This time of year, the abundance flowing out of the gardens is almost overwhelming. A riot of color seems to spill out of every corner, and flowers bloom faster than we can cut and sell. At this time in the season I am always so grateful that we grow in a cottage style, with flower types and varieties blended and scattered around in numerous beds instead of in neat and tidy rows. We do this for a number of reasons (another blog post to follow to explain the "why" in detail), but a large reason is that the flower farm is also a residence, and my grandparents want to be able to sit on the deck on a balmy summer evening and take in the view. And what a view it is!
Even with access to so many flowers, I always find myself watching for and longing after blooms we don't currently have, especially while doing CSA deliveries! Many of our members have incredible gardens, and I can't help but pause on a porch after setting down a bouquet to take note of an incredible shade of pink hydrangea or an especially prolific smoke bush waving its puffy arms in the wind. One of my favorite things in the world is to take a cutting of a plant I don't have and to try to get it to root and flourish so I might one day have a happy, healthy adult version of the original plant that caught my eye.
One such voluptuous hydrangea caught my eye recently, and yesterday, after bouquet deliveries, I was able to come back and cut to my heart's content. (With permission!) This incredible color seems to change before your eyes, vacillating between deep pink and lilac purple with the slightest change in lighting. It reminded me of how colors change in water once submerged, coupled with the rising temperatures in the Gorge, I was struck with a wild bit of inspiration to get out, get weird and get wet!
We loaded up a few buckets of flowers, packed a picnic basket and headed up the hill to Lost Lake Resort, a gorgeous, verdant piece of paradise at the base of Mt. Hood. I have many fond memories of my summer visits to this lake as a child, and the wonder and amazement I felt then returned, as strong as ever. The views are awe inspiring without any help from man, but I took it as a personal challenge to see if I could up the ante. We rented a row boat for day use and, with the grace of a newborn giraffe, rowed away towards a different boat launch where we retrieved our picnic and buckets. To say we got a lot of strange looks would be an understatement. I'm not sure what people thought we were doing, but they knew we were up to something, and flowers ALWAYS capture attention, even at the base of an epic mountain.
Then, I literally just piled stems around the boat. No water source, no floral foam or chicken wire, just mounds of beautiful flowers offering their fleeting beauty to an afternoon of romance and laughter. Did we feel cheesy and ridiculous and almost exactly like that scene in the boat from the Disney version of "The Little Mermaid"? Yup. Sure did. But what we didn't feel was hot! And when the choice is float around in a literal boatload of flowers or pull weeds in the hot summer sun, well, you already know my choice.