I recently took y'all on a little tour around the early Spring garden and among our favorites was this Forsythia hedge. It surrounds the North side of the cemetery. It's probably old-ish. Maybe 20 years or so. It's beautiful but in rough shape. It has been allowed to grow willy-nilly for a long, long time. Sadly, Japanese honeysuckle, which happens to be incredibly invasive, has been allowed to grow unencumbered for years upon years. It's awful. It needs a good rejuvenation pruning. The trouble with that though, is that it would expose the cemetery to the house. So we have some thinking to do.
It is still mostly beautiful, but not brilliant. It could be brilliant. Nonetheless, this beautiful hedge produces enough flowering branches to outfit the house with forsythia arrangements from late March into April.
Start by making sure you cut your branches longer than you think you need with bypass pruners. Its still cold outside and you don't want to have to go all the way back to the cemetery when you find out you cut your branches too short. Not saying that happened to anyone or anything.
Once you get back to your work space, take a look at your vase and decide how long your branches will be. I like a wild natural look, so I let mine stay fairly long, spilling out the top in all directions.
You only want flowers and branches sticking out of the top of the vase, and only branches in the water. Strip the lateral branches from anything that might touch water inside your vase. Recut the bottom of the branch at a 45° angle.
Cut branches in general drink ALOT of water. Since they aren't soaking up water through the bark, you need to provide as much surface area as possible for water to be absorbed. In addition to cutting the 45° angle, take your bypass pruners and cut upwards from the bottom of the branch. This allows for more and easier water uptake, and ultimatley a longer lasting arrangement.
Once you have properly prepared the branches, simply pop them into your vase. As a side note, I prefer forsythia in a white vase. It tones down the yellow, which can contrast too much with a lot of colors. My vase is antique English ironstone so I don't have links, but I have provided links below to some pretty vases. I also provided a link to a faux Forsythia branch in case you love the look but don't have a bush available to take cuttings. I will probably buy faux-sythia once I do the rejuvenation pruning, since I wont have flowers for one to two years.
how to arrange Spring forsythia branches
1. Cut your branches longer than you think you need with a bypass pruner
2. Strip lateral branches that might touch water
3. Cut the bottom of the branch at a 45° angle
4. Cut upwards about an inch or so at the bottom of the branch
5. Arrange the branches to flow freely from the top of the vase at a height of 1.5 times the size of the vessel.
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I was doing some vintage/antique shopping in Marshville and Monroe, NC a few months ago with my sister. She knows all of the great spots including "Olde Tyme Marketplace" which was used in the filming of The Color Purple (barbershop) in 1985. I didn't buy the vintage chicken feeder there but I did get something even more fantastic that I will share soon.
*hint: it starts with "bird" and ends with "cage" and it's reaaaalllllly chippy and old.
After we left Marshville, where we were supposed to look at something and return home to my family's Charlotte farm- we snuck over to Monroe, NC. Because you know, once you are on a roll you have to keep going. The next best antique find is ALWAYS at the next stop. We headed to "just one more store", where I found this vintage chicken feeder proving my point. #positivereinforcement
Did I say that it's 5 feet long? And my sister brought a sedan? Don't worry, we're experts at shoving things in there. I wasn't leaving without it.
I didn't know I was going to fill the vintage chicken feeder with Shamrocks but I did know that it would be the perfect vessel for any kind of centerpiece on my 7 foot dining table. Yes, dinnerware will fit on either end of the long centerpiece.
But if it didn't, would I just invite less people?
Like I said, this thing is a big 5 feet. It take up much of the center of the table. At the bottom of this post I have linked to a few products that look similar but have a more manageable size in case you have a smaller table or area.
I found the Shamrocks at our local Wegmans grocery store. They bottoms were wrapped in the typical green plastic foil. I simply placed them, and their plastic foil, into the feeder, pushing the wrapping below the lip of the chicken feeder. I spaced them evenly. In between each one, I put an upside down glass. I covered it all up with dried Sphagnum Moss from the craft store. On top of each upside down glass, I put a mercury glass votive holder for extra ambience. It was an easy-does-it arrangement that has filled in nicely over the last three weeks.
After the last frost in my area, usually April 15 (this year it will be more like the 23rd) I will plant them outside. They do best in the shade and are considered a perennial in Zones 7-9. If you are outside of those zones, Oxalis will be considered an annual for you. Since I have a desperate need for shade plants with all the beautiful, giant, (Boscobel) trees here, these will be perfect.
Do you love Shamrocks? Have any great Saint Patricks Day Table Ideas? Can't stop shopping when you're on a roll? I would love to know, leave me a comment below!
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*Boscobel Farm, LLC earns a small commission when you purchase through product links from services like Amazon. It doesn't impact you as a consumer in any way, but it does help support our small business.
Forced Dragons Blood Tulips have to be one of the MOST beautiful forced bulbs out there. I rarely, if ever, have red flowers in the house. Red is a little bit jarring to me and contrasts with the soft grays and creams we have used throughout.
There is a big but here. But...I recently decided on the richest charcoal gray for our new library space. It reads as a little black but not so black that it sucks the light out of the room. Against this charcoal, the forced Dragons Blood Tulips pop.
To force tulips you will need to either refrigerate them or keep them in an unheated space for at least 6 weeks. At that point, you will simply pop them into a bulb forcing vase, like the one pictured above. You should fill it with water just enough to reach the roots at the bottom of the bulb, no higher. I am hoping to be able to offer these vases in our store this Spring!
I've been working hard on the new library space. The built-ins are taking me longer than I expected because of all of the rain we have had here. I mostly use the saw outside and so the rain just ruins it for me. Here is a pull back shot where you can see a little bit of the gorgeous gray. The built-ins will be painted the same color and filled with antique leather books. I'll share more about the space when I have better pictures.
Do you love tulips? Have you ever forced Dragons Blood Tulips? Other bulbs? Let me know in the comments below!
Every two weeks in the winter I splurge on fresh flowers. It is a totally frivolous yet totally necessary expense for me. As someone who loves to grow flowers all Spring, Summer, and Fall, I can attest to the fact that winter is especially hateful for fresh flower lovers.
This Friday's fresh flowers are Stock, Waxflower, and Tulips. Three gorgeous flowers in light, pastel shades. These three are a beautiful mixture of light pink, deep pink and white.
For tall heavy flowers like stock and tulips I always use a flower frog. I have a few favorite antique flower frogs like the one pictured above. I cant remember where I found it but the metal is heavy and holds the stems nicely.
The Waxflower is beautiful and breathy with tiny juniper-like leaves. It is an evergreen that belongs to the myrtle family.
Stock is one of my favorites and a variety that I will be growing this summer in our cut flower garden. I tend to gravitate toward soft, pale, flower colors so I was really excited to find this gorgeous soft pink Stock.
Sadly, the grocery store managed to mangle it. They must have stacked it or otherwise jammed it up against other bouquets because it looks a little sad. Not to worry, Since I buy it almost every time I know that it will bounce back, fill out, and stand up straight with a fresh water and a little flower food.
The first thing I do is open up all of the stems and lay them out on the counter. I pull the vessel I am using to the edge of the counter for measuring stems. A good rule of thumb is that the arrangement should be one and a half times the height of the vessel you are using.
I start with the largest flowers with the most presence and hold it up to the container (at the level I would like it). The stock was the fullest flower so I started there. Next I layered in the WaxFlower and then popped in the tulips. This time, I was really going for a loose, just-picked, wildflower look. Nothing too formal or pretentious.
This arrangement needs a day or so to settle. The stock will stand up and the tulips will begin to open in about two to three days. After a week, I will take the stems out, change the water, and freshly cut the ends, and put them back. I am able to make arrangements last two weeks this way and end up only spending about $40.00/month on fresh flowers for the kitchen or breakfast area.
Do you love fresh flowers? Do you splurge on fresh flowers in the Winter like I do? Let me know in the comments below!
Spirea can make the most beautiful monochromatic, dramatic, flower arrangement. Most of the branches have a graceful, gentle, curve. Since we moved to Boscobel in October, I had no idea that many of these mature flowering shrubs existed. This Spring has been a fun adventure in figuring out everything that already exists here, so that I can add in what we need for the cut flower garden. In addition to the Spirea, there are two mature Lilac bushes, gorgeous Wisteria, and Dogwood.
Make sure that you cut your Spirea (or any other flowers) in the early morning or late evening. If you must cut them in the middle of day, make sure they are under shade. These are the less stressful times of the day for the plant. It takes quite a few cut branches to make a substantial Spirea arrangement, so gather away. I used a vintage flower gathering basket. We will be offering something very similar in the store in May.
For this arrangement, I started out with an antique ironstone chamberpot. I set in my favorite antique flower frog. I always recommend using a flower frog if you are using a solid or opaque vessel. A flower frog will always give your flower arrangement the best structure with the fewest stems.
Start by placing your flower frog in the bottom of the vessel, and fill will fresh, clean water. Hold your branch up to the vessel and decide the height you would like your arrangement to be. The rule of thumb for flower arranging is that the arrangement should be one and half times the height of the vase/vessel.
Cut your branch and place it into one of the holes in the flower frog. Repeat, turning the vessel to ensure the arrangement looks good from all sides.
With Spirea, I like to find a few straight branches for the center and use the gently curved branches for the middle and sides. The end result is dramatic.
I chose to put this arrangement in the piano room. The white and green picks up on the landscape paintings in the room.
Can we talk about those Ralph Lauren lamps and the green Buffalo Check drapes for a minute? Both bring Spring full circle in here. We definitely have some work to do on the piano. My Mom attempted to start stripping it many years ago and it was never finished.
Do you love fresh flowers? Have any special flower frogs? Let us know in the comments.
Happy Good Friday! I was pruning our Dogwood Tree yesterday, the poor thing is not too healthy. Something that I need to figure out. I set out to prune off some dead branches and decided to clip a few for the house for a Spring Floral Arrangement.
I love Spring Branches in the house, they supply some of the longest lasting blooms. Typically staying beautiful for 7-10 days. Closer to 10 if you watch the water and change it often. I have been surprised and ecstatic to find that we have so many gorgeous flowering trees and shrubs on the property. We moved in to the house in October so this is the first time I am seeing what we are working with. I have been lucky enough to have one or two fresh arrangements per week!
Hi! I'm Amy. I am a former commercial photographer who has travelled all over the world and finally landed in my happy place - Historic Boscobel Farm.