Thursday, 4 May 2017


Good Morning to you,

During the past few days, surprisingly, my lilac bush has burst into bud. I say surprisingly, because after all the Arctic weather we experienced, I really thought the buds would be delayed for a few more weeks.

Although the lilac bush is not very big at the moment, I am being patient, because  I know when it reaches its full height, it will be covered with a mass of beautifully scented lilacs.  

Gardening, for me, is about patience. It is not a task to be rushed. For with patience, the garden will reward us with so much beauty.

.... and lilacs are a case in point.

Bob, George's father had passed away a number of years before we moved to Newcastle and now that we were settled, George wanted to plant a tree or shrub, in our garden, which would remind him of his father.

We could not make up our minds, which sort to buy. We couldn't decide if we should buy a brightly coloured plant, which would match Bob's personality or a lilac bush, a plant we knew he loved. We were still undecided, that is, until one sunny afternoon, I was sitting with Sadie in her garden and I noticed Bob's lilac bush was sprouting little shoots at the base of the large trunk. The decision was made. I mentioned to Sadie what I wanted to do and I asked her if I could remove some of the shoots to pot on. She said of course, because it was nice to know that Bob's lilac bush would live on in our garden.  I removed quite a few shoots, because I wasn't sure how well they would transplant. When I returned home, I told George what I wanted to do and he was pleased with my idea.

A couple of the shoots did not survive, but quite a few did and so 2 bushes were planted into our garden and another 2 were left in pots to grow. One each for Natasha and Danielle.

These past couple of years the lilacs have begun to reward us with some flowers and yesterday, whilst I was watering the Pulmonaria,  I noticed the lilac buds had started to open and so I decided to cut some stems to bring into the house.

.... and this was fortuitous, because, remember last week when I left you, I said I was going to show you a little tip I had learnt from a flower arranger many years ago.... well, instead of buying some flowers, I decided to use the lilac blooms from my garden.

Sometimes I really love formal arrangements, 

just like the one I showed you last week... but when spring turns into summer, I prefer a blousy display of flowers.... it matches my style of gardening.  George says this is because, during winter time, it is cold, and I feel contained, hence the formal style, but once the sun starts to shine, I start to open and this shows in my blousy arrangements of flowers.... I love that description.

.... and I think you will be surprised to learn, my flower arranging tip.

.... but first of all,

decide on the vase you want to use.  In my case, I decided to use this lovely pottery vase.  Usually it stands alone, without flowers, but today I thought it would be the perfect shape to use with the lilacs.

Once you have chosen your vase, half fill it with water and mix in some liquid feed.

Cut your flowers to size.

Now this is my secret weapon.  Scotch tape. Does that surprise you?

Place one strip of scotch tape, vertically, down the centre of the vase and allow the tape to overhang by 1 inch on both sides.

Cut the tape and press the tape securely into the sides of the vase.

Repeat on both sides.  In my case I needed 3 strips of tape.

Then repeat the process, but place the tape horizontally.  As you can see in my case I only needed 2 strips.

What you are trying to replicate is,

the grid pattern of the frog insert of a rose bowl.

Place your first cut stem into the centre space.

Then you can add the rest of your flowers.  I usually add my first stem centrally, then smaller stems, 1 to each side and 1  to the front and back.
 Then I infill with greenery.

By placing the scotch tape 1 inch over the sides of the vase, 
this gives the grid strength
 to support the flowers.

There are just a couple of little points, I would like to mention.

Firstly, I have used a creamy coloured scotch tape, but that was so you could see what I was doing. Normally I would use a clear scotch tape.

Secondly, try to make the grid as tight as possible. As the shape of my vase was a little uneven, I was unable to keep the grid tight.... but the grid was still able to support the lilacs.

.... and just one other thing before I leave you.  

Lilacs were not only a favourite of Bob's,  they were also my father's favourite flower.

So when the lilacs are in flower, I have memories of both my father and my father-in-law. How perfect is that.

Take care and I will catch up with you next Thursday.

As Always

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