Lasting Landscapes by Carol

Seedy Characters

We received over two inches of snow in the Philadelphia area overnight, our first blanket of white in almost two years. As I gaze into my back yard and see most of the ground covered, I’m acutely aware of the importance seed heads play in adding drama and interest to the winter landscape. I have to admit that I do a pretty extensive cleanup in the fall since I have limited time in the spring. But there are certain plants I leave standing because last season’s remnants create so much magic in the garden.

Lasting Landscapes by Carol
My winter garden calls me outside to observe each detail more closely.
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
A snow-covered Hydrangea stands proudly after the storm.
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
My Hydrangea ‘Little Lime’ wears winter snow caps.
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Diervilla stems stand tall against the weight of winter.
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Some consider Liquidambar styraciflua (Sweet Gum) to be messy, but I love the ornamental display they provide.
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Rudbeckia provides birds with a much-needed food source.
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Allium ‘Millenium’ starbursts look very ornamental.
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Allium clusters are just as pretty as a singular seed head, offering great texture for the colder months of the year.
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Grasses like this Calamagrostis brachytricha show off fluffy seed heads to passersby.
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Actaea seed heads might be my favorite as they tower over 5 feet above the garden floor.
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Even when laden with ice, Actaea displays wonderful texture to keen observers.

Another thing I love about leaving seed heads standing is the promise they offer, a reminder that the seeds of yesterday create life tomorrow. While I don’t depend on plant seeds for my livelihood, some people do. I recently watched Gardening in a War Zone, an independent film made by Floret Flower Farm owner Erin Benzakein. The film tells the story of Alla Olkhovska, who lives in Kharkiv, Ukraine and supports her family by selling the rare seeds she collects from her garden. You can’t help but be inspired by Alla’s story. I encourage you to watch this 30 minute documentary.

Whether you leave seed heads because you want to harvest them to see what offspring a plant produces, to support your family, or simply to add beauty to your garden, I know you’ll find comfort in the company of some seedy characters.

Lasting Landscapes by Carol

Growing Wild

I stumbled upon the show Growing Floret a while back. I was hooked by the middle of the first episode. The show’s star, Erin Benzakein, never ceases to inspire as she describes what it takes to run her family flower business in Washington state along with her husband and a dedicated team.

One of Erin’s mantras is to share beauty with the world, and she does it well. She educates other growers, sells seeds and helps gardeners become successful through books and tutorials. I decided to see if there were flower farms in my area and found one less than ten minutes from my house.

Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Lori and Ryan sell flowers and honey from their farm located in nearby Malvern, PA .

Wildflower Farm grows thousands of daffodils for early spring bouquets. When daffodil season has passed, peonies, ranunculus, poppies, nigella and more make magical arrangements. Then in the fall, Dahlias dazzle her customers with their size and stunning colors. Owners, Lori and Ryan, sell buckets of flowers on designated days and offer pre-made vases of flowers too which are very romantic and unlike anything you can find online or in a store. The couple grow plants in a field, in hoop houses and in raised containers depending on their needs. Lori has an adorable truck that adds to the charm of the farm. In addition to flowers, the farm sells their own honey.

Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Penstemon blooms ready for cutting along with raised containers and a hoop house.
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Monarda graces arrangements and attracts honeybees used to make the farm’s honey.
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Poppies add romance to any bouquet.
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Peonies are an all-time favorite for spring arrangements with beautiful form and scent.
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Flowers like Nigella provide interest through blooms and seedheads.
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Ranunculus adds special dazzle to arrangements.
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Suprisingly, Columbine makes a lovely display.
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Cut flowers await a vase.
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
The gorgeous flower-filled vase Lori sent home with me.

I was lucky Lori showed me how she combines material and sent me home with a vase of beautiful, fresh cut wildflowers that I enjoyed for a week. I encourage you to seek out wildflower farms in your area. Not only will you find special flowers and bouquets, but you’ll be supporting a local business and making lives more beautiful through blooms.