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A summer of bouquets


I found myself with a bit of extra time at home last summer (imagine that) and, inspired by the amazing floral designers who I see sharing their work on Instagram, I decided I would try to get a little better at making bouquets. Mind you, I don’t do anything with these bouquets other than enjoy them myself or give them away to family or friends, so I don’t really need to up my flower arranging game, but one is prone to semi-oddball pursuits during a pandemic.

When it comes to arranging flowers I tend to get overwhelmed by all the options. And then I use them all and end up with a mess. My thought was that by limiting myself to a very narrow color palette I’d home in on the fundamentals of flower arranging without the distraction of a garden full of flowers to choose from.

To be honest, I’m not sure I was all that successful in that regard. I don’t know that I emerged from that experiment any better at arranging flowers than I was when I began, but I did enjoy the challenge of finding plants in my own garden to use. Everything I used came from the yard, with the exception of the yellow bouquet, which called for a trip to the other side of the road for a bit of wild flowers.

Looking back over the photos what strikes me most is just how many flowers there were in my garden. All the more reason to cut some and bring them inside to enjoy.

orange flower bouquet
The orange bouquet was the first I did, and my favorite part was the viburnum berries.

orange flowers

orange flowers

green bouquet
The lime bouquet was next and I expected it to be much easier than it ended up being. I love chartreuse flowers, but it turns out I don’t grow as many as I thought I did.
purple bouquet
Conversely, the purple bouquet ended up being one of my favorites. The Angelica gigas stands tall but the hyacinth bean pods are so bright and fun and the purple bell vine draped across the front was fun too.

apricot bouquet
My favorite, by far, was the apricot bouquet, although I think it should have been a bit looser with more foliage.
penhill watermelon dahlia
Penhill Watermelon dahlia fit in well.
Do you see that I snuck the same dahlia in both the apricot and the orange bouquets? HS Date is great like that.
yellow flowers
Since I grow few yellow flowers, much of what you see is from the ditch, no lie. The center flower is a water lily.

red flowers
Red flowers were even more difficult. This ended up being mostly ‘Red Labyrinth’ dahlias, ‘HS Flame’ dahlias and some coleus.
white flowers
This bouquet ended up being far more bridal-ish than I would have wanted certainly because of the airy texture of the Calamintha.

The lesson? Don’t be so stingy with your flowers! 

OK, fess up: Do you cut flowers from your garden for bouquets?

15 Responses

  1. Wow! Aaron! Those arrangements are stunning! If I could pick a name for my gardening obsession, it’ll have to contain a synonym for “impatient” because that’s me! I found you on YouTube while searching for videos on dahlias. I had my first 3varieties last year (May 2020) and there’s no looking back! Please, can you tell me what the name is of the chartreuse coloured dahlias you have in your lime green arrangement? They’re jaw dropping! So glad I found you! Jackie in Ontario, Canada (zone 5??)

  2. I can completely relate with your dilemma – I love making bouquets, but have a hell of a time getting them to look “good”. I think I’ll follow your advice this year as I am definitely on the stingy side of things when it comes to picking flowers for an arrangement. BTW – I think you were very successful – all of your arrangements are gorgeous!

  3. Stunning flowers, and really spectacular photos. You are very talented in both respects! I do enjoy bringing flowers in from the garden, but I don’t do it as often as I should. I am planting dahlias for the second year after a hugely unsuccessful rookie season, and I have been watching your videos and hoping that this is my breakout year. And my goal… have flowers to bring inside! :). Thanks for you awesome blog and videos.

  4. This is my first visit to your “garden” and I am hooked!!! I also love the orange and the apricot arrangements best. I have a small inn so I do bring in flowers and stems year round. I think I need to up my game!!!
    Your new fan,

  5. Those are beautiful and staying with one color family was a great idea. It made all the bouquets so much more creative and interesting to look at. To my eye, the red and white were the least interesting; I think there was not enough tonal difference and contrast. But the asymmetry, drooping flowers and berries were all perfect additions. See if you can find one of Willow Crosley’s youtube videos on making a bouquet. I think you did everything she talks about so you might find it fun to watch.

  6. I do cut flowers from my garden and enjoy them in the house! Good job on arranging yours, they look lovely.

  7. If my husband would let me, I would plow up the entire yard and plant flowers! Any color, any size. Especially fragrant! Yes, I love flowers and your experiments all look gorgeous.

  8. You did a good job! I just started gardening 2 years ago and I would love to be good at doing bouquets. But just as you said I don’t stick with one theme and I end up with a mess. I’ll try the one color approach. The apricot one was just perfect and I don’t think it needed to be looser!

  9. Ok, I really think you need to continue this and get enough to make a little Shutterfly book that you can sell to us. These are so gorgeous and inspirational. I would never have thought to put green cherry tomatoes in a bouquet. Of course, between our heat and the squirrels, they are pretty precious here, so I still probably wouldn’t do it, but I love the look. I feel like I see or appreciate something new every time I look at these.

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