to fill in the blanks, we will probably get along great).
So I’d like to share with you the humble sketch for the Wall of Flowers and its associated gooey verbal description in dialog form.
Seattle University Client: “So what is this going to look like?”
Me: “Kind of this sandwich trellis thing with one side colored another color so when you look at it sideways you get a glimpse of another color with flowers in tubes stuck around in splotches a couple of places that’ll kind of fade out like whoooosh. Maybe they’ll join together but maybe not.” (I want to point out that I am 30 years old, not 5) “I’ll draw something up for you” (ding ding ding)
Seattle University Client: “Ah, I see, you are hired.”
(Thank you trusty sketchbook!)
And then we follow up with a more detailed version…
One exciting bonus: During wind storms, the tent wall behind the Wall of Flowers would smack the backs of the flower tubes and send them flying out of the wall. This resulted in the renaming of the wall to the Suicidal Flower Wall.
Handfuls of Happy
And what should we do with all those perdy flowers? Why, we’ll squish ’em all together, stick a ribbon on it, and send it down the aisle.
Here are some lovely pictures of recent wedding flowers created by Lola Event Floral & Design (aka: me) that include the flower of choice from last weeks post- dahlias.
Sarah wanted a big, bold, lively bouquet with magenta and orange. As an added bonus, the ‘mini’ orange callas that I ordered were about the size of Paul Bunyan’s adam’s apple. Not so mini.
There are some dahlias in there that verge on purple. They almost look iridescent- like the wings of a beetle, or the exterior walls of the Experience Music Project.
Now I’ve never met the groom, but I imagined with a name like Simba, he must be a stylish, keenly observant man with excellent dance moves. Clearly this boutonniere reflects that.
This bouquet was a mock-up.
Stay tuned for more bouquet photos including herb bouquets and beach themed bouquets.
It’s time for dahlias. We are verging on Western Washington’s yearly color explosion of happy dahlias. I recently stopped by Skagit Heights Dahlia Farm to see the party and thought I would share.
Dahlias look delicious. I can’t find any other way to explain them. The way a dahlia can flush from cream to pink at the tips, or the perfect round curl of a pom pom petal just makes me want to put them in my mouth. (don’t worry Skagit Heights Dahlia people, I restrained myself)
I stopped by on an overcast day in August after it had rained (we are never safe from the rain…not even in August). Instead of looking droopy and sad, the flowers looked extra voluptuous, sucking in all that moisture and standing tall and turgid. The indirect light made the magentas and cool tones glow.
I wonder if a cool, rain saturated dahlia, to a cow in summer, would taste something like a ‘Big Stick’ popsicle. Cool, bursting with refreshment, bright, fruity and delicious. I think, yes.
I love this one. It is referred to as a ‘waterlily’ shape. I also love the dark foliage and simple shape of ‘Sunshine’
Thank you Skagit Heights Dahlia Farm. Your flowers look delicious.
By the way, if you are using dahlias in a flower arrangement, the best method I’ve learned to ensure they last as long as possible is to do the following:
- Cut dahlias early, early, early in the morning (oh and shake out the earwigs. Ew.)
- Put cut stems into containers filled with a couple of inches of boiling water.
- Let the flowers sit in the water for about 2-4 hours.
- The stems will look kind of brown but that is okay. Cut them again if you need them shorter and they should last.
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.
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.
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.
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.