Tag Archive | flowers

Last Chance Canna

The only flower I grow is canna.  I like how low maintenance they are.  I like to devote my time to our vegetable and herb gardens.  I do, however, like pretty flowers.  My canna has given us one last bloom for the season.  I wanted to share the photos of it with you.  It is a thing of beauty.







My cayenne plant is doing the same thing.  It is like a Hail Mary in the last few seconds of the game.  My gardens have gone crazy trying to use this last warm spell to reproduce!

Cayenne 1

Look at all those peppers

The peppers this plant is producing are great!  Just look at the size of them! And they taste wonderful!

Cayenne 2

Look at the size of that pepper!

Its going to be a spicy autumn!



Helloooooo Hoecakes! The following started out as a war between my sister and I  — who had the best rose, the greener thumb, the better amended soil.  But we have decided to open it up to the whole wide world and settle it once and for all . . . Here is Heatheroo to explain the fine print:

Alright ladies. Now that I’ve done a few tutorials, I think it’s time to spice things up a bit. I personally need to break the monotony on how to arrange flowers and take us to another level. We would like your rose to be your very own, in your yard, nurtured and grown by you.  I want you to submit a rose that was NOT purchased from a florist or store. Now, if you feel the need to sneak down to the Botanic Gardens just to win this contest we can’t stop you. However, I have no worries that all of our submissions will be genuine and authentic, because our Hoecakes are an upstanding and honorable group, and cheating for the sake of a t-shirt is a well established Hoecake No-No. Having said that, let’s talk War of the Roses! For the next month, let’s see what you green thumbs have to offer! I want you to BRING IT with such force that I can hear you clicking “send”. Let’s see whatcha got for our FIrst Annual War of the Roses contest!

Submit your rose pics to our email, hoecakesandhemlines@yahoo.com. Include your name and email, and if you have one, your own blog address that we will gladly pimp out on our site. Entries will be published within 24 hours. Deadline to submit your BESTEST rose is midnight on May 16, 2012.  All pics must be of a rose still on the bush, no cut flower pics will be accepted. The winner and reigning Queen of Roses will be chosen, notified and published on May 17, 2012. Judges will be our Hoecakes Board of Directors. As the winner and Queen of All Roses, not only will you get your name on the blog with your winning pic, but you will also receive a custom made Hoecakes and Hemlines T-shirt! Woohoo, the War is on!

I have included some pictures of my own roses above. (None of us Executive Hoecakes are eligible for the contest, just so ya know). And below I have shown some more that were already cut but just pretty to look at.  I have to say when I purchased this house last May, I was very fortunate to have all these bushes! I have over 50 roses. Climbers mostly but I have a few bushes I cut from daily. Thanks to the previous owner for planting these babies!

What are you waiting for? Get out there and take pics of those beauties and submit to us at hoecakesandhemlines@yahoo.com TODAY! IT’S ON!

Remember to take your submission pics BEFORE you cut them and put them in an arrangement like this!

Floral Arrangment Tutorial — Making the Best of a Bad Flower Situation

Hello Hoecakes.  My sister Heatheroo the Magnificent was nice enough to do another tutorial for me. I can sew an entire quilt but damn! How does she do this?  Amazing.  Here ya go:

You can’t always get what you want.  How true that is when it comes to buying flowers on the run, on a budget, or at the very last minute. Which is just how I do things around here.

So, I will preface this with a little backstory on these arrangements.  I was asked to do 27 arrangements for a friend’s party.  Always on a budget, and to make things worse, I was taken out of my Tom Thumb Floral Department Comfort Zone.  Thought we’d try a less expensive route, and we went Somewhere Else.  Well . . . here’s what you get.  There were NO HYDRANGEAS! That’s like a day without sunshine!

What we were forced to work with were some very low class roses. Obviously these roses come from the wrong side of the tracks. A few tulips that were puny to say the least, and gobs of what were supposed to be Stargazer lilies that weren’t open. OH! Let’s not forget tuberose. Smells fabulous, but doesn’t do that well cutting and using in arrangements.  Aaaaand to top things off most of the lilies weren’t Stargazers at all, but the smell of lilies trumps any clearance sale you’ve ever been to, so it didn’t destroy my little world.

Step One:  Always! Remove the leaves from the stems.  This should be your first step every time.  At some point I’m no longer going to tell you this.  It will become ingrained in your psyche!

Step Two:  I always place my roses first.  You need to develop the habit of cutting your roses where they rest right above the rim of your chose vessel (vase).  I like to block the color together but you can place them however you would like.

Note there are no leaves!

Next we inserted some very brown (ick!) tuberose.  I picked off as much of the brown as I could, but I was  really going for the scent of the tuberose, not the beauty.  They added a little height and dimension just like the tulips did.  I almost always hand the cluster of the tulips a little longer on a side.  Hey, I’m different.

I placed the non-Stargazer lily in the center for a some height and a little pop.  I used the closed lilies for greenery instead of using the ugly greenery they try to sell you at the flower shop. If you’re lucky and you bought good flowers in the first place, they will open up before the rest of the flowers die.

Here is your finished arrangement.  Piece of cake!

My non-crafty friend even did some of the arrangements herself under my tutelage. Her biggest mistake time and again was not cutting the roses to hit right at the rim of the vessel.  Practice, practice, practice.

I will not stray from my glorious Tom Thumb Floral Department again, but I think we were able to make the best of this floral situation. Lesson learned!

Vodka Roses

So you’ve spent your whole year working on your roses. You’ve pulled at least one hammy trying to see which cane you should prune and trying to figure out exactly which direction “the outward growth is in a regular and even fashion” would be.  And now spring is here and there they are:  those beautiful, fragrant blooms that you actually take pictures of and send to your friends.

When cutting roses from your garden for an arrangement, there are a few simple things to remember. First, I will show you when NOT to cut them:

Yes this rose is nice.  But way past its prime to last much longer than a day.  And as you will CLEARLY be announcing to everyone within earshot that these were NOT purchased but actually grown by your own two hands, don’t cut a rose that looks like this.  It will droop and drop all over your table. No bueno.

Instead, think ahead and cut for your arrangement something like this:

This rose will open up in a few hours to the perfect bloom and people will talk for weeks about how amazing you are with your roses. And we know that’s what it’s all about in the end.

And the secret to making them open up and practically sing with joy? Vodka. Right there in the water.  How much, you ask? Well I like to follow the a-little-for-me, a-little-for-you rule. Just a splash will do. Pour it in your fresh water and watch the magic happen. (I do need to mention that this only works for ROSES — no other flower will respond as appropriately as the rose will. They will respond inappropriately as most drunks do.)

So raise your glass and pour it in the vase —

(this post was brought to you by my sister and guest blogger, Heatheroo. The girl just knows about flowers; it’s a gift)

Flower Arrangements: Pretty, Cheap and Easy . . . just like us!

Today I am posting a tutorial written by my sister Heatheroo, Goddess of All Things Floral. She has a knack for flower arrangements and she can show you the quickest, easiest and most of all, cheapest way to fill every room with gorgeous flowers. And so I pass the mic . . .

The key to a beautiful flower arrangement is the bigger the better. Secondly, but just as important, you should never have to spend a small fortune to create a work of art. There are no rules and once you learn the basics, just let your imagination and creativity run with it. There is no wrong way, and we all know pretty when we see it. On the flip side, we all know ugly when we see it too! I am here to help you avoid the ugly . . .

This tutorial will walk you through a tall vase arrangement. Let’s start with the flowers. I buy my flowers at the grocery store. You heard me. And I mean a real grocery store, not Wal-Mart. My local Tom Thumb has a huge assortment of roses, tulips, stargazers, hydrangeas, you name it. I quickly became BFF with the floral manager, and that gets me VIP treatment . . . She always has the fresher flowers in the cooler and there is nothing better than walking right past the Employees Only sign and hand picking my beauties! She also lets me know their delivery schedule. I’ve had such great luck with my grocery store flowers. So be nice, make friends!

As for vases, I buy them at the dollar stores. It’s not the vessel that makes it pretty. Choose simple, no fuss containers. And for God’s sake people, no etching.

To begin today’s arrangement, you need a dozen roses and a few other stems of color, your choice. I chose pink Gerbera daisies and purple hydrangea. And when I say choose your own flowers, I mean flowers and not “filler” . . . you know the ones they deliver that have four roses surrounded by fifty stems of greenery? Ugh . . . and baby’s breath. Don’t even get me started.


Begin by cleaning the stems, remove everything except just a leaves at the top of the stem. I’m starting with 3 stems of hydrangea. Hold it next to your vase and cut the stem. Cut it short enough to where the buds of the flower are just above the rim. If you leave them too long, they appear gangly. This provides the base of my arrangement.



(And as for cutting the stems at some fancy angle under running water? Don’t worry about it. Just cut the stems at some kind of angle with some scissors and stick ‘em in the vase.)


Next you want to add a pop of color – my daises will do just the trick. I left the plastic stem holders on and cut them at a length that will leave them sticking out just above my hydrangeas. I typically bunch these on the side, but I am showing two different ways to position them below.



Now for my roses. Buy them when the buds are just a little full but not completely open yet. They will last much longer. I remove the leaves and any thorns by gripping the top of the stem and running my scissors all the way down. Don’t feel you have to handle these flowers with kid gloves. They’re tougher than you think.


Use your roses to round out the center. Once again, hold them up next to the vase and trim them so they stick out just a little higher than everything else. Better to cut too long than too short.


As I stick them in the center, I make sure they all stand about the same height in the middle and a little shorter as you move towards the rim. It’s the gradual shortening of the stem that gives the rounded out look to the arrangement. There’s always a little back and forth with the stem length on the center of the arrangement . . . take your time on this part. You’ll know when it looks right! I tend to gather my roses close together. Stuffing the vase with flowers is key to making it look good.

Make sure all your stems are submersed in water, and keep the water fresh. As your roses open up, things may get crowded. Pull them out and cut them stems a few inches, pop them in another vase and you’ve got yourself another arrangement. As things die out, just keep cutting and shaping . . . they will last a week or more. Now that’s what I call bang for your buck!



Aaaaaand . . . Voila! You’ve made a gorgeous arrangement that will make your friends swoon.