If you are the type of person who likes to pick flowers from the garden to display in the house you have a problem once the weather turns cooler and the blossoms fade. Of course you could just pop down to your local store and buy your flowers, but there is another answer. I found this article by Henry Homeyer over at the Providence Journal in which he suggests that you should think outside the box and use what is still in your garden.
This is a hard time for those of us who love to go to the garden to pick flowers to grace the table. We?ve had a few weeks of cold weather, and even the hardiest of flowers seem to have faded away. So what can a gardener do?
Think outside the box. We can pick stems of shrubs with colorful or interesting bark. We can snip off branches of evergreen trees. And there are decorative grasses and even some dry weeds that have interesting form.
Actually, I do have one thing still blooming: Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) shrubs are in their glory now that their leaves have dropped. They are remarkable yellow blossoms that consist of curly yellow straps. Their fall foliage is yellow and the blossoms appear while the leaves are still on the branches ? and are easily missed. Now that the leaves are gone, the blossoms are prominent.
Witch hazel comes in several species. There is a spring blooming variety, H. vernalis, that blooms as early as March. Some varieties of this species also have spectacular fall leaf color. The variety “Autumn Embers,” a spring bloomer, has great fall color. I have yet to try this species, but it?s on my wish list.
Most grasses and branches lend themselves to making big arrangements. I decided to try to make something shorter, as tall arrangements on the dining room table block my vision of a diner across from me. I cut stems of fountain grass (Miscanthus sinensis) that is well over 6 feet tall in my garden, but I just used the top 18 to 24 inches of each stem. They are in blossom right now, meaning that they display fluffy plumes above the foliage.