April should be the REAL New Year! For me it’s a month of promise where the energy of the earth is unavoidable to witness. Despite the uncertainties of Winter, April brings with it urges to get up off the couch and contribute to new beginnings. Feelings of hope, happiness and anticipation that come with planting a cutting patch have been irresistible and the springtime flowers that are already blooming recklessly are playing the messenger….I actually forgot about the forget me not seeds I scattered in the fall and when I saw them blooming I felt like they were screaming out ‘remember me!’. Every single morning I witness new arrivals. Everything seems to have grown since yesterday! Spring just can not be restrained. And neither can I. So begins my second year of growing flowers to cut and fill our house with their beauty.
Welcome 2016! It has been a year since I began my 4 Blooms and a Bee journey, and I have to say, when I think back to this time last year, I had no idea how much beauty, discovery, and hard work I was about to encounter!
With the garden looking so bare right now it’s hard to believe that flowers actually bloomed, that bees busily buzzed and that aromas filled the summer air of our little garden.When I look back at these photos it reminds me what an amazing year our family had in our garden. It was so worth it. The happiness and contentment I felt when working in the garden was enough to get me officially hooked. Not only that, our house was filled with seasonal flowers all year round which always brightened my day.
Here are a few of my favourite arrangements, one from each season.Another great pleasure I have had over the last year is having the chance to share the whole experience with my friends and family. The original aim of 4 Blooms and a Bee was to get people thinking about the origin of the flowers they are buying, inspire others to seek out more local, seasonal alternatives and even try to grow their own seasonal blooms. On occasion I think I may have achieved this, but mostly I have opened a new discussion with friends and family that I had not had before, and for that I am grateful.
I can’t get enough of these Ilex berries that are everywhere in the flower shops right now.
I have been desperate to buy them, their seasonal presence being so profound. So when I found some that were BC grown, I was so chuffed!
I mixed them with some fallen stems of winter foliage I found on my local weekly forest walk and here is the result.
Encouraged by the look of my door wreath and the fun I had making the base by weaving grape vines, I decided to do another one for a table centerpiece. I made this one a bit thicker so I could insert into it some single candle holders I bought from the craft store and spray painted silver. I then used some ivy, berries, and fir cones from the garden to decorate it. I was mostly able to attach them by winding the stems into the vines, but for the candle holders and some of the fir cones my glue gun was a requirement!Another option for such a centerpiece is demonstrated by Willow Crossley in her book Inspire, The Art of Living with Nature, who ties a similar peppercorn wreath from the ceiling over her kitchen table. I much preferred the look of this option but it didn’t work for our kitchen table. Here are a few pictures anyway for an example of how the centre piece could hang.
With less than 3 weeks to Christmas it’s about time I got into the spirit of things with a Christmas arrangement. I bought some lovely locally grown Alstroemeria and bright white Chrysanthemums from the local corner store and put them together with a few sprigs of Christmassy foliage from the garden. To me, the red, white and green colours just scream out Christmas and make a pretty addition to any coffee or side table.
Week 40 of The Blooms
I have been dreaming about using branches with this amazing coloured berry in an arrangement, ever since I saw them this time last year in a garden in my neighbourhood. When I first saw them I was on a run and I had to stop as I literally couldn’t believe the beautiful purple colour of the berries. I was not shocked when I returned home and found the name of the shrub to be Callicarpa, better known as Beautyberry. I thought about looking in the garden centre to see if I could buy myself one of these beautiful berry producing shrubs but of course I didn’t get around to it.I couldn’t believe it when last week I stumbled across the purple berries again a year later, this time on some fallen branches by a bigger Callicarpa bush at a local woodland park. I salvaged what I could from the fallen branches and had to restrain myself from picking some of the larger branches from the shrub!If anything was going to crank me up a notch and get me blogging again, this was it. Even though it’s really just a few short twigs in a jar, they really do look beautiful to me!
Never has the change in seasons been more visible to me than this year now I have my own cutting patch. And the change from Summer to Autumn has, I have to admit, been the most depressing. Don’t get me wrong, amidst the over growing flowers and browning of the leaves there has been unbelievable beauty surrounding me, but seeing my flowers die and come to an end in such a messy way brought me one October day to literally pull up my whole cutting patch! There had not yet been a frost, so I think there was probably a few weeks left in my Dahlias, Zinnias and Cosmos but I couldn’t bear it any longer! Once I’d done it, it felt good to have a clean slate again. I filled up my beds with more soil and compost, dug up and prepared my Dahlia tubers for winter, and started planting my early spring bulbs.When I look outside now though and see the empty boxes I can’t help but feel a pang of desire for curved flower beds and a perennial garden, one that is not such a production line of flower growing! I wonder about next year and what I will grow. And then my eyes turn to the beauty in the rest of my garden, the tress, and nature around me. Summer and all its abundance might be over but Autumn brings with it its own breath-taking beauty and some of the most amazing colours I have ever seen.