May 4, 2013

Spring Garden Party Flowers

Red an golden garden flowers paired well with black hellebores, salmon gasteria and vermillion nasturtiums from the greenhouse, just one of the arrangements we made today for our annual cocktail party for the American Primrose Society. 
We've been so busy this week, trying to get the garden, greenhouse and house in order for our annual American Primrose Society cocktail party and dinner that we host every year as the society holds its national primula show near us at the Tower Hill Botanic Garden, in Boylston, MA (if you live in the Boston area, be sure to check it out both Saturday and Sunday until 4:00 PM). 

I always feel unprepared for garden tours, but less so when more knowledgable guests are coming, as they often can look through such things as bad lawns and dumpy garden furniture, focusing more on the rare or unusual plants. Tonights party always is a hit, and many of the guests are noted botanists, horticulturists, and well known plantspeople. We know who is coming - like Taylor Johnston, greenhouse manager for the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum and her husband, a professor at Harvard, former nursery owner ( and friend) Ellen Hornig, Botanist, author and garden designer Kris Fenderson. There will be officers from the North American Rock Garden Society, and many members from local chapters, and last year Darrell Probst stopped by and partied with us until the wee hours of the morning, so we always get a good list of who's who in the plant world, particularly from the Primula Society. Tonight, we are also having as special guests Merrell Jenson from the Jensen-Olson Arboretum in Juneau, Alaska. These are serious plant people.

A black hellebore has stayed in bloom.

What this mean is that I need to cook alot of interesting food, which I don't mind doing, it means that I need to stock up on lots of wine, and it means that I need to pull out more interesting plants to decorate the house, or call out more interesting plants in the garden. The trillium and wild flowers are looking fine, so I am not worried about that, and even the more common bulbs are in peak bloom this year, given out long, cold spring, so all I needed to do was to pick some branches for the house ( my annual giant 8 foot tall arrangement of yellow magnolia flowers for the studio), and some planted troughs near the doors to capture the attention of the plant-saavy group.

The Frittilaria imperialis are in peak bloom right now, which I am thankful for.

Erythronium, or Dogs Tooth Violets, are just opening.

To die for - this Podophyllium delavyi just emerging is still under the protection of the glass in the greenhouse.,

I planted a new trough near the entrance to the house. ( not the blue 'Lagoon' Verbascum - new this year to the trade!).

Muscari, or Grape Hyacinths make a simple arrangement for the bathroom.

Branches, even if they only have small oak leaves on them, sometimes can make an arrangement. In this one, I combined native trees, shrubs and wild flowers in a granite container.

Yellow can be a difficult color to work with, but combine different shades of yellow, and sometimes it can work.

Each year I struggle with this very nice yellow magnolia, as it shades the greenhouse, and few plants can grow under it's dense shade, but during these few weeks of bloom, it is stunning, and I always change my mind. For now, it stays!

This black iris has no name, but we have shared it with more botanical gardens than any plant I have. Most recently it went to the collection at Wave Hill. It was one that my mother had grown here since the 1940's. Isn't the color amazing?


  1. O_O That black iris. I WANTS it.

  2. beautiful! spring came and went so fast around here. it's lovely to revisit it with you. the iris are amazing!

    thx for all the eye candy!

  3. Anonymous6:23 AM

    Wonderful inspiring post Matt, Thank-you for sharing!

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