Monday, September 26, 2011

planting garlic is on our minds

The seed garlic arrived last week!!  
Every September for the past few years, my parents have sent me a nice big box of their gorgeous homegrown garlic for me to use as seed for my yearly garlic crop.  My Dad always does such a careful job of curing it, neatly trimming and cleaning it all up. 

There's always some extra to offer up to Mayne Islanders who'd like to grow their own too.  In the last couple years so many more people are feeling enthusiastic about growing their own garlic. 

The counting and bagging for all the folks who got on my list has begun.

This is last year's garlic patch at my parent's place.  Very straight rows,  so neat and tidy.  So level!  So few rocks in the soil!  Not like at my place.  This is in southwestern Ontario, near Lake Erie.
If you're getting seed garlic from me, this is where it comes from.  Grown naturally, with no synthetic chemicals.
The crop I grow here in my garden has been long gone.  All sold to folks at Mayne Island's Farmer's Market. (except for what I keep for our kitchen, of course : )

This is my Dad, surveying his crop in April....looking good.... (photo by Mom)
For more about garlic and planting it, here are all my past posts on GARLIC
And if you signed your name on the seed garlic list this summer, you can expect a call or email from me soon!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

amaranth and grapevines

Check out these pails of beautiful amaranth that Shanti at Deacon Vale Farm grew in her garden!  She harvested these for me a couple weeks ago so I could use them for some floral decor at a Mayne Island wedding.  Aren't they just the most gorgeous thing you've ever seen?!  I feel so lucky that she's growing this wonderful stuff and is willing to supply me with it!

This amazing red amaranth looked so fabulous in a silvery coloured metal big bundle of it. Too bad that I was so busy I forgot to take a photo of it!

"Hot Biscuits" is a beauty. A close-up look shows all the little seeds. Not only is amaranth stunning in floral arrangements, this plant is a healthy cereal grain food too! It's a lot of work to gather the grain but still doable.
You gotta love a plant that can be used as decor and is a nutritious food too : ) (Not only the seeds, but I've also grown it for the young leaves that are a spinach-like salad green too.)

For more info on amaranth, Saltspring Seeds has some on their website. And they sell the seeds too.  

So anyway, this amaranth was destined for a fun creative project: decoration for a wedding ceremony arbor that the groom built of driftwood found on the beaches of Mayne Island.  Grapevine, hops vine and green tassels amaranth were draped along the top of the arbor and bunches of hot biscuits were in containers on either side.....

The lovely grapevines for the arbor also came from Shanti that day.  With the back of the truck all full of amaranth and dahlias I had to coax (ummm..wrestle?) the vines into the front with me.  A fun ride home.

The flower clusters of the hops (also often called cones or strobiles) are always so pretty with the grapevine.

It was a smokin' hot afternoon and I was so grateful that the vines didn't wilt too much.  I was a bit worried.
They were cut a couple days earlier so that I could condition them for a while by submerging them a few feet in water in a rubbermaid bin.  They soaked it up and it really made a difference.  They wilt quickly if put in the sun for a few hours right after cutting.  
And isn't that heart on the ground where the couple stood so sweet?!

The long view of the ceremony site.  A sheep field overlooking Campbell Bay.  What a beautiful spot for a wedding!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

cafe au lait dahlia

My days are full of flowers right now and I'm loving the stunning ruffly blooms of cafe au lait.  So beautiful. 

I planted just 9 plants in a row this spring and I think I'll have to plant more next year.  They're blooming like crazy these days and I love them grouped together in a big bunch of many blooms.

An arrangement I made for a wedding reception last weekend.  With eucalyptus and grasses.  wow!  Simply and naturally gorgeous!

Here's cafe au lait in some bouquets for a bride and her bridesmaid, bundled together with limelight hydrangea, other dahlias, zinnias, roses, sweet pea and grasses.

I think the unopened buds are beautiful in bouquets too.

Cafe au Lait, I'm going to miss you when the summer's over!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

blue hydrangea

A while ago, a bride who had her wedding at the Lighthouse on Mayne Island last weekend requested a bouquet of blue hydrangea and a boutonniere for her fiance too.

So I went to my blue hydrangea bush and picked a few blooms.

And made this bouquet.

And this sweet little boutonniere too.  Lovely, all-natural, Mayne Island garden-grown wedding flowers!