Saturday, March 31, 2012

March 31. 2012 -- Johnny Jump-Ups

Johnny Jump-ups with a couple of wild violets thrown in for good measure. Nothing sweeter.

Friday, March 30, 2012

March 30, 2012 -- saucer magnolia, etc.

This started with a saucer magnolia flower. As I was picking it, I noticed how pretty the contorted mulberry foliage was nearby (bright green, and with even brighter green catkins emerging from the twigs). So I picked some of that, and some nearby Deodar cedar foliage, too. Then, I realized a couple of maroon heuchera leaves would be great with this flower, too, because it's throat is deep maroon. I love the way all this works together, because the foliage sort of reinforces the subtle colors in the flower. Reminds me of something Sydney Eddison once said--that you can take your cue to landscape color combinations from flowers themselves: "if it works in a flower it will work in the landscape." That's true of flower arrangements, too. See all the green and maroon in this basically pink flower? (The purple behind the petals is the heuchera leaf.)

P.S. I used leftovers from the bigger arrangement for the smaller satellite arrangement.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

March 29, 2012 -- how a flying squirrel helped with this arrangement

I forgot to close the chimney flue in a bedroom at Flower Camp, and when opening the building to guests a week or so ago, John discovered a flying squirrel had come down the chimney, flown around doing lots of damage, then died under a pillow. Yuk. To my dismay, one of the things he broke was the vessel that held water in this hanging container. I searched all my cabinents to find a vessel of the proper diameter to replace it (something with a lip that would grab the wire rim), and what I came up with was this cut glass vessel used upside down. It's a container I've always loved because my mother kept safety pins in it. I have no idea what its real function was supposed to be, but it's concave on both ends so it holds water upside up or downside up.

Anyway... while I was searching for that replacement vessel, I came across the stemmed piece of glasware also used below. Have no idea where it came from and I have only one of them, but I wanted to use it because its unusual shape seemed to suit a single tulip blossom (it narrows just below the lip then flares again sort of like a lily-flowered tulip). Made a great vase for one tulip blossom (with its petals folded back), some Vinca major (periwinkle) blossoms, a couple of squills (hyacinths), a stem or two of epimedium foliage, and some new hydrangea foliage. And, beside it, in my mother's safety pin holder, is a clump of violets, dug up with roots still attached.

And this was really fun to do because the colors were so wonderful. The 'Princess Irene' tulip has purplish striations in its orange petals. The most interesting thing about doing this, though, was letting my need for a replacement vessel lead me to some new containers.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

March 28, 2012 -- what's blooming

This arrangement will function as a nature journal, reminding me what was blooming all at the same time on March 28, 2012: lilac, wisteria, wild mustard, wood poppy, California poppy, iris. Amazing. What a strange spring. And today it's both warm and windy, adding stress to flowers that had been enjoying a bit of cool, normal spring weather for a couple of days. The wood poppy in yesterday's arrangement held up fine in windowsill--although its first flower died and a new bud bloomed taking its place.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

March 27, 2012 -- wood poppy

I don't know how long this wood poppy is going to hold up in a vase, but it just had to be my subject for today. I've grown wood poppies (Stylophorum diphyllum) for a long time (ever since Virginia Miller gave me one), but I've never has as many as I have this year. The reason I have so many this year is that another friend, Trish Wrenn, gave me a dozen or more plants last fall. I was hoping they'd do exactly what they have done, which is form a mass of what looks like enormous buttercups. (There's also one stem of Epimedium leaves in the bottle with the wood poppy.)

Monday, March 26, 2012

March 26, 2012 -- lost my head

I just flat out lost my head over color this morning. I kept looking at the colors I loved in yesterday's arrangement.....

...and when I moved a camellia into the windowsill with them, even more color bells went off in my head. Suddenly, I was rearranging things, and adding things (most in wine glasses), and adding more things, and the result is an extravaganza of color that needs a good editor to turn it into an arrangement. Funny how much easier it is to see what needs to be removed or moved in a photo than it is in real life.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

March 25, 2012 -- wild color!

This is absolutely wild and wacky color for March! There are lots of pastel things blooming in the garden, but this morning, it was the fire-engine red leaves of some unhappy Mahonia that grabbed my attention. I put two of them in these industrial spools then added (to each spool) a stem of Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolan 'Variegatum') and a pansy flower. Oh, and in the back of each spool are the senstive fern spore structures leftover from weeks ago. (I can see from this photo I should probably have worked harder to make these arrangements more exactly alike.)

I just love looking at these materials together (especially the way the pansy colors work with the other colors). And I had two, only two, of these particular pansy flowers, which proves you should always find a garden spot for some pansies of mixed colors, because one of them might turn out to be the star of a windowsill arrangement!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

March 24, 2012 -- epimedium and columbine flowers

I wish I had the energy to work on a better photo of this, but I don't. This is really a sweet combination: delicate epimedium flowers (tiny pale yellow flowers that look a little like miniature columbine flowers) and reddish orange flowers of Virginia's native columbine (Aquilegia canadensis). These two plants' blooming seasons almost always overlap, but the columbine seems earlier than usual this year. Near the lip of the glass bottle is one young Lenten rose leaf to sort of anchor the whispy flowers.



Friday, March 23, 2012

March 23, 2012 -- camellias and Pieris japonica

I played with camellias and Pieris japonica for a while this afternoon. First, I put them in a hibuscus holder, which allowed them to lie horizontally.

Then I put some Pieris japonica in my black vase and let a camellia rest at the base of it.

Then I went crazy. I kept thinking about all the camellia blossoms on the ground outside where they were just wasting away in the heat. I started stacking them around the base of my vase, which resulted in a big mess, but here it is. I want to figure out a more pleasing way to do this, because those blossoms really should be picked up and put in the windowsill, where, even out of water, they'll last longer than they would outside on an 85 degree day.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

March 22, 2012 -- voilets

Wild violets are one of my favorite flowers, so I had to put some in a vase. I actually pulled them up by the root--weeding and gathering cut flowers at the same time, how efficient is that?!

And here's yesterday's arrangement with tiny tulips after the sun hit it this morning--the blooms opened wide. Tulips change so much after you cut them (bending toward light, opening and closing) that they should be considered performance art. And BTW, the "greens" with these tulips are the seed structures of hairy bittercress, not the leaves as I said yesterday.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

March 21, 2012 -- nature journaling

I am so very glad to have discovered this form of nature journaling. Because just putting something in a vase in the windowsill and photographing it IS a form of nature journaling. This arrangement is particularly apt for the season. In this container are wild onion greens, hairy bittercress foliage, and some Clusiana tulips ('Cynthia,' I think). Because EVERYTHING is blooming in Virginia right now, it was hard to choose what to pick, but I love these tiny species tulips for windowsill arrangements, and I had to use the hairy bittercress, because I'm now on my third round of weeding it out of my garden. The green onions were a natural, too, because I'm pulling them everywhere, and my hands smell like them even as I type.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

March 20, 2012 -- poor 'ole daffodils

This has not been a daffodil-friendly spring. They bloom, they look beautiful, and then the heat hits them so hard they wither quickly. It actually seems like an act of kindness to pick them and bring them into the cooler house, where they last longer. (I visited friends this afternoon who were having a garden-viewing party to "celebrate" all the flowers they had planted for Garden Week in Virginia, which were blooming three weeks early, and would NOT be blooming when the tour came through their yard. And another neighbor told me she had picked all her daffodils to give them to church friends, because she knew they wouldn't endure the heat outside.) Anyway, this is may daffodil tribute--lots of different varieties of daffodils lined up in a test-tube-like series of vessels. What makes this work (in addition to the vase) is clustering the daffodils according to variety and adding a little foliage. You're not supposed to cut daffodil foliage (because as long as it is growing it is gathering energy for next year's bulb), but this little bit won't hurt too much.

Monday, March 19, 2012

March 19, 2012 --- windowsill with daffys, etc.

Lots of little things from previous arrangements are collected in this windowsill. What's particularly surprising to me is that that little piece of moss I loved (in front of third vase from right) is still looking pretty. I acutally took this photo last night, so the black background would help the white daffodils show up.

Third from the left is one of my favorite daffodils (don't know its name) with a sprig of Pieris japonica. The daffodil has two rows of petals and a cup with a frilly orange rim.

I like the way you can see the forsythia blooming outside the window in this photo.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

March 18, 2012 -- blue starflower

This starflower is the most beautiful blue. It's one of those early spring flowers that looks like star of Bethlehem, but isn't. I couldn't remember its name, but I knew it had come from Brent and Becky's Bulbs many years ago, so I scoured their online catalog looking for it. I now know it's Ipheion uniflorum "Jessie." It's only about 4 inches tall and has flat foliage that smells like garlic. So, so pretty--and so far it's holding up well in a vase, too. Here I've combined it with marsh marigolds (the yellow flowers) and one stinking hellebore leaf.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

March 17 -- tulip transitions

Here's the way my Lilac Wonder tulip looked at 8 a.m. this morning. It had closed back into a bud, which is what tulips often do when brought inside.

By noon, on an unusually warm March day (even inside), the tulip had opened and spread its petals like.... what? In this plastic cup are the original tulip blossom plus some Chinese temple bells and wild mustard flowers that I collected in the morning.

Later in the afternoon (around 3 p.m.) the Lilac Wonder tulip was still wide open, and I had moved its blossom to an inkwell (my previously lost inkwell!), and I had added some Hawera daffodils to the bottle that had previously held the tulip flower and its foliage. This little daffodil isn't wilting; its drooping posture is natural for the species.

Friday, March 16, 2012

March 16, 2012 -- first tulip

Arrived at Flower Camp (after trip to Tennessee) to find many, many daffodils blooming and this one tulip. This is really early for a tulip to be blooming, but it has been unusually hot. The other unusual thing about this particular tulip is that it was blooming in the vegetable garden! I think I tucked it there because I'd planted the rest of the bag of bulbs, found this one leftover, and just planted it in the nearest available, yielding soil. Anyway, it was fun to find it blooming today, and I like it alone in this little bottle.

'Voilet Wonder' is the name of this tiny tulip with pinkish-lavender petals and a yellow eye. It's just beatutiful with equally diminutive 'Hawera' daffodils (which are a clear, pale yellow).

Thursday, March 15, 2012

March 15, 2012 -- moss sporangia + daffodils

Yesterday, somewhere in the garden (I can't remember where) I encountered the bright yellow green sporangia ("seed" structures) of a moss. I harvested a piece of it, and that was the beginning of my windowsill arrangement.

I put the moss on a tile, then found a brown container and added two scrambled egg daffodils and few sprigs of black pussy willow to the vase. All this was in the service of trying to honor that gorgeous piece of moss!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

March 14, 2012 -- black vase with daffodils

This is the vase I bought at the Phillips Gallery ($19.95) that was in yesterday's corrugated box. I'd been wishing for a small black vase, and now I have one. And I LOVE this particular daffodil in it. Don't remember its name, but its highly fragrant and has lots of tiny flowers on each stem. With it in the vase are some leaves from winter aconite (they look like miniature palm trees), a piece of Pieris japonica (the weeping seed structures and leaves to the right), and some hairy bittercress leaves and flowers (a weed whose stems are lengthening in the garden even as I write this).

P.S. This is all on a little brownish-black tile I bought at Lowes.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

March 13 -- new box

I bought a new vase at the Phillps Gallery gift shop this past weekend. It was small, and very inexpensive, so I didn't expect it to come in a box, but not only did the salesperson put my vase in a box, she put it in this very adorable box. You can't see it in the photo, but, in addition to having a button sown onto the front, it has a button sewn on the top, and a thread connecting the two keeps the box shut.

Truth be told, I like the box better than the vase inside, so I decided to fill the vase with water but keep the box around it. Tomorrow I'll pull the vase out and maybe use it alone, but for today, I love this corrugated box with camellia blossom emerging from it.

Monday, March 12, 2012

March 12, 2012 -- Klee and Kandinsiky

Send a flower arranger off to Washington and she comes back influenced by Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky (if she's visited the Phillips Gallery). First result: unable to remove plant debris from kitchen sink (after cleaning out windowsill vases), because the array there is so beautiful.

Then enjoy just the ease of picking up some of those "not quite dead yet" marsh marigold leaves from the sink and gathering them up into tiny vase.

Then spend most of ther rest of the day outside where all sorts of things vie for display in the windowsill, but what ends up there (in addition to things already mentioned) are flowering arugula (in tallest bottle), some remnants from pruned Pieris japonica (in other bottles), a periwinkle flower, some Chinese temple bell flowers, and a few daffodils.

I don't remember its name, but I really, really love this daffodil, which has orange markings around the rim of its cup, yellow-green at the base of its cup, and thick,ivory-colored "petals."

Sunday, March 11, 2012

March 11, 2012 -- breakfast in D.C.

This orchid was on the breakfast table at the hotel restaurant this morning (a beautiful room with Asian decor). The windowsills were at floor level, but it was just too easy to take this "arrangement" off the breakfast table and move it onto the windowsill. It would have been even more fun to remove the orchid and fill the vase with a blooming twig from a cherry tree, but those aren't blooming yet in D.C.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

March 10, 2012 -- in DC

In Washington, D. C. for the weekend. Pinched these pansies from hotel planting, which is ok because there are thousands of them and the more you pick them, the more they bloom. P

Friday, March 9, 2012

March 9, 2012 -- pick 'em, plop 'em

"I pick 'em, I plop 'em in a vase, then I fluff 'em up," somebody told me once of her arranging style. This "arrrangement" removes even that last step, because I dropped these flowers into water exactly as they had gathered in my hand as I picked them. They probably could use some "fluffing up," but they're fine as they are, too.

Included are a variety of daffodils and different colors of Lenten roses.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

March 8, 2011 -- adding marsh marigolds

Below is yesterday's arrangement with marsh marigolds added. As floral design, I like yesterday's simpler concoction better, but it's nice, on this sunny day, having marsh marigold flowers in the windowsill (as well as outdoors). Their shield-shaped foliage is really pretty, too.

And here's my March 3 "arrangement" (root on a bottle) with a marsh marigold added.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

March 7, 2012 -- black pussy willow

I like this, because it's just so simple: black pussy willow in a row of cylindrical tubes. They key to this, of course is having the container, which is a truly wonderful invention, because you can detach the tubes to make the line of cylinders as long or short as you want. I'm thrilled to have the black pussy willow, too. This is the first year I've allowed myself to harvest from it, because, in previous years, the deer were eating it down to a nub and there really wasn't much to cut. Last fall, I put a fishing line fence around it and now it's big enough to harvest a few sprigs.

The other great thing about using this container for the black pussy willow is that it allows you to see that both the stems and catkins are black.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

March 6, 2012

This is nothing new, just materials already in the windowsill rearranged. (And I've removed daffodils from previous days that were fading.) From left to right there's a cruet with arum leaves in it, a tiny vase with henbit (a weed) and one viola flower in it, a tall bottle with arum leaves and some leftover weeping willow wands in it, another bottle with arum leaves in it, and a small vase of purplish Lenten roses and one periwinkle flower (all wilting). Sounds like nothing much, but, together, it's actually sort of pretty.

Monday, March 5, 2012

March 5, 2012 -- snow

It's hard to have a surprise snow these days, because the news is so pervasive, the weatherman so accurate. But somehow I managed to be out of the news loop and the snow was a total surprise to me this morning. Below is what I saw when I woke up--no embellishment. The geranium is one I overwinter in the windowsill, and it happened to have two blooms on it this morning.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

March 4, 2012 --pass the Claritin

I shouldn't have these pussy willows in the house, because they will drop pollen all over the place and I will be even more watery-eyed than I am now. However: I couldn't resist. I particularly love these two kinds of pussy willow--one has small black catkins and the other has large (to 4 inches long) silky, white ones. On the ground, the catkins of the latter look like little, furry animals they are so big.

Below are close-ups of the black and big white catkins.

And here's a combination I really love--pussy willow beside a white-barked sycamore, all looking really dramatic backed by red cedar. So pretty!