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Purple Iris

Purple Iris

Flowers By:Sarah

Flowers have become an increasing attraction to me through the years. The colors and shapes are so varied, so intricate. Each blossom is perfectly formed and their colors superbly blend and complement each other. I am reminded each time I look closely at a blossom, of the God who created them and gave them to me.

Star Flower

Star Flower

At our old house we had only one flower bed by the house and I cannot remember anything about it. One early memory of my love for flowers is of stopping my garden work by the row of gladiolus mom planted there that year and counting all the spikes of blossoms of the same color. Those were some of the most beautiful flowers I had ever seen, and to this day they remain a personal favorite. In 1996 our landlords replaced the old house and the new landscaping included a number of retaining walls, which created several flower beds on the north and east sides of the new house. I was eight at the time and eagerly planted all kinds of seeds from the packets with the prettiest pictures that I found interesting. For the most part, these were annuals, so each year I planted more, but I didn't give them as much care as they required and found them disappointing, to say the least.

Sarah planting flowers.

Sarah planting flowers.

As the years passed I became more and more interested in flowers. I began to learn their names, both wild ones I found around the yard or on walks, and the domestic ones we grew or that I saw in books. Each year I would buy some new variety of seed to try along with my old favorites of Bachler's Buttons, Snapdragons, Sweet Williams and especially, Morning Glories. The more flowers I saw in books the more I wanted to grow and see them myself. Each spring when we started seeds inside, we girls would fill numerous trays and pick out as many packets of seeds as we thought we could plant in them. One year we got started too early and had to keep transplanting the growing seedlings to bigger cups. By the time last frost passed our Morning Glories were in pots and were twining around each other well beyond the two foot tall tepees we had provided for them!

Caleb helps Sarah plant the flower bed.

Caleb helps Sarah plant the flower bed.

When some friends of ours invited Hannah and I over to make dry flower arrangements, I was delighted. I was not familiar with drying flowers but after that I began growing new varieties that dried well, hanging them from nails in our basement rafters. Ever since then we have had arrangements in our house, which I refresh with new dry flowers as the old ones fade. Looking through books gave me ideas but for the most part I created designs by myself, using the statice and strawflowers and other things I was starting to grow and many I already had that I found by experimenting did well dried. It was nice to have flowers all year round and I found that I enjoyed arranging.

Sarah prepares another flower bed.

Sarah prepares another flower bed.

As I started work arranging dry flowers I also began more and more to bring fresh flowers in and arrange them in vases for the kitchen table. Soon I found that not all flowers do well in a vase. This of course narrowed my selection and I began working on adding good cutting flowers to my gardens. These tended to be perennials, which, though just as hard to get started as annuals, came back year after year once established. Better than seeds, though, were the plants we started receiving as we did more yard work for people. As I was to find out for myself once I began doing much with perennials, certain varieties quickly become abundant enough for it to be necessary to give them to people or else throw them away. Additions to my gardens were not always welcome,

Daffodil

Daffodil

though, as I found out with variegated grass, vinca and creeping phlox. Becoming noxious, they would have to be ripped out, care being taken to get every possible piece, in order to save the plants they were suffocating. But despite some hard lessons, I gradually collected more and more flowers and brought an increasing amount and variety into the house through the spring and summer.

Time passed and gradually I began to realize that my garden beds were rather a chaotic jumble of every size and shape and not always every bloom time. The more I learned and did with flowers the more I wanted my beds to look professional, intentional and designed. I knew it would be a huge task, to get it done right I would have to dig up the entire bed and design and replant it. Drawing ground prints, I tried to picture the flowers I was working with; their height, bloom time, color and requirements. I looked

Hannah works in the flower bed.

Hannah works in the flower bed.

in books for exact details and fresh ideas and drew spaces for the plants I really liked but didn't have, and for more cutting flowers. There were some things I needed in order to get the desired effect, which I would have to grow. Then I began to dig. Two beds in particular contained the majority of our flowers, so I started that fall with those. When I was done digging and dividing, transplanting and re-planting, I was beginning to wonder if I would ever get them done just right. I think I never will. I will always see something to change or add or take away, and I wouldn't want it to be any other way. I love working with flowers.

Pink Lily

Pink Lily

The next spring I dug another bed and planted new seeds for the empty spaces I had left in the first two. That summer I could begin to get a feel for how my work was going to be as plants grew and bloomed. I saw ways I needed to change things and places that were still empty. That fall I worked a fourth garden. That was this fall. I ordered some more flowers since this bed has never had many, and divided some from other gardens to share with it.

Sarah redesigns the flower island.

Sarah redesigns the flower island.

I have one more garden to design and I want to transplant some wild flowers into the shadiest bed. Next spring I will see if many of my seedling from this spring made it through the winter. And I will give away my extra plants to friends, just as others gave theirs to me. I still think that is the best way to get flowers. As God blesses me I must remember to share my bounty with others.

Potted flowers on our patio.

Potted flowers on our patio.

It has been a lot of work, re-planting all my flower beds, but I've enjoyed it and learned a lot in the process. Watching the new flowers burst into bloom rewards all the back aching digging and hard decisions. Flowers will always be important to me. I thank God for creating so many lovely varieties with all their intricacy and detail.

Joanna, Ammi, & Caleb enjoy the spring flowers.

Joanna, Ammi, & Caleb enjoy the spring flowers.


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