Flower power

The Telegram (St. John’s) - - MY HOME -

What kind of gar­dener are you? My at­ti­tude to­ward grow­ing any­thing sus­tain­able in my back­yard has evolved dra­mat­i­cally. When I was a young mom our back­yard flo­ral dis­play was of lit­tle in­ter­est. I pretty much killed any­thing I planted. My hus­band’s bar­be­cue and our ram­bunc­tious boys ruled the out­door space. But times have changed and so has my home. I am now for­tu­nate to have fields of laven­der, an olive grove and veg­etable plots that de­light me. And I am work­ing on a cut­ting gar­den. In­spi­ra­tion has come in many forms, pri­mar­ily from the lush Ital­ian coun­try­side, how it looks, smells and feels. I know that I could have made a glo­ri­ous haven in our first small out­door spa­ces. If you are look­ing for some ideas, a lit­tle know-how and invit­ing pho­to­graphs of all types of gar­dens, large and small, do some searches on line. Check out the gar­dens in your neigh­bour­hood. Dis­cover what grows well in your area. Look for mag­a­zines and books on gar­den­ing. Here’s a book that will have your green thumb twitch­ing and your imag­i­na­tion pushed into over­drive.

In “Gar­den Style”, sought-af­ter stylist and author Selina Lake presents an over­view of dif­fer­ent gar­den styles so that you can choose the de­signs that best suit you and your home. The ac­cent is on cut­ting gar­dens, and what to plant so that you can have blooms on your ta­bles in­side and out. Lake’s favourite easy to grow gar­den plants in­clude fox­glove, sweet pea, al­ium, gera­nium and spring bulbs. (Visit your lo­cal nurs­ery to find what works best where you live. Soil type and sun are key.) A sim­ple ap­proach to con­tain­ers ranges from a se­lec­tion of clear and coloured glass bot­tles and jars to vin­tage pots and pails. It’s the blooms that steal the show. When space is lim­ited, use win­dowsills, shelves and walls to man­age a ver­ti­cal spread. A raised gar­den is easy to tend and makes a lovely visual stage. Small, mov­able con­tain­ers al­low you to take the flow­ers where you like. Plant up an old wheelbarrow for a larger, heav­ier col­lec­tion of green­ery. Plant an herb gar­den close to the kitchen door for easy pick­ing and spicy scents.

Dec­o­rat­ing with flow­ers is the theme, and Lake ex­am­ines var­i­ous op­tions. Uti­lize botan­i­cal prints that you can make your­self and hang along a fence as well as in­side your home and pot­ting shed. Use fab­rics with tex­ture and pat­terns that mimic the gar­den. Wall­pa­pers and paint colours take their cue from na­ture. Shown here is an in­door room dressed to evoke an out­door mood. The walls and cup­board are painted in a pale green, while the bam­boo arm­chair is spray-painted shiny bright green. The botan­i­cal feel is en­hanced by out­door fur­ni­ture, vin­tage chairs made of metal and wood. A sea grass rug adds to the nat­u­ral vibe. Cut­tings from the gar­den in­clude fox­glove and sweet pea.

Here’s a sim­ple sum­mer project from Gar­den De­sign that kids and adults will love. Pre­serve your sum­mer mem­o­ries by mak­ing flo­ral print nap­kins. Lake uses blooms from ver­bena, gera­ni­ums, marigolds, sweet peas, rose petals as well as cher­ries, rasp­ber­ries and blue­ber­ries. Cut 20-inch squares of linen or 100% cot­ton and dampen in wa­ter. Lay flow­ers and fruit, which can be bro­ken up, over the wet sur­face, then roll up. Place on wooden board and bash up with a ham­mer to break up the petals and fruit. Dis­card the flow­ers and fruit, hang to dry, hem all sides and iron to fix the colours. Wash the nap­kins in cold wa­ter as re­quired.

Bring the out­doors in with paint colours from na­ture and weath­ered fur­nish­ings. 7667374

A line-up gar­den cut­tings make a sim­ply stun­ning sum­mer dis­play.

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