Chalking it Up to Celebrate the Red, White and Bloom!


I’m celebrating the Red, White and Bloom in the Potting Shed and chalked up my door in celebration!


Our hydrangeas are covered in blooms now, a welcome sight in contrast to the few flowers we had last year.


Ball jars are filled with a red, white and blooming combination of Endless Summer Hydrangeas, Queen Anne’s Lace, the red foliage of Lorapetalum, and a few coleus stems snipped from my containers, for a patriotic bouquet.


 I’m waving the flag, step-by-step on my ladder, joining red watering cans, a vintage scale and blue transferware.


And weighing in on love of the Red, White and Blue!


White for purity and innocence, Red for valor and hardiness, and Blue for vigilance, perseverance, and justice.


Queen Anne’s Lace is free for the picking, growing in the field next to my Potting Shed.



I filled my red watering can and pot with Queen Anne’s Lace to celebrate the bloom!


I found seed catalog graphics available from the Smithsonian Institution Libraries Digital Collection to grow my vintage seed box. The graphics and content have no copyright restrictions and are available for download for personal, educational and other non-commercial purposes.

Vaughan's Seed Store Catalog

1898  Vaughan’s Seed Store Catalog featuring Red, White and Blue Collection of Christmas Hyacinths: Their beauty of form, elegance of color, fragrance & ease of culture commend them to every flower lover.


Gardening is an employment for which no man is too high or too low.

29th Annual Catalogue Iowa Seed Company

The cover of the 1889 catalog of the Iowa Seed Company catalog, “Seedsmen to the American People,” features the Washington Monument and White House as a backdrop and “Old Glory Geraniums” on the front for a patriotic salute.


You can find the Smithsonian Institution Libraries catalog collection and 500 images, here. Search by cover art image~ flowers, fruit, vegetables, or catalog name.


Have you tried the ‘alum-dipping method with cut hydrangeas? I was thrilled to discover it works to keep cut hydrangeas from wilting.

Cut your blooms the first thing in the morning when the flowers are fully hydrated, immediately placing them in a bucket of water.


When arranging them, cut each stem at an angle for maximum water intake and dip ½ inch of each stem in alum powder, found on the spice aisle at the grocery store.


Place your dipped hydrangea stems in your vase of room temperature water (the temperature it runs from the tap).


For best results, remove the leaves from the hydrangeas since they cause evaporation loss and take water from the head of the flower. Change your water every day or every other day to keep the bacteria down. You can add some floral preservative to the water or make your own preservative to help your flowers last longer.

Mix one part lemon-lime soda (regular, not diet) to three parts water, along with 1/2 teaspoon of bleach. The citric acid in the soda help the water travels up the stems to the flowers more rapidly, while providing food in the form of sugar. The bleach helps fight the growth of bacteria, allowing the flowers to stay hydrated and fresh.


Keep flowers cool for longer life and avoid exposure to heat and direct sunlight. If your hydrangea blooms begin to wilt prematurely give them an emergency bath and submerge them in cool water, flower heads and all, for 45 minutes. Give the stems a fresh cut and redip in alum and place in a fresh vase of water, letting the blooms air dry.



Are you ready to celebrate the red, white and bloom?


Long May She Wave!

Celebrate the Red, White and Bloom

Thank you for your visit!

  47 comments for “Chalking it Up to Celebrate the Red, White and Bloom!

  1. Susie
    May 25, 2016 at 8:10 am

    Thanks for the Hydrangea tips–I never knew about alum…!
    I especially love your patriotic posts. You always take it to a new level, and the seed catalog covers make it so charming. Thanks again for sharing with all of us!

    • May 25, 2016 at 9:36 am

      I never knew that about the Alum either. Thanks for the beautiful page , as always!

  2. Ellen
    May 25, 2016 at 8:19 am

    I want a potting shed! Yours is always so beautiful and just plain fun. Love, love, love the vintage seed prints too. Red, white and blue choices are so creative- you have an eye for beauty in the everyday things. Thank-you for this lovely post- it is always a pleasure to visit.

    • May 25, 2016 at 4:33 pm

      Thanks so much and for your visits Ellen!

  3. May 25, 2016 at 8:31 am

    You always have the best posts. I love the ladder display ; Old Glory looks great with all the red, white and blue.

  4. Sandi Lee
    May 25, 2016 at 8:40 am

    I use Alum for making pickles but didn’t know to use with hydrangeas. Thanks so much! Everything looks fabulous as always. What a great way to remember our servicemen and women.

  5. May 25, 2016 at 8:41 am

    Your shed looks so patriotic all red, white and blue-ti-fied, Mary!! I love how you decorate your ladder, and the ball jar hanging on the door knob adds such a special touch. Seeing all the pretty dishes makes my heart swoon. I finally have hydrangeas blooms, too, and I appreciate your alum tip and the homemade preserving tip.

  6. May 25, 2016 at 8:55 am

    Loved this post, your pics remind me of the older country living magazine before it became so main stream. About hydrangea, I’ll have to try alum sometime but the thing that worked for me in the past is cutting the stems a second time immediately before putting them in Water and running the stems under warm/hot water while scratching at the cut, this breaks up the glue like substance they produce and allows for water to open its stem shafts. I was going to write a post on this soon, because I’ve never really heard anyone doing it like that before, have you ever tried that method?

    • May 25, 2016 at 4:32 pm

      Hi Miss Sissinghurst :) I haven’t tried that since the alum works so well and is easy. I just Googled and saw a similar hot water method here.

  7. Michelle
    May 25, 2016 at 9:01 am

    Beautiful blooms, and decorations of red, white and blue!🇺🇸🎏 Happy Memorial Day!😎🌴

  8. May 25, 2016 at 9:21 am

    You are having too much fun in your potting shed Mary! Love all the vintage art you’ve found, wonderful stuff, and so many patriotic things incorporated in them! Your ladder is overflowing with a garden of red white and bloom 🎉 I am spending the day spreading the red white and blue around getting ready for the weekend. I hope that silly storm doesn’t impact your fun, it’s much too early for hurricane talk!

  9. May 25, 2016 at 9:40 am

    Miss Sissinghurst, I totally agree with you about Country Living. I found a few old ones last night , as a matter of fact, & they put the new ones to shame! I still suscribe , but not with the eagerness I once had!

    • Ellen Stillabower
      May 25, 2016 at 9:54 am

      Agree..I still subscribe but it’s just not the same..I haven’t found many that I have wanted to keep like I use too!! 😔😔

    • May 25, 2016 at 1:44 pm

      I switched to Southern Lady some years back and love it.

      • May 25, 2016 at 8:20 pm

        Good suggestion. I like that one too but still nothing compares to what it used to be. :(

    • May 25, 2016 at 8:17 pm

      I know, I get so mad every time they show up and I’ve almost written the editor a letter on several occasions, they seem(in the past two months) to have gotten a wee bit better, but I’m waiting for the corny covers to come creeping back toward September. Haha but seriously it makes me miss the good old days, we should start a petition to bring it back to our standards! ;)

  10. Ellen Stillabower
    May 25, 2016 at 9:52 am

    Again Mary, I salute your Red, White & Blue!!! What’s more American than Ball jars!! I knew about the alum from last year just haven’t tried it yet but wil!! Can’t wait for my Hydrangeas to start blooming. Have a safe Memorial Day!! Remembering those that gave the ULTIMATE sacrifice so we can fly our Red, White & Blue!! 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

  11. Linda L
    May 25, 2016 at 10:15 am

    Good tip for my Ikebana arrangements. Every time we have our annual exhibition someone’s hydrangeas droop the second day. Happy Memorial Day!

    • May 25, 2016 at 4:37 pm

      Hi Linda, I think all hydrangea lovers should have some alum on hand! There’s a hot water method for cut hydrangeas I just read about too, but the alum is super easy. :) Happy Memorial Day!

  12. May 25, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    your post today is fantastic. thanks for sharing this website.

  13. May 25, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    I love your vignettes. How is it that you keep improving each week ? LOL If I miss something the first time, a comment will mention something I didn’t see. Why not take seed packets or old magazine covers to a copy center to enlarge and print on card stock to frame. Sometimes I get frames at thrift shops and throw out the old pictures to put mine in it.
    Happy Memorial Day to all. Let us not forget to put out flags even if it’s a small one in a flower pot on the stoop.

  14. May 25, 2016 at 2:20 pm

    Thank you for the alum tip. does it work with other flowers also?

    • May 25, 2016 at 4:27 pm

      Hi Sonia, From what I’ve Googled, the alum prevents the sticky sap from forming on the bottom of the hydrangea stem that clogs and prevents water uptake. I would guess it would work for any other flower that wilts as quickly as hydrangeas do when they’re cut. :)

  15. May 25, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    You know I love the red, white and blue Mary! Just put my flags out today too:@)

  16. May 25, 2016 at 10:07 pm

    Mary, can you believe I’ve not pulled out one patriotic thing or even any of my red, white, and blue. I need to get busy this weekend! You are inspiring me, but I need some available time. Life has been busy here, but couldn’t tell you what I’ve acomplished. ‘-( Thanks for the heads up on the graphics. Wonderful! The hyacinths is a must have for this girl.

  17. Where'd
    May 25, 2016 at 11:11 pm

    My Mother used to put Queen Anne’s lace in water with food coloring. The flowers take on whatever color you use! It’s a neat idea for children.

    • Sheree
      May 25, 2016 at 11:15 pm

      That’s my comment above. Darn tablet! Sheree

  18. Cyndi Raines
    May 26, 2016 at 12:03 am

    Love the Red, White and Blue Mary and the vintage cards. We line our circle driveway with Dollar store 18″ flags and it really makes a nice addition to the newly cut and edged lawn. Love my buntings hanging from our old fashioned front porch. Now all I need is my Arnold Palmer tea and my swing and I’m ready for the holiday. We’ll be decorating graves as well. Have a safe, fun filled Memorial Day! Is the boat ready? :)

  19. May 26, 2016 at 7:51 am

    I am so happy that everyone is experiencing hydrangea love this year!…thanks for the tips on cutting and containing the hydrangeas Mary…You are my inspiration for every holiday. I gasped at the Iowa Seed Catalog packet…My dad was a born and raised Iowa Farm boy….thanks for the link!…Have a great day and fabulous Memorial Day Mary!

  20. May 26, 2016 at 11:49 am

    I’m a ways off to see my hydrangea flowering but I’ll try to remember these tips on making the cuttings last longer. Love the seed catalog images.

  21. May 26, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    Mary, love, love, love all the red, white, and blue! Your ladder is totally stunning, the seed packets are the icing on the cake! Happy Memorial Day, Pam @ Everyday Living

  22. May 26, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    Such wonderful eye candy & timely advice, too! Thanks so much for giving me a good dose of patriotic …I’ve not bothered to get out one single thing this year. *sigh* I sure am enjoying your stuff though….just beautiful!!

  23. Lisa R
    May 30, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    I don’t always get to read my email blog’s in a timely fashion, but I am always astonished by yours! I love everything about them! One thing I’ve been wondering, what type of chalk do you use on your boards? The colors always seem so vibrant. Can’t wait to see what you do for the next season!

    • May 30, 2016 at 9:07 pm

      Thank you Lisa! I had to go look at my chalk :) I picked it up because it came in a great assortment of colors. It’s Play Day Sidewalk Chalk and I found it at Walmart.

  24. June 2, 2016 at 9:34 am

    Hi Mary, I was on the road and stopped into our favorite naughty highway eatery–Cracker Barrel, where I saw a fabulous pair of wellies in patriotic red, white and blue, and I thought of you immediately! I know you would do something wonderful for us with them in your potting shed! I stopped by this post before but then got lost dreaming on the vintage seed box post and then of course to the Smithsonian library…but luckily I came back to enjoy it all again! Your ladder is so festive in its pretty patriotic decor. Hope your Memorial Day was memorable! Linda

  25. June 7, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    its always perfection here, i haven’t even held my camera in ages, i so remember what days of fun feel like, CAUSE I AM STARING AT IT!

  26. Cassie
    January 29, 2018 at 1:25 pm

    Im wanting to color hydrangeas a dark teal for my wedding. Do you have any advice on how i should do it? Thank you!

  27. Linda Bodder
    May 14, 2018 at 8:20 am

    These photos are all so lovely. Each one has it’s own special appeal.Love the Queen Anne’s lace hankie,flowers. Love the flag use too.

  28. Melody Moore
    May 14, 2018 at 9:35 am

    Love this tip on preserving the beauty of hydrangeas! Can’t wait to try it. Thanks so much!

  29. May 16, 2018 at 8:08 am

    What a wonderful Patriotic display!!!! I adore the beautiful vintage Patriotic graphic!! Thanks so much for sharing!!

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