August Lilies

One of the truly fragrant hostas, Hosta plantaginea, is also called August Lily. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

One of the truly fragrant hostas, Hosta plantaginea, is also called August Lily. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

August Lilies

Just when I thought August was the month for surprise lilies, a fragrant North American cousin of the tropical Amaryllis we all buy around Christmas, one of my neighbors introduced me to a lovely second fragrant garden flower called an August Lily.

The name is where any similarities end.

The garden trend for several decades has been away from plants with fragrant flowers but I prefer to have plants in my garden that have a distinct aroma. Besides being a beekeeper, which means I am trying to add flowers that will attract my bees and feed the resident butterflies, the scent is what makes the flowers special. I also enjoy having cut flowers in my home.

My neighbor Elaine gave me a couple stems of these fabulous blooming hostas noting the scent is similar to jasmine. So it is, and that is only one of several reasons why these hostas are unusual.

"August lily” Hosta plantaginea, was first imported to England in 1790, and to the United States afterwards. It originated in China and is the southern-most naturally occurring hosta species, which make sit more heat tolerant. Most hosta species are from Japan and Korea.

The flowers are enormous by hosta standards, 6+ inches long and snow white, as compared to 1-2" long and purple for most hostas.

Virtually every hosta has flowers that open around 7:00 am in the morning. Hosta plantaginea opens at 4:00 pm in the afternoon.

The other curious difference is that this hosta blooms in August. Other hosta species I have bloom April-June.

So delighted to have this wonderful addition to my garden. The scent lingers nicely in a room, not too strong. It was a lovely way to be welcomed into my kitchen the next morning.

Thank you for such a lovely addition to my Missouri hillside garden, Elaine!


Personalized Santa Gourds

If you have left over Halloween and Thanksgiving gourds, fun way to personalize them by painting them into Santas and writing someone's name and date on the bottom.

Remember to set them on their sides so the bottom can dry.

Here is another gourd painted into a Santa, this one was among a collection of Santas at a landmark restaurant "the Landing" in Van Buren, Missouri.

What is Christmas without at least one Santa Claus?


Recycle Ties Into Decorative Pillows

This customer lost her husband but wanted to give her two daughters a memento of their Dad. The girls remembered Dad going to work every day so we turned the family collection of ties into made to order custom decorative pillows.

Because these are delicate silk ties, we stabilized the blocks so the silk won't tear under wear and hugging.

Can you tell he liked red?


Think Fresh Flowers as Cake Topper!

Fresh flowers are not just for flower vases any more.

I've been known to tuck flowers in all sorts of things - as decorations for gifts, inside a get well card, once in a book as a page marker.

Decorating cakes with flowers out of icing can be fun, but who wants to eat all of that sugar icing - or even cut into the flowers?? At a recent farewell potluck lunch, I was delighted to see the cake decorated with a stunning bouquet of fresh garden flowers, all held in the cake by a small glass flower vase.

Best of all, after the cake is gone, they will still have flowers to enjoy!


Use Favorite Birdhouses as Table Decoration

This little birdhouse was a gift so it had special memories.

Last year part of the roof rotted, so I removed the piece, sanded down the edges and treated the cleaned birdhouse with a couple coats of polyurethane. I then found an old glass bottle that would fit through the opening.

Filled with flowers, the renovated birdhouse works well as an outdoor table decoration under a deck umbrella, or anywhere inside the house where you want some whimsy.


Share Your Favorite Cookies

Favorite family cookies are nice gift idea for teachers and special friends.

If you want to make something, do you have a favorite cookie recipe you and your kids can make? Take photos of the kids making the cookies, then use the photo as a gift tag which includes the cookie recipe and everyone's hand-signed names.

Package the cookies in a basket lined with a nice cotton napkin you can make by binding the edges of a square piece of cotton. Re-purposed tins, lined with wax paper, also make nice cookie containers, especially if you want to make cookies ahead of time and keep them fresh.

I sometimes put the cookies in a plastic bag inside the tins. One dozen cookies per person is a nice amount; most recipes will make between 3-4 dozen cookies.

I also use tins to store sewing supplies, buttons and catnip toys to keep them fresh.


Chocolate Mice Flowers?

How do you thank a friend for taking care of cats and plants so well?

I first thought about giving her a vase full of garden flowers. Then I thought she also has cats so why not make something more personal.

I made this little pot of mouse flowers made out of homemade chocolate mice.

I used felt for the flower "petals" and leaves; floral sticks pre-wired to hold the toy mice, and the pointed end of the floral sticks to hold the chocolate mice.

Yes, she loved her bouquet of chocolate mice.  Yummm!



Welcome to Made Just For You.

I started Bluebird Gardens in 1998 on the premise that everyone can make
something; they just don’t always think of it as being special.
In my world, it is the thought that counts.
I’ll let you in on a little secret; making something for someone is
sometimes more fun than giving it away.
I’ll be featuring those wonderful homemade handmade things,
and the people who are special enough to get them.

What are you making?