Tuesday, May 31, 2011

May 31, 2011

Went outside to pick a few flowers for something simple and wound up with something complicated. It's really too hot to be outside picking anything, but somehow I wound up with a fistfull of old-fashioned vining petunias, some Digitalis lutea (tiny little yellowish foxgloves), pinkish Korean bellflowers, and a couple of stems of what I call hootenanny plant (it's a Vietnamese plant whose botanical name I can't remember; begins with H).  It has broad, green, smelly leaves and four-petaled white flowers. I pulled some of the leaves off for the second photo, which is prettier, I guess. Third photo shows what's going on outside: grapevine and trumpet vine crawling up the window screen! Twice as high as they were a week ago!  Where is the gardener who is supposed to be keeping these weeds in check?  She's inside arranging flowers!

Monday, May 30, 2011

May 30, 2011

Adam's arrangement must have inspired me, because I jammed lots of stems into this little container. Started with butterfly weed and bupleurum,, then added reddish lismachia leaves that made the bupleurum look really blue-green. That, and the smokey, reddish gray on the underside of the lismachia leaves drove the rest of this arrangement. Added fennel, nigella pods, poppy pods, and a little money plant to fill in around the back. Was having trouble capturing the blue green color in photograph when I hit flash by mistake, and that did the trick. It's wild carrying these little arrangements around to find appropriate windowsill for them. This arrangement actually looks much prettier sitting where it is now---beside my computer. On way to my desk with it I saw white oak leaves on the ground and they, too, are a beautiful blue green on the underside. Love how they look under the arrangement.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

May 28/29, 2011

Yesterday I turned the windowsill arranging over to grandkids and realized they're better at this than I am! First they made window people, then, later in the day, Adam, 14, came in with a fistfull of flowers that was the prettiest bouquet I've ever seen. He'd picked one stem each of 20 different flowers. He dropped it into one of my little vases and it fit perfectly. I'd never have thought 20 stems of any kind would fit into the neck of that vase. Flowers Adam picked included: viola (3 colors), daisy, feverfew, rose bud, sundrop, catnip, grass, catchfly (Silene armeria), dianthus, rose pink, comfrey, love-in-a-mist, butterfly weed, foxglove, red clover, coreopsis, larkspur, pineapple sage. I didn't even know the pineapple sage was blooming until I saw it in Adam's bouquet!

Friday, May 27, 2011

May 27, 2011

A friend who wants to remain anonymous created this arrangement. (She's not sure she likes it enough to claim it!)  I love the way the light is moving through this. The plant material is money plant (with the light illuminating the seeds inside the flat pods) and one stem of nigella (love-in-a-mist).  Below is another incarnation of this arrangement (in a different vase), which orignially had a poppy pod in it until L. took it out.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

May 26, 2011---Rhonda's arrangement

So: I'm at Flower Camp and I thought I'd turn the windowsill arranging over to a friend: Rhonda Roebuck. Rhonda dropped a wood poppy stem with seed pod on it into one of my little vases. Quite pretty. Then, to my delight, she discovered how hard it is to photograph something on the windowsill. Reflections in the glass and the moire patterns created by the screen were just two of the problems she immediately encountered (and she's a really good photographer). How I loved seeing her struggle with the same issues I've been struggling with! Rhonda solved the background problem by slipping a page of sheet music behind the vase, creating this collage-like effect. This photo also shows part of another little arrangement created by Louise Witherspoon--developing seed pod of love-in-a-mist, which, at this stage, is called devil-in-a-bush.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

May 25, 2011, 10:38 PM

.Narrow windowsill of the pavillion didn't want to accommodate an "arrangement," but I didn't have the energy to create something elsewhere. It's hot and every light is attracting millions of bugs. Picked these of chives to use in an egg dish tomorrow morning. The hosta leaf was actually in the compost heap (a discard from another arrangement) when I decided it was too pretty to leave there,

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

May 24, 6 PM, Buckingham: Radish minarets and curtain squiggles

So--Here are my bigger radishes! They actually have too much foliage for this to work, but it was worth a try. Cut the foliage off, turned them upside down and created the radish minarets in second photo. Below that is photo of best windowsill event today--- wavy stripes caused by sun hitting the window mullions.

May 24, 2001, 9 AM, Ashland

Chives ended up in this little vase just to hold them fresh before packing them up to take to Buckingham.  Then I decided to pick a radish to see how it looked in same container. Pretty sweet! I have bigger radishes in Buckingham (that should be a song title!) so I'm going to try this again later today in Buckingham.

Monday, May 23, 2011

may 23, 2011--so summery!

This was fun to do. I'm taking these snippings to a friend in a nursing home tonight. They are all fragrant things that he will enjoy. Old-fashioned vining petunia, white "Gardenia" rose, honeysuckle, fennel, Vietnamese coriander, basil, sweet Annie, scented geranium. At the moment, there are also a couple of parsley sprigs included--but they'll be eaten by dinnertime! I love this bright contrasty light, because it is so summery (and it feels summery outside right now).  It's also revealing to see the grapevine and trumpet vine coming up outside the window. Such fast-growing weeds---that's summery, too!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

May 22, 2011

Well, today I didn't need to create a windowsill arrangement. For one thing, the lily bloomed in the broken gourd arrangement I created on May 15. And for another, I "lent" my cabin to Beckey Watson, who created a windowsill arrangement there. The first photo shows the lily blooming in broken gourd. The only thing I've done to it since May 15 (see that day's entry) is to line the gourd neck with a metal cigar holder. The gourd seemed to be losing water (evaporating out the sides, not leaking out the bottom), and I didn't want it to ever go dry altogether (for the lily stem).  Second photo is of Beckey's arrangement, which I love because it is SO seasonal. Included in it are honeysuckle, love-in-a-mist, butterfly weed, and coreopsis.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

May 21, 2011--Honeysuckle

Now I'm really cheating. Brought this arrangement upstairs and put it in the windowsill over my cot rather than do a new arrangement today. I'm sleeping like a camper at Flower Camp while others are sleeping in our cabin. Created many arrangements day before yesterday with lots of pretty flowers, but of all the things I did, dropping this one big hunk of honeysuckle into a vase was my favorite. It has one thick central stem and dozens of graceful, flowering streamers going off in all directions. That's the way it grows up a fence post, and that's were I got it! It was tricky to disentagle its central stem from wire fencing without breaking it, but when it came off clean, I knew I had a  treasure. It looked like a wedding bouquet! (See second photo with Anita Barnhart holding the same clump of honeysuckle like a bouquet) To get the short central stem to stand securely in the vase, I jammed a stick into the vase with it. All this looks better where it was originially placed (on the woodstove downstairs), but it wouldn't be a bad idea to put a hunk of this in the windowsill above a pillow. Fragrant dreams!

Friday, May 20, 2011

May 20, 2011--tiny rose conglomeration

Busy, busy today, so I cheated and moved this little arrangement I'd done for elsewhere into the windowsill. In it are pink knockout roses, some grass flowers and one stem of blue-eyed grass (closed, so all you see is that little knob on top). Blue-eyed grass is definitely a season marker for me.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

May 19, 2011-- Color

\\Spent all day arranging flowers (there's a workshop at Flower Camp tomorrow), but nothing much was inspiring me until, among the leftovers, I found this combination of materials. Gathered them into my hand then went in and dropped them into my gourd container (see May 15). Here I really do wish I were a good photographer, because these colors are amazing. I got sort of mezmerized watching the afternoon light as it  played through the flowers (it would glow, then grow dark as the wind blew clouds then tree leaves across the sun). Included are 1 stem of orangish/pink snapdragon, 1 stem climbing rose (same one I used in earlier arrangement), 1 deep fushia peony bud, and several leaves of one of those new heucheras (this one is sort of yellowish buff pink/purple). To cover up the black pin holder holding the gourd "vase," I  eventually went out and got a ligularia leaf. First used it upside up then realized it was much prettier underside up.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

May 18, 2011

Travel day between Ashland and B'ham. This is what was in windowsill when I left Ashland. Picked lots of flowers to bring to B'ham (Flower Camp) before leaving, and this little piece of sweet William broke off in the process. It's an odd color for a sweet William. Bought the seeds from Select Seeds, I think. Combined the little sweet William stem with recycled peony foliage (that peony foliage just won't die!) and with recycled wands of green arugula seed pods (they won't die either!). Previous day's arrangement is still in windowsill, too, and I took a picture of its hardy begonia leaf up close to show its red veins better. So beautiful! Also took a photo of arugula in the vegetable garden to show how unkept-looking this source of arranging material (and seeds for another crop of edible greens) is right now. It's so hard not to pull it out to make way for another crop, but I need those plants to reseed. Getting such fabulous arranging material from them helps!

This last photo of arugula is obviously cattywompas (oriented incorrectly). I'll fix it later, when it doesn't take so many, many minutes to upload a photo!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

May 17, 2011--Rose named Gardenia

These roses are the prettiest things blooming in the yard, and they really needed to be rescued from the rain. They bloom only in the spring on long, climbing canes that go up into a cedar tree. I'm particularly proud of this rose because I grew it from a cutting I got from Berry and Chester Walters (who got it, I think, from a cutting of Winsey Cumfer's rose, which she called Gardenia). It really does have the ethereal beauty of a gardenia and smells great. I've combined it with: one leaf from a hardy begonia (Begonia grandis)---that's the beautiful leaf with reddish veins on underside; graceful arugula stems with green seed structures leftover from May 12 (these go higher a look prettier in real life than they do in these photos), and a peony leaf (already used in a couple of other arrangements this week).

Monday, May 16, 2011

May 16,2011--Tulip Poplar

When I got out to the car yesterday, tulip poplar flowers were littering the ground.  Picked one twig up, dropped it into coffee mug on windowsill, and photographed it (first photo). This morning I looked at that photo and decided it didn't capture the beauty of the flowers, so I tried again. The second photo, which shows how the flowers look when they are backlit, is prettier, but it's obviously staged. No matter how you use them, tulip poplar flowers are as beautiful as any flower in the perennial garden, though. Reminds me that, according to Andrea Wulf,  when the tulip poplar first bloomed in the garden of the Early of Peterborough,  people came from "from far and near... to admire it's beauty." (It's a North American tree that had been re-introduced to Britain, after becoming extinct there, in the mid 1600s.) Ah, the native trees we take for granted!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

May 15, 2011--Broken gourds

This was so much fun, but it is going to be very hard to explain. While gardening this morning I found lily stem full of buds on the ground. Ouch. Voles have found this patch of lilies. They are short ones I bought by accident, but they've been flourishing, and I'm distressed the voles have found them. (I usually plant lily blubs in sharp gravel to deter voles, but I can't remember if I did it with this patch.) Anyway, I saved the stem with green buds and brought it inside with a couple of broken gourds I'd also encountered in the garden. The gourds' bases had cracked off over the winter, but the tops were intact and it had occurred to me that they would hold water, and be very pretty as vases, if I could figure out a way to support them with their stem ends pointing down. Solution: two heavy, black pin holders into which I jammed the stem end of each gourd. The necks of the gourds do hold water and their broken bases (now the lips of the gourd "vases") are gorgeous. Below, first, is one of the gourds the way it looked before I jammed its stem into the pin holder to make it stand upright (photo also lily stem slipped into it).  Second photo shows how that "vase" worked in windowsill. Much prettier than photo shows. Contents--lily stem with buds delivered to me by voles along with one stem of pale blue amsonia flowers leftover from May 13. At base of the vase, I needed some moss to cover the pin holder but didn't want to walk that far, so I grabbed some leaves outside the front door and used those. The window screen looks wacky in the photo (same thing happened with I was photographing the luna moth on May 12), and I'd love to know how to avoid that (photographically.)

The next series of photos shows results of doing the same thing with second broken gourd. This one was smaller. Had to close the curtains to make its delicate flowers show up. They, too, are from May 13 gleanings--what's left of the California poppy (graceful stem. leaves, seed pod) and one stem of snapdragon. Wish I could remember where I got these snapdragon seeds. VERY different from ordinary snaps---looser, and, to my eye, less "floristy" looking.  This is the second year they've bloomed in the garden. Thought I had bought the seeds from Select Seeds, but I didn't see the same snaps in their catalog this year. Anyway, creating these gourd vases was LOTS of fun, and, like everything gourdy, they'll last forever. 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

May 14, 30 minutes later

Couldn't resist bringing the orange iris blossom back up into the windowsill. And added a couple of pale yellow snaps (from yesterday's gleanings) to the jug, too. And so it goes!

May 14, 2011

Most of what I picked yesterday, I didn't want to use this afternoon when I started this arrangement (although, with the exception of one iris blossom, it was still pretty fresh-looking). I found this little green jug in the barn while cleaning up there, and walking back to the house in the rain, the orange coreopsis caught my eye. First thing I dropped into the jug was stinking hellebore I had picked yesterday (that would provide balast for the thin, thin, coreopsis stems), then added some shepherd's purse (a pretty little weed I spotted while picking the coreopsis), then one compound leaflet of Mahonia aquifolia, a shrub I love that has some old leaves with lots of color at this time of year. Most of its leaflets had fallen off by the time I got to the house, but a couple of leaflets--one with a gigantic bite taken out of it--were still hanging on. Jammed all into vase with a great twisty wisteria vine I'd pruned off the house earlier. You can't really see it in the photo, but the wisteria vine is there--reaching for the curtain rod the way it was reaching for rocking chairs on the front porch! Then, because they were making this conglomeration too busy, I clipped off all the stinking hellebore flowers (but the stem is still in the neck of the jug providing support).

Friday, May 13, 2011

May 13, 2011

The luna moth was gone this morning, of course.

I spent all day gardening and then cleaning at Flower Camp. Below is a very bad photo of some very beautiful stuff. Every bit of it is plant material that I accidentally broke off or mishandled in some way while gardening today. Foliage is from clary sage, blooms to left come from yellow and pink snapdragons (I picked those because they were being overtopped by rampant Dame's Rocket), yellow California poppy (I don't have many of those, and I groaned when I snapped on off while weeding), pale blue Amsonia (that was lying on the ground begging to be clipped), stinking hellebore (cluster of green blooms-heading-toward-seed-pods, broke off when moving the plant), and two huge orange, bearded iris blossoms. They broke off while I was pulling vetch, and I was dismayed to see them on the ground. Thank goodness for these little vases I could drop them into for a moment of recognition for all the work they'd gone to to produce their magnificent blooms. I'll see what I can do with this stuff tomorrow. Today, it's a miracle I'm just getting this posted.

May 12, 2011, Buckingham

This seems too amazing to be true, but it is: I gathered some flowers up this afternoon, put them in a bottle, and placed it on the kitchen windowsill. Didn't like the way the curtain rod put a line through the arrangement (picky, picky!), so I moved the bottle to a window near the couch. It was barely out of my hand when I noticed a luna moth outside on the screen! Gorgeous. In photos below, try to find the luna moth! The last photo shows the outside view of what I saw first from the inside. In bottle are rugosa rose blossoms, a yellow-green hunk of peony foliage, some arugula stems loaded with green seed pods, and a couple of Byzantine glads (a small-flowered, early gladiolus).

This all happened on May 12 but didn't get posted until May 13, because Blogger was down.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

May11. 2011

Yesterday, when I was putting the iris and fennel in coffee mug, I clipped off one blossom near the top of the iris stem to make it prettier to my eye (I liked seeing the scape taper to a bud with only one mature flower below).  The flower I clipped off was so pretty though, I couldn't throw it away. I dropped it into a juice glass and left it sitting on the counter. This morning I STILL couldn't throw it away, so I dropped it into another mug and moved it up onto the windowsill. So now yesterday's arrangement has a companion.  Light through these iris blossoms is so amazing. Still haven't been able to capture that photographically. Robert Llewellyn (photographer friend) mentioned recently that a bearded iris blossom has rooms, and it does (although they're so romantic, "chambers" might be a better word). And anther friend referred to the falls and frills of a bearded iris blossom as "veils." Yes to that, too!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

May 10, 2011

I couldn't quite get this lit the way I wanted it. Still much to learn re using flash (or not) on my camera! Ended up turning on overhead light and overexposing to try to get this photo to show what I wanted it to. This "arrangement" took about 30 seconds (not counting the two minutes it took to pick the flowers) and was fun, because it finally worked the way most windowsill arrangments do, in that the previous day's gleanings proved useful. I wanted to combine this brownish iris with bronze fennell foliage, because I thought they'd look pretty together. (They grow in the same part of my yard but not next to each other, and pulling things together in a vase is easier than pulling them together in the yard!)  Also picked a fat, short stem of rhubarb for its big frilly leaf (it's such a good anchor green in almost any arrangement). Couldn't find appropriate jar or vase so I used my coffee mug. Opening was too wide to hold so few stems upright, so I reused peony pods from previous day's arrangment to "stuff" the opening. (You might be able to see them low, near the lip of the mug. They are the same pods that were in the black vase yesterday.)  I cut those stems really short and jammed the letfover stem material, almost like logs, into the vase to provide even more support to the other stems.  Voila! Something I like looking at, primarily for its dreamy color.

Monday, May 9, 2011

May 9, 2011

It's hard to explain these.  Flowers moved around today and yesterday!  On the windowsill this morning were some immature peony pods (what's left after the petals have fallen off)  in black vase and a little orange baking container.  That explains the photo below, which looks more like October than May.  The pods are from different peonies than the ones that were in this container on May 8.  The original peonies got moved to an arrangement on the kitchen table, and they haven't fallen apart yet.

Then, this afternoon I did an "arrangement" in a Bud Lite bottle. Two peonies and a big wand of rhubarb flowers with big, pretty, ruffled leaves.

And then.... the arrangement below wasn't for the windowsill. It was a for a friend in a nursing home. I had made it for him in April and used voilets (dug up, roots and all) behind the little wattle fence (which is SO much fun to make!). This time, I used the same little fence and mini birdhouse, but added buttercups and scented geranium leaves. Second photo is closeup of the little wattle fence made of twigs.

Today I was forced to learn to use flash and fill flash on my camera. Progress!