Monday, June 9, 2008

Bringing the Outdoors In

The thermastat is hitting 100 on a regular basis and it's not fit for man or beast outside during daylight hours - and sometimes throughout the night also. I woke up one morning last week and our overnight low had been 82 degrees. Needless to say, this is the time of year when I lack the desire to venture out and work in the garden. What I do love when it's blistering hot is to bring a little of the outdoors intside - and this is when I'm glad I've given up a little space in the vegetable garden for cut flowers. My all time favorites are zinnias. They are easy to grow - they re-seed - and they are forgiving when I ignore them.

This year I planted Burpee's heirloom Exquisite and some year-old bulk seed. They are both growing well. The only zinnia I have failed at growing were Giant Purity. I had planted them for a party and, of course, I got poor germination followed by disease.

A few native sunflowers have volunteered near the woodpile and no-one's gotten around to chopping them out. They were a bonus the other morning when I was wandering the yard looking for something to cut. The best time to cut flowers and foliage to bring inside is morning. The plants are under less stress then.

Some shrubs can also have great flowers of foliage to include in an arrangement. I love to cut Ixora for both mixed arrangements and as a one item arrangement. The branch is a bit hard so I make some cuts up the branch so it will take up more water.

Just look at how delicate Ixora's flower is - and the color is like a fresh melon.

This is my first year to grow Cosmos. The plants are already shoulder-high - but we'll see how they take the heat! So far, so good.

I always like to include some greenery in my mixed arrangements. A palm frond, like this Lady Palm, Rhapis humilis, makes a nice addition. Coleus is good to cut - and the bonus is that it may well begin rooting before you toss the arrangement into the compost pile. The same goes for Sweet Potato Vine 'Margarite". And I love the lime green of it's leaves. Sometimes I have to search for some that the bugs haven't eaten - something munches on it throughout the summer, but never kills it.

A little bit of variegated dwarf schefflera,
Brassaia, is another good filler.
As an accent, I like to cut a few fronds from the Purple Fountain Grass, Penniselum setaceum 'Rubrum', and one of these days I'm going to use some of the purple grass blades.

I hope you'll give your plants a little haircut and bring the trimmings inside to enjoy!


Robin (Bumblebee) said...

I am a big believer in bringing flowers indoors. After all, why leave them outside by themselves in the 100 degree heat when they could be inside with you?

That said, it has taken a while for me to get enough flowers to feel like it's okay to cut. You certainly seem to have plenty.

Robin at Bumblebee

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

As always, beautiful photos. It's been hot -n- humid in southeast Michigan, too. Everyone thinks that as a gardener I must love the hot temps, but I don't. In fact, summer is, ironically, my least favorite season! (They are, because I'm sure everyone is just dying to know, in order, fall-spring-winter-summer.) I love things growing but I hate breaking a sweat just thinking of going outside to help said growth. And I like being outside!
~ Monica (who thinks maybe she should move somewhere more moderate, like... Cornwall!)