Sunday, July 31, 2011

July 31, 201---shifting hydrangeas

I should have saved the  "before" picture of this, because with both hydrangea blossoms in this container, the arrangement didn't work. Taking one out helped, and I like it laid to the side like this. Makes the photo more interesting. Also had to shift hosta leaves, holly fern leaves, and coneflower buds--sort of gathering them together in zones rather than scattering each material throughout the arrangement. This actually took more tweaking than I expected, because I thought I'd like these materials together no matter how they fell.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

July 30, 2011

This is a re-use of some of the flowers in yesterday's big arrangement. The heat coming in the window was really hard on the zinnias, so I took the happiest of the flowers (celosia, some zinnias, blue ageratum, emaining phlox) and dropped them into vases on a different windowsill.  I love the fallen phlox florets, because that represents what's really happening--most flowers suffering in the heat.

Friday, July 29, 2011

July 29, 2011

This is stretching the definition of a windowsill arrangement (I had to extend the windowsill by putting a cutting board on the radiator!), but I couldn't resist because I had a new vase I wanted to use. You can't really see it too well in the photo, but it has a black base holding a glass container with a bamboo platform on top.  I wanted to use just zinnias in it the way I'd seen it used in the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden shop, but I didn't have enough, so I added some pink phlox, pink celosia, and blue ageratum, too. The zinnia in the foreground is really pretty--it's a paler, more lemony yellow than it looks in photo. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

July 28, 2011---more veggies

The forms and colors of the veggies are interesting me more than flowers right now. I particularly love the pattypan squash (far left). Still  haven't figured out how to get accurate color of eggplant to show up in photo.  Looks like a regular eggplant color here, but it's actually way more violet.  I can see reflection of kitchen light in window. That's sort of fun. Got a compliment from my husband (who doesn't dispense compliments willy nilly) this morning: "That's a cute little array of vegetables," he said. I like it too---and so easy! The thing that helped make it easy, of course, was having this nice little collection of wide-bottomed small vases on hand.

The berries third from right aren't veggies. They're Italian arum berries, leftover from yesterday's windowsill array.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

JUly 26, 2011---harvest

Didn't feel like fooling with flowers this afternoon, so I just moved some veggies and herbs to the windowsill (with yesterday's Italian arum berry/bindweed combo).  There's an onion on the hot red pepper jelly (a gift from Louise Witherspoon), a vase full of basil (which needed to have its flowers clipped off), and to far left, an eggplant and a red pepper. The eggplant is actually a beautiful light violet color, but that doesn't show up in photo. It all makes me hungry when I look at it together!

Monday, July 25, 2011

July 25, 2011--complications

I've got the "itchy aches" because I got into a yellow jacket nest while cleaning up the veggie garden this morning. Not fun. It was actually hard to go outside and face the bees again this afternoon to pick flowers, but, luckily (?) I wanted to create an arrangement for a friend I'm visiting in a nursing home tonight, so outside I went. First photo includes flowers I collected then plopped into a jar and placed in windowsill.  (I love this new south-facing windowsill I'm using. The storm window is ugly, but there's less competing background stuff behind it than in other windowsills).  All these flowers are pretty, but when I'd  finished this arrangement , I thought it was one of those examples of "I keep adding things and it's still too complicated." I actually found the "arrangement" depicted below more satisfying. It's just  one stem of Italian arum berries with a bindweed winding around it--just the way I found it in the garden.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

July 24, 2011--mulberry leaves and dead wasps

Yesterday we got 2 inches of rain in Ashland, and the rain brought down all sorts of things, including these wonderful mulberry leaves. I picked them up with the intention of pressing and drying them, but before I got to that, I decided to put them in a windowsill arrangement. How to make them stand up in a vase though? I looked around for some wooden skewers to spear them and couldn't find any, so I went to debris pile and rescued some bamboo twigs I'd pruned off of stakes I was making last week. Worked even better than the skewers would have because they were really thin and organic-looking. I actually sort of took a stitch in each leaf with the bamboo twig (slipped it in then out again) to make each leaf stand up. The windowsill, you might notice, is full of wasps. Started to clear them away then decided to leave them in photo, as they, too, are a time marker. Wasps, dead and alive, are everywhere right now!

I particularly like the mottling in the mulberry leaves--brown and bright green. Don't know which insect or disease causes it.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

July 23, 2011 -- a new take on squash blossoms

I've had company, which is one reason for my lame post late last night. This morning, before heading for home, Linda Armstrong took about two minutes to do a windowsill arrangement before she walked out the door. She whittled out a yellow squash, added water to the reservoir, then nested a sunflower behind a spray of white elderberry flowers. So cute!  It was unusual to have an elderberry flower around--most have moved on to the berry stage--but this was a late one I'd picked because I wanted to try to batter and fry it the way Giesela Carson had on June 22. Never got around to that, so it was just sitting around in water on the counter. The cut sunflower, too, just happened to be sitting around inside in a jar of water. I'd picked it along with a couple of others from a toppled sunflower that I had almost taken directly to compost heap but couldn't seem to throw away. I think there's a lesson here somewhere about not throwing anything away, but if I become any more of a flower hoarder, there will be absolutely no room left for food on the kitchen counter!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

July 21, 2011

Had to move my gigantic, wacky sunflower out of teapot, because 1) I needed to use teapot and 2) I decided I didn't want flower stems contaminating my teapot. Here's same flower in another heavy container I found to hold it. Also added some Rudbeckia triloba (very small-flowered black-eyed Susan) and some dried poppy pods I'd had sitting around in a different vase.

And here is new arrangement I did today. Phlox, another sunflower, and the immortal wood poppy leaf I've been using in arrangements for over a month.  I love the way the air conditioner is blowing the curtain back because it proves how hard that machine is working to cool the cabin today.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

July 20, 2011

Bob Llewellyn sent me a photo of a sunflower with droopy petals today--symbolic of how we're all drooping in the heat. That made me want to use a droopy sunflower in my windowsill arrangement. Went out to pick one, and the droopiest one I found was a big one that turned out to be less droopy than I thought when I saw it face to face. In fact, it was so big and heavy I had to put it in a really heavy container, which turned out to be my electric teapot! Added a fan of wisteria leaves for greens. What I'll do in the morning, when I need my teapot, I don't know. Which reminds me that I've been a bit worried about putting poisonous flowers in containers that I use later for drinkable liquids. Sunflower probably isn't a problem, but castor bean? Should you put castor bean stems in a pitcher and then use it for drinking water even if I clean it well in between? Probably not.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

July 19, 2011-- orange punch

These orange Japanese lanterns add some punch to yesterday's lackluster arrangement. Which just goes to prove that if you have the nerve to start something (even if it's bad), something else may come along to rescue it (because you're looking for it!). The Japanese lanterns came my way as I was weeding today. They were hidding under big rhubarb leaves and weed leaves in the garden. I pulled some of their most insect-damaged leaves off to make them show up better here. I'm embarrassed to say it, but I found myself wishing for a hard frost today---something to put an end to the biting insects!

Monday, July 18, 2011

July 18, 2011

I actually spent most of today looking at passion flowers, but the morning began by clipping off the tops of scented geraniums, which I've combined here with two sunflowers that I rescued from oblivion yesterday (they broke off as I was weeding around them). At this very moment  (6:55 p.m.), the fingers I'm typing with are redolent with the fragrance of scented geraniums, because I just monkeyed with the arrangement in the windowsill. Maybe it looks better--having only two sunflowers--photographed vertically rather  than horizontally (and having one sprig of scented geranium elevated a bit)?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

July 17, 2011---green ash

LOVED the seed structures I found on green ash this morning, so I stuck them in a vase with leftover foliage--epimedium and that same yellow-green wood poppy leaf that has been bouncing between vases for over a month. I swear, it's immortal!

There's also one stem of ninebark foliage in this, but it would take a detective to find it in the photo!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

July 16, 2011---challenging "vase"

Little did Lucy Coggin know, when she gave me this little cup day before yesterday, that I'd look at it and think, "challenging vase!" Lucy probably thought of it as a floral-themed cup, but everything that holds water is a vase to me. This vessel looked challenging not just because of the floral motif on the side was complex but because it had a wide mouth, which meant it would require lots of stems to fill it up. Luckily, I spent lots of time gardening today and did lots of clipping, deadheading, and other sorts of activities that resulted in cut flowers too pretty to throw in the compost heap. Among them were pinkish-to-apricot-colored yarrow flowers, sunflower buds (on the ground with a flopped stem) and vervain of some sort. I combined them in the cup Lucy gave me with a reddish castor bean leaf salvaged from another arrangement and yellow hypericum flowers I noticed on a shrub not far from the windowsill where I'd propped this "vase." Although it took lots of stems to fill up just this little cup (the downside of any "vase" with a wide mouth), I sort of like the result. And the best part was that Lucy had taught me windowsills have two sides---inside and out---so I could put my arrangement on the OUTSIDE windowsill, which is so much easier to photograph, light-wise, than an indoor windowsill.

Friday, July 15, 2011

July 15, 2011

Got a whole new perspective on windowsills this morning. As requested, Lucy Coggin created a beautiful concoction for the windowsill this morning--a stick with morning glory bloom nestled in it. We struggled and struggled to find a way to photograph it that showed both the translucence of the flower (needed light behind it for that) and the colors of the lichen on the stick (needed light in front of it for that). After trying indoor windowsill (first photo below), Lucy suggested we try the arrangement on the outside windowsill (second photo). (All this would be SO much easier if windowsill location weren't required for this blog, but rules are rules, and I promised myself I'd photograph arrangements in windowsills for a year.) Anyway, second photo shows the stick/morning glory combo on the outside windowsill. I have a feeling I may be trying that option (which bends the rules but doesn't break them) again! The morning glory is Grandpa Otts, by the way.

And below is windowsill arrangement created by Cahterine Ellyson above kitchen sink. It's such a great study in greens--a sprig of dusty miller with river oats (which don't really show up in photo), a nigella bud, and white nicotiana flower. This arrangement made me see the green in the throat and veins of the nicotiana flower for the first time.

Couldn't resist photograhing the "context" in which Catherine's arrangement appears (below)!

And here's something I had to post even though it's not in a windowsill. Lucy Coggin created this beautiful concoction in an old gourd that had grown into the fence. So beautiful and unexpected!

We had to put a towel behind the fence to make this arrangement show up.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

July 14, 2011

There's lots blooming in the garden right now, but the thing that moved me most was this tiny, tiny marigold. Can't remember its name, but I think I got the seed from Johnny's Seleted Seeds. Everything about it is diminutive---flowers and ferny foliage. The diameter of the bloom is about the same as that of a pea.  I dropped it into an inkwell, but it really needed a smaller vase. Added the teaspoon to show how truly tiny the marigold is!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

July 13, 2011

It takes so very long to upload info to this blog from Buckingham! I have watered the garden, straightened the linen closet, and swept away 100 spider webs in the time it took to upload the photo below. If I had known it would take so long, I'd have worked harder on a better photo! I haven't arranged the plant material below. It's just sitting in a water glass in the sink waiting for me to do something with it, but I liked the way the pokeweed berries and blackberry lily flowers looked against the curtain--sort of spare and Asian-looking. It's also interesting to me that on July 13, I'm seeing lots of fruit: pokeberries, elderberries. blackberries, raspberries, even honeysuckle berries. Lots of leaves are changing color, too.  Proves my point that fall begins in mid-July.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

July 12, 2011

I picked some Japanese lanterns (Physalis) for drying, then decided to put them in water instead.  They are VERY hard to arrange because the orange lanterns are way low on the stem, the leaves are often really ratty. This was the best I could do.

I added some of the leftover pieces of Japanese lantern to flowers and leaves leftover from yesterday's windowsill arrangement. These two daylilies bloomed this morning from buds in yesterday's arrangement. I should reposition the Japanese lanterns or add a few more, but even now, I like the way the orange of the Japanese lanterns draws your attention to the orange daylily anthers.

Monday, July 11, 2011

July11, 2011--here's what you do with a daylily

Yesterday's daylily flower died, of course (see below), but that was no tragedy because a new one had bloomed from an adjacent bud. I just pulled the dead flower off and repositioned the new flower to function as a focal point as the previous one had (second photo). I think daylilies are way underrated as cut flowers. Florists can't use them, of course (how the customers would howl when their flowers died after only a day!), but windowsill arrangers, and anyone else creating temporary arrangements or arrangements for themselves, certainly can.  There's a big gap between magnolia leaves and daylily buds in second photo that I'd have filled with something if  I'd seen it before I took the photo. Amazing the way photos make you see things you don't see otherwise!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

July 10, 2011

Today's arrangement started when I broke a stem of a dragon's tongue (Arisaema) plant while digging it up for a friend. Dropped it into an orange juice jar.

Then I went out looking for something to add to it. Was drawn to fragrance of pale pink phlox, and behind what was the yellow green foliage of a kerria bush, and in front of that were some pale yellow daylilies. Pulled all into a bunch in my hand then added a couple of variegated hosta leaves and dill flowers from a previous day's arrangement. Dropped all into the orange juice jar, but the stems seemed too crowded, so I transfered them to wide-mouthed glass vase.

This seemed a little anemic, so I added some magnolia leaves with rusty undersides. The magnolia leaves came from a fading arrangement I'd just tossed out, and I actually retrieved them from the compost heap. Used low like this, you'd never know they're droopy.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

July 9, 2011

This windowsill is clogged up with an air conditioner, but these flowers seemed to want to be near this window. This is a combination of some of Mimi's flowers and foliage from yesterday (see July 7/8) and a wood poppy leaf (foreground) that has been traveling between windowsill arrangements for at least two weeks.  I just cannot believe how long these wood poppy leaves have lasted!!

Friday, July 8, 2011

July 8, 2011

Mimi Shalf, 13, created this windowsill arrangement at Flower Camp yesterday. Thanks for leaving it behind, Mimi! I've moved it over to my cabin windowsill to use as my "windowsill arrangement of the day." It's so pretty... several rudbeckia flowers, one crocosmia flower scape, and a few epimedum leaves.

July 7, 2011--girls gone arranging

Be still my heart. Is there anything more adorable than girls 11 to 14?  Yes, girls 11 to 14 in the garden!

And boy, can they arrange flowers. Here's Eliza Binns with her windowsill arrangement of snapdragons and hollyhocks:

Here's Caitlen Moser with her many windowsill arrangements:

And here's Mimi Shalf with some of her windowsill arrangements and a hollyhock doll (lady made out of a hollyhock flower and bud):

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

July 6, 2011

I liked this little arrangement so much I moved it up into bedroom windowsill. It's just a glass vase with one big, white Annabelle hydrangea blossom and one branching, blooming leatherwood stem in it.  Leatherwood (Cyrilla racemiflora) is a really pretty native shrub with bottle-brush-like flowers. You can't see them very well in the photo, but they're a beautiful off-white that looks pretty with the Annabelle hydrangea. Leatherwood also has glossy, unblemished  foliage that turns pretty colors in the fall, and I can't figure out why more people don't grow it. Called around looking for someone from whom I could buy more yesterday. No luck. Can't even find it in the Forest Farm catalog, which sells most every woody shrub. I bought the one I have from Bert Shoosmith about 12 years ago, and it's about 8 feet tall, but now I want a hedge of it! Wish Bert and his nursery were still around.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

July 5, 2011

Yesterday, as I was adding some magnolia foliage and hydrangea flowers to other arrangements, a couple of pieces of foliage broke off that were too pretty to throw away. So I dropped them into juice glass with the dill flowers I'd placed there yesterday.  I really like the way the bronzy underside of the magnolia leaves looks with the yellowish dill blossoms. Totally accidental.

Monday, July 4, 2011

July 4, 2011---Green Fireworks

All sorts of oddball things gathered in the windowsill this morning as I prepared for neighborhood gathering.

Most of this stuff was letfover from yesterday, but in the middle is a juice glass with 2 dill flowers in it. I'm holding those to garnish cucumbers with tonight, but I sort of look the way they look in the juice glass. Like green fireworks!

There's also a green tomato in the windowsill that fell off when John was collecting other veggies. And those veggies were SO pretty, I had to use them to decorate (before eating them!).  Arrangement above the veggies includes magnolia, Annabelle hydrangea, and some of the angel wing begonia greens I cut off yesterday, or was it the day before?

See red tomatoes! This is the first time we've had ripe tomatoes on the 4th of July.

Also, here's better photo (below) of yesterday's angle wing begonia leaf with black-eyed Susan stem piercing it.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

July 3, 2011--through the leaf epiphany

I didn't expect to have an arranging epiphany today, which is probably why I had one. I'm hosting neighborhood 4th of July celebration tomorrow, and flowers didn't need to be much, but they were on my mind. Felt totally uninspired, but decided to just keep moving plant material around all day and see what transpired (as I worked on other tasks). First thing I did was try to clean up pantry, which involved cutting back the Angel wing begonia, which grows there in a window. Took those stems and added them to vessels in the kitchen windowsill.

Then, I started sort of haphazardly arranging.  Most of the begonia leaves wound up in other arrangements, but a few remained in the windowsill. and, in the midst of all this rearranging, there was one black-eyed Susan stem I didn't know what to do with.

I'm sure the wine glass in the middle of this array seems totally inconsequential, but, in fact, it (or at least the materials in it) taught me something today. That glass still had leftover parsely and basil in it from days past, but today a begonia leaf landed there. too. And when I went looking for somewhere to put my one, leftover, black-eyed Susan stem, it seemed to want to be center stage in that wine glass on my windowsill. I sort of fiddled with it, looking for a space to lead it into between leaves, but there wasn't one, so I speared it straight through a begonia leaf!!! Why not?  I'm not sure you can see how this worked in fuzzy photo below, but it felt like a mechanical triumph. Why NOT spear a flower stem through a leaf as stalwart as a begonia leaf if you need to?

Other things I learned today were many---but I'm too tired to relay them. See July 4 arrangements on washing machine and dryer below.

The thing I learned about these arrangements had to do with trusting my instincts (and energy level) to allow myself to use only two materials (well, four if you include fasciated willow and knotweed). The primary material in my arrangements came from a shrub called leatherwood (Cyrilla racemiflora). Love it. The second is Annabelle hydrangea (just a few white blossoms). I used the knotweed just for the hollow stems, to elevate the flags. The fasciated willow is really pretty coming out of watering can to left (like water!), but you can't see it in photo. Below is that shrubby material I can't remember the name of combined with white Annabell hydrangea in windowsill.