Happy May! And happy birthday week to me!
I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate my birthday this weekend than to share what I love the most. Flowers.
Would you like to know how I came to love flowers?
My Flower Journey
When I returned home from India at the end of 2012, I had been away for a total of 5 years. Right after graduating high school I moved to Texas where I would spend four years doing ministry as an intern and staff member. I spent the following year in my second heart-land, India. So, upon returning home, I was ready to put some roots down. I remember the simple thought of how nice it would be to plant a few flowers so I would have some to put on the table in the summer. And that's where it started.
I bargained with Dad for a 10x3 ft area of ground, where an old fruit garden used to be, and developed my first flower bed. I carefully planned the layout, packing wayyy too many flowers in that little plot than practical, and made my first solo trip to the greenhouse. It was a world unknown yet to me. There were soo many different types of flowers and they all had different habits and growth times and needs! I spent every evening tending to that little bed. I remember telling dad that summer that if flowers grew by being watched then mine would be huge! Haha. I love being outdoors and always took the excuse to tag along with dad while he tended to the deer in the summers. Now I had a project of my own.
Before this point, I really knew very little about flowers. We had a vegetable garden growing up and dad is a tree person so I knew the basics of growing things, but not much about flowers. I've learned a ton since then but still feel like there's an endless amount to know. I covet wisdom from seasoned gardeners. My favorite flowers are peonies, garden roses, and dahlias although I can't say that there is any flower that I don't like! They are all so unique and beautiful. Some things that captivate me are the scent of verbena, the bounty of zinnias, the brilliance of snapdragons, the simplicity of daisies and the willpower of violets, just to name a few!
Some of the flowers in my bed that first year included starts for peonies, which are finally in their peak this year and filling my heart with their lush pink blooms!, snapdragons, alyssum, salvia, and daisies, many of which have found their way into my permanent garden.
The second year I added another equal sized flower bed and mulched over the entire old fruit patch to create a sitting area for myself in this little oasis I had created. There is a deer pen beside the one side and a field in the back leaving much to be desired, but the space has served me so well!
I always brought the flowers in for the table but it wasn't until the end of 2014, year two, when I started really arranging flowers. I had seen quite a few pictures online from bloggers and wedding coordinators of a style of bouquet that was wild and organic and I fell in love with. I tried my hand at it that fall for our Thanksgiving table and my aesthetic eye was captivated! So the following year, 2015, every bundle of flowers I collected from my garden was a part of a bouquet creation. My heart truly came alive and I started to dream. Mostly I enjoyed giving them away and carefully creating them with someone in mind. There is something intoxicating about the living beauty.
This year, part of that dream has culminated into making the whole vegetable garden (a 15x30ft ground bed) into a cut flower garden. I grew vegetables in the past couple years and loved cultivating those too but decided that I'd be just as satisfied to buy them from a local produce stand and use the space for something I really enjoyed.
I also decided, this year, to start as many flowers as I could from seed. Starting in March I had seedling trays in front of our patio door in the kitchen. It was a great way for me to get my hands in the dirt early and I learned so much about my plants by growing them from seed!
It's mid-May and everything is planted and in the ground (except dahlias, which are inside growing for cuttings and waiting for the ground to warm some more)! This is probably my favorite part, nurturing and cultivating after planting. The best part though is when they are healthy, flourishing, in full bloom and being brought in for bouquets! I equally love working the ground and creating floral masterpieces. That's why I choose to grow my own. You can call me a farmer/ florist. ;) This first month after planting is always the hardest when growth seems incredibly slow! It will be a full month or two before my plants are really thriving and blooming.
What's In My Garden
In my flower beds are the majority of my perennial plants including: peonies, David Austin roses, lupine, salvia, lavender, lambs ear, day lily, and iris.
For the large ground bed I chose plants that are very easy to grow and bountiful in our area. So, I have a large variety of zinnia, cosmos, sunflower, dahlia, snapdragon, and poppy. There's a fair amount of daisies, celosia, larkspur, sweet pea, anemone, dianthus, hollyhock, craspedia drumstick and gladiolus. And a handful of other things like marigolds, nemesia, verbena, nasturium, stock, alyssum and petunias. Foliage plants include my vines: love lies bleeding and cup and saucer vine as well as dusty miller, lambs ear, bells of Ireland, buplureum, coleus, variegated vinca vine and parrots beak.
I loved praying God's blessing over these little seedlings and can't wait to see the beautiful blooms that will emerge from them and be placed into the hands of others. It will be a beautiful year. A dream year.
It's so rewarding to take a little seed, put your hands in the dirt and grow something beautiful. For me, it is nurturing to my soul, and a way for me to create and share beauty with others.
I'm guessing if you're here that you are flower admirer as well. I'm so glad for our kindred spirits. Thanks for sharing flower-love with me!
What are your favorite flowers? What are you growing this year? Any questions or advice?