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Yearning to Pick Flowers from my Garden

Enough snow! I'm impatient to cut flowers from my garden and make arrangements.

Roses: I like to wait until they're in bloom to prune them, so I can take whole branches of flowers. Raspberry-pink "William Baffin" gives me seven-foot canes every spring; I stand several in my biggest vase, weighed with rocks, on the floor.

Yarrow: the millefolium types look daintier, but still have sturdy long stems and last well. Those flat-top clusters of bloom look like drifts of lace in a vase.

Feverfew: small white flowers also in clusters, but facing forward, not up. An odd one volunteers in my garden: the petals have space between them, like spokes of a wheel. By itself, I think it looks defective... but mixed with other flowers, those gappy pinwheels liven things up.

Other cutting favorites of mine: delicate heuchera with the tiny dangling bells; liatris with its vertical emphasis; asclepias, with clusters of tiny, complicated stars—composed of deep rosy-pink petals pointing down and pale pink "stamenal appendages" like little horns sticking up. Monarda, with flowers like small explosions: ragged thin petals sticking out every which way. Chrysanthemums, that last the longest: several "Sheffield" I brought in the house last October looked fine for six weeks.

Checking what's recommended for cutting, I find plants I grow but don't remember arranging—must try these. Lupine and sweet William have been volunteering all over; no need to worry about denuding the garden. Purple _Verbena bonariensis_: bare stems so long one common name is "Verbena on a stick" (an annual, but it self-sows prolifically). Pentstemon—I've got an incredible vivid blue-purple (probably P. praecox 'Rondo'), what fun to start with one striking color. Alchemilla, an unusual color too: yellow-green. Hmm, put those together?

Though I'm too lazy to grow most annuals, I want these for cutting: big zinnias, which make such an impact—especially green "Envy." Tall, sturdy "Blue Horizon" ageratum, with its clusters of fluffy little flowers just like the short varieties'. Marigolds—especially white ones, so elegant. Used to be, I had to grow them from seed, but plants are starting to be available—for example I found them at Dick's Market Gardens on Northfield Road in Lunenburg

So many flowers; so little time to cut and play with them, while they're growing. But if I did manage to do it more then, would I feel less deprived now?

© Copyright 2004 Catherine Holmes Clark

Published in the six Nashoba Publications papers on Friday, 27 February 2004

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