Fragrant Flowers

I’ve neglected blogging for a few reasons, the most important of which is that two friends of mine recently experienced sudden deaths in their families, one a husband, another a young adult son. As a result, I was going to memorial services and receptions, and creating flower arrangements for one of those. The bereaved widow is Asian-American, born in Hong Kong, so I did a little research into appropriate flowers. The main thing I learned is that one CANNOT use the color red, and white is the most appropriate color. One can combine it with touches of blue or yellow. So off to Trader Joe’s I went, because they have beautiful bunches of fresh flowers ready to be arranged, and also potted orchids for reasonable prices.

I was very pleased with the final result: one big arrangement with lots of fragrant white Oriental lilies, pale blue delphiniums, and green Bells of Ireland for the main table, and several potted orchids to put on other tables. I also used white evening stock and a softer form of eucalyptus than one usually sees, both very fragrant. In the face of death, one feels so helpless to do or say anything useful. Providing the flowers helped.

After my bout of flower arranging, I started planting the MANY bulbs I bought a couple of weeks ago. I love spring bulbs, and I always buy and plant as many daffodils, jonquils, and other narcissi as I can. Some go in the ground; some go in outdoor pots; some go in pots that I will force indoors. One of the reasons I love these flowers so much is their fragrance. I also cherish their bright colors and graceful shapes. One of my favorites is “Thalia”, a graceful jonquil with white flowers that almost look like orchids. Another is “February Gold”, an early variety that returns reliably year after year in my garden. Its cheerful yellow flowers are a sign that spring has arrived, though they don’t appear as early as a wonderful daffodil, “Rijnveld’s Early Sensation”. When I’ve had that in my garden, it has started blooming in late January. Marvelous!

Assortment of dry flower bulbs.
Flower bulbs

So I’ve been very, very busy, though not without fragrance. I’m also now quite stiff, having spent hours on my knees, trowel in hand. I have many more to go, so wish me luck! My son helped me replace some half-dead azaleas a couple of weeks ago; thank goodness, I was able to find the same old-fashioned variety (“Coral Bells”) at our local state farmer’s market, because they are part of a gorgeous hedge of pink azaleas. You can’t find it at retail nurseries any more, but there is a nursery supplier at the farmer’s market who always has them. Whew! Have you been doing any fall planting?

shallow focus photography of pink petaled flowers
Photo by Claudia Zuidema on Pexels.com

Autumn

One of my daughters and I recently enjoyed a long weekend in New Hampshire. The fall foliage was at its peak, but days were still warm and sunny, and butterflies were still out seeking nectar. The Lakes Region is so beautiful this time of year!

Happy Birthday, Old Herbaceous!

WordPress reminded me yesterday that I had started blogging four years ago that day. It doesn’t seem possible that it has been that long, but it has — I started this blog the summer that I came home from a trip to London with a broken shoulder, was confined to home for several weeks, and couldn’t leave the house, let alone do any gardening. So I read gardening books instead, and shared snippets of them here. And so a blog was born.

Thank you, to those who occasionally follow my meanderings! The best part of blogging is sharing a little piece of thought and sending it out into the world, knowing that it will connect with someone who reads it. Happy summer, and happy gardening! Do you have any garden projects underway?

Featured image from http://www.annegeddes.com

More Signs of Spring

Blooms of lily of the valley or muguet

The first lily of the valley blooms have emerged in my garden, in the last days of March. I love lilies of the valley but they can be hard to grow here in Zone 7, so I’m delighted that these have decided to return. They emit one of my favorite fragrances, the inimitable “muguet“.  Do you grow lilies of the valley? When do they emerge in your garden?

Ghost Gardens

Gardens at Chatsworth revealed by drought; image by OLIVER JESSOP/CHATSWORTH HOUSE.

This past summer’s drought in the British Isles and Ireland have revealed many subterranean secrets, from ancient prehistoric sites to hidden garden structures and outlines. Here is a wonderful article about one such revelation: How a Heat Wave Revealed the Outlines of a Hidden Garden and Ghost Village.  I have never visited Chatsworth, although it is on my list to see, especially as it hosts one of the Royal Horticultural Society’s famous flower shows, the “RHS Chatsworth Flower Show.”

I did visit England this past May, and attend the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, before the summer of drought. On a later summer visit to Ireland, in August, the gardeners at Powerscourt were bemoaning the drought and its effect on their beautiful gardens. I must say, the gardens were still spectacular and I can’t wait to visit them again!