2021 Garden Bouquets

Sunday, January 23, 2022

As a continuation of my previous bouquets from 2021, here's a pretty thorough overview of the bouquets I grew from my gardens in 2021. We start with single daffodils:

Garden Bouquet - Single Daffodils Garden Bouquet - Single & Double Daffodils
April 20 and 21, 2021

Followed shortly by double daffodils and hyacinths.

Garden Bouquet - Hyacinth and Daffodils Garden Bouquet - Double Daffodils
April 22 and 29, 2021

A month or two later we have white peonies, and then pink peonies one week after them.

Garden Bouquet - White Peonies
Garden Bouquet - Pink Ponies
June 4 and 12, 2021

Around the same time, the Sweet William appear in the wildflower stump bed.

Garden Bouquet - Sweet William
June 8, 2021

Then the real action begins: queen lime zinnia, echinacea, breadseed poppies, hyssop, fireball monarda, white globe thistle, and sensation mix cosmos.

Garden Bouquet - Monarda, hyssop, poppies, cosmos, queen red lime zinnia, white globe thistle Garden Bouquet - queen lime zinnia, apricot peony asters, cosmos, echinacea, poppy seed heads
July 15 and August 12, 2021

The peony ducchess apricot asters then appear and multiply, and we get the first of MANY Beatrice dahlia blooms, pompom type.

Garden Bouquet - peony ducchess apricot asters, sensation mix cosmos, blue hydrangea, poppy seed heads Garden Bouquet - peony duchess apricot asters, beatrice dahlia, sensation mix cosmos, fireball monarda, queen lime zinnia
August 18 and 21, 2021

I add in some blooms from the Open Garden for variety: lavender and anise hyssop.

Garden Bouquet - sensation mix cosmos Garden Bouquet - lavender + anise hyssop, beatrice dahlia, peony aster, cosmo, zinnia, echinacea
August 24 and 29, 2021

We had hydrangea before, but now they really start to take off, adding some pops of blue against all the neon colors.

Garden Bouquet - blue hydrangea, sensation mix cosmos, peony ducchess asters, hyssop, lavender, chive blossoms, anise hyssop, beatrice dahlia Garden Bouquet - queen lime zinnia, sensation mix cosmos, peony duchess asters, beatrice dahlia, aged hydrangea
September 3 and 8, 2021

Once the Night Silence, Labyrinth Two-Tone, and Caitlin's Joy dahlias appear, then we're really cooking with fire!

Garden Bouquet - sensation mix cosmos, fireball monarda, and dahlia: Night Silence, Caitlin's Joy, Labyrinth (two-tone), and Beatrice Garden Bouquet - queen lime zinnia, sensation mix cosmos, peony ducchess apricot asters, and dahlia: beatrice, night silence, caitlin's joy
September 13 and 17, 2021

Pink Runner dahlia blooms and that's the last of the dahlia varieties from this season (Copper Boy was not happy where I put him). This produces some seriously PINK bouquets, which can be counter-balanced by other options in the garden: asparagus greens, foxglove, sky blue butterfly bush, mint vines, catmint leaves, and hyssop.

Garden Bouquet - aged hydrangea, dahlia: Pink Runner (appears!), Night Silence, Caitlin's Joy, Labyrinth (two-tone), and Beatrice Garden Bouquet - asparagus, sweet mint, catmint, hyssop, lavender, sky blue butterfly bush, peony ducchess asters, foxglove, sensation mix cosmos, queen lime red zinnia, labyrinth dahlia, night silence dahlia, beatrice dahlia
September 21 and October 2, 2021

At this point in the season, I could just walk through all the gardens and pick random items for bouquets. Here I've added carrot greens and the re-blooming bearded iris when it re-bloomed! A bit of late-season goldenrod from the meadows also makes an appearance.

Garden Bouquet - carrot tops, asparagus, catmint, bearded iris, butterfly bush, labyrinth dahlia, night silence dahlia, beatrice dahlia, goldenrod, hyssop, anise hyssop, lavender
Garden Bouquet - sensation mix cosmos, queen lime zinnias, hydrangea, asparagus, catmint, butterfly bush, labyrinth dahlia, beatrice dahlia, hyssop, lavender
October 5 and 10, 2021

Just remixing what I've incorporated into previous bouquets. Nothing new appears from here on out.

Garden Bouquet - hyssop, asparagus, hydrangea, catmint, dahlia: labyrinth, night silence, pink runner, and beatrice Garden Bouquet - catmint, queen lime zinnia, hyssop foliage, sensation mix cosmos, dahlia: labyrinth, night silence, caitlin's joy, pink runner, and beatrice
October 14 and 15, 2021

The last bouquet of the season was picked on October 29! That is VERY late. Frost didn't really come until November, although the plants weren't producing the huge blooms from earlier in the season. More modestly-sized ones, as they adjusted to the waning daily sunlight.

Garden Bouquet - Last of the Year!
October 29, 2021

Overall, I'd say I had a VERY successful first year of growing a cut flower garden! It helps to be growing lots of things in lots of different spaces, that was I don't have to plan as carefully. But it also just helps to grow easy and beautiful blooms.

Harvesting: Dried Beans

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Hart's Dried French Horticultural Beans

I grew a new type (or two) of bean in the garden in 2021. Namely, beans that can be eaten as shell beans or dried beans, not just green beans! I grew Painted Pony Beans which are meant to be dried, but ~5 plants produced about 0.5 cups of dried beans. Not really enough to be eaten.

Homegrown Dried Jacob's Cattle Beans

The semi-vined French Horticultural Beans from Hart's, were far more successful, with ~5 plants producing ~1.5 cups

French Horticultural Beans (Hart's) French Horticultural Beans (Hart's)
Homegrown Dried Jacob's Cattle Beans and Cranberry Borlotti Beans

These beans tasted good when eaten green (with just a touch of pink streaks), and could also work fine as shell beans (past ripeness for "green", but before they're fully dried). I mostly let the pods dry out all season on the vine, though. Right before frost, I pulled up the plants and hung them up in the basement for 2 weeks to fully dry out.

Drying French Horticultural Beans Indoors Dried French Horticultural Beans

Once the pods were brittle, they were ready to be busted open, and the beans were ready to be stored (or used as seed again for next year).

Harvesting Dried Beans from the Pod

Next year, I think I'll halve the number of Kentucky Wonder Green Beans I grow (only along the back trellis), and double or even quadruple the number of French Horitcultural Beans, so that I can have tasty beans fresh, or preserved for over winter (good for the next ~5 years)!

Preserving Leafy Garden Greens Through Blanching and Freezing

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Harvesting the last of the Rainbow Swiss Chard

Part of the garden winterization process is to harvest what can be harvested, before cold weather kills it all. While I love harvesting and cooking with my homegrown produce, "harvest time" often yields waaay too much at one time for me to use, and so I preserve some of the harvest. Green beans can be pickled, winter squash can be cured and stored in the basement (as can garlic), dried beans can be shelled, etc. etc. But leafy greens? The only thing to do with them is to blanch & freeze them.

Harvesting the last of the Rainbow Swiss Chard

For my rainbow chard, I cut off most of the leaves, except for a handful of the smallest ones (they may continue to grow into winter).

Then I get a big pot of water boiling, and prepare an ice bath. I boil chard leaves for 1 minute before moving them to the ice bath. Chard stems get 2 minutes boiling before ice bath. Then, they can all be placed in zip-loc bags, have their air removed as best as possible, and stored flat in the freezer for future use in soups and tasty dishes calling for wilted chard.

Blanching Garden Chard to Store in the Freezer

This process would not, say, be good for preserving lettuce...

Garden Debris as Autumn Mulch

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Taking a break from all the kitchen renovation talk to recap some gardening nonsense.

First Big Frost - getting the garden ready for winter

With winter comes the need to "put the garden to bed" so it can start in the spring on its best foot. This includes the typical clearing out dead annuals, cutting back all the perennials (except the Meadow Sage & Lavender), putting up hoop tunnels, as well as putting down compost and adding mulch. This year, I decided to use chopped up peony stems & leaves as well as year-old shredded leaf mulch to mulch the raised beds. In the open garden, I used the chopped up catmint, butterfly bush, chives, asters, geranium, and bearded iris leaves as well as grass clippings from earlier in the season to feed the soil and block sunlight from weeds.

Winterizing Garden - Clearing out plant debris (beans) Winterizing Garden - laying down a bag or two of compost, topsoil (if needed)

First steps always include putting aside the drip irrigation lines, clearing out the plant debris, and then putting down topsoil (as needed, to make up for the compression/decomposition of organic matter in the lower layers of the bed), a layer of homemade compost, earthworm castings (if I got 'em), azomite mineral dust, ground oyster shells, and 1-2 bags of different kinds of compost, etc. etc. Mixed up as best I can with a rake, or left as layers. Doesn't matter a whole lot!

Winterizing Garden - mulching with chopped up peony stems

Then I put the mulch down. Above you see the dried peony stems and leaves that I just chopped up a bit by hand. These will break down slowly, but will prevent weeds from getting sunlight in the meantime.

Winterizing Garden - year-old leaf mulch for the kohlrabi and chard

I only had enough peony debris for two of the ~5 raised beds. 2 more (as shown above) got some heavily decomposed leaf mulch from last year, and the asparagus bed and little bed both got teensy honeylocust leaves gathered from the yard.

Winterizing Garden - The Open Garden Before
Winterizing Garden - Open Garden After - mulched with chopped up chives, iris leaves, catmint, etc.

After chopping down the asparagus ferns (and hauling them to the side yard, as asparagus beetles have a tendency to over-winter in the dried ferns), I piled some more garden debris on top. It's not pretty, but as winter wears on the chopped catmint, irises, chives, etc. will dry out and break down into the soil.

Snow in the garden - mulch aging a bit in the vegetable garden

I threw some hoops and garden cover over the remaining brussel sprouts, kohlrabi, and rainbow swiss chard so that I can continue to harvest them into winter. And with that, the garden is pretty much as ready as it ever gets for winter!

Kitchen Renovation: New Ceiling Light

Sunday, December 26, 2021

After Kitchen Light

It's not the most beautiful (nor on-trend) light, but it is certainly the largest. It's this 32" color-adjustable beast from Home Depot and helps solve (along with brighter paint colors) one of our main complaints: the dark, darkness of this kitchen. This fixture is so bright, we don't even need a dedicated light over the stove anymore! Nor the light in the microwave nook. Nor even really the light over the sink...

Here's the before chandelier that came with the house. I just don't have enough imagination to make this style of light fixture work!

Before Kitchen Light

How To: Ruched Privacy Curtain

Friday, December 24, 2021

Pay no mind to the filthy door, the missing trim, mismatched light switches, hole in the floor, etc. My life is a constant construction zone at the moment. Just focus on that ruched front door curtain, that helps keep strangers [and the dog] from looking directly into the house. I'm no stranger to making curtains, in fact, it's probably my most frequent sewing project. I've been known to cut shower curtains for windows, split a bunch of curtain panels into mini-curtain panels, insert blackout panels, make them for under-counter coverage, combine multiple fabrics into one curtain, blockprint my own curtain fabric and add lace, etc. etc.

The process described below is a new curtain style for me, but is essentially just one curtain panel with both a top and bottom rod channel. Nothing too fancy.

DIY Ruched Curtain DIY Ruched Curtain

The front/side door curtain that came with the house started falling apart awhile back. And rather than repairing the dingy sheer curtain, I opted to upgrade later on when we began remodeling the kitchen. The top/bottom curtain rod idea will work in other contexts as well, Dans Le Lakehouse made a similar curtain for an awkwardly shaped guest bedroom window.

DIY Ruched Curtain DIY Ruched Curtain

  1. I started with a single Clarissa Diamond Sheer Curtain Panel from Target, and cut it to be the length of my window + 2" (42 + 2 = 44"). Starting with a curtain panel meant I already had one "channel" for the top curtain rod, I just had to make the second one. If I started with a piece of plain fabric instead, I'd likely cut the fabric to length-of-window+4 X width-of-window*2.
    Cut Fabric to Size
  2. If using sheer fabric that frays easily, it's a good idea to zigzag stitch over the edge of any cut edges to help prevent fraying. Zigzag stitch can be used to finish edges if you don't have a serger (c/o TillyAndTheButtons).
    Zigzag cut ends
  3. Fold over cut ends toward the wrong side of the fabric by 1/4" and iron. My fussy sheer fabric was easier to work with when I sewed this fold down, but that's optional.
    Fold & iron 1/4" cut ends
  4. [Skip this step if you started with a curtain panel, rather than plain fabric]. For the top curtain rod channel, fold the top of the fabric toward the wrong side of the fabric enough to cover the height of the curtain rod - you want the rod to be able to fit through this channel. 1-2" should be plenty, depending on how big your curtain rods are. Since the rods are being hidden entirely by the ruched panel, I think smaller rods make more sense here.
    Fold & iron ~2" for top curtain rod channel
  5. Pin the channel in place, and then sew.
    (If you were making a typical curtain, you'd hem the bottom of the fabric, and be done at this stage!)
  6. Hang curtain from the top curtain rod where it will be, wrong side outward. Wrap the bottom of the curtain behind the lower curtain rod, and then up and over it (from back to front). You want the fabric to be pretty taut. Pin in place (I found doing this step at regularly intervals, to ensure I pinned the fabric straight worked well).
    Fold, pin, & iron around bottom curtain rod for bottom channel
  7. Remove the curtain and iron the fold that's going to form the lower rod channel. At this point, you might find it makes sense to fold over that 1/4" fold from a few steps back (or even to trim and re-iron a new 1/4" folded edge) to get the edge even/smaller.
  8. Sew that bottom channel in place.
  9. Hang the curtain, fiddle with the scrunchiness of the ruching until it evens out, and you're done!
    Hang & Ruche

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