Friday, August 04, 2006

garden moments - first week in August

The time of harvest has come. While I have no substantial heads of cabbage, great bunches of onions or blushing tomatoes to display, I harvest too. Cut flowers are pretty much a staple around the house these days. For how can one resist bringing some of that color inside?

For this arrangement of dahlia in sage leaves I got my inspiration from a slim book found among my mother’s things. Victorian Posies by Pamela Westland is a beautiful (and once scented) book. Opposite the drawing from it, below, are instructions on how to make "Aromatic Tussie Mussies."

Even before Victorian times, people used to make scented posies from herb leaves and flowers called tussie-mussies and carry them from room to room.

Gather a mixed bunch of herbs – there could be golden marjoram, pineapple mint, purple sage, silvery curry plant or lavender leaves, glossy bay leaves, and creamy-white feverfew flowers (also known as pyrethrum parthenium or bachelor’s buttons) – and tie them into small posies with a “ribbon” of long chives. You might like to place them in pretty wine glass on the dining table.

I had not thought of using aromatic herbs as greenery for cut flower bouquets. And though I don’t have nearly all the plants she mentions (and probably would always pass on the oniony-smelling chives even if I did have them) I do have sage. So I gave it a try. I find the bouquet is lasting nicely.

Prunings are also part of the harvest – as are these petunias, snipped from my hanging baskets, which were becoming altogether too leggy.

And of course even new hydrangeas last a little while in water. However, they don’t dry well at this stage – crinkling entirely in a few days. They have to be quite mature for the flowers to dry smooth and flat.

Now this harvest make your mouth water.

(I'll post links to other gardens as I find them...)


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