...if you have a backyard and a kitchen, this blog might be for you!

a chronicle of tips and recipes on everything from gardening to canning and baking your produce, even if you're planted in suburbia...in fact, especially if you are planted in suburbia.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

...With Cockle Shells and Silver Bells...

(not that these are cockle shells or silver bells, but they ARE from my wildflower garden!)

Today's quite contrary Mary is less likely to create a fuss with her garden and more likely to with her three full carts and an accordian file of coupons, as she waits in line at the grocery store. Many suburban households are jumping on the current trend: extreme couponing. Some form clubs for coupon exchange much like their ancestresses gathered for quilting bees! While I'm not wired for that sort of neighborhood club, I AM interested in trying another sort of neighborhood club. A cut-flower exchange club.

I am only just developing this concept, and really it came up quite randomly, as many of the best ideas do. One of my neighbors stopped by to invite us to a backyard cookout, and as we chatted we wandered amongst the flowers. (One of the delights of a summer evening!) I pointed out my drooping Iris population.

"They're lovely, but I can't afford to stake them all!" I lamented.

A bit of research since then has taught me that I don't have "good" Iris plants anyway, for a good Iris has a strong stalk and can support multiple blooms without falling. In fact, one forum commentator said: "Apparently there was quite a scandal in the iris community when an iris with only 5 flowers that needed to be staked was given an award." I'm learning a bit about how and when to fertilize them for better standing power.
(Read more of that conversation on: Iris question Bulbs and Tubers http://my.gardenguides.com/forums/topic/11967#ixzz1ObU8l0i1)

But for now, my friend's best recommendation was: cut them and stick them in a vase. So I did. In fact, I took that vase of flowers to be a centerpiece on her barbecue buffet table at that cookout.

No more lazy Iris flowers looking pitiful and weak!

A couple of days later, I returned from shopping to find that same vase sitting in my driveway, filled with roses from her own garden. And so the club was born. Now I'm considering filling that vase with a fresh display of Bachelor's Buttons and walking across to another neighbor who also raises perennials and offering a similar exchange.

But all this implies a core knowledge of good cutting practices in the flower garden. I could be better informed, and so I did a little info-surfing on this topic. I considered giving a synopsis of the following link as I learned quite a bit there; but it contains such a useful chart I thought you might want the link for yourself. http://www.gardenguides.com/122-cutting-flowers.html
The chart specifies "when to cut" various types of popular garden flowers. As the article's author states: "When flowers are cut at the optimum stage, bouquets and arrangements will last longer and look better."

If I could, I'd trade that vase of Bachelor's Buttons with a cyber-neighbor, but unfortunately she lives several states away, so I'll have to settle for sending her a few photos.

While on the subject of photos, here's a beautiful blog written by a talented garden photographer. If you have any interest in the hobby of floral photography, or if you find that floral photography soothes your soul, you'll really enjoy adding David Perry to your blog roll!http://web.mac.com/davidperryphoto1/GardenBlog/A_Fresh_Bouquet.html

Happy cutting!

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