My name is Rebecca Last. I live in Ottawa, Canada, which is roughly USDA Zone 4. It’s the second week of March, and winter still has us firmly in her grip, so this is a great time to reflect on photos of gardens past. I’ve been gardening my small suburban plot intensively since we moved here over 30 years ago. In 2005, I joined the local Master Gardener group and now regularly give talks and write articles on gardening—another great way to extend the gardening season through winter! In May 2021, I retired from the federal public service. Prior to that, my colleagues knew me as the “flower lady.” Each week during the growing season, I brought a fresh bouquet of flowers to decorate the front entrances of our buildings.
An early spring bouquet—including daffodils (Narcissus hybrid, Zones 3–8), ostrich ferns (Matteuccia struthiopteris, Zones 3–7), and Nanking cherry (Prunus tomentosa, Zones 2–7) blossoms. (The climbing Philodendron behind the flowers belongs to a security guard who is a keen plantsman.)
Some late fall parallel arrangements featuring amaranth (Amaranthus, annual), New England asters (Aster novae-angliae, Zones 3–8), chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum hybrid, hardiness varies by cultivar), and marigolds (Tagetes, annual).
An early fall arrangement featuring the rather aggressive but glorious Solidago canadensis (Zones 3–9), amaranth, Rudbeckia triloba (Zones 4–8), Physostegia virginiana (Zones 3–9), Chelone obliqua (Zones 3–9), white Phlox paniculata (Zones 4–8), Dahlia ‘Bodacious’ (Zones 8–10 or as a tender bulb), and one sunflower (Helianthus annuus, annual) bloom.
Even after COVID hit and we all started working from home, I shared photos of arrangements, like this one from early June 2020, which featured Iris germanica ‘Clarence’ (Zones 3–9), several stems of an unnamed old-fashioned two-tone bearded iris, burgundy Geranium phaeum (Zones 4–9), and Alchemilla mollis (Zones 3–8) foliage.
This midsummer bouquet features three Oriental lilies (Lilium hybrid, Oriental group, Zones 4–9), creeping bellflower (Campanula rapunculoides, Zones 3–7), Papaver somniferum (annual) seed heads, Thalictrum aquilegifolium (Zones 4–8), and foliage from ostrich ferns and Macleaya cordata (Zones 2–9).
There’s nothing much left alive in my garden by the end of October, so I made these two Halloween bouquets with artificial materials.
Remembrance—many of the security guards at work are veterans, so they appreciated the this arrangement, even though the flowers are all artificial.
Thanks to all those other keen gardeners whose gorgeous photos inspire us and keep us going during these long, white winter months!
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