Saturday, my sister suggested I take a bouquet of her Chinese Snowballs to decorate our table for a gathering we were having the following afternoon. It was a great idea because the flowers were very pretty and the price was certainly right! They are still gracing my kitchen table and look almost as good as they did on Sunday.
Gathering blooms from the yard and garden is one of my favorite things to do. I love the beauty of a florist's bouquet but I don't honestly think they are ugly if you can't arrange them like a pro -- after all, I think they are beautiful in their natural state so why should they suddenly become ugly because they aren't displayed by a decorator?
I do love almost all cut wild flowers -- especially Queen Anne's Lace and spring blooms (though they fade quickly). I also love to put things like herbs in with my flowers. Fresh mint, basil and stevia (or sweet leaf) can give a fresh smell to a room. I put about a tablespoon of sugar in the water before adding the flowers and I tied the stems together with a rubber band, though that is not necessary. Of course, I cover my table or counter with newspaper before arranging because it can be a messy job.
I know some people have cutting gardens to keep fresh flowers at all times and that is what I would love to have the time for. That can be one of my goals for later in life.
I am reminded of the Jane Austen novel, Sense and Sensibility where Maryanne received the wildflower bouquet from Mr. Willoughby after receiving one from Colonel Brandon and said, "These are not from the hothouse." I think she might have been signaling her preference of men rather than flowers. If she had been talking only about flowers I think I kind of understand the sentiment. It would cost so much more for a big showy bouquet if I had purchased them from a florist, but the fact that I (or someone) took the time to gather and arrange them is really sweeter.
One thing I have found -- I always try to know what the flower or plant is named because most of the time people will ask. These flowers, for instance, I thought were mop head hydrangeas but are really Chinese Snowballs. (I always get that wrong.) Very pretty, but not the same thing.
I also like the fact that even though it is July and very hot, shrubs and flowers are still producing showy blooms right in the (in this case) front yard. Another good thing -- it was time to prune this shrub anyway so we accomplished two things. I have a bouquet that is a thing of beauty and my sister has some pruned bushes. That is definitely a "win-win."