Fleur du Jour - Dutch Iris

Hardly subtle!

Hardly subtle!

Fleur du Jour is my way of bringing the beauty of fresh cut flowers into our lives as we feel, perhaps, a bit grey to match the winter weather, although today was a real sparkler around here.  Yesterday I offered up a marvelous subtle spring tulip. Today a very different approach - vibrant Dutch Iris with equally vibrant tulips, columbines and allium. Dutch Iris are planted every fall. Although I do get some repeat bloomers in following springs, I  could not depend on them for the number of blooms I require (or desire). Based on last year's first cut date of May 20, only 119 days to go to those gorgeous deep purple iris. I know that sounds like longer than we want, but that's why we have the likes of anemone, ranunculus and poppies, which burst open even earlier!Enjoy.

Fleur du Jour - Tulips - Bringing hope for Spring

Have faith. We'll be up before you know it.

Have faith. We'll be up before you know it.

Of course I had to put tulips into my Fleur du Jour postings! Spring wouldn't be spring without tulips. While we usually can't wait for bright reds and yellows to give us just the perfect pick-me-up that we need as we slog through the sometimes cold, rainy or blizzard-filled days of March, I chose, instead, to highlight one of the softer tulips grown last year at Butternut Gardens. Oh, the reds and yellows were there, as well. Never a worry about that since some 2400 tulips went into the ground the previous fall. Here for your viewing beauty I present a gem, which adds a really nice, cool feel to spring bouquets, and on its own. Based on 2014 first cut date, we can cross our fingers for tulips in another 93 days. Enjoy!

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.

Flower Subscriptions going strong

A spring subscription delivery with tulips, allium, iris and lilac, among others.

A spring subscription delivery with tulips, allium, iris and lilac, among others.

One of the joys of flower farming is following all the changes that take place during the course of a growing season and seeing "what's going to come next."

Through the Butternut Gardens Subscription Service, many loyal customers also share in the joy of new flowers every week and the joy of anticipating "what's going to come next."

I am happy to offer several types of subscriptions to meet individual interests and budgets. 

An early summer selection.

An early summer selection.

 

Quite a few subscribers receive flowers every week.

Some choose to have fully-made bouquets delivered.

Others choose the 'bucket' option and create their own arrangements from a mixture of loose flowers.

I often hear that a number of flowers make it into the second week, although others, we know, are expectedly more fleeting.

There are many times when I would love to see how  the 'bucket' subscribers choose to display their floral bounty.

Bi-weekly subscriptions are also popular. As just mentioned, a number of flowers last longer than a week, although I would not count on that for the majority of blooms.

Flowers delivered every other week can also come as fully-prepared bouquets or as 'bucket' subscriptions.

One of the most fun parts of subscriptions is that you really do NOT know what is coming next!

Sure, it might be the time of year when Phlox is bountiful, but with what will it be paired? Will it be a monochromatic offering with all lavender or all pink or all white blooms? Will it be sheer Phlox ecstasy - purple, pink, white, deep pink, pink and white swirled phlox all bunched together? What special little accent flower shall I add this week? Mountain mint, perhaps?  Flower subscriptions are truly gifts and surprises!

August bouquet

August bouquet

The third season-long subscription option is the monthly option. Every month fresh flowers arrive at your doorstep.

This seems to be the perfect floral pick-me-up for many subscribers. It is also a very popular gift item - just enough, but not too much - and a full season's worth! For many, it makes their month.

Going from one month to the next, subscribers see the biggest difference in blooms, because what a difference a month makes in the gardens.

It is the difference between peonies and tulips to phlox, iris and daisies; the jump from sunflowers and zinnias to dahlias and chrysanthemums. 

For those who are not certain about receiving flowers regularly, I also offer a one-month trial of four bouquets. This is another perfect gift item. Generally, the biggest concern about flower subscriptions is, "What happens if I want to take vacation?"  I try to be as flexible as possible, and change delivery weeks or double up on flowers other weeks, to best accommodate.  Somehow it all works! Many thanks to my flower subscription customers. I love growing your flowers and surprising you with what comes next.



A Wedding with Coral Peonies and Sherbet Palette

Coral peonies, vibrant tulips, and soft astilbe make a smashing bouquet.

Coral peonies, vibrant tulips, and soft astilbe make a smashing bouquet.

One of the first questions Danya asked was, "Do you grow coral peonies?'

 

Coral was going to be her color. Then, coral metamorphosed into sherbet colors, and, wow, what a fabulous combination it became.  

 

Nearly a year later, coral and sherbet were absolutely smashing.  

Pew flowers add a beautiful touch.

Pew flowers add a beautiful touch.

Congratulations Danya and Steve. I loved working with you and your families, watching your wedding plans evolve into a lovely ceremony at Greens Farms Congregational Church and a heavenly reception in your Westport home. Every detail was driven by love for a very happy occasion.

 

Pew flowers graced several of the pew ends along the church's two aisles. Yes, two aisles.  It is quite an interesting and beautiful church. The church grounds are absolutely stunning as well.

 

From the start, the big question was, "How will coral blend (or not blend) with the red fabric seating and carpeting?"

 

I'd say it worked quite nicely!

 

 

 

 

Two aisles, of course, necessitated two matching altar pieces.

 

 

Both lovely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SettingUpAllFlowers.JPG

 

Flowers arriving at a reception create such an overwhelming and awesome blossom of color!

 

Wow!

 

Here are Danya's and Steve's flowers making their grand entrance. 

 

 

Mercury pedestal vases and mercury juleps were an awesome combination.

 

Just love the elegance of mercury glass! Did anyone say, "Sherbet?" Yum.

Mercury glass pedestal vases looked great.

Mercury glass pedestal vases looked great.

 

 

Can't imagine anything nicer than working with all of these amazingly beautiful blooms. 

 

And, did I tell you, stock has the most amazing fragrance?

Mercury glass juleps paired wonderfully with the pedestal vases.

Mercury glass juleps paired wonderfully with the pedestal vases.

A lovely setting for a late May wedding.

A lovely setting for a late May wedding.

 

 

Now, the finished look. Gorgeous with a beautiful, delicate, white runner gracing the farm tables, and light linens atop the round tables. 

Couldn't have been nicer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here's a look at a pedestal on the round tables from overhead.

 

Love the choice of table runners and linens.











If I were the bride, this is where I would like to sit!












 

 

Of course, the groom would have to sit very close by!

 

 

Every wedding is so personal and unique. When people say, " It is your special day," there is great truth in the words.  

 

 

 

 

 

Do flowers make the cake?

Do flowers make the cake?

New to me was working flowers into a "deconstructed" cake - three separated layers and using 'cake vases" on each of the cakes.  Thank you, Danya, for introducing me to something new.  Instead of inserting flowers directly into the cakes, or into frosting on the cakes, a cake vase sits atop the cake and one inserts flowers into the plastic vase.  

This is actually the smallest of the cakes, and the cake vase certainly allowed for a wonderful display of blossoms and color.

At the end of the day, I must say, I loved sitting in the kitchen and talking flowers with out-of-town family members while putting the flowers on the cakes.  I loved creating a floral wreath for the little one in the family. I loved working coral peonies into an awesome sherbet palette. 

Congratulations Danya and Steve. A beautiful wedding it was! I thoroughly enjoyed working with you and your families. Love always!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Weddings....sigh

Peonies, of course, are superstars in spring weddings. Stock and Iris make them shine. Congratulations to Lis and Russell. Thanks for trusting me with your flowers on your special day at Fox Hill Inn.  I sure had fun putting them all together!

Photo Mike Evans of CT Photo Group

Photo Mike Evans of CT Photo Group

Loved the simple elegance of the bridal bouquet, with long string of pearls.  

Photo Mike Evans of CT Photo Group

Photo Mike Evans of CT Photo Group

 

 

 

Attendants carried posies individualized for the amazingly beautiful hues of each gown.

 

 

Photo Mike Evans of CT Photo Group

Photo Mike Evans of CT Photo Group

Two rows of shepherds hooks framed the ceremony. Soft pink peonies, lavender, cream, and pink stock, and lovely purple iris shined.

 

 

 

 

A very dear way to showcase the ceremony, which took place in front of Fox Hill Inn's dramatic fountain. Rose petals lined the outdoor aisle.

 

 

 

Photo Mike Evans of CT Photo Group

Photo Mike Evans of CT Photo Group

A wrought iron urn graced with peonies welcomed guest into the Inn. Feathery Astilbe added a dreamy softness.

 

Curly willow branches leant their artistic magic. Dusty rose petals and votives graced the mosaic table.

Dining tables also showcased the lovely spring palette of dusty rose, heavenly pink, irresistible lavender and soft creamy yellow.

 

Centerpieces in mercury glass pedestal vases were spectacular to create.

Centerpieces in mercury glass pedestal vases were spectacular to create.

Lily of the Valley offered a fragrant finishing touch.

 

 

Loved the wine bottles the bridal party used for numbering the tables.

All in all a very nice evening for a wonderful couple and their families and friends.

Thanks to Lis and Peggie, for sharing a lovely cup of tea together and making floral planning such a fun, exciting, and pleasant experience.  Thanks also to Patty Finnigan, General Manager of Fox Hill Inn and to Ewa Ojarovska, Event and Hospitality Consultant extraordinaire of Epicurean Worldwide. Love your photos, Mike Evans, of CT Photo Group.

Peonies... sigh.....

Who doesn't love a peony?  Such a remarkable and gracious plant.  Many live for fifty years or more -truly for generations.  Countless stories are told of daughters and granddaughters (and maybe sons and grandsons) digging family peonies so they might be saved for even more generations.  They make such a lasting impression even though they can be somewhat fleeting.  What is it about them?  Their soft colors? Their fragrance? The fact that so many people and families have them and have had them for, as I said, generations?  Something about them always seems to conjure up memories.  Such a wonderful floral inhabitant!

 

For those of you who visited the Farmers' markets in New Canaan, Greenfield Hill and Christie's Country Store in Westport this past weekend, ou saw firsthand some of the wonderful variety afforded by peonies.  We brought with us several coral-colored beauties - truly eye-catching indeed - along with the very soft single pink blushes, the slightly deeper pink double varieties, our earliest whites, and the first of our crimson doubles.  We will be sure to have more this coming weekend at each of our markets, and we'll be featuring them in our subscription bouquets.  Because we grow several varieties, the length of time during which we have peonies in bloom is extended.  Having said this, these babies sure were popping this past weekend in the heat wave!  For us to pick each one at its peak, we become true peony stalkers.  No kidding.  Every few hours (that's over four times a day) we were out checking to see which ones were thinking about popping open, and which ones were not quite ready.  If you turned your back for a moment, they seemed to spring open.  Like that proverbial pot that never boils when you're keeping a watch on it but... you know the rest of the story!

One of our double reds at market this week.  A bit more pink-toned than crimson.

One of our double reds at market this week.  A bit more pink-toned than crimson.

ith such a gorgeous plant, and all of my aforementioned praise, you would think it difficult to have a related pet peeve, but I do.  It is this: the most common comment I hear about peonies is how beautiful and fragrant they are (agreed) but the second most common comment I hear is, "My peonies were fine until the big rain storm we had, and then they just went 'kersplat.'" What I want everyone to know is that flowers will certainly lose their petals when it is time, but there are wonderful plant stakes, which will help keep your blooms upright and in tact, even in the face of heavy rains and you might not have to lose your flowers to the ground or as quickly as you might be losing them. Some of these devices are a combination of several stakes and hoops and encircle the entire plant (but put them on while the stems and leaves are coming up not after) and some are simply coated metal stakes with a slightly open loop at the top end, which makes staking super easy.  This simple loop stake is perfect for encircling individual stalks with flowers, and this is all you need to do. Sometimes, in the wind, the stem will escape the loop, but, generally, the stakes work in such an easy and superb fashion that I see no reason for anyone to grow a peony without them. So, no more reason to bemoan the fact that the poor peony, with the large, beautiful flowerhead,  doesn't seem capable of keeping itself upright in the face of heavy rains owing to its plethora of water-catching (did you say, "Sponge-like?") petals.  For very few dollars, the problem is easily solved.  Please, buy some stakes now, and be ready for next year! Yes, it is likely too late for this year.