I’m back to share my monthly grocery store bouquet (a super sweet Christmas present from the hubs). Except this month my bouquet didn’t hail from the grocery store at all. No we didn’t cheat and hit up a fancy florist, we looked no further than our own backyard. That’s right, in lieu of the normal $3-5 grocery store bouquet, we spent zero dollars and zero cents clipping a dozen giant wild irises sprouting up between our old backyard boxwoods. Here they are living it up in the sunroom:
And what’s that you see in those little green glass votive holders? Why those are some of last month’s grocery store flowers still doing their thing a month later! And I’m loving the combination of the green glass with the purple blooms.
Possibly the best thing about this month’s bouquet is how deeelicious it smells. Sort of like a lavender flavored sugar cookie. And you’ll notice that there are still a bunch of buds just waiting to flower on each of our clippings so we should be enjoying even more of that intoxicating scent (along with an even fuller bouquet) in the near future.
So today we’re sending a big thank you to the previous homeowner who planted those bulbs years and years ago. They always come in huge and lovely every spring (we don’t even fertilize ’em or anything) and we especially appreciate that we get to enjoy them even more this year by clipping a few and plopping them in a vase. Backyard flowers really are free decorating at its finest.
Wanna see our first grocery store bouquet from January? Itching to check out February and March and April too? Just follow the links for some pretty sweet cheap-o bouquets.
Kellie Alkayam says
I don’t know about you, but around here, grocery store flowers are seriously expensive unless you want carnations, and even those aren’t cheap. The flowers at Trader Joe’s are a bit cheaper, but still more than I want to spend. I recently discovered a weekly farmer’s market right around the corner from me, and there are a number of flower vendors who show up. They’ sell bouquets for $3-4 on average. I don’t know if there’s a farmer’s market near you, but it’s worth a look. Not as cheap as clipping them from your back yard, but cheaper than the grocery store.
The flowers are very beautiful, but I am curious if you have any bug problems from the flowers. We have peonies outside our home. When I cut them last spring and brought them inside, we had a zillion of tiny critters flying and crawling about. Maybe peonies attract more bugs – not sure. But I decided not to do that again until I figured out a way to control the bugs. Anyway, is there anything special you are doing to the flowers before you bring them into your house or have you not experienced this problem?
Hmm, we haven’t had the bug issues you’ve described with our irises but maybe you’re right about it being a certain-types-of-flowers-are-more-prone-to-insects thing. We certainly aren’t pro flower people, but maybe gently misting/rinsing your flowers outside before you bring them in might help annoy the little critters into vacating. You can also keep the flowers in a holding area of sorts before bringing them inside (maybe in a sunroom or a garage) so you can double check them a bit later to see if you notice any signs of insect infestation. Anyone else with tips on this? Feel free to weigh in.
Purple irises are my favorite!
I completely agree–bringing your own flowers inside beats grocery store bouquets any day. I find that they stay fresh and fragrant longer…probably because you can’t possibly get a shorter shelf/cooler time than zip! Your irises are gorgeous!
Hey there! I have had problems with ants on peonies – apparently they are attracted to a sugary coating on the buds. Although they do not hurt the plant, they are a big pain! I have read up on it a little and apparently it’s suggested that you dunk the flowers in a pail of water for a bit – I tried this, and the ants just clung on. I had better luck using the approach recommended by Sherry – I just left them in a vase on the back porch for awhile and most of the ants got bored and left. However, I don’t think there’s a way to get rid of all of them – I just keep and eye out and kill those suckers when I see one wandering by. I hope this helps (a little) and know that you’re not the only one with pesky little critters. :)
lavender flavored sugar cookie?
you need to bottle that right up… or make some candels!! :) beautiful flowers!
having nothing to do with the flowers – Ive always loved the pairing of that traditional table and modern chairs set in the corner. Great view too! What wouldn’t look great there?
Love irises, so pretty!
We have an old house and inherited Irises as well. Irises are really low maintenance and easily divided. If you would like to get your hands dirty, consider dividing some and spreading them around other areas of your yard. After years of growth, they might get overpacked and stop blooming which is a sign it’s time to divide them.
As for bugs in peonies and other fragrant flowers…I usually just shake up the flower for any hidden friends and spray them with some cold water. I let it sit outside for a little bit before bringing them in. Ants aren’t pesty, so I wouldn’t be too concerned about them. I just figure, hey, I disrupted their home and they were here first.
Jenn C. says
Irises are rhizomes and most of these flowers in the south east and eastern US grow from tubular root systems – not bulbs… Over the course of 2-3 years one ‘tube’ of an iris can turn into several tubes. You can dig them up in the fall and break them apart, and re-plant them to get more (free) flowers! Also, sometimes if the irises have been there a while, breaking up the root system a bit will help each tube develop a more extensive root system yielding larger, taller and brighter flowers the next year….
This also works with day lilies and canna lilies.
I love irises! My husband surprised me a few weeks ago with a whole bouquet of them – so thoughtful! And my mom has them growing by the chimney up in New York, so they always remind me of home :)
I can’t believe your flowers from last month are still hangin’ on – what kind of flowers are they?
I think they’re called green mums. They’re just the grocery store variety so we’re totally surprised they’re still around too!
Megan S says
Do you (or anybody reading) have a good source for what to plan/when to plant/where to plant? We just bought our first home and the yard is nice and big, but in serious need of landscaping. When we get around to pulling out the dying bushes, I’d like to have a plan for what and when to plant in their place. I’m green when it comes to gardening, not green thumbed.
Hey Megan S,
What and when to plant depends a lot on where you live, but generally the fall is the best time to seed grass and spring and fall is the best time to plant bushes, shrubs, perennials, etc. You might want to stop in at your local garden center and ask a specialist there what they recommend (and maybe bring in a photo of your front yard to get some ideas). Hope it helps! Happy planting…
Love them! I had a bouquet of Iris’ for my wedding.
Kellie Alkayam says
I was told that if you spray the flowers the day before you cut them, the bugs will be gone by the time you bring them inside. Not sure what type of spray you’d use though.
Jenn C. says
Hey Megan S. –
I think the first thing to do is to take stock of your yard – what you want to keep, and what you want to go. From that draw a diagram of the areas where you would like to have a garden or naturalized area and then determine the level of sun in each area. The level of sun and your USDA zone really determine the types of plants that will survive in your yard (http://www.usna.usda.gov/Hardzone/ushzmap.html)
After that, you really have to decide you aesthetic and the level of effort. I tend to go for mostly perennial plants with an annual border because I feel like thats the most cost effective way to produce the most beautiful area. Annual plants are beautiful spring to fall but they require a great deal of effort (and money) every year!
Finally, a way to find flowers for every yard: http://www.garden.org/plantfinder/
Hope this helps!
MaryB in Richmond says
I love irises. The best part about them? The more you mistreat them the happier they are! My ex decided they needed to be aerated, and mulched, and watered and generally paid-attention-to, and the danged things went two years without blooming! But when we went back to totally ignoring them? Blooms aplenty!
Now that’s MY kind of gardening!
Those are pretty! I second that notion that your backyard is a great place to pluck flowers for the vase. We were having company this past Saturday night and we just cut some stems off of something in our front yard. Don’t know what they are, but they bloom every single year and came in pretty darn handy this time!
I love how the flowers contributed to such an airy feeling in your sunroom. I am however envious of people who can have fresh flowers in their house, because I cannot…not because I’m allergic, but because I’m deadly afraid of flowers. A true phobia…similar to those who are afraid of snakes or spiders, I have a thing for flowers. Therefore, I can never come close to, hold or touch any flowers.
We inherited some lovely purple irises with our 109 year old home. They are the state flower of TN (where we live), my mom’s favorite flower, and we had them planted beside our mailbox at my childhood home, so they hold a very special place in my heart. Great was my delight when I discovered them in my yard! I find that I have to be careful with the cut blooms when they begin to wilt, though. For some reason the spent blooms get very wet- drippy, even- and that brilliant purple color is a very permanent stain (on my dining room wall and the credenza in our foyer!) Oops!
I most definitely need to have you around here so I can keep my bouquets for a whole month!! That’s AWESOME!!! :) The irises are beeeautiful!! – You gave me the best idea for my mom’s mothers day gift!! xo
what a nice surprise to have come up in your backyard with no effort! :) they are so pretty!
Megan S says
PS Thanks to Sherry and Jenn C. for your suggestions- I need all the help I can get! :-)
What a great contract between the green and purple..
Did you do any special landscaping to encourage the iris’s to grow, or are they truely wild?
Very pretty setup..
Well those babies have been popping up since we moved in so I don’t think we did anything special to encourage them other than not accidentally planting anything on top of them. I think they’ve been established for many many years so that probably helps them to show up like clockwork each spring.
We are a big fan of Iris in both our garden and in our inside bouquets.