Showing posts with label vintage flowers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vintage flowers. Show all posts

June 24, 2012

The Exhibition Spencer Sweet Peas Arrive

Spencer Variety of Sweet Peas picked, and resting on the back porch before we distributed to the 'old ladies" in the neighborhood. If one is over the age of 85, Sweet Peas is like Cat Nip. I'm not sure why I love them so!

Ok, bear with me as I bore you with more sweet pea photos. What was I thinking...exhibition sweet peas in most every color, and no place to exhibit them? I forgot that sweet peas must be picked every day, otherwise they will stop blooming, so now, the porch, bedrooms and most every table in the house, as well as the neighbors' houses are filled with fragrant sweet peas with long stems.

I promise, only one (maybe two)  about this project ( because remember? the sweetpea party next weekend - if they last!) and then I will need to write a big round-up showing the step-by-step images. Why? So that next year, some of you can try growing these beauties. You know you want to.

 Here in Massachusetts, we had our first heat wave of the summer, with three days over 90 deg. F. Normally, this would prove fatal to most sweet peas grown conventionally, as they dislike significant temperature shifts, and those as we have been experiencing since the week before last, fall between a 50 degree spread. Still, the plants have broken out of their funk, the buds and stopped dropping, and suddenly, Joe and I are swimming in some of the most glorious sweet peas, with one foot long stems and a fragrance that can make even a raccoon, swoon.
I'm a little busy with work presentations this week, so I will simply share these images with you.

I kept the freshly picked sweet peas in the kitchen, overnight, and in the next morning, the entire house was scented. Using every spare glass that I could find, I separated varieties by color. If I didn't have to work this weekend on a project, I would have played around a bit creating some designs with various color combos. I might have ever made a sweet pea wreath. Maybe next weekend.
 The last time I grew Sweet Peas, it was 1986, which is amazing once I think about it, since it seemed like it was just few years ago. I was just out of college, and spent that summer home before moving to New York for a job at another ad agency, when I decided to grow an entire garden of exhibition sweet peas. Not only because they are so rarely seen, but because I remember my father and my aunt Harriet talking about how 'Ol Mrs. Usher" who lived on a large dairy farm behind the house where we live now, who apparently grew 'amazing' sweet peas. She must have, for at a family 4th of July party that year, I brought baskets of sweet peas. My fathers brothers ( there were 9 of them), all mentioned the legend of Mrs. Usher. I thought, how times have changed, here are 9 men who as boys, shot ducks and went skiing on home made skis in the 1920's and 1930's., then survived WWII, and now, decades later, they still remember Mrs. Usher and her sweet peas. Maybe because three of them married sisters, all who lived in this neighborhood. Sweet Peas today, remind me of this connection. The Usher children, now grown, own an automobile repair shop up the road, I wonder.....
Sweet Peas come in an amazing range of colors, especially those in shades of purples and blues, my favorite. You may be tempted to buy a mixed packet of seed, but by selecting exhibition varieties which are sold by named selections, one can assemble a more pleasing monochromatic collection of tints like this - a selection of periwinkle, lavender, violet, purple and magenta. This combination is the finest, I think.
After Cutting early in the morning, cut sweet peas are laid out and arranged by color before being plunged into cool, fresh water to harden off.

March 30, 2009

Growing with Plants, Grows!

A double green-flowered Primula auricula, rarely seen in the US.

First, my URL has changed ( finally!) to www.growingwithplants.com.
Welcome new readers, to my blog for people who are crazy about collecting rare and unusual plants, or for people who just love plants for any old reason.

Hi everyone and new readers, my name is Matt Mattus, and I live and garden in my garden in Worcester, Massachusetts, one hour west of Boston, in USDA zone 5B. I try to post every week on Sundays, and sometimes more. I have a fulltime job, and commute two hours a day, so during the week I guess I am like most of you, busy, busy busy, but on the weekends, I garden. This blog is about my passion, my garden, greenhouses, and plant collections. I hope you find it interesting, since it is not just about everyday gardening, since I have been a plant enthusiast since I was 5 years old, so things have progressed! Every year, it's something different, and every year, my obsession gets worse. I passed through my daylilly and hosta phase when I was in highschool 30 years ago, so I am about due to pass through these phases again! Now, I am in my alpine garden/trough, rockgarden/rare japanese collectable plant phase. With a good dash of South African Bulbs ( winter blooming ones). Yeah..clearly this blog is for those who are bored with what is common, and to those who are looking for something new to grow.
I am all about impressive plantings, amazing color combinations, and garden design too, so perhaps you will get some inspiration. But mostly, I am an opinionated gardener, even a plant snob, so prepare yourself-especially if you love bushel basket mums. Actually, there isn't a plant I don't like, and in fact, I have a soft spot for forgotten plants, violets, primroses, old fashioned vintage plants......antique iris, sweet peas, dahlias, glads, annuals, so anything goes. I invite you to look back at the various postings over the years, and see if it all interests you.

Some vintage alpine auricula primroses, on the back porch waiting to be planted.

The beautiful high alpine primrose, Primula allionii native to the alps.

Over the next week, you will see some changes with my blog, Growing with Plants. After three years, I am moving the blog to the URL that makes more sense, www.growingwithplants.com SO If you have bookmarked the old Blogger Exploraculture.blogspot URL, you will need to change it.

Also, I have joined the garden blog site, Blotanical.com ( see right). This will allow me to get many more readers, and will also connect me (and you) with a slew of other garden bloggers ( thousands more), so please go check it out. I am still relatively new to this garden blogging scene, but slowly, I am getting the hang of it. Although, I still need to figure out how to respond to people, and to spell!

My alpine wall in April, with phlox, species tulips and Androsace.
To new readers of my blog, welcome, Growing with Plants is different than most garden blogs, since it is targeted towards the plantsman ( plantswomen too), and to those who are more obsessed with plants. As a member of many plant societies, this site will appeal to you especially if you like unusual or rare plants, South African Bulbs, keep a greenhouse or alpine house, grow alpine plants, bulbs in pots, unusual perennials or rare houseplants, beautiful rare flowers, amazing common flowers that have fallen out of favor, creative summer containers or gardens, and more.

I live and garden in Worcester, Massachusetts on 3 acres of land that has been in my family for over a 100 years. I keep two greenhouses, a large glass house where I grow all sorts of bulbs, south african plants, Lachenalia, Clivia, as well as many other types of plants that all share the same space, and a smaller alpine house where I grow Saxifrages, Primula and various alpine treasures that need the protection from rain. In the garden, there are various perennial borders, a blue and gold garden, an few alpine raised beds, an ephemeral garden for Corydalis and Hellebores, anemones and various woodland plants, water gardens, crevice and rock gardens, and many more.

We also keep show pigeons, breed rare ducks, Irish Terriers, keep some tortoises, doves, Parrots and other various animals. Check in frequently to see what might be new, either blooming in the greenhouse, or in the garden. As a professional designer, I travel frequently to Japan and Europe, and will sometimes post side trips from these locations which might be of interest, Mostly, I am a plant geek, an obsessive plant collector who moves interests from plant to plant, depending on my mood. Last year I focused on Dahlias, the gold and blue garden, tuberous begonias, fragrant parma violets, and Japanese orchids. This year, it seems that I am moving towards new siberian Iris, japanese maples, flowering cacti and Haworthias, Calochortus bulbs and Pleione orchid bulbs, to name a few.