It's full on summer! And the sun is out, with its brilliant message of immediacy and enjoying the now!  The warmth and heat of this season seems so fleeting come the coolish fall days and frost of winter.  It's time to make the best of it!  

All January and February, after the pine and willow greenery is gone, I long for flowers.  I don't often indulge by bringing flowers home from a shopping trip.  Instead, I prefer to fresh flowers as a seasonal harkening of what makes summer, summer!  The scents, the colours, the sounds.  

What I usually do is take a wander through our yard, the nearby ditches and back field and slough to see what is blooming.  Right now, it was the villosa lilac, ox-eye daisy, oriental poppy, centaurea, artemisia and queen anne's lace.  I snapped some dead branches off of the lilacs and away I went, back to the house, and put it all in a pitcher.

Low-Key Tips to Making the Most of Summer's Flowers:

1. Gather handfuls or groups of odd number flowers.  Here I cut three poppies as I wanted to make sure I still had some poppies left to line the walk.  The daisies are classified as a noxious weed so, seeing as I found them by the hundreds in the ditch, I collected until I was tired of cutting them.

2. Remove any foliage that will be below the waterline.  Extra foliage tends to mould and spoil.  Also it can possibly take up more space in your container, making it harder to cram in as many flowers as you like.

3. Adding a sachet of flower food from your florist makes the water less appetizing to bacteria and to feed your flowers and works together to make your flowers last longer.  Apparently bleach or apple cider vinegar will also work in a pinch.

4. Cut your flowers to length by holding them alongside your vase, trimming them and then placing them in the vase.

5. Leggy flowers standing tall in a vase tend to not be as appealing compared to a bunch sitting lower in a vase, with some foliage hanging low to obscure the container's rim.  This tends to be what I do, as I am so not a professional florist or floral arranger.  

6. Put some twigs and what not into the vase to provide a bit of a sculptural effect.  However, these are not absolutely necessary.  

7. Think out of the box.  Wave petunias can be beautiful in a tarnished silver bowl.  I have a tiny, blue, pottery bowl that I like to put a few marigold blooms in to float.  In August, I will probably be eyeing up the poppy pods to put in with false sunflower, globe thistle and goldenrods.

8. Use the flower collection as a quiet time to really notice what's happening in your backyard.  I'll go and pick the odd weed, note what's coming up for the next bouquet and notice the difference in buzz between a honey bee and a bumblebee.  Or the best of all!, realizing the saskatoon blossoms didn't freeze and we will be having some saskatoons this year!



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