We had a brief morning shower on Thursday, less than 1/4″ but the plants were grateful and so was I! Hoping for more, I stayed indoors and canned tomato juice, and made a big batch of my friend Ruth’s “Country Garden Pasta Sauce.” That helped clear some space on my counter again and emptied some buckets.
When the rain stopped, I hurried out to harvest. The melons are ripening SO FAST in this heat. I picked 5 more, plus some cucumbers and cherry tomatoes. Did a little weeding, hoping that the rain had softened the soil a bit, but the moisture was only paper thin, so there was more deadheading until the heat and humidity drove me back indoors. Thus you get a post two days in a row!
As promised, I wanted to report on the durability of “Mandarin Orange” balm as a filler in bouquets. It’s working great, holding up well, retaining color and form much, much better than lemon balm. This bouquet has “Earthwalker” sunflowers, rudbeckia, tansy, feverfew, “Fresh Look Orange” celosia, “Cresto” zinnias, Queen Anne’s lace, the balm, “Blue Bedder” salvia and strawflowers. I’ve been making lots of notes for next year’s Cutting Garden. This year I grew strawflowers for the first time in years, and now I remember why I quit growing them. They close up when put in water, and only look great dried if they are picked off their stem and wired, which is way too much work for me at this stage. We did thousands that way when we made wreaths and dried arrangements for sale, but I’m not interested in doing that, so no strawflowers next year. Their space will go to more lisianthus!
I left this photo large on purpose so you can really see the talinum, those tiny balls on airy stems. Normally I condense photos so they download quickly. If you live in the country with iffy download speeds like we do, one can go have tea while waiting for it to appear. I love the talinum (“Kingwood Gold”) because those little balls can appear pink, orange, or red depending upon what they are combined with. This bouquet contains the “apricot” lisianthus, which is definitely pink. Next year I’m growing a white variety, a green variety, and maybe a purple one. The lisianthus can last up to three weeks in a vase and I think it’s gorgeous. I’ll definitely add more of the “Bonita” asters, since the “blue” (which appears purple) ones have done so very well. It’s a crop that will need to be succession planted, as they are all ready at once, and are a single stem/one cut plant. I’m testing some as a dried flower, but I’ve already decided to add some white and “light blue” as well. A little boneset as filler, hydrangea, Queen Anne’s lace, “Blue Bedder” salvia, a “volunteer” celosia that for some odd reason was actually a deep, deep rose, and a bit of feverfew finished this one. The “Blue Bedder” salvia looks a little droopy, but I assure you it straitens up after it’s been in the water a bit longer. I hadn’t conditioned these flowers before I made the arrangements, so I gave them a day in a cool location before delivering them and they looked fine.
I’ve really enjoyed creating bouqets, using a variety of flowers from the Cutting Garden, some odd bits from along the woods, and some of my beloved herbs. Learning a lot as I go, and looking forward to adding more variety for next year! Blessing to all, dear readers!