1 I use a lot of flowers whenever I entertain at Skylands. Most of them are grown right here in a large cutting garden. Here are some of the beautiful hydrangeas that were just cut - and, who is that hiding behind them?
2 It's one of my gardeners at Skylands, Wendy Norling. She rode in the back to ensure nothing tipped over during the short ride to the main house.
3 The hydrangea is among my favorite of flowering plants. It offers huge bouquets of clustered flowers from mophead to lacecap from summer through fall.
4 We also cut many lilies in all different shades of pink, yellow, and orange. They all look great.
5 I grow many lilies in my gardens, both here and at my Bedford, New York farm. This year, the lilies bloomed earlier than usual here in Maine, so we have many gorgeous flowers to use for our event.
6 Most of them have opened so beautifully and will look stunning in our arrangements.
7 Wendy, and Heather Kirkland, are removing the stamen anthers from all the cut lilies. All lilies have heavily pollinated stamens, which stain, so as soon as the flower opens, it's important to gently pull the anthers with a tissue, or pinch them off with your fingers.
8 I also brought beautiful white lilies from my Summer House garden at Bedford.
9 The Living Hall at Skylands is always used during summer months. This grand faux-bois cement table, made by artist Carlos Cortes, is where I like to display large flower arrangements for my parties.
10 Here's Kevin preparing to make an arrangement in this antique stone planter I purchased from the annual Trade Secrets rare plant and gardening antiques sale. Kevin covered the table and my large guest book with towels and sheets.
11 Kevin is masterful at bringing the outdoors inside whenever he creates one of his extraordinary flower arrangements. For this one, he started with hydrangeas placed in various flower frogs inside the planter; however, it wasn't working as he had planned.
12 He then used a special metal vessel with one vase inside another that seemed to work better. Kevin used chicken wire to help support the stems of the cut lilies and hydrangeas.
13 And look at the transformation - so dramatic and so beautiful.
14 Kevin also made other stunning arrangements using light orange lilies and hydrangeas.
15 Gorgeous arrangements don't always have to be giant in size - this pair works perfectly on this table in the Living Hall.
16 Across the room, another arrangement using a more muted combination of pink and yellow lilies - the fragrance of all the lilies was intoxicating.
17 Here are dark pink lilies in a faux-bois planter. I love how this arrangement looks in this sunny living room with the diamond-pattern French doors and windows.
18 Here is another view of these lovely blooms. When arranging cut lilies, handle them with care - they can bruise easily.
19 This is a very large sword fern, Polystichum munitum. It is an evergreen fern native to western North America, where it is one of the most abundant ferns. I love this fern - it has also spent time at my Bedford farm, but I think it looks perfect here at Skylands.
20 On this side of the living room, smaller faux-bois planters with agave and kalanchoe baharensis - Velvet Elephant's Ear.
21 In the foyer, Kevin made wonderful moss arrangements using sphagnum moss and pincushion moss, Mountain Moss Leucobryum, from the woodlands at Skylands.
22 These moss arrangements are in antique cast stone basket planters I purchased from the New York Botanical Garden’s annual Antique Garden Furniture Fair.
23 My faux-bois dining table, also made by Carlos Cortes, was set for 18-guests and decorated with Rodgersia leaves in small faux-bois containers.
24 As part of the centerpiece, I used this metal boat filled with stones I've collected over the years.
25 I love how this simple yet elegant table setting looks as the sun sets - the silk velvet covered chairs add warm texture.
26 Outside, all the plants on my large "cracked ice" terrace are thriving. In the center, a palm underplanted with Helichrysum petiolare, and alocasia. The vine growing on my home is kiwi, or Actinidia - old vines that are original to the house.
27 We set up picnic tables for the bar and used the trough for bottles of wine. You may recall, I bought the trough at Trade Secrets a few years ago. It has worked perfectly here at Skylands. In the foreground, elephant ear Alocasia, ferns and hostas.
28 This peaceful sitting area on my terrace is located outside my dining room. It's decorated with a faux bois bench and Gertrude Jekyll style pots. Gertrude was an influential British garden designer, horticulturist, artist and writer. In the pots, we planted agave and hosta.
29 Lots of true lilies surround my two glazed terra-cotta sphinxes. The sphinxes were designed by Emile Muller.
30 Lilium is a genus of herbaceous flowering plants growing from bulbs and all with large, prominent flowers. The flowers are often fragrant, and come in a wide range of colors. Those with markings often appear to have spotted or brush stroke patterns.
31 Lilies emerge in umbels at the tip of their stems with six tepals, which eventually grow to either funnel-shaped or tight blooms. I love the markings on these lilies.
32 Some lilies can be quite tall - some grow in height up to six-feet.
33 These magnificent red spruce trees frame the glorious view of Seal Harbor from my terrace.
34 The western terrace is among my favorite summer meal spots. The pergola is covered with kiwi vines with hanging Boston ferns.
35 Back through the French doors to my Living Hall - the finished white hydrangea and lily arrangement.
37 Kevin added a bit of color to the arrangement as a finishing touch - the white and pink lilies look great among the all-white creamy hydrangeas.
38 Here I am finishing the details on the table - the room is just about ready for our COA Champlain Society gathering. Tomorrow, I will share photos of our party preparations - stay tuned. https://www.coa.edu