Thursday, May 31, 2012

May 31, 2012 -- butterfly snapdragons

I absolutely adore the color of these snapdragons. They are Butterfly snaps, which I grew from seed (Renee's Seeds). Not only are they more open and old-fashioned-looking than "regular" snaps, but they are the most beautiful range of colors: lucious pale lemon yellows, apricot, and peachy-pink.

I was enjoying them in the garden until a huge thunderstorm came and toppled them. A day later they had started reaching for the sun again (from the prone position), giving them strangely curved stems. I decided to cut them and bring them in the house, so the plants would, hopefully, send up a new round of blooms. 

First I put the cut snaps in vases under a light over the kitchen table, where I thought they might straighten up a bit (reaching for the light). If they did, I couldn't see it, but I did see how gorgeous their color was with pink grapefruit!

Then an orange bag landed on the kitchen table and I decided to use it as a windowsill vase (I lined it with a rectangular glassware container). Here's the result. It doesn't showcase the snaps' colors the way I'd like it to, but the fact that the snaps are oriented all sorts of weird ways isn't a problem when using them like this. The blue flower I've combined them with is an annual ageratum called Blue Horizon.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

May 30, 2012 -- clover and buttercups

I'm near a stable, waiting for my granddaughter to finish her riding lesson. Love the sights, smells, and horses, of course, but what I couldn't resist were the windowsills! Asked my granddaughter where we might find some wildflowers, and she led me to a field full of grazed-over clover and buttercups. The buttercups had such short stems I didn't recognize them at first. Anyway, here's what Eliza picked. .

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

May 29, 2012 -- feverfew, ten days late

When I agreed to do a wedding on May 19 and the bride said she loved tiny daisies, I thought I'd  have the flower to thrill her. Surely feverfew would be blooming on May 19, but, no,  it bloomed about a week later. Now I'm awash in feverfew, when I would have given a king's ransome for it 10 days ago.  I bought some Montbretia to subsitute, but it was so stiff and floristy-looking I didn't even use it.

This is the single-flowered feverfew (which Flower Camper Jan Barthurst gave me a few years ago and I've continued to grow from seed.).  It's single-flowered, with a yellow center, unlike the more common double-flowered feverfew. I like this one much better. They both smell like chrysanthemums, and I'm surrounded by that scent right now, because it's still on my fingers.  

Monday, May 28, 2012

May 28, 2012 -- little red poppies

It was totally unintentional that I chose tiny red poppies to display on the windowsill today, but I realize now they are appropriate for Memorial Day.  I'll copy the Flanders Fields info from Wikipedia below, so you can see why. These particular little red poppies grow along the railroad tracks near Howardsville, and it was from there that I first harvested their seeds. Now they pop up, but not in great numbers, all over the garden.  They are really delicate, and, as you may be able to see, one dropped its petals the minute I put it in the vase.

"In Flanders Fields" is a war poem in the form of a rondeau, written during the First World War by Canadian physician and Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae. He was inspired to write it on May 3, 1915, after presiding over the funeral of friend and fellow soldier Alexis Helmer, who died in the Second Battle of Ypres. According to legend, fellow soldiers retrieved the poem after McCrae, initially unsatisfied with his work, discarded it. "In Flanders Fields" was first published on December 8 of that year in the London-based magazine Punch.
It is one of the most popular and most quoted poems from the war. As a result of its immediate popularity, parts of the poem were used in propaganda efforts and appeals to recruit soldiers and raise money selling war bonds. Its references to the red poppies that grew over the graves of fallen soldiers resulted in the remembrance poppy becoming one of the world's most recognized memorial symbols for soldiers who have died in conflict. The poem and poppy are prominent Remembrance Day symbols throughout the Commonwealth of Nations, particularly in Canada, where "In Flanders Fields" is one of the nation's best known literary works.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

May 27, 2012 -- poppy pods and more cactus blooms

This is a combination of blue-green poppy pods, a white Korean bellflower, and a couple of  blue-green hosta leaves. The poppy pods and bellflower don't really work very well together, because the poppy pods are stiff and upright,  the bellflowers graceful and droopy.

I'm not sure I didn't like the poppy pods better before I "arranged" them--when they were just sitting alone in a  plastic pitcher.

And here's an update on the cactus I put on the windowsill yesterday (with no vase, no water). The bloom I photographed yesterday  died overnight but two new flowers bloomed today. The prickly pear cactus is one indestructable plant. It's actually native to Virginia, and I used to like it (especially where it blooms in rock crevaces outside Columbia, Virginia), but now I can't get rid of it. And it's nearly impossible to handle. I used heavy gloves to bring this one inside, and my hands are still smarting from prickles that reached my hands anyway. 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

May 26, 2012 -- challenging day

My experience of today was buggy, muggy, and challenging. I gardened at Flower Camp all day and had some fun but also had to battle some mean weeds. Decided the best symbol of this day was this Prickly Pear cactus, which is sitting in the windowsill with no vase, no water.

Friday, May 25, 2012

May 25, 2012 -- wildflowers, weeds, grasses

This is just a handfull of material I collected as I walked this morning. It's mostly roadside grasses combined with coltsfoot (yellow), cinqufoil (pale yellow),  pink clover, pink and white sweet peas, daisy fleabane,  honeysuckle, and wild onions.  There's also a single stem of Queen Anne's lace in here, but only one stem. Queen Anne's lace, I discovered,  is really hard to cut with your fingernails!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

May 24, 2012 -- back to flowers

     Today I'm back "into" flowers.  These are all flowers from the garden except for the pale blue Agapanthus, which is leftover from florist flowers I bought for a wedding.  To the right, in the little vase, is a stem of parsley and an orange voila I pulled out of the garden by mistake while weeding. In the larger glass vase, in addition to the Agapanthus, are pale yellow snapdragons, deep blue ageratum, some "hootenanny plant" (white blooms and aromatic foliage), a couple of stems of yellow coreopsis, and an old hosta leaf.
     I've broken a rule by not removing all leaves below the water line.

My favorite thing in this combo is the old hosta leaf, which had begun to yellow in another arrangement. It's in the lower right of photo below.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

May 23, 2012 -- germander

Here's my theory--that I overindulged in wedding flowers and now I don't want to deal with flowers again right now.  Instead, I'm soothed by this little pitcher of greens.  A friend  gave me this collection of germander (Teucrium) stems, thinking I might use them in boutonnieres.  I didn't, but I did keep them on the counter where they twisted to meet the light. Today, I moved them into this little earth-toned pitcher, where I really like them.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

May 22, 2012 -- throw-away radishes

I was pulling up radishes that weren't worth eating, thinking of harvesting some of their flowers, when I realized the roots were really more interesting than the flowers. It's their color that grabbed me--sort of a coral-pink with deep olive green near the stem.  Here's one.

And here's an array of them.

Monday, May 21, 2012

May 21, 2012 -- more Agapanthus

I'm still playing with the flowers leftover from the wedding, including some beautiful Agapanthus. Here it is again, this time in a tall glass vase with some hosta leaves.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

May 20, 2012 -- Agapanthus and wheat

This Aganthus (the blue flower) was leftover from yesterday's wedding flowers. It has strong, long stems that make it a fabulous flower to use in large arrangements, but I enjoyed snipping them off and using these short-stemmed flowers in windowsill bottles, too. This array would be prettier, I realize now, if I removed the wheat from the bottle second from the left and let that Agapanthus blossom stand alone.  The bottle farthest to the left includes just the wheat stems from which I harvested the seed heads in the other bottles.

Now for the different kinds of wheat:  In the bottles second from the right and second from the left are seed heads of "regular" wheat. In the bottle in the middle (and pictured below)  are seed heads from bearded wheat. At least that's what I think they are. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

May 20, 2012 -- yesterday revisited

     Here's what was in the bouquet I photographed yesterday (and picture in closeup above). I'm going to share where everything came from, because I think it's so interesting how this kind of thing comes together. The bouquet, by the way, was created by my friend Sue Tolson.
Lenten roses, from Rosanne Shalf's backyard Gaura, from Sue and Ritchie Watson's backyard
Off-white roses, from the florist
Poppy pods, from the garden at Flower Camp
Bouvardia, from the florist
Lavender, from the florist. This is some wacky lavender that I didn't mean to order and almost rejected, but Sue made it look gorgeous in this bouquet
Peach stock, from the florist
"Regular" wheat, from a field in Fork Union
Bearded wheat, from a field near me in Ashland

 I'm going to post another arrangement for today in a minute, and I'll better differentiate between the two different kinds of wheat.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

May 19, 2012-- after this I will collapse in a heap

Wedding day. Many flowers. This was one bouquet option the bride didn't choose. Someday (maybe tomorrow) I'll describe what's in it.
P.S. I enjoy doing wedding flowers (mostly because of the comaraderie with friends who help me), but I know there is absolutely no correlation between the extravagance of the ceremony and the longevity of the marital bond. My husband and I were married by a Justice of the Peace (Billy Joe Moffat) in Dillon SC, and, as a bridal bouquet, I carried a complementary box of Tide. John and I have now been married 46 years.

Friday, May 18, 2012

May 18, 2012 -- out of focus

This photo is out of focus, and so am I. This is the cake topper for a wedding cake (sitting now in a turquoise dish of water to keep it hydrated and me satisfied that I've fullfilled my windowsill-arrangement-a-day-commitment). This is prettier than it looks in the photo, I hope.
Gosh, what's in this? Some apricot-colored roses, blue amsonia, tiny purple moneyplant blossoms, peachy heuchera leaves, some flower spikes and leaves of pink astilbe, coral honeysuckle, and Chinese temple bells. That's a lot of stuff for and "arrangement" only about 4 inches wide and by 4 inches tall! I like this, but see yesterday for what I like better.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

May 17, 2012 -- bindweed

I have been surrounded by flowers all day--buckets and buckets of florist and garden flowers--which is maybe why the thing that appealed to me most, when I went to create a windowsill arrangement tonight, was this simple little vase with bindweed dripping from it. Friends and I will create many elaborate arrangements tomorrow, but none will satisfy me more than this.
If you've neglected your garden for even a minute this spring, you probably have bindweed growing somewhere.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

May 16, 2012 -- purple lisianthus

The purple lisanthus in these bottles came with some other florist flowers a friend gave me. I've been trying to discard them for over a week, but they are absolutely ironclad, refusing to show any signs of fatique, and they look so pretty with yellow green I can't let them go. (On my monitor these flowers look bluer than they are; they're a deep purple.)
The prettiest thing in this combination, though, is the purple vetch I picked along the roadside three days ago. It has faded to a gorgeous pale lavender (which looks sky blue in this photo).

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

May 15, 2012 -- weary like me

These red poppies don't look quite as wilted as they are. I picked them almost by default today as I was harvesting some poppy pods. I was trimming them off the stems when I realized I couldn't toss them in the trash (still to beautiful!) so I put them in this vase with some other recycled windowsill materials.
I don't know which will collapse first--these poppy blossoms or me. I spent 4 hours on the road and 6 hours picking flowers today (for a wedding on Sat.). Flower Camp was incredibly beautiful when I started picking, and it didn't look much diminished when I finished! (That's Flora, the scarecrow, off in the distance.)

Monday, May 14, 2012

May 14, 2012 -- wheat, coreopsis, grasses

This morning I went out looking for wheat I could pick to use in wedding arrangements this weekend. I found some, but I'd hoped it would still be green and it was already straw-colored. Not sure how that will look in wedding arrangements, but it was fun to use in today's windowsill arrangement. With the wheat in this little brown bottle are some orange coreopis at various stages of development and some roadside grasses.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

May 13, 2012 -- buttercups, etc.

Had to have buttercups in today's arrangement, because my mother and I used to bond over buttercups on Mother's Day. Actually, there were relatively few blooming along my walk this morning (everything bloomed early this year), but I found enough to feel as though I could pick some. With the exception of one little Chrysoganum flower, everything else in this bottle I also picked from the roadside as I walked: purple vetch, yellow ragwort, and some wild grasses.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

May 12, 2012 -- mostly green things

This started with a lime green heuchera leaf that looked pretty against a dark green hosta leaf (on the right). Then I added a bigger yellow-green hosta leaf and a sprig of privet flowers (also in the bottle on the right). On the left are curly kale leaves, two fern fronds, and a few yellow Chrysoganum flowers.

Friday, May 11, 2012

May11, 2012 -- nibbled leaf

Wish I knew who my collaborator was on this work of art. Probably a rabbit or a grounhog. I found this nibbled Swiss chard leaf lying on the ground in the garden this morning and couldn't resist picking it for display on the windowsill. The wide, celery-colored stem (3 inches wide at the base) twists and turns, and the way the dark green flesh of the leaf has been nibbled is incredibly interesting. I thought about standing it upright in a vase, but it's prettier lying down.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

May 10, 2012 -- big things

Oh, my. I kid you not. This is seriously beautiful. I passed by this massive clutch of peony blossoms for days thinking "too bad only John, the cat, and I are seeing this." I realized tomorrow it would start falling apart (one flower in the bunch has already lost petals), so I decided to cut it (all the blooms are on one stem), put it in a bottle, and photograph it on the windowsill. Then, thinking big, I decided to cut something else amazing me by its size in the garden--a Swiss chard leaf. Here I've sort of propped it up against the peony stem. Too bad you can see a black, upside-down plastic bucket drying on the railing outside the window!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

May 9, 2012 -- rain, etc.

This is out of focus overall, but it captures the thing I wanted to capture--the raindrops. I went outside and picked the first three things that captured my interest, and they were: a yellow-green hosta leaf, some comfrey blossoms, and a deep purple iris blossom. When I got them to the windowsill, I added a mustard leaf (from yesterday), because it was just so bright and frilly.
My camera can't seem to capture (or at least its operator can't) what my eye sees, which is the center of this deep purple iris.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

May 8, 2012 -- lucious colors

I picked these flowers today because I have a faint hope they might last until May 19 in the refrigerator. (May 19 I'm doing flowers for a wedding.) And I tossed them into this plastic cup just because it was the right size and shape to hold them. I just love all these colors together. At around 2:00 and 12:00 (if you think of the mass of flowers as a clockface) is blue love-in-a-mist. At around 3:00 is a pale yellow iris, and at around 4:00 (where you can't really even see them) are some tiny Austrian winter peas (with pale lavender wings and dark purple keels). Everything else is snapdragons (shades of pink, apricot, orange). There is a pea tendril crossing the middle of all this that I probably should have snipped off.
Oh, and there's some red clover in here, too.

Monday, May 7, 2012

May 7, 2012 -- mustard leaves, honeysuckle, etc.

I knew today's conglomeration had to have honeysuckle in it -- it's blooming everywhere, and growing as I write -- but what else, I wasn't sure. Turns out the things that moved me were mustard leaves, an old climbing white rose called 'Gardenia,' and a small yellow daylily flower (which you can barely see in the photo).
Truth be told, I'm not entirely sure these are mustard leaves. Could they be curly kale? The plants have yellow flowers like mustard. I got my leafy greens entirely mixed up when I planted their seeds this spring and now I don't know what's what. My very favorite leafy green (taste-wise) is something I can't even identify!
Whatever these leaves are, they're gorgeous!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

May 6, 2012 -- very old hot peppers

This was just too funny not to share. John and I are renting Flower Camp next week, so I was spiffing things up. And spiffing things up meant refurbishing some dried arrangements that had gotten faded and dusty. I was pulling one arrangement apart, when I encountered something silvery that looked like a fork. I was bumfuzzled about why a fork should be in my arrangement until I remembered that, a couple of years ago, I'd wanted to include some red peppers with short stems in the arrangement. Because their stems were short and I wanted the peppers to stand high, I'd attached them to the tines of a fork (acutally two forks) then jammed the handles of the forks into floral foam. In the arrangement, you couldn't see the forks but the peppers stood right where I wanted them. And here they are, petrified on the fork tines, years later!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

May 5, 2012 -- May things

In the windowsill are a peony blossom and a couple of Nigella stems. The peony blossom broke off by accident yesterday as I was gathering peonies. I pulled the Nigella out by accident when I was weeding today. Both were way too pretty to throw away.

Friday, May 4, 2012

May 4, 2012 -- chives and lamb's ear

This is sort of a sweet combination -- chives flowers at different stages of development and a stem of furry lamb's ear leaves.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

May 3, 2012 -- tulip poplar flowers

All these tulip poplar flowers (and one bud) were on the ground this morning. I think squirrels must like something in their stems, because branchlets (with leaves and flowers attached) drop together to the ground. These occur so high in the tops of these tall trees that, without the squirrels, we'd probably never see them fresh. Anyway, it was fun to showcase them in the windowsill. Below is a single flower up close.
These are really amazingly big for tree flowers. And you can see their resemblance to their magnolia relatives.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

May 2, 2012 -- companions

I'm still sort of fixated on that one 'Cinco de Mayo' rose, now not just because of its "mysterious" color but because I've found a piece of greenery it looks wonderful with--columbine foliage. This little snippet of greenery is something I picked up in my sink and threw into bottle with that one "Cinco de Mayo' rose I picked yesterday.
The color isn't as accurate, but here's another photo of that rose.
Here's another almost accidental combination I like--a single peony flower with some white pine foliage. This particular twig is one I picked months ago and it's looking a little weary, but still pretty.
And here's the truth: it was hot today in Virginia, and flowers, including my 'Cinco de Mayo rose,' were wilting on the windowsill.
Included in this array are some tulip poplar flowers I found lying on the ground under that tree this morning.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May 1, 2012 -- all about color

This array started when I went to harvest some irises this morning and had to break off a top bloom to get the bucket of irises to fit in the refrigerator (I'm trying to save them for a wedding and it's going to be hot outdoors today). I dropped the bloom into a vase because it was just too pretty to discard--such an unusual mix of lavender/peach. Then I went to plant a new rose bush I'd bought('Cinco de Mayo'), and because it had one bloom open that I thought I'd probably damage in the planting process, I cut it off and took it inside, too. It, too, is a really strange color. It looks sort of brickish in the photo below, but its petals are underlain with dusky blues and yellows. Also in photo above are a pale pinkish-lavendar columbine (far left), some American wisteria blooms combined with spinach flowers (middle), and a single peach-colored single peony blossom, also picked to protect it from the heat.
I just looked online for a better description of the 'Cinco de Mayo' rose's color and found one: someone describes it as "mysteriously colored" with "a blending of smoked lavender and rusty red-orange." Absolutley correct!