Japanese Anemone hybrid ‘Serenade’

  Last spring I planted two little anemones in a little leftover triangle of soil with the vague hope that they might actually survive and make an otherwise unremarkable corner remarkable. While the one on the left seems to have either succumbed to bad weather or weed competition, this little hybrid Japanese anemone has come back for the second year now. It seems to prefer putting on a show in September, which is just fine with me because that’s usually when all the other flowers in the garden are closing up shop. They are kept purely for ornamental reasons, though …

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It’ll last longer.

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These are actually pictures of last year’s birthday bouquet, but I didn’t put them up yet so they’re still fair game. It makes me feel better, paging through pictures of bouquets (and their attached memories) during the times when they are lacking. We were on the other side of the planet from home this birthday so things were a bit more subdued. But hey, at least the weather’s still warm here and we got to go trick or treating, so there’s that!

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Pin There, Done That: Flower Ice Blocks

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I’ve seen how-to posts for doing flower ice cubes before, but not too many for doing larger blocks. Probably because the only places these remain viable for any length of time is in the frozen north. Lots of talk of wedding centerpieces and luminaries, mostly. However, on a trip to the garden store a few years ago, I saw that they had done several blocks using what I assume were leftover tulips from their florist counter. The effect was lovely and Finland can easily spend a few months below zero (Celsius) so they will last for longer than any other fresh bouquet …

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Field Mouse-ear

The Field Mouse-ear (Cerastium arvense) is an unassuming little flower that I only noticed this year after starting this series of blog posts. Turns out, it’s a chickweed and considered edible (boiled, tastes of spinach, like the rest of the chickweeds) if slightly on the hairy side texture-wise. According to a fascinating profile on MPG North, “astringent juice made from crushed leaves and stems is a mineral-rich tonic and a treatment for painful urination.  A tea of the foliage is analgesic to treat inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract and lungs, and to treat uterine bleeding due to miscarriage.  A tea …

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Poppy Parade!

A couple years ago, I visited a friend and was amazed at the gorgeous swath of poppies she had along one side of her house. I asked her how she had managed to get so many and she said she had just scattered some random seed there earlier in the spring because she was in a hurry and didn’t want to think about where to put them. That came as a huge surprise, since it can be so difficult to start fancy poppies from seed or even from live plants bought at the garden center. To see dozens of plants …

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Meadow Vetchling

Remember how I was bemoaning my inability to grow sweet peas and how I had to be content with its cousins like tufted vetch? Well, a little after those bloomed, these came on the scene! Meadow vetchling (Lathyrus pratensis) could be called a sibling of the garden sweet pea, being from the same genus. You can even see it in the very similar shape of the flowers. It isn’t scented, but the bright yellow color makes it stand out from the rest of its kind. They don’t serve much purpose, other than to look pretty and be used occasionally for animal …

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Hybrid Rugosa Rose ‘F.J. Grootendorst’

Hybrid Rugosa Rose ‘F.J. Grootendorst‘ seems like a huge mouthful of name for such a smallish flower, but there you go. I think this is the first year this shrub rose has even put on a decent display. Like many other plants in the garden, it seems to have benefited from the mild summer. Of all the roses I’ve mentioned so far, this is probably my least favorite. I let it stay where it is mostly because of its unique appearances — you see plenty of other flowers bred to look like roses, but you rarely see roses bred to look …

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Dotted Loosestrife

Dotted Loosestrife (Lysimachia punctata) is another plant from our inherited perennial collection. It is completely unrelated to Purple Loosestrife, which I previously posted about, yet given the same colloquial name because both plants are used for similar purposes as traditional medicinal herbs. They both are dried and used for gastrointestinal problems as well as to wash wounds. The two plants grow right next to eachother in our garden and the colors complement eachother nicely. Not only do they go together well in a bouquet, but apparently they can go together in an herbal tea as well! I love that these …

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Purple Loosestrife

Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) is native to Finland, considered harmless and ornamental. Oddly enough, it is labeled an invasive species in the States, much in the same way that lupines are here. Regardless of weed status, we have these in our perennial border and I think the purple spikes are pretty! The flowers have a long history of medicinal usage, especially for digestive tract complaints. They can also be used for various external healing purposes — skin, eyes, and nosebleeds. Sounds like a floral version of aloe vera gel, come to think of it. That puts this plant firmly on my list of herbs to …

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Maltese Cross

Maltese Cross (Lychnis chalcedonica) is another one of the cottage garden perennials that came with our property. Every year it sets out the brightest red bunches of flowers out of any plant in the garden. They contrast beautifully with the blue iris they are planted next to and are fairly long-lasting in floral arrangements. They were the perfect “red” for my July 4th themed bouquet this year and I will be using it much more liberally next year, now that I know how well it performs. For more practical uses, the roots contain enough saponins to create a washing liquid …

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