Category Archives: Pollinators

5 Easy Ways to Create Beautiful Bouquets

herbsI honestly grow the bulk of the flowers on my property for my local pollinators. I really do. But I’ll admit I do have a soft spot for colorful summer blooms and I can’t help but bring a few of them inside. Nothing brightens up my kitchen (or bedroom or bathroom) like a cheerful bouquet of flowers. Here are five easy ways to brighten up your abode with summer flowers.


1. Stick with one color palette or flower variety and add pops of color.

Seeing a bunch of one kind of flower in a bouquet creates a feeling of abundance. Building a bouquet with a base of flowers that are similar in color or variety gives the bouquet a sense of cohesiveness. I’ve been using white and yellow daisy-like flowers as my base flower these days. The ‘Shasta’ daisies and ‘prairie sun’ Rudbeckia are happy and bright! I add stems of pink and orange zinnia, Echinacea and lavender to add some unexpected color and texture.

cilantro2. Add herbs to your bouquets.

Longer stems of herbs add height, interesting texture and a lovely fragrance to bouquets. I love using lemon balm, lemon verbena and though not a herb, lavender. Herbs that have gone to flower, like oregano and cilantro (like in the picture above), are especially pretty!

can3. Think outside the vase.

The vessel you use to hold your flowers can add as much to the bouquet as the blooms do. Mason jars are my go-to choice, but lately, I’ve been trying to be a little more creative. I love how cute the zinnias and lavender look in a tin can. I put a smaller jar inside the can to add more support for the flowers and to keep the can from rusting. A small jar nestled inside any antique container can make an instant vase. I also have a few antique glass milk bottles that look lovely holding summer flowers.

kale_eyecandy4. Vegetables are eye candy too!

Kale has a place at my table, but not just on my plate! Placed in a vase, it adds another level of interest and color to my arrangements. As an added bonus it keeps the kale crisp and delicious. I actually store it that way in the fridge if I can’t eat it right away – a narrow vase fits right in my refrigerator door. Grouping jars of mini-bouquets is one of my favorite homemaking strategies!


jar5. Hang ’em up!

Your flowers don’t just have to sit on the table – hang them up! I had an old jar with a metal clasp attached, but the lid was long gone. I put a picture hanging nail (like this) in the wall, filled the jar with water, added some flowers from the garden and hung it on the wall. I love the new life it brought to a previously dull corner of my bedroom!

hang_itI’ve also seen people wrap wire around a mason jar and hang it from a hook. That works too! And then of course there are handcrafted vehicles for my flower obsession like my mason jar vase shelf, found here on Etsy.

Bonus! Hip Trick for Mason Jar Flower Arrangements:

Kate Payne, author of the fantastic book, The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking, periodically sends out emails with random hip tricks for the kitchen and home. (You can add yourself to this awesome mailing list here.) Recently, she sent this gem:

6_26_13_mason_jar_flower_arrangingShe says,

Make a grid out of masking tape that will disappear as you populate it with different sorts of flowers. The grid also lets you work in taller flowers that would otherwise fall over. If you use the mason jar band as the base from which you start taping, you can remove it and re-use it for future arrangements.

Midwinter Merriment: Rent Mason Bees!

Here it is – a countdown til spring. From now until the first day of spring, I will post ways to make the dreary days of midwinter a little more merry.

Day 2: Rent some mason bees.

mason_bee_flowerOrchard Mason bees are not what you think. They don’t produce honey. They don’t live in a hive. You don’t wear a veil to tend to them. They are hardcore pollinators. I heard somewhere that 250 female mason bees could pollinate the same acre it would take one hive of honey bees (30 to 40, 000 bees) to pollinate. That is no joke.

Mason bees are native to North America. They don’t have honey or large quantities of eggs to defend, so they are not aggressive. They are also short-lived, emerging in March and ending their life cycle by June. Mason bees are in their prime when fruit and berries are blooming. So, if you have fruit trees on your property, mason bees might be your answer for optimum pollination!

mason_bee_houseOrchard mason bees are wood dwellers, nesting in naturally occurring holes in wood like those created by woodpeckers. However, the urban gardener like me, with no big trees or woodpeckers to be found, can still provide a home for mason bees. I’ve heard that if you build it, they will come. Put out a mason bee house or create your own and they will find you. I haven’t tried that route yet.

Alternatively, you can get some help from a local mason bee champion and support a local business with mason Bee rentals! The process is simple. Place a reservation for a mason bee kit (here) and you’ll receive an email shortly from mason bee expert, Missy Anderson (a.k.a. The Queen Bee), letting you know when your kit is ready and the bees are ready to emerge. Place the kit in your yard, let the mason bees do their work during the spring, and enjoy the fruits of their labor! Then, after the mason bees have nested again and the season is over, you return the kit and she’ll take care of them the rest of the year! Of course, over time, you might find that caring for them is something you can easily do on your own, but this service is certainly an awesome way to get started and experience first-hand what it’s like to have mason bees on your urban farm.

For more information on mason bees, read this article written by the Queen Bee herself.

*Mason bee house image from here
*Mason bee on a flower image from here

Day 3: Get gardening in a gutter in just two hours!
Day 4: Look at pictures of your summer garden. 
Day 5: Break up your garden to-do list. 
Day 6: Plant sale time
Day 7: Throw a Pi Party!
Day 8: Celebrate a milestone.
Day 9: Put a little summer on your pancakes.
Day 10: Feed your soil.
Day 11: Chicken gawking.
Day 12: Plant identification with kids.
Day 13: Plant your backyard berry patch.
Day 14: #dirtonmyiPhone
Day 15: Start seeds indoors.
Day 16: Sew a sassy garden tool belt.
Day 17: A class that keeps on giving!
Day 18: Buy yourself some flowers.
Day 19: Go to the park and play!
Day 20: Plant peas (and sign up for my free newsletter!)
Day 21: Take a gardening class.
Day 22:Plant bare root.
Day 23: Sign up for Seattle Seedling’s Spring Fling!
Day 24: Plant primroses.
Day 25: Get yourself a doughnut and make it “for here.”
Day 26: Frequent the Farmers’ Market
Day 27: Eat Root Vegetables Disguised as Cake!
Day 28: Be a Garden Show Goer.
Day 29: Drink more hot chocolate.
Day 30: Create a springtime “advent” calendar.

Midwinter Merriment: Be classy!

Here it is – a countdown til spring. From now until the first day of spring, I will post ways to make the dreary days of midwinter a little more merry.

Day 21: Take a gardening class.

21_Take_a_ClassThis is the best time to learn something new. Put your pent-up gardening energy into learning some new skills for your garden this spring. I’m enrolled in a 10-hour beekeeping class through the Puget Sound Beekeepers’ Association. I may not be able to start my own hive this year, but I’ll be able to learn some new skills and get my beekeeping fix in this class and at the association’s apiary work parties. I can hardly wait!

Here are some classes that have caught my eye:

Spots are filling up fast for my upcoming Spring Fling! In fact, March 30th is almost sold out! There are two more spots available that day and a few more on Sunday, April 7th! Sign up and bring a friend! There are even a few mother-daughter garden nerds that are coming! I wish my mom could be at my class! Love!

Day 22: Plant bare root.
Day 23: Sign up for Seattle Seedling’s Spring Fling!
Day 24: Plant primroses.
Day 25: Get yourself a doughnut and make it “for here.”
Day 26: Frequent the Farmers’ Market
Day 27: Eat Root Vegetables Disguised as Cake!
Day 28: Be a Garden Show Goer.
Day 29: Drink more hot chocolate.
Day 30: Create a springtime “advent” calendar.

Postcard: A Return to Sequim

You know how I feel about lavender. I know I don’t have to repeat myself.

What I will say is that going to Sequim a second time was even better than the first trip and I didn’t think that was possible.

Nicole joined me on this one and we decided it must be an annual trip from now on. I should have known it was going to be a blast – spending time with Nicole is always easy and breezy!

We feed off each other’s joyful energy. If you weren’t loving life, hanging out with us on this trip would have probably felt like hanging out with the Brady Bunch – happy-go-lucky!

There was just so much to be grateful for! Standing in the fields, inhaling lavender and listening to the sound of the bees never gets old. Your cares melt away instantly. It sounds like this:

If I could have inserted the intoxicating smell into this video for you, I would have.

We brought along yummy green juice, fresh tomato caprese salad, quiche and fresh-picked carrots and had a picnic at our first farm stop. Summer bucket list item, check!

Because we went on a Saturday, we were able to catch downtown Sequim’s open air market! I had to buy one of these adorable tube vases, which now sticks on the window by the kitchen sink – a constant reminder of an amazing time! We giggled at the fact that everything must be lavender in Sequim – socks, shirts, walls. It must just go with the territory.

We stayed at my favorite bed and breakfast, the Dungeness Barn House, because I just can’t imagine staying anywhere else. Berta is the most lovely hostess and the food is delicious. It’s always fun meeting new friends at breakfast.

There are cows next door. I never noticed that before. I realized I’ve never been that close to a cow before and never knew what funny personalities they have. We loved No.13 the best.

After wine tasting at Wind Rose and Olympic cellars (Oh my word! Have you seen their “Working Girl” wine?! A-freaking-dorable!) and another amazing meal at the Alder Wood Bistro, we took in the sunset across the street from the Barn House. It was the perfect end to a perfect day.

Wish you were here!