Yellow and purple are on opposite sides of the color wheel, but look stunning together in this bouquet. If I dare say so myself, it is a rather masculine looking bouquet. All the flowers were foraged from the garden and as soon as I noticed that it was about to start raining, I knew that could mean only one thing- a bouquet for the house. Rain is perhaps the only real excuse I need to start looking for the gardening scissors. The yellow rose, Graham Thomas, is the oldest David Austin rose bush we have planted in the garden and this year it has really taken off and is doing incredibly well. Right behind the rose, there is a purple berberis bush and the tiny foliage on the sloping branches adds so much interest to the mix, the only downside is that it has very tough thorns growing behind each set of leaves, making it not the easiest plant to work with. I was so pleased with the yellow and purple combination, that I just could not resist adding purple cosmos and a branch of ripening blackberries to the floral arrangement.
When thinking about some animals, the first word that comes to mind is wild, for they can not be tamed no matter how hard we, humans, try. Despite flowers having defense mechanisms of their own, rarely do would we use the term wild to describe them. ”Wild beauty”, perhaps would be a more fitting term, but as long as they can be tamed withing the confinement of a garden, no thorns or poison feel threatening enough. What got me thinking about all of this was finding a beautiful astrantia flower during a hike up to top of a mountain range. It was such a surprise for me to find it in its own natural habitat, but there it was content in the shade of the dense forest. I never really thought much about how people domesticated flowers, but there sure is a process to it and their natural habitat is worth protecting.
The second big flush of roses has come around and is absolutely gorgeous. The funny thing is, that it is the yellow, orange and peachy roses that have started blooming the soonest. Black spot has also come around and I’m doing my best to fight it off, but that is a nearly impossible feat when rain is predicted in the weather forecasts. Do you have a tried and true way to battle black spot on rose bushes? One David Austin rose, Princess Alexandra of Kent, has been damaged by it the most severely out of all the roses and has now nearly no foliage left on it, it really is a heartbreaking sight to behold. Luckily, at the local garden center I was kindly recommended some sort of spray solution to try out and that is what I have been testing on the roses the past 2 weeks. Perhaps it might be a placebo effect for me to know that I’ve done something to take care of this fungal problem, but I really do feel that the rose bushes have greatly benefited and the new foliage is so far almost spot free. My reward comes in form of fresh flowers straight from the garden.
The Graham Thomas rose is the David Austin rose that has been in our garden the longest and it really is beautiful. I really wish that there were more rose bushes because they are so much fun to play around with in flower arrangements and I never really know if the flowers should be enjoyed in the garden on the bush or in a vase. An old fashioned cutting garden with plenty of roses of all colors, shapes and sizes to choose from sounds like a paradise. How do you go about deciding when to use the scissors to snip of a bloom or two?
The last picture is of Alnwick Castle, my favorite rose flower. You might protest that it does not belong into the yellow or peach rose category, but it does fade out to a peach in the hot heat, so that must count even if just a little bit.
There is something magical about a single stem of cosmos. In the spring when I was sowing seeds, I was a bit apprehensive about growing annual flowers. On my gardening journey I had made many plant friends, but they were all friendships I could nurture for many years to come. Then came along cosmos and I was willing to go into this summer fling, so to speak. Best decision ever! It is a blooming machine and the billowy delicate stems nodding in the wind add cottage charm to any garden. Paired with a stem or two of garden roses you have a fresh bouquet put together in a matter of a couple of minutes. Without a doubt I will be growing cosmos next year also.
Do you have a favorite flower from the garden to use in flower arrangements?
Having fresh flowers from the garden to use in floral arrangements is perhaps the main reason behind why I garden and grow roses. Whenever my garden roses produce long stem, it is cause for celebration for that can only mean one thing, they are ready to be used as cut flowers in my homegrown floral arrangements or bouquets. For these special occasions, or when I want to play florist and gift the flower arrangements from the garden to friends and family, it is nice to have a collection of crochet ribbons on hand.
Although these stunning rose flowers cut off of the Schloss Eutin rose (bred by Kordes) are a little bit too far gone and I was ready enjoy them in the garden, it looked as if a storm was brewing and should the roses be shattered in rain or hail, it would have been a shame to let them go to waste. Whenever I cut flowers from the garden, especially roses, I look for stems that have one flower open and the rest in a looser bud form, that is the stage at which I take the rose pruners and snip off the stems. Depending on the variety and time of day the roses were cut, they have a vase life of up to 5 days.
Interesting fact- the more scent a rose has, the shorter the vase life. That is the reason behind why most rose bouquets from the florist will lack scent, for they are made primarily to last and be enjoyed with the eyes, not the nose. The fact that one can enjoy a rose bouquet fresh from the garden without any worry about bringing in all kinds of chemicals into the home and enjoy the sweet perfume as well as the beauty is as good as it gets.
It would be difficult to find a better red climbing rose than Florentina from the German rose breeding center Kordes, which claims to have the prettiest roses in the world. The red nostalgic cupped blooms off of this incredible garden rose, as well as its disease resistance and vigorous growth make it a winner in my book. For one, as I already mentioned, the blooms were red and supposedly she would grow to be an impressive rose easily reaching a height of 2 meters. To this day I am guilty of choosing roses in all shades of apricot and pink, but red…. that is a whole other story, therefore she got the best possible spot available on a back corner of the house. A place we never had much reason to go to, but there was a new terrace being build off the living room, so I thought it would be a fitting home for the new flower arrival. Right away the rose took off.
For the first year, the rose resembled a really healthy bush, with lots of showy glossy green foliage and although there were noticeable signs suggesting that she wanted to climb, she did not have much support. Under the weight of the heavy clusters of blooms, the branches went from vertical to horizontal and she rewarded us all with even more blooms. This year, she has gotten a lot of support (still not enough) and is starting to be trained to be a little wall off of the terrace, a lot of energy must have gone into growing so much larger, as there have been noticeably fewer flower stems in the first flush. To give her credit though, she is a fantastic repeater for a climbing rose and I have no doubt that there still will be plenty more blooms to enjoy later in the season.
The blooms themselves are absolutely gorgeous nostalgic cupped roses, that transform into a flat form as time goes on. The double arrangement of petals looks so delicate despite each bloom being roughly around 10 cm in diameter. After reading many forums and articles, many claim that the rose has no scent. After all, Kordes is known to breed roses for disease resistance and not scent, a little bit of a different approach compared with other popular rose breeders, yet I can confidently say that my Florentina rose has a scent, albeit one that is as inoffensive as it gets. For sure it is not a rose whose scent will travel far, but if you were to snip off the flowers to go into a bouquet there certainly would be a scent once you’d bury your nose into the sea of red petals. The blooms do surprisingly well in the sun as well as rain and do not shatter right away. In fact, the first flush is still going strong and has been blooming for at least 2 weeks now.
The one thing I will say about this rose, is choose its permanent planting spot wisely as it is as beautiful as it gets and you truly would have trouble finding a rose as disease resistant or vigorous as Florentina, but the canes on it are so incredibly thorny. Choose carefully for you will think twice about pruning it back or replanting once you realize that its armor of thorns goes almost all the way up to the blooms. Even snipping off these three stems photographed in the basket was brutal. All in all, it has completely changed my relationship with red roses and although it will be huge in a year or two, it has earned a permanent spot in the garden. Do you have any gardener bias towards certain plants or colors? Let me know, I’d love to hear about your gardening style. Have a great day!
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