Want to learn how to make a gorgeous Spring Centerpiece?

Last night's workshop was jam-packed with gorgeous spring flowers and, boy, was I ever amazed by the finished designs my "students" put together.  When teaching, I take a step by step approach and then stand back and let the creativity and experimentation take over.  There is always, always, always a moment when I look at the designs and freeze because the beauty and individual expression of design simply overwhelm me.  Happened again last night!

With the upcoming holiday weekend in mind, I challenged workshop participants to craft a design which could be lightly freshened up for next weekend if they are hosting a gathering. We put in bonus potted pansies which enhanced the designs and can be planted outside for months of enjoyment. Thank you, wonderful flower friends, for the courage to give this a try. I hope you are proud of your creations. I know I sure am! I hope to see you again at a future workshop.

Spreading some more Spring Flower Fairy Dust

Pansies - harbingers of spring

Pansies - harbingers of spring

In early spring everyone seems to jump on the bandwagon for pansies. You find them for sale everywhere - plant nurseries, grocery stores, building supply companies, farmers markets.  And, why not? They are so darn cheerful. Even though I do not grow them for cuts, it is very hard for me to resist putting a few in the window boxes sitting on my deck railings. So, here to spread some springtime cheer, are pansies. Enjoy!

Fleur du Jour - Iris coming in May

Siberian Iris at Butternut Gardens

Siberian Iris at Butternut Gardens

I love Iris and grow three major types - Dutch Iris, bearded or German Iris, and Siberian Iris. They are gorgeous additions to the late May and early June bouquets and arrangements. Some of the bearded Iris have absolutely amazing fragrance to boot.

Good news - we are inching closer to this year's Iris. - only 85 more days based on first cut date in 2014.

Also, anyone noticing how much more daylight we have these days? Maybe hard to tell with all the snow around here. In any event, we are less than 1 month away from the first day of Spring, or vernal equinox. Kick up your heels, folks!

Fleur du Jour for Post Blizzard 2015 hope for spring - Anemone

Anemones from Butternut Gardens enjoying the company of Scilla.

Anemones from Butternut Gardens enjoying the company of Scilla.

Everything outside is white. Except for the leafless trees. How patiently they wait for spring. A lesson to teach. Blizzard 2015 has come and gone, leaving less snow than predicted, but a sizable cover nonetheless. Nestled among the snow I have five low tunnels harboring Anemone and Ranunculus. Today's Fleur du Jour - Anemone - should be coming along by mid-April, if not sooner.  Sometimes when it is frozenn outside, the soil under the plastic low tunnels is still in the 50's. Last year I only planted red Anemoe and red and white bicolor Anemone.  This year I have added some more subdued colors as well - perfect for weddings. Enjoy the snow, if you have it. Only 70 days to Anemones. Not long at all. 

Fleur du Jour - Hyacinth - to loosen winer's grip

For those of you in the New York metro region, which includes me, who are prepping for 1 to 2 feet of snow, I can't think of a nicer Fleur du Jour to highlight today than Hyacinth. I will sit here and just dream of Hyacnth's sweet, sweet fragrance. I did, for a number of years, force Hyacinths into bloom for winter farmers' markets, but have since decided to grow seasonally only. I must say, I do miss the forced bulbs.  Between hyacinths, tulips, grape hyacnths, paperwhites and narcissi, you really can create a stunning midwinter show to boost the spirts. For outdoor growing, based on last year's first cut date of April 10th, we have only 82 days to fresh cut Hyacinths. When the blizzard expected during the next few days passes by, it will undoubtedly seem like an eternity to these fragrant beauties, but let us enjoy the wonderful winter snow cover while we have it, for it does indeed help the plants in the ground, and let us find patience within us for the grass and flowers to appear once again.

Introducing Fleur du Jour - a means to pass the days until the return of the flowers

I think it safe to say I have a love hate relationship with winter.  While I savor a slower pace than what is afforded during the active growing season, and I love the feel of crisp winter air, I greatly miss the sight and fragrances of fresh cut garden flowers and all that goes into working the land. To help get me (and you) from point A (midwinter) to point B (Spring flowers) I have decided to put forth a Fleur du Jour. Today's Fleur du Jour is Bachelor Button. Last year I cut 3,765 Bachelor Buttons, with the first cuts on May 18th. That makes it only 120 days until Bachelor Buttons! Woot. Woot. Are we there yet? This year's first Bachelor Buttons have been in the ground since last fall and are looking great. Can't wait for this versatile beauty.