Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Teddy Bear Sunflowers; Dahlias Blooming

In spite of the heat, nature just keeping on giving.  I planted successions of sunflowers, mostly my favorite-Teddy Bear Sunflowers.  There is something about Teddy Bears that just make me smile.  And they beg to be touched, the centers almost look like velvet.  I love all sunflowers, they just make any arrangement burst of summer.
One problem I keep having when I make up arrangements, is to put too many flowers in each bouquet.  I start out with some greenery; then I add some side flowers; but then I start with the main flowers and I can't stop myself.  
Next time you receive a bouquet from a florist or one put together at a market, count how many stems you are actually getting.  Here at Windmill Farm you always get your money's worth in product-lots of stems in my arrangements.  You could even divide them up and make two out of one!!
I plant my Teddy Bear Sunflowers on the edging of my vegetable gardens, like a picture frame.  
The plants do not grow every tall, maybe 3' tall.  The flowers are very hardy and last after being cut for several days, if almost a week.
When you put a sunflower, in an arrangement with more serious - beautiful blossoms, such as dahlias, or roses, it changes how it appears.  Some people don't like to mix them, but I feel sunflowers are the quintessential summer flower with all the golds, yellows and oranges of a hot summer sunset.
Speaking of dahlias, who doesn't love dahlias?  I saw at our local Safeway that they have been selling these huge, almost 4' tall dinner plat dahlias in a 1 gal container with the bulb/s.  I bought one just because I couldn't resist it.  
A friend of mine, a few weeks later, texted me that she just took home 2 of the most fabulous dahlia plants in front of Safeway.  They had gotten a new batch.  The dahlia bug has bitten someone else!! 
 Yesterday, my daughter sent me a picture on my phone of a huge display of dahlias for sale at Costco.  Honestly, if I had some extra $$$, I would have told her to buy every single one of the.  Unbelievable gorgeous and unusual for stores to sell blooming dahlia bulbs.
 Must be a new trend.  Safeway's bulbs/flowers were $12.99; Costco price was $10.99.  Not bad when they are a lot more money in the catalogs.
 I am sure there may be more than one bulb in the containers and you get to see what the flower will look like as you plant it in your garden.
As a produce and flower farmer, my difficulty in growing dahlias is WHERE to plant them.  With our winter weather here in Butte County, we do not need to dig them up each year.  Once they are in the ground, they stay.  I planted a number of bulbs in a location where I thought they would be best to leave, within the vegetable planting areas.  Unfortunately, when Frank disked up the field in spring, he happened to dig that area too even though I had it marked off.  I lost a great deal of the bulbs, and had to dig them all up and re-plant someplace else.  They are not happy where they are now, so I will have to find a permanent and safe home for them after this year.
These arrangements were a special order for a baby shower, after the baby was born.  They were having an outside lunch and wanted the bouquets to be given away as gifts at the end of the shower.  They did not want traditional baby flowers, but wanted  large and bright colored summer bouquets.  So off I went, started adding more and more flowers; added sunflowers to the arrangement and ended up having to change out the containers to larger ones to suit the size better.  Just can't help myself.  The client was ecstatic and the new
Mom loved them too.
Add some sunflowers and dahlias to your gardens!   

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