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Do you ever find yourself wishing that you had flowers to give to a friend or to decorate your table?


Instead of heading out to the store for a generic bouquet, how about creating a lovely bouquet straight from your garden?


Now before you say that you don’t have any flowers suitable for a bouquet, think again.  


Here are several bouquets from my garden and a few from the family farm….


Isn’t this a lovely arrangement?

Believe it or not, the flowers in these vases all came from plants that many of you probably have in your own garden.

My mother created this arrangement using gold lantana (Lantana ‘New Gold Mound’), orange jubilee (Tecoma x Orange Jubilee) and Texas sage (Leucophyllum frutescens) flowers.  As you can see, it is beautiful, didn’t cost her anything and took minutes to create.


This is a bouquet that I created using flowers from my late winter garden.  Pink and white globe mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) coupled with Goodding’s verbena (Glandularia gooddingii) are a vision of pinks and purples.


I used a small pitcher to put cuttings of purple trailing lantana (Lantana montevidensis), angelita daisy (Tetraneuris acaulis) and flowers from my cascalote tree (Caesalpinia cacalaco).


This antique milk of magnesia glass jar makes the perfect vase for sweet white alyssum (Lobularia maritima) , purple violas and pink bower vine (Pandorea jasminoides) flowers.


Flowers aren’t the only thing from the garden that you can use to create a bouquet with.  

A mason jar filled with cut branches from a kumquat tree looks lovely on this table in winter.


Maybe your winter garden has no flowers.  Well, don’t let that stop you.  A small vase filled with seedpods and dried leaves from a Texas mountain laurel (Sophora secundiflora) looks great on my mother’s diningroom table.


Perhaps you’ve never thought that petunias could look be used in a vase.  But, if you use a small, shallow bowl, they can add a beautiful spot of color on your table.


Of course, roses always make a lovely bouquet.

Bouquets created from items in your garden are a great way to add a personal touch of beauty to your space.

So, are you inspired to create your own unique garden bouquet?  Step outside in your garden and take a new look at your plants – you’ll probably be surprised at how many would look nice in a vase.

**How about you?  What plants would you use to create a bouquet with?

I just love Mondays….

But, I must admit that my love for Mondays is rather new.  I didn’t always enjoy sitting in traffic, headed for my office in downtown Phoenix, where I worked as a landscape designer.  (I did enjoy my beautiful office that overlooked the city from the 14th floor).

Fast forward to 5 years later, and I find Mondays refreshing.  For one, the kids are back in school after a hectic weekend, trying to get their projects finished on time.  I also love that Monday is a fresh start.  I rarely have time to garden on the weekends, so Mondays is a wonderful time to step outside and see what is flowering, smell the subtle fragrance of my desert trees and most importantly – see what has developed in my vegetable garden.

Two weeks ago, I planted my fall vegetable garden – on a Monday.  It all started with a visit to our local Home Depot, where I picked up bagged compost, aged steer manure, bone meal and blood meal.
 Earlier, we had ripped out what was left of our summer vegetable garden, leaving only our basil and oregano plants behind.  Since I had removed the shade cloth from the garden, I put in two plastic chairs to protect the basil and oregano from the sun.
We added a 3 inch layer of compost and 3 inches of aged steer manure.  Then I sprinkled both blood and bone meal on top.  We then lightly raked the layers together and then waited a week before planting our vegetable seeds.

We placed stepping stones through the middle so that we will have easy access to our vegetables.

I buy my seeds from different sources.  I have Burpee, some from Botanical Interesta, but I usually buy mine at the local Big Box store.
We decided to plant cucumbers, carrots, green onions, spinach, leaf lettuce and cauliflower.
I let each of the kids pick out what kind of seed they wanted to plant.

Decisions, decisions….

Gracie loves carrots, so that is what she picked to plant.
My son, Kai, planted the green onions and my daughter, Ruthie, planted the lettuce.
I finished up planting the rest of the seeds, using my top secret vegetable garden tool.   

I will share my special tool with you soon πŸ™‚

 I had planted the sweet corn a few weeks ago, since they need to be in the ground by the end of August for best results.

So, do you know what you will be doing today?

I will be stepping out in to my vegetable garden, seeing what seedlings have started to sprout.

Stay tuned for how to plant garlic and learn about my ‘secret’ gardening tool.



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I hope you all had a great weekend and are off to a good start for the week.

**THERE ARE 2 DAYS LEFT TO ENTER YOUR MONTHLY GARDEN BOUQUET FOR THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER.**


Please email me a photo of your bouquet, or leave me a link to your blog post with you bouquet in the comments section of this post.  I will then feature your bouquet and a link back to your blog.


I hope you decide to take the time to send me your bouquet.  I do enjoy seeing the beautiful flowers from your garden πŸ™‚

This weekend has been an extreme roller-coaster of highs and lows.  

Mostly lows though…..

You know what makes a person feel better though?  A beautiful bouquet.  I would like to showcase two bouquets that were submitted for August’s Monthly Garden Bouquet.


I can’t wait to share them with you.


Isn’t it lovely?

This bouquet was created by Marguerite who lives in Prince Edward Island.  She has a great blog called Canoe Corner.

She created her bouquet using flowers from her own garden.  She included one of my favorite flowers, Peonies, which unfortunately do not grow where I live.

The next bouquet is from David who lives and gardens in Texas.
David has been a faithful contributor to the Monthly Garden Bouquet.  He always creates a monthly bouquet from his garden for his wife.

This one he named “Welcome Home” bouquet after she began working full-time.  

He made it out of Blue Daze, Serena Purple Angelonia, Yellow Musseanda, Luteola and Bergarten Sage.

David is a wonderful blogger and you can read more about his garden on his blog, Tropical Texana.

So, if you would like for your bouquet to be included next month, all you need to do is to send me a photo via email (link on my sidebar), or you can send me a link to your blog page.  You can also post on my facebook page if you like.

I will post it on the 20th of next month.

The only guideline is to create a bouquet using plants from your garden.

I can’t wait to see what you create πŸ™‚

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The past few days have been emotionally exhausting.


My father-in-law, who is suffering from ALS, was taken to the hospital with pneumonia.


We have spent the past three days there with him and other family.  Yesterday, his breathing became even more labored and he is becoming increasingly dependent on a machine that assists his breathing (not a ventilator though).


It is hard to see him suffer so much from this disease.  He can no longer communicate beyond nodding “yes” or “no”.  Using his hands is no longer possible and he is almost completely wheelchair bound.


Today his lungs began to collapse due to his disease, but for now, the breathing machine is helping to keep them open.  


In the midst of all of this was a very joyful time.  You see, my daughter had a 4-D ultrasound where we could actually see the features of our new granddaughter’s face.  Even though she is not due for 10 more weeks, it was so wonderful to gaze upon her precious little face.

It was disconcerting to go from such sadness, to joy and back to sadness in a period of 2 hours as we left the hospital to go to the ultrasound and then back to the hospital.

We did bring the photos of the ultrasound to my father-in-law so that he could see his first great-grandchild.  He has been so excited about her.  We only hope that he will survive long enough to see her in person.


For now, we are living in a period of uncertainty.  No one knows how long he will live.  Will we get a call tonight?  Or, will it be a few more months?  No one knows.


What we do know is that there will be a precious little baby born in about 10 weeks.  It is that certainty and joy that is helping us through this difficult time πŸ™‚



I hope you all have a wonderful week….

Well, it is time again for our Monthly Garden Bouquet.  July is a great month to create a bouquet from the plants in your own garden since so many plants are in bloom.

I am announcing a change in this ‘me-me’ that I created over a year ago.  Instead of featuring bouquets from my garden (which you have seen a lot of), I thought it would be nice to feature bouquets that you create from your own gardens.  


That way, I can share with all of you a great variety of different bouquets using different types of plants from all over.

I must admit that I got this idea from David from Tropical Texana who created a beautiful bouquet last month and ‘sent’ it to me (virtually).


So, if you would like for me to show your bouquet, please email me your photo (using the email link on the sidebar) by the 15th of each month.  You can always post your pictures of your bouquet on my facebook page as well.  Please tell me what type of flowers you used – in case I can’t recognize all of them.  As much as I would like to claim that I can recognize all plants – it is certainly not true πŸ˜‰

Well, are you ready for this month’s bouquet?  Becky sent me a photo on my facebook page of this beautiful arrangement that she created using flowers from a Plumbago shrub (Plumbago auriculata).  

Becky wrote that this photo is of three of her recent fascinations – raising backyard chickens, rescuing beautiful containers and taking photos.

I think she did a fabulous job, don’t you?

Cape Plumbago is one of my favorite shrubs – first, because I love the color blue and secondly, because it brings back memories of growing up in Southern California, where this is a popular landscape shrub.

Luckily for me, it also grows in Arizona where I now live.  I actually planted some in our first home in Phoenix and they did very well.  It is native to Africa, grows to 3 – 10 ft. high and wide.  Hardy to zones 8b, it does suffer frost damage, but quickly comes back in spring.  In the desert, it does best planted in light shade, in my experience.

For those of you who blog, if you would like to share your Monthly Garden Bouquet, please feel free to add your link to Mr. Linky below.  You can also post your bouquet to my facebook page for us all to see.

So, I am very excited to see what types of bouquets you will create for August’s Monthly Garden Bouquet.  Remember, you have until August 15th.

This has been a rather tough week, yet one full of thoughtful acts of kindness.



As I mentioned in my last post, my husband and I were preparing to go to the doctor with my father-in-law who is suffering from a fast moving form of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).

As many of you know, doctor’s visits can be exhausting.  Well, imagine not only seeing your doctor, but also a dietician, an occupational therapist, a speech therapist, a respiratory therapist and a physical therapist in the same visit.  That is what my father-in-law’s appointments consist of and they take about 3 hours.



There were moments during the appointment when I found myself on the verge of tears, especially as I watched my father-in-law struggle to complete the simple tasks that were asked of him.


After I came home, I scarcely had the energy to make dinner, but I did throw something simple together before I went on the computer.  


As I was reading the many thoughtful comments from my last post, I was so overwhelmed by one particular comment from my fellow garden blogger, David.  He had created a bouquet for me from his garden and posted it for all to see….




You know what?  It didn’t matter that I couldn’t smell the fragrance of touch the beautiful flowers of his bouquet.  It was just as special.

David lives in Houston and writes the blog “Tropical Texana” and has been one of the faithful contributors to the Monthly Garden Bouquet.  I did not create one this month, so I have posted his on my sidebar. 

I just wanted to thank you all of you for your support.  It means so much to me and my family.  I often show my husband what you write in your comments and it does bring comfort.

I promise that I will get back to my regular posts about gardening and other assorted subjects.  In fact, I have a fun posts coming up that has to do with a recent visit to Starbucks and how they helped me with my garden πŸ™‚

I hope you are all having a wonderful week!

It seems just like I was creating a bouquet for the month of April.  Where has the time gone?

My garden is in full bloom, but all I seem to see when I look outside is some plants in need of a bit of pruning πŸ˜‰

I have had some exciting events occur in my garden, which I cannot wait to share with you next week.  

Some of you wondered how my daughter, Gracie, was doing after having 6 teeth pulled last week and she is doing much better.  She was able to eat a Rice Krispy treat last Monday, but told me that she it was too hard to eat salad – I don’t think so……

Okay, so back to my Monthly Garden Bouquet.  You know, some months it is difficult to come up with a bouquet.  In winter there are much fewer flowering plants to choose from.  So, I really appreciate the warmer months when it  only takes me about 10 minutes to put together a pretty bouquet.

So, I picked out two different flowers, one from a shrub and the other from a groundcover.  I had the perfect container and was ready to take my photo when, my dog, Tobey, decided to get a closer look at my bouquet….

So once I got Tobey out of the way, I was able to take this picture of my bouquet.
I love using mason jars for flower arrangements.  I recently purchased a special lid that has a wire grid that separates and holds up each individual stem.  I love it.
The flowers that I chose were yellow flowers from my Arizona Yellow Bells shrubs (Tecoma stans stans).  I love the bright green foliage and the flowers are present from April to November in my zone 9a garden.
**You know what?  Many people overlook the fact that many flowering shrubs can be used to make great bouquets.
The  purple flowers are from my Trailing Purple Lantana (Lantana montevidensis), which add gorgeous purple to my garden for 9 months each year.

Okay, so maybe some of you are wondering about this Monthly Garden Bouquet.  Well, here are the details below…..
If you would like to participate in this month’s MGB, here are the guidelines:
1. MGB begins on the 21st of each month and runs until the end of each month. Bouquets can be submitted during this time (or even later πŸ™‚ 
2. Create your own garden bouquet as fancy or simple as you like.
3. I would appreciate it if you would provide a link back to my post inside of your MGB post, but it is not required πŸ™‚ 
4. Add your link to Mr. Linky below and that’s it! 

It can be as simple or fancy as you like.  Each month, I cannot wait to see what you all come up with.

Spring seems to be rushing by so quickly.  It seems it was just yesterday when I was protecting some of my more tender plants from frost.

Well, it is time for this month’s monthly bouquet.  I had no problem figuring out what flowers I would use…

My daughter’s ‘Abraham Darby’ rose is just covered in beautiful blooms.
I only wish that you could smell their incredible fragrance through the computer πŸ˜‰
Okay, so maybe some of you are wondering about this Monthly Garden Bouquet.  Well, here are the details below…..
If you would like to participate in this month’s MGB, here are the guidelines:
1. MGB begins on the 21st of each month and runs until the end of each month. Bouquets can be submitted during this time (or even later πŸ™‚ 
2. Create your own garden bouquet as fancy or simple as you like.
3. I would appreciate it if you would provide a link back to my post inside of your MGB post, but it is not required πŸ™‚ 
4. Add your link to Mr. Linky below and that’s it! 

It can be as simple or fancy as you like.  Each month, I cannot wait to see what you all come up with.

 


First of all, I would like to apologize for not coordinating a Monthly Garden Bouquet for February.  I wish that I had a great excuse for not doing one such as maybe not having any flowers in my garden.  But, that would not be true.

The reality was that I was just awfully busy last month and I did feel a bit guilty about it.  So, even though I am still recovering from pneumonia, I drug myself outside, (in my pajamas I might add), to find flowers to cut.


It really wasn’t hard to venture outside.  A clear blue sky and temperatures in the 70’s…..it was so beautiful.

Here is what I came up with…..

 
The blue flowers are Bachelor’s Button, which I have growing as a companion plant in my vegetable garden to help attract pollinators.  This is the first year that I have grown them and I just love their vibrant blue color.
The yellow flowers are from my Desert Marigold (Baileya multiradiata) perennials that I have dotting my front garden.  They survive on rainfall alone and are flowering off and on all year.  I do give them a ‘haircut’ three times a year to help them look their best.
Lastly, are some pink flowers from my potted Dianthus, which have done so well throughout the entire winter in my front entry.
I ventured outside in my PJ’s because I was sure that I would only take 2 minutes and no one would see me.  But no….. my wonderful neighbor saw me and I spent a delightful 1/2 hour talking with her in my front garden in my pajamas πŸ˜‰
**I would like to thank you all so much for your kind comments and well wishes for my recuperation from this awful pneumonia.  I have a lot of medicine to take and am feeling much better.  I am just feeling tired and weak now, which is hard when I see the spring pruning that needs to be done in my garden.  Thankfully, my husband is more then willing to help out.
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Okay, so maybe some of you are wondering about this Monthly Garden Bouquet.  Well, here are the details below…..
If you would like to participate in this month’s MGB, here are the guidelines:
1. MGB begins on the 21st of each month and runs until the end of each month. Bouquets can be submitted during this time (or even later πŸ™‚ 
2. Create your own garden bouquet as fancy or simple as you like.
3. I would appreciate it if you would provide a link back to my post inside of your MGB post, but it is not required πŸ™‚ 
4. Add your link to Mr. Linky below and that’s it! 

It can be as simple or fancy as you like.  Each month, I cannot wait to see what you all come up with.

**Please stop by and read my latest blog post about “Welcome Residents in the Vegetable Garden” on Birds & Blooms.  Your support means a lot to me and the editors πŸ™‚


Well, I did think “outside of the box” for this month’s MGB and I do realize that I am a bit late.  I try to have it posted by the 20th of each month, but I had my deadline for completing four gardening articles moved up.  I have been writing for most of the day and my brain has turned to mush….is that enough of an excuse?

It won’t come as a surprise to anyone that it is January and there are not a whole lot of flowers out in my garden.  But, I do have some….just not a lot.


I decided to be a bit creative this month with my bouquet.  Actually, I don’t know if you can even call it a bouquet.  But, I am quite happy with the results.

I have always liked how beautiful floating flowers appear, so I decided to try it out for myself.  I used my grandmother’s glass dessert dishes (to be honest, this is the first time I have used them for anything).  I may have to actually use them for dessert sometime πŸ˜‰
I realize that I have not mentioned what flowering annuals that I have growing.  Well, here they are – Violas, Dianthus and Pink Geraniums.
 I just wish that I had a party at my house so that I could use them as decorations for the table.  Wouldn’t they be pretty at a tea party?
Well, my kids have been asking me if we could have a tea party the past couple of days…… 
 
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I realize creating a bouquet during the winter months can be quite challenging, but that is where creativity comes in.

Maybe you have some dried seedheads, which would make a beautiful bouquet.  

Or maybe you have some beautiful poinsettias or amaryllis.

I also think that a bouquet of evergreen foliage is beautiful.

If you would like to participate in this month’s MGB, here are the guidelines:
1. MGB begins on the 21st of each month and runs until the end of each month. Bouquets can be submitted during this time (or even later πŸ™‚ 
2. Create your own garden bouquet as fancy or simple as you like.
3. I would appreciate it if you would provide a link back to my post inside of your MGB post, but it is not required πŸ™‚ 
4. Add your link to Mr. Linky below and that’s it! 

It can be as simple or fancy as you like.  Each month, I cannot wait to see what you all come up with.



Okay, so how are you all doing in getting ready for the holidays?  Are you sipping apple cider in front of your Christmas tree and enjoying seeing all of the gifts you bought, already wrapped and ready for Christmas morning?

OR are still shopping and trying to find the perfect gift for that person who always seem to be so hard to buy for?  For me, my mother-in-law – who I love dearly by the way, is very hard to buy anything for.  But this year I do have a perfect gift – I made her a ………  (I had better not say.  She does not normally read my blog too often, but I don’t want to take any chances).

This year, I am done shopping –  as in finished and everything is wrapped.  Well…..all except for the two gifts that are in the mail and I hope get here before Christmas.  AND I have more baking to do this week.


But, I did not forget this month’s Garden Bouquet.  Okay, I almost did until I looked at the calendar this morning.  So after church, I took my clippers and went searching for flowers out in my front garden.


Even with our relatively mild winters, it is not always easy to find December flowers, but I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised to find more then a few.



I filled my Polish pottery jug with a combination of flowers from my Cascalote tree which is in full bloom right now.  In the front are the pretty daisy-like flowers from my Desert Marigold (Baileya multiradiata).  

In the middle are the dainty, purple flowers of my Trailing Purple Lantana (Lantana montevidensis).  Now normally my Lantana is somewhat brown and crispy due to being affected by our occasional freezing temperatures.  But this year, I covered them and I am really glad I did because they look great out in the garden with not much else in bloom.

I had a bit of trouble figuring out where to take a picture of my bouquet because there is a lot of brown in my garden (as in my dormant bermuda grass lawn).  But there is an area in the garden with is absolutely beautiful and green….my vegetable garden.



I think it made a great backdrop, don’t you?  

I can see my carrot tops, spinach as well as my companion plants – the nasturtiums and marigolds which have done a great job at repelling bad bugs away.

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Now for my delicious treat……

I love to bake and I do keep it simple but delicious.  I do get quite a few requests for my recipes and thought that I would share some with you from time to time.


Yesterday my daughter, Gracie and I made pumpkin bread.  

If you would like to see the fruits of our labors and get the recipe, please click here.


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Okay, now back to December’s Monthly Garden Bouquet.  I realize that it can be a bit challenging to do during the winter months, but that is where creativity comes in.

Maybe you have some dried seedheads, which would make a beautiful bouquet.  

Or maybe you have some beautiful poinsettias or amaryllis.

I also think that a bouquet of evergreen foliage is beautiful.

If you would like to participate in this month’s MGB, here are the guidelines:
1. MGB begins on the 21st of each month and runs until the end of each month. Bouquets can be submitted during this time (or even later πŸ™‚ 
2. Create your own garden bouquet as fancy or simple as you like.
3. I would appreciate it if you would provide a link back to my post inside of your MGB post, but it is not required πŸ™‚ 
4. Add your link to Mr. Linky below and that’s it! 

It can be as simple or fancy as you like.  Each month, I cannot wait to see what you all come up with.