This Home Gardener Likes to Play

by David Perry on February 21, 2010

in Home-Grown

Try A Simple ‘Dragon’s Tongue’ Bouquet:

A playful 'Dragon's Tongue' bouquet from my garden. (Photinia fraseri, Hellebore flowers, Leucojum flowers and Sweet Flag leaves.)

Disclaimer: For the record, I do not consider myself any sort of authority on floral design. (I love to cook, too, but that clearly does not make me a chef.) There are enough days when even my limited abilities as a gardener and plantsman could be called into question, so it would be a mistake to think that I consider myself qualified to address anything on this topic, really, beyond playful experimentation and what pleases my personal eye. But oh, do I love being able to head out into the garden to cut whatever is growing and then put it into a jar or vase and bring it into the house. For many gardeners, I suspect, that is one of the most satisfying reasons of all to garden  . . . so they can cut what’s in season for their own kitchen tables. And so they can share their abundance with people they love.

Despite those aforementioned personal limitations, though, I do still generously give myself permission to cut and play in the garden. And I hope you do too, or that you will begin to. If you need encouragement on that front, you have come to the right place.  A Fresh Bouquet will be emphatically ‘pro’ permission and play, and ‘pro’, granting yourself more of each. Which means that from time to time, you will be subjected to this, and other home-gardeners’ playful experimentations.  Meaning they won’t all be masterpieces. Mine certainly won’t be. For that, you see, is an essential part of the delicious, ‘permission’ element we hope to encourage here. Whether as gardeners or as mere lovers of flowers, we must have permission to not be perfect. (Insert deep sigh, as needed.)

Dragon bouquet with the boxwood dragon that guards my front entry.

It had never occurred to me to use Photinia fraseri as an element in any of my homemade garden bouquets before, but after yesterday’s play session, I’m pretty sure I will be using it again and again in the future. Call me crazy, but I love the look of those tender new red leaves in this arrangement, and I’m wondering why I’ve never thought of using them before. They look like dragon’s tongues, licking the air. And with the sun behind them they almost look as if they are on fire. Look closer at the topmost photo and you’ll see that I am purposely holding my playful, ‘what’s-in-season’ bouquet up in front of the very Photinia hedge from which I cut those ‘dragon’s tongues’. See how the light behind them makes them literally glow? The floral possibilities in my little garden are still a bit limited this time of year, but emergent foliage, well, that I’ve got in profusion. So why not use it, I ask? Why not play with it?

Now, if you’ll wander on over to this latest post at A Photographer’s Garden Blog, you’ll see that I’ve kinda had dragons on the brain lately.

So, what unusual things have you cut for the vase, recently? Anything you’d be willing to share with the rest of us? Have you ever used these tender, red Photinia shoots in a bouquet?

And finally, a favorite ‘dragon’ quote:

Fairy Tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” G. K. Chesterton

Namasté, friends.

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