Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pretty posies

Further to the previous, one bit of Dan Pearson's book which piqued my interest was his description of his friend Geraldine's habit of picking a posy of flowers from her garden every day of the year to pop in a jamjar on the kitchen table.

The flowers were gathered at random: just eight, or maybe ten, of the first flowers that came to hand. No thought to colour, form, or all those angst-ridden artistic things which I'm no good at - I'm a dab hand at appreciating artistic things when other people do them, but absolutely rubbish at coming up with the ideas myself.

So this is the non-flower-arranger's school of flower arrangement. Right up my street. And there's a useful sort of gardening point to it all, too.

Dan says he takes inspiration from throwing together flowers like this: colour combinations you might never consider normally, and a close appreciation of the way flowers behave. And the posies change according to the seasons. It all adds up to a real insight into how plants work together in the garden.

So, I got to thinking: let's try this at home.

I couldn't quite manage a posy every day: actually I don't own enough vases to hold them anyway and can't quite harden my heart enough to throw away a perfectly good bunch of flowers. So for the last week I've been picking a posy maybe every couple of days.

The rules I followed: pick the first flowers you see, only one of each type in each posy, and no more than 10 in a bunch. Here's the result.

Friday: Philadelphus coronarius 'Aurea', Geranium pratense, Sorbus aucuparia, Queen Anne's lace, Euphorbia griffithii, red valerian, comfrey, Alchemilla mollis, flowering mizuna and Astrantia major.

I learned: orange and lime yellow look fabulous together: tree blossom looks lovely in a vase; and dusty pink and burnt orange work surprisingly well. And bolting vegetables are beautiful!


Sunday: Stachys byzantina, Euphorbia amygdaloides purpurea (I think), bluebell, red valerian, Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple', Queen Anne's lace, Aquilegia vulgaris, Cerastium tomentosum, chives, Spiraea arguta

I learned: you can overdo white (and purple); white against deep purple is a combination to die for; if you've got a group of small-leaved and/or small-flowered plants, you need something big or something brightly coloured to stop it being too 'bitty'.


Today: Paeonia lactiflora, Meconopsis cambrica, pink lupin, chive, red campion, Aquilegia vulgaris, comfrey, red valerian, Geranium pratense

I learned: You can overdo the big splashy flowers - with both paeony and lupin in here neither shone as it should; the yellow splash of Welsh poppy worked surprisingly well and lifted the whole thing; wild flowers like campion hold their own among even very cultivated plants.

I've got a bit of a taste for this. My house also looks rather lovely bedecked in flower 'arrangements' which are artless, unplanned, yet all the more beautiful for that. Plus it's a great excuse to get out in the garden and really look, closely, at what's out there, and celebrate just how beautiful it all is.

If anyone should feel like joining in, be my guest: pop out for five minutes and snip yourself a posy, then take a pic and show us all. And don't forget to post here and tell me too :D

4 comments:

Artist's Garden said...

What a wonderful idea - and one I must try - I enjoy sticking flowers in jam-jars, it is finding a clear surface in the house to put the jam-jar on that I have trouble with! I do like your posies.
K

The Constant Gardener said...

Thanks Karen :D know what you mean about those clear surfaces... though I've found the floor makes a good alternative when looking for somewhere else to put all that stuff to make way for vases...

Janet/Plantaliscious said...

My first thought was "I've got to try that". My next was "but most of my flowers are on new just planted plants, I can't bear to even cut off one bloom". My final thought was "I need more flowers"... And a bigger garden... Great idea though, and I will try and overcome my Dad's voice in my ear saying "they'll last much better in the garden, leave them where they are where we can all enjoy them". Which is why I'd really like a cutting garden. Sorry, not so much a comment as a monologue.

BilboWaggins said...

It's a lovely idea but I'm with Janet - the blooms last so much longer in the garden and the bees can't get at them once they're indoors.

(And like Janet, what few plants I have are new and there definitely are not enough yet to cut!)

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