Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July 31, 2012 -- gourds/squash

Here they come--the strange squashes and gourds of August (even though it's still July!). I just love these crazy things. Doesn't it look like they are talking to each other? The yellow gourds on the left are Wings N'Warts, the greenish-black squash in the middle is Chioggia. In the winter, I order squash and gourd seeds just so I can enjoy this harvest! Some of the seeds are so expensive, I'd save money buying the same squash at the grocery store (if I could find them), but that wouldn't be half as much fun as discovering them in the garden.

Monday, July 30, 2012

July 30, 2012 -- trumpet vine

This is just a pretty piece of trumpet vine dropped into a glass vase. The mouth of the vase was too wide for this thin, single stem to stand upright, the way I wanted it to, so I supported it with a squash stem I'd picked yesterday.

I hadn't meant to pick this branching squash stem when I picked squash yesterday, but it came off with one of the squashes. I clipped the big leaves off and saved the branching stem in water just because I thought its shape was interesting. Had no idea I'd be using it today as a crutch!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

July 29, 2012 -- zucchini logs

This is what you come back to if you are a Virginia vegetable gardener and go away for a week: zucchini as big as logs! I truly felt like I had oak logs in my arms as I carried these back to the house. They may, in fact, be heavier than oak logs, because they are so water-filled.

The squaxhes looked like beached whales on the radiator/windowsill until I put this mat under them. It looks like something I might have brought back from the West, but it is, in fact, a new bathroom mat that arrived in the mail while we were away.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Thursday, July 26, 2012

July 26, again

And here is that same little "arrangement" on the outside windowsill in Colter Bay (spelled that wrong earlier today).

July 26, 2012 -- some sort of maple

We pulled into Coulter Bay (Grand Teton National Park) last night around midnight (many many hours later than expected). But on the way Cannon had found this fresh twiglet of some sort of maple on the ground, so I saved it and put it in a paper cup this morning. Oh, how sweet it looks sitting in this most beautiful of windowsills! I honestly felt like Goldilocks entering the cabin of the three bears last night, so warm and welcoming was this place.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

July24, 2012 -- lichen

Picked this up under a tree in Yellowstone today. It's much more beautiful ON the trees.

Monday, July 23, 2012

July 23, 2012

Best I could do without picking anything in Yellowstone National Park.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

July 22, 2012 -- Utah Windowsill

Traveling with grandsons. We picked these materials outside the hotel in Salt Lake City this morning. Temple Square in background (outside the window). Cannon (on left) is holding Golden Rain Tree pods we found under street trees. In the "vase" David is holding are Ligularia leaves and flowers picked (with permission) on Temple Square grounds, plus one stem of a grass and a snippet of sweet potato vine from hotel parking lot. The "vase" is a sparkling wine bottle from the plane . It's a really pretty bottle.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

July 21, 2012 -- wild petunia and thimbleweed

Felt like I was encountering old friends when I came across these two wildflowers in the garden this morning. The lavendar flower is wild petunia (Ruellia humilis) and the green orbs on upright stalks are the seed structures of thimbleweed (Anemone virginiana).  They are both so unobtrusive but so pretty and indicative of this time of year. There was also a wood thrush singing this morning as I pulled the hose out of the weedy border where these wildflowers are growing. Ah, there are compensations for a long, hot summer.

Friday, July 20, 2012

July 20, 2012 -- squash

This is the time of year when I start wishing I had hogs--to feed the squash to--although I have trouble throwing even the largest and most inedible of them away. I started stacking squash in the windowsill this morning (photo 1), but by afternoon the only ones I wanted to keep looking at where the pattypans (photo 2).

Thursday, July 19, 2012

July 19, 2012 -- adding basil, dill

I made pesto today, stuffed the leftover basil into the jar on the left, and added it to materials already sitting on the windowsill. I'm still loving these greens and blacks.

What I'm not loving is the weather. Perspiration dripping onto keyboard as I type from just the few jaunts I've taken outside this afternoon. Mostly I did things inside, one of which was to harvest seeds from some dill umbels I had cut. One was sitting in a paper bag upside down when I realized how beautiful it was--just a great big candelabra of seeds. I put it in a bottle, without water, and there it could sit forever, because it has dried with seeds attached.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

July18, 2012 -- playing with black and yellow-green

This actually started with I dropped  dill flowers into a green vase (below).

It seemed to need a pop, so I went outside looking for an orange pepper. Found no ripe orange pepper, but I did find black peppers, some yellow-green kerria leaves,  a yellow-green hosta leaf, and a pretty trumpet-vine leaf, all of which I dropped into my coffee mug. They looked so pretty together in my mug that I dedided to move the dill flowers to the mug rather than the leaves and peppers to the green vase (resulting in what you see in first photo).  I really like all these greens and blacks together, so I continued playing by pulling the materials apart again and dropping them into different vases. The only new material in the array below is a stalk of hosta flowers in the black vase and a jigger of basil leaves leftover from another day's windowsill arrangment.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

July 17, 2012 -- more tomatoes (then blackberry lily)

I was washing tomatoes this morning and they looked so pretty on the counter I decided to move some to the windowsill with yesterday's basil. I just love the way the green calyxes stay attached to these old-fashioned tomatoes!

Then I added two short stems of blackberry lily flowers to the mix. Most blackberry lilies have orange flowers, but this variety has yellow flowers. The flowers bloom on nice, tall stems, and I sort of hated to shorten them this much, but I did.

I like this photo because it looks so summery out the window.

Monday, July 16, 2012

July 16, 2012 -- tomato sauce leftovers

So what do you do when you're back in Virginia, it's sweltering outside, and you don't want to get the house too hot? You make tomato sauce! #@!  This was truly not wise, but it's what I did today, and here are some of the leftovers on the windowsill.  The container is an oregano jar (contents of which I emptied into the tomato sauce), one tomato (sitting on the oregano jar lid), and some basil flowers (leftover after I harvested the leaves). The only thing missing (apart from the red wine and other veggies)  is the truly wonderful smell of the tomato sauce simmering downstairs!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

July 15, 2012 -- more Maine

I'm actually back in Virginia, but I took this picture while in Maine yesterday  (when I was using Martha Wertz'e containers and Maine's flowers).  In this beautiful  mug are white astilbe, wild grasses, wild raspberry foliage,  and tansey foliage.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

July 14, 2012 -- Martha's blue pot

This is another beautiful little pot of Martha Wertz's. It holds water but has only a tiny  little opening, so I put a single stem of white mallow in it. This mallow grows in Martha's garden and all in lots of wild places in Maine.

Friday, July 13, 2012

July 13, 2012 -- more Maine flowers

Such fun getting to use someone else's containers, flowers, and windowsills! Love this little container, which belongs to Martha Wertz, and love the rugosa roses, including these white ones, blooming all over Martha's .  garden (and in the wild).

Thursday, July 12, 2012

July 12, 2012 -- Maine windowsill

John and I arrived at the home of friends in Maine today, and what was waiting for us? Flowers in our bedroom windowsill! Martha Wertz created this array of (left to right) white rugosa roses, mallow flowers, and a single yellow daylily flower. So, so sweet.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

July 11, 2012 -- stewartia and Persian shield

It seemed important to include something from a tree in an arrangement here at the Polly Hill Arboretum, so I got permission to pick this Stewartia flower. Also in the snout of this pretty little teapot (which I found in our kitchen cabinet) is a sprig of purple Persian shield leaves (from yesterday's arrangement) and one pink clematis flower (which you can hardly see). There's lots of pinkish purple in the center of the white-petaled Stewartia flower, and I'm hoping these companions make that show up?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

July 10, 2012 -- of flowers and trees

You can't really see how pretty the plant material is in this mug--it's a snippet from wishbone flower (Torenia hybrida) and a snippet from Persian shield (Strobilanthes dyerianus) -- two annuals grown in 4" pots that I bought today on Martha's Vineyard. John and I are staying in the renovated Cow Barn at the Polly Hill Arboretum. Here, where I am speaking tomorrow night, we are both enthralled by the trees, which aren't impressive in the way our Virginia trees are (i.e., big and imposing). but, instead, challenge us to figure out who they are based on family resemblances. What fun! And to be staying in a building where Polly Hill herself stayed (as I read about her history and that of the Arboretum) is a priviledge beyond imagining.

These nice, clean dishtowels were part of our welcome to the Cow
Barn at the Polly Hill Arboretum. And, to me, landlubber that I am, they were as welcoming as flags.

Monday, July 9, 2012

July 9, 2012 -- butcher's twine

I'm in Connecticut visiting my husband's mother, and this morning, when I started looking for a vase,  I found this cone of butcher's twine. It's a really beautiful object (see how the twine is almost woven onto the cone). Although it obviously doesn't hold water, I decided to use it for my vase. And, believe it or not, daylilies hold up almost as well out of water as in. They last only a day either way. There's also one snippet of budding black-eyed Susan in here.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

July 8, 2012 -- Arum berries, green pepper, etc.

I had thought I'd use a green pepper as a vase for Arum berries this morning, but that didn't work out. Instead, I dropped a few flowers and leaves (blue ageratum, orange butterfly weed, basil) into a sugar shell with Arum berries and put the pepper in front of it. Now off to Connecticut. Let's see what kind of windowsills they have there!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

July 7, 2012 -- Arum berries, fennel, and redbud "feathers"

In this little brown vase (and lying in front of the vase) are stout stalks of reddish-orange Arum berries.  They are always such a surprise, coming up as they do after the spear-shaped leaves have disappeared.  Here I've combined them with a spray of fennel flowers and some of the "feathers" I made using redbud pods and knotweed stems on July 3.

Friday, July 6, 2012

July 6, 2012 -- snack food

Someone, who shall remain nameless, had some snack food before going to bed last night and left the box out on the counter.

Here's the result.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

July 5, 2012 -- yesterday's arrangements, recycled

These are yesterday's table arrangements without the flags. I took the photo using the flash, which results in sort of strange lighting, but it helps you to see the way the tomatoes sit on the lips of these vases, which I like. "Ingredients" = Queen Anne's lace, garlic scapes and flowers, fennel (some of which held up), basil, gloriosa daisies, and tomatoes.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

July 4, 2012 -- flowers for the fourth

These will be table decorations later today. There's a tomato sitting on the lip of one vase and the other vase is filled with tomatoes (but they're not sitting in water; there's a tube nestled among the tomatoes to hold water for the flowers). There's basil, Queen Anne's lace, a gloriosa daisy, and some fennel in each vase, but I've discovered the fennel wants to wilt even though I cut it early this morning when it was way cooler than it is now.

Oh, and the wacky outlier flower in each vase (a bomb bursting in air!) is a garlic flower.  In the photo, this second vase looks more off kilter that it really is.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

July 3, 2012 -- another riff on loosestrife

After I snipped all the side shoots off Sunday's tall stem of yellow loosestrife (see July 1) and dropped them into these little vases, I left the tube that had held the original stem on the counter to clean it and in it were some of the knotweed stems I'd used to support the tall stem in the tube. A neighbor dropped by and admired the knotweed stems (go figure), which sort of moved them up in my estimation, and I decided to drop three of them into these vases.  They looked too stiff for these fluffy little concoctions, though, so I started looking for something to stuff into their tops (knotweed stems are hollow). First thing I saw was redbud seed pods, which worked perfectly. They actually look like green feathers, poised as they are in the tops of the knotweed stems.

I love having this photo, because it will serve as a record of when redbud pods are this size and color.

P.S. The tomatoes were the last thing I added to the windowsill, and I added them just because I had them, they had pretty little stem leaves, and they were red!

Monday, July 2, 2012

July 2, 2012 -- yellow loosestrife, harvested indoors!

The fun thing about this is that I harvested all these little yellow loosestrife stems from the one tall stem I used in yesterday's windowsill arrangement!  The process was really satisfying because, although I gardened this morning when it was relatively cool, I didn't feel gathering flowers outside on this hot afternoon.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

July 1, 2012 -- yesterday's tomatoes and yellow loosestrife

The way this combination came about is fun. I cut this nice, long stalk of yellow-flowering loosestrife early this morning just because it was leaning way over across the lawn and would have been ravaged by the lawn mower. Put it in a vase to hold it while I went on about the day and it wilted not a bit (which is surprising, because it was originally even taller than it is now and the day is a scorcher). This afternoon, I decided to combine it with the tomatoes I'd put in a glass vase yesterday. But how? I don't really like seeing fruit and veggies submerged in water, so I nested a nice, big, glass tube in among the tomatoes, filled it with water, and that's what the loosestrife is standing in.

P. S. Power's back on, so life is easy.