Bzzzz October 7th, 2012

Later on this evening we’re hav­ing a big birth­day cel­e­bra­tion Chez Bum­ble­bee. It’s my husband’s mmmmm birth­day cel­e­bra­tion and I want to do it up right. His favorite meal. Favorite wine. Favorite cake. Can­dles. Flow­ers. Oh, and those flow­ers? We have some mums!

This year I have seen some stun­ning arrange­ments of mums. So I decided to pull together a mum-featured arrange­ment for the birth­day boy using plants that I could later plant out into the gar­den. It just so hap­pens that the Lowe’s Cre­ative Ideas  peo­ple offered us a mum chal­lenge this month too—with a $50 Lowe’s gift card give­away. (That’s right. Pay atten­tion, peo­ple, because there could be some­thing in all this for you.)

I went to Lowe’s search­ing for a nice com­bi­na­tion of plants that would work both in the arrange­ment for the table and that I could also reuse in the gar­den. Here’s what went into this arrange­ment and the costs:

Two Pur­ple Mums (Chrysan­the­mum x mori­folium) — $13.96

Two Lacey Blue Russ­ian Sage (Per­ovskia atrip­li­ci­fo­lia ‘Lisslitt’) — $15.96

One Big Twister Rush (Jun­cus effusus ‘Big Twister’) — $6.98

Three Dianthus – $8.94

Con­tainer — Mine

SUBTOTAL — $45.84

Lowe’s 10% Mil­i­tary Dis­count — $4.58

TOTAL — $41.26

Besides a very nice table arrange­ment that we can enjoy at the party and for the next few days, I also have sev­eral plants that will work right into my gar­den. Win-win!

Now you can win too. As part of the Lowe’s Cre­ative Ideas pro­gram, I can give away a $50 Lowe’s gift cer­tifi­cate to one reader. So, leave a com­ment on this post by Wednes­day, Octo­ber 17, and you might be the one. You can make your own mum arrange­ment or pick up sup­plies for your own next DIY project.

Happy birth­day, Harry! I love you.

Posted In: Flower Arranging, Flowers

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Bzzzz May 7th, 2008

I think trees should pull their own weight in the gar­den, don’t you?

I mean, it’s all well and good to be tall and green, pro­vid­ing all shorts of cool­ing shade and places for the bugs and birds. But if you can do tricks, like make berries and flow­ers to brighten things up a bit, you’re a really spe­cial tree, yes?

winter-king-hawthorns-may.jpg

That’s why I like the Win­ter King Hawthorn. Many peo­ple have never heard of these trees. In fact, two sea­sons out of the year, in par­tic­u­lar, the Fed Ex and UPS dri­vers, the elec­tric com­pany meter reader and who­ever else wan­ders down our long dri­ve­way ask me what kind of trees these are. That’s because in those two sea­sons, the trees are putting on a show to grab your attention.

They are Win­ter King Hawthorns.

winter-king-hawthorn-flowers.jpg

In the spring, the trees are cov­ered in clus­ters of white flow­ers. In the fall, red berries hang on for weeks after the leaves have dropped, look­ing like tiny Christ­mas orna­ments. They hang there until the birds devour them. This year, it was the Evening Gros­beaks that cleaned off the trees–and made my day!

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I had never heard of the Win­ter King Hawthorn before these trees arrived in my life. Six years ago I was a novice gar­dener and was hard-pressed to tell you if a tree was an oak or maple. But an enter­pris­ing and charm­ing nurs­ery­man con­vinced me that I needed not one, not two, but TWENTY of these trees, since they only grow to about20’to35’in height. He showed me a very unim­pres­sive spec­i­men in the nurs­ery but dragged out books filled with pic­tures of flow­er­ing and berried trees to con­vince me to pull out my checkbook.

The first cou­ple of years they after they were planted I won­dered if they would even sur­vive in the not very hos­pitable envi­ron­ment next to the driveway—hard clay soil, com­pet­ing trees, a hay­field and a not very care­ful equip­ment dri­ver of the hay har­vest­ing equip­ment were all hazards.

Then we had sum­mers with drought. Since the hoses can’t pos­si­bly reach that far and I don’t have a water tank on my farm pickup truck, I have shut­tled bucket after bucket after bucket of water up and down the dri­ve­way to keep them alive.(I did not go to the gym those days, but checked off both car­dio AND weightlift­ing in my daily diary.)

Now, six years later, only two of the trees have gone to the great for­est in the sky. Both were vic­tims of Rudy, our tobacco chew­ing farmer who har­vests the hay.

Now that I know the trees will, indeed, sur­vive, I feel more com­fort­able clip­ping a few branches to bring indoors. Today’s arrange­ment includes a small South­ern Mag­no­lia branch that was hang­ing too low and always got caught in my mower.

winter-king-hawthorn-arrangement.jpg

As beau­ti­ful and use­ful as these trees are—creating flow­ers and yummy berries for the birds—they can be dan­ger­ous. They put the “thorn” in “Hawthorn.” These thorns are nearly2”long and are as sharp as nee­dles. Flower arrang­ing with these babies is not a feat for the faint of heart.

thorns-on-winter-king.jpg

But oh, what a sight. It’s truly a king of trees.

Inter­ested in Win­ter King Hawthorns? Check out the fab­u­lous birds they attract here.

Posted In: Flower Arranging, Flowers, Gardening

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