yeah for summer!

Time. It keeps moving forward…and here in Maine, it’s so obvious. Obvious because of the cycle of the seasons and the flowers (or lack of) each season brings.

After being here, year round these past six years, I’ve begun to notice the pattern of the flowers on this peninsula. First it’s the snow drops, then the tulips, followed by the daffodils, the apple blossoms, the ferns…the buttercups, forget me nots… and it goes on and on until the chill of fall begins putting things back to sleep…

ferns

buttercups and forget me nots

I’ve been wanting to post since before the daffodils

daffodils open

and before the apple trees began to bud.

apple buds

 

I then I tried before their blossoms appeared, though now those beautiful flowers are long gone…

apple blossoms I did take full advantage of bringing a few inside while they were here…they are (were) so beautiful!

I tried to write while the lilacs were still buds

lilac buds

and winter jackets were still needed, though while the jackets (thankfully) are finally packed away, the lilac flowers have come and gone too.

lilacs

I can say the same about when the rosa rugosa started to bud; I wanted to post, but time escaped me, again…It was so exciting when their buds finally began to open and their greenery popped out in early spring,

rugosa beginnings

though now they are even more intoxicating – their sweet scent being carried on the wind, into my (now) open kitchen windows…luxury, to say the least.

rugosa buds

rugosa

The lupines are here (though they are almost gone now too)

IMG_4660_2 lupines

and the iris’s are blooming, though quickly passing.

iris

Tiger lilies are beginning to bud and other types have already blossomed.

tiger lilly buds

I look forward to my peonies, nasturtiums and morning glories…though realize they too will come and go. But, I’m not rushing, nor forgetting to appreciate the here and now! While spring may be ending, summer is just beginning!

peony bud

So while the flowers, whichever they may be, are here, I will enjoy them. I will pick them, eat them (nasturtiums), give them away and decorate with them.

For me, late spring and all of summer is a time of freshly picked flowers in every room, freshly harvested vegetables from the backyard, and the hope that with the heat, comes a more slow pace, if only for a few weeks…

Flowers remind me just how fleeting life can be and how beautiful it is.

And don’t even get me started on all the loveliness in the vegetable garden, time goes quickly there too! If you don’t get your seeds/plants in on time, well, you miss out…

Here’s a sneak peek at what is happening back there!

chive flowers

swiss chard

lettuce

pansys

I’ve never tried starting pansy’s from seed and this year I did! I’m so pleased that they are finally blooming!!

kale

potatoes

the garden

Happy Summer!

 

re-using flowers

My gardens have taken a back seat in my life lately, but just last week I said to myself, that’s it. It’s time to organize and clean-up the front flower beds.

It’s time to trim away the browning greenery, cut down the lilies gone by, pull out the ever encroaching weeds… in general – tidy up the flowers that are still growing and keep my front entrance looking bright and cheery. But what to do about the gaps left behind from annuals gone past…?

‘Aha’, I thought to myself.

I have some beautiful French Marigolds in the back garden – why not simply transplant a few up front?

So that’s what Finn and I did.

And while I don’t have any photos of the actual transplanting – it’s a delicate balance working with a three year old, a shovel and the roots of a plant  – I did manage to take a few photos of the front garden now…

front garden

marigolds filled in

This lovely stopped by while we were working…

monarch

And these buzzing beauties are still around…and loving all the marigolds…

busy bees

And while we did leave a few marigolds in the back garden, (we still have swiss chard, gourds and leeks to harvest), the color the transplants added to the front was just what they were needing! The back and front gardens benefit from these fall beauties.

And I didn’t have to buy a thing.

If your in need of a change in your flower beds, or want to start a new bed, think about utilizing plants/bulbs elsewhere in your yard.

Who doesn’t like free flowers?

Enjoy the weekend!

everyone should have fresh cut flowers

I was going to write about Finn’s first day of school (pre-school, that is), which was two days ago…or about the fact that I am now (and have been since early May) working, at night (to supplement our income) as a server (aka, waitress) at a super fun restaurant, with great people – but it’s still waitressing…in addition to keeping up with the house, the laundry, our business, the dishes…phew.

Days are long and the nights are late…mornings now begin only a few hours (or so it feels) after I’ve (finally) fallen asleep…oh the conundrum of working (or not working) as a mom.

Who knew?

But instead of sharing more about my busy life (I’m sure you can relate!), I decided to talk about the little luxuries growing throughout my garden and surrounding my home – my flowers. Flowers I started from seed months ago or planted as bulbs, years ago…

flowers in the garden

They are simply spectacular right now. And all that beauty cost me next to nothing to start – granted there is a time investment, but it’s oh so worth it!

sunroom

It makes me so happy when I look out my windows or pull into my driveway and see a variety of colorful petals and leaves looking back at me…especially when the hummingbirds are humming about…do you see them, there are two!

two hummingbirds

Morning glories, sunflowers, nasturtiums, lilies, beach roses, delphiniums, dahlias, poppies – all started for a few dollars…

nastursiums

zinnia

galdiolas 2

the time invested starting these little beauties is nothing compared to what I’ve gained – and will continue to gain…

a bunch of flowers

I’m already thinking about next years plantings…

sed starting packets

So when I spotted some discounted seed starting pots I had to pick them up – they were only .60 each, how could I not?

That’s 150 seedling beginnings for only $1.80!

Granted, I’ve used used egg cartons in the past, but my ‘egg guy’ has asked us to start returning them to help keep his costs down…so I do. With that in mind, I couldn’t pass this bargain up!

So while our household income has increased (slightly), so have our expenses (Finns education)…every purchase has a purpose (if not a dual one)… Whether it be for necessity or fun, everything is accounted for. But that doesn’t equate nothingness…

Living within your means or more appropriately, on a budget, doesn’t have to mean living without life’s little luxuries….grow your own flowers and enjoy freshly cut flowers all summer through!

It’s the simple things that make life, lovely…the first day of school, watching your child play on the playground with his new school mates and flowers in the garden…

finn at school

flowers in the garden

enjoy.

planting bulbs indoors – all winter long…

Do you miss the scents and sights of flowers outdoors? I do. I live in Maine and winter is quickly approaching, thus flowers are but a distant memory…so what is a flower lover to do? Plant flowers indoors. It’s easier than you think, low maintenance and inexpensive. I personally love Paperwhite Narcissus and Amaryllis.

While Amaryllis are more common to find, boxed with ‘everything you need’ – paperwhites (above) are just as simple, with less waste (no packaging and no plastic pot). You only need four things – of which, two may be used year after year – bulbs, rocks, vase and water – that’s it.  Simple beauty, love it!

Now to start. Gather what you’ll need;

The bulbs (about .80 each), a small vase (think individual bud vase), small stones/rocks (5 lb. bag white rocks $2.99) and water. The stones can be rinsed and re-used for years – I’ve been rinsing and re-using mine for about four years. The water and the bulb will need to be discarded or composted once the flowers have past.

It’s done in 4 easy steps. Pour rocks, place bulb, pour a few more rocks, pour water. It’s that simple, really.

Here you go;

If using new stones, rinse stones first. Place about 1-2″ of stones in vase – amount is dependent upon height of vase. This flower tends to flop over, so the taller and narrower the vase, the better (you can always stake and tie the stem if using a more stout vase).

Place bulb, root side down on top of rocks.

Pour a small amount of stones over the top and sides of bulb, not completely covering bulb, but enough to help weigh it down (again, it’s a top heavy plant, so once roots start shooting downwards and the stem upwards, the stones will aid its’ ability to stand upright). If the vase is quite tall and slender, less rocks are needed on top, if any. (I always like to use a small amount of stones on top, simply to help keep the bulb in place, regardless of vase style).

Then add enough water to cover/reach the root base.

It’s that simple. Be sure to place in area where it will receive indirect sunlight and can enjoy cooler temperatures (60-65 F ) and that’s it – really. Maintain water level and only add when it falls beneath the root line (careful not to overfill as rot may set in), check it about once a week…then watch it grow.

The best part of forcing bulbs indoors is that you can plant subsequent plantings and have fresh flowers all winter long – regardless of your hemisphere! Narcissus typically flower at around 4-6 weeks after planting (depending on conditions), so if you plant every 3 weeks your guaranteed to have sweet scents week after week – even throughout the doldrums of a dark, cold New England winter….The other practical side to plating paperwhites during the winter is that they like cooler temps and indirect sunlight – which is great news for those of us in New England as it is cold and sunshine is fleeting…love this idea below too.

Incredibly scented flowers atop slender bright green stems what’s not beautiful about that? These bulbs also look fabulous planted as a group of 2 or more, in one larger container – just remember to space each bulb and place rocks between each.

Looking for an inexpensive, simple, yet lovely gift? Plant a bulb (or two or more) two weeks prior to gift giving and wrap vase with a bit of red ribbon, the recipient will enjoy loveliness for weeks to come…as will you.

Narcissus planted now, will become divine in December…enjoy.

fall flowers

While tomorrow is the autumn equinox, I am still reminded of the warm days of summer -vicariously through the flowers which still bloom beautifully this time of year.  Now, these are only a few I realize, and if you know of others, please do let me know so I may plant them next year. Flowers in late September and into October are heavenly – especially in Maine, where winters are long and dark and days grow shorter, quickly, this time of year…So, until the first frost comes (which may very well be tonight!), I will continue to enjoy these fall beauties…
I started them all from seed (some months and months ago).

Some direct sow and others by transplanting. For me, starting plants (vegetables + flowers) from seed is much more gratifying than buying ‘ready to plant’, plants. I know that is not the case for everyone, but for me, I like the challenge and then the pride that comes from harvesting your own…not to mention the taste! Rains and unfortunate circumstances thwarted some of my efforts, though in the end, there is plenty of color (and veggies) to go around…still.
Nasturtiums

(a South American trailing plant) have a lovely fullness this time of year…the bright green round leaves surround the flower itself – its’ vibrancy and softness, beautifully delicate – not to mention, they are edible and super sweet as tiny arrangements, bedside…


Sunflowers

(an American plant of the daisy family) who doesn’t like sunflowers? They must be the happiest flower around and while they are starting to droop and getting ready to go to seed, they are still incredibly fun to have around. Mine are 8th. generation – meaning I save seeds every year and plant the following year – these flowers (above) are from flowers eight years ago. I plan to do that with more flowers this year. My cosmos for instance,

while many are still blooming and thriving, may are also going to seed; most flowers are going to seed now too – time to collect…saving seeds is fairly easy. You just collect, dry (if necessary), and store in an airtight container and enjoy the following year.

This is a seed head for a cosmo plant. I simply picked it and the seeds fell into my hand. I’ll   leave them out a few days and seal away for the winter. Seeds for free!
Next are Zinnias

(an American plant of the daisy family). They are so brilliant. I don’t have as many as I’d like to have this year (last year was stellar), but I have enough to enjoy their rich colors all the same. Zinnias are a great cut flower too, they last for ages and they like to be cut – they keep sending out more buds, so cut away…and next to last,

marigolds

(also of the daisy family) – while they aren’t a flower I would normally include in ‘flowers I love’, they do add a richness to the garden at this time of year. They are in full bloom, bursting with color and triple the size they were only a few months ago – they add so much to a vegetable garden, especially when everything else seems to be getting a bit tired and the garden is ‘slowing’ down…though the colder varieties (of vegetables, that is) are just beginning again – beets,

spinach,

kale, lettuce

– I’m growing as long as I can – I truly miss being ‘self-sufficient’ (in terms of veggies) during the winter months – as well as the freedom to go out and cut flowers whenever a new arrangement is needed … perhaps a greenhouse is in order or some variation thereof…

Finally, Morning Glories

(a climbing plant cultivated for it’s trumpet shaped flowers) – they are overtaking the front of my house at the moment and that is just fine with me. Their long green tendrils grabbing and climbing – up and up, higher and higher until they reach the telephone wires – I love it! Go ahead, cover the front wall with your green and purple bursts of color throughout; this flower opens for only a short time and when it does, wow! I realize, soon it will be too cold for all these lovelies, but until then, I will continue to enjoy their scents, color and life…
So, while summer may be over, the beauty is not. Autumn here brings so much too – apple picking, pumpkin carving, cider drinking, hay rides and soup making – so until the last flower says night night, I will continue to enjoy all they have to give, because soon enough they will be gone, only to be replaced with nothingness; white, deep, snow…enjoy the color while it lasts…happy equinox.

flowers flowers everywhere…

I love flowers…especially spring flowers, they are such a welcome sight after a long Maine winter; their colors, scents and delicate nature are incredible…nothing says beauty quite like freshly picked flowers – especially when they are picked by the hands of a child…

                                 “Happiness is to hold flowers in both hands.”

                                                       Japanese Proverb