Friday, August 31, 2012

August 31, 2012 -- hosta flowers, etc.

Too bad this doesn't show up very well, because it's really quite pretty, and I love the way it evolved. I wouldn't have even seen these blue/lavender hosta flowers if I hadn't been outside watering this afternoon. There's also a piece of greenery from Farewell Summer, an aster that hasn't bloomed yet, in this arrangment, and I wouldn't have noticed it in my own yard if my daughter hadn't asked me to identify it recently in hers. And the drooping green amaranth I'd have never thought about including if I hadn't been at my son's house this afternoon and seen the way my brilliant granchildren had draped the red version of this plant (love-lies-bleeding) over a fence. Then there's the puny yellowish eggplant I tucked in at the last minute  just because I had it in a nearby bucket. An arrangement like this really is like a diary--a record of an entire day.

Oh, and there's a little piece of yellowish Japanese Solomon's seal foliage in this, too. I noticed  it on my way back from picking the hosta flowers.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

August 30, 2012 -- quacking gourd

Oh, my. This is the most wonderful gourd. Came from the same vine that produced the gourd I put in the windowsill on August 13. This one is so twisted and winged it looks like a bird. I should probably have displayed it in a bird's nest!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

August 29, 2012 -- hot pepper

This is just a pretty hot pepper sitting on top of a tobasco bottle.  It can sit there without falling off because I jammed a wooden skewer into the bottom of the pepper and then threaded it through the very narrow opening of the tobasco bottle. I think I stuck a pepper on this same bottle last year around this time!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

August 28, 2012 -- candles, obedient plant, celosia

This evolved from some leftover birthday candles I loved. They are way longer and thinner than most birthday candles (about 6 inches tall)  and in an array of  great colors. Got them at the grocery store, used them in cupcakes for a family birthday party Sunday night, then washed the icing off of them so I could use them again. They sat around the kitchen until today when I couldn't resist them any more. Jammed them into this rectangular vase with some floral foam in it. Then I added some lavender  obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana) flowers and a few sprigs of magenta celosia. It was sort of fun using the obedient plant flowers low like this, because I usually use them in tall arrangements (taking advantage of their long, stiff stems).

This is way more complidated than most things I do for the windowsill, but when you've got birthday candles this pretty, you've gotta use them!

Monday, August 27, 2012

August 27, 2012 -- okra leaf

This is a small okra leaf I trimmed off stem I was using in a larger arranement. I liked the little leaf so much, I gave it its own vase.  Because it was small, I expected it to hold up well in water, but it's shriveling. Okra leaves seem to be really  unpredictable about whether they'll hold up after cutting or not. (I usually trim all but the tip-top ones on a long stem.) Anyway, this one was a beautiful olive green with red undertones before it started to shrivel, and even now it's mighty pretty.

P.S. Okra makes vase water slimy--just as it does stews!

August 27, 2012 -- sumac and okra

Mea culpa! I missed a day! I actually rmembered I hadn't done an arrangement around 10 p.m., intended to do one (or at least photograph what was already in the windowsill), but then I sat down to watch a movie (Cinema Paradiso--so good!) and completely forgot.  I'll post twice today as "penance." The arrangement below wasn't created for the windowsill, I created it for a table elsewhere, but, with some balancing (and the window open), it can sit there. I love these materials together--shining sumac and red okra.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

August 25, 2012 -- sumac again

Since yesterday morning, when I did my last sumac post, and tonight, when I'm doing this sumac post, I've been to the Irvine Native Plant Center in Maryland and back. There I was reminded of the name of this sumac: shining sumac, Rhus copillina.  Yes!  It's now in a tall bottle instead of the dark vase I had it in yesterday, and I think it looks better.

Friday, August 24, 2012

August 2012 -- roadside sumac

I've been watching a stand of sumac growing along my roadside for weeks, and today I couldn't resist picking one cluster of berries.  It's a beautiful dusty mauve color. I used to know the names of the sumacs, but I've definitely forgotten this one. It has wings along the midribs of its leaves.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

August 23, 2012 -- yellow hot peppers

Where did they come from? asked John.
From our garden, I answered.
Really. They surprised me, too. The plant was hidden under other nearby peppers.
They're not very hot, says John as he tries one.
Be careful, I say. I think they were part of a cayenne mix.
John takes a second bite. Says they're hot but not too hot.
I'm afraid to try. I'd rather look at them.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

August 22, 2012 -- fern fronds, pepper

Here's what landed in the windowsill today--an orange pepper and a plastic glass full of fern fronds. I was throwing an old, indoor, potted fern away because most of it was dead, but these few fronds still looked pretty. so I saved them and dropped them them into this glass of water where they look so pretty I now wish I'd tried to nurse the plant back to life!

The ferns and pepper look pretty with what was still in the windowsill from yesterday, too--the pokeweed berries and tupelo leaves. I'm amazed at how well the tupelo leaves are holding up.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

August 21, 2012 -- fall

I took a walk around the yard this afternoon and everything screamed fall--the ripening pokeweed berries, the budding asters, the red tupelo leaves. I've always contended that fall begins in July, but even people who don't believe that can't argue that it doesn't begin in August! Anyway, here are some red tupelo leaves combined with pokeweed leaves and berries. It's sort of interesting the way the pokeweed leaves show up through the tupelo leaves.

Monday, August 20, 2012

August 24, 2012 -- hibiscus

This hibiscus flower has been asking me to cut it for a week, and today I decided to do it. And I'm thrilled to have a hibiscus holder (gift from a friend) to display it in. This is a glass hibuscus holder, a container that can miraculiously lie on its side and still hold a little water.

Also in the glass holder with the hibiscus blossom is a little greenery from.... Cassia maybe? It's sort of a weedy shrub that has pea-like seed pods and locust-like leaves.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

August 19, 2012 -- hardy begonia (Begonia grandis)

This was easy and fun--nothing but hardy begonia stems dropped into a vase that is a series of connected tubes. Of course, the vase is what makes it easy. What made it fun was seeing clearly something I'd only been vaguely aware of before--the wonderful red blotches of color on the begonia stems.

I also like the fact that these begonias grow right outside in the garden they're overlooking.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

August 18, 2012 -- more leftovers

I promise to "design" something for the windowsill soon, but when the leftovers and "undersigned" things are this pretty, there's not much incentive to try to improve on them. These are. Just some snapdragons and zinnias I dropped into plastic glasses of water after picking them (to keep new flowers coming on) this morning.

Friday, August 17, 2012

August 17, 2012 -- oddball color

It was the color of these Cherokee purple tomatoes and chaste tree seed structures that appealed to me today. A friend gave me the Cherokee purple tomatoes, and I wish I had a third, bigger one to put beside these two, but these are the only two I haven't eaten! Love their strange color, which has lots of  blue/gray in it.  The chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus) seed structures are an interesting color, too. Sort of dusty gray-green with reddish overtones and yellow undertones.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

August 16, 2012 -- more veggies

Two more photos from the beach. The first is a beautiful red bowl of veggies in Pat VanTuyle's windowsill (it's one of those recessed, greenhouse-like windows). The second is a gourd and a pepper beside a little glass vase of basil and Rudbeckia triloba.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

August 15, 2012 -- bucket of basil

At the beach, using a friend's windowsill. This is a bucket of basil and black-eyed Susan's I brought.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

August 14, 2012 -- basket of black-eyed Susans

This funny little basket is something I rescued from a friend's discard pile last night. I was sort of surprised it would stand on its tip (it's supposed to be hung), but it did. In it are Thai basil and the tiny little black-eyed Susan called Rudbeckia triloba.  There's no water in the basket, although I could have dropped a water-holding container into it. These materials will hold up a surprisingly long time without it, though.

Monday, August 13, 2012

August 13, 2102 -- great gourd

I am in love with this gourd. Just can't stop looking at it. It's ridges are so deep, wings and warts so dramatic, it looks like an alien planet. I could live on this planet! The gourds are starting to come in now, but few are as dramatic as this one.

Here's the base of the gourd up close. Mars, eat your heart out!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

August 12, 2012 -- peachy zinnias, blue bottles, cooler, etc.

What I love about this array is the way it evolved. I picked some of these peachy-colored zinnias just to keep them blooming and dropped them into a pitcher of water, which I left on the porch of the cabin (second photo). Later, as I was coming back to the cabin from another gardening session, I saw the zinnias sitting on my blue cooler on the porch and noted how pretty those colors looked together. Carried the zinnias back to Ashland with me, where I decided to display them in blue bottles (like the blue of the cooler).

Included with zinnias in the blue bottles are some trumpet vine foliage and (in first bottle on left) one tiny sprig of astilbe (the seed structure). It came into the house wrapped in a grapevine, which I'd thought about including in these bottles, but discarded. For some reason, that one little sprig of astilbe, which I hadn't meant to pick, finishes this off just right for me.  

Saturday, August 11, 2012

August 11, 2012 -- Osage orange and turkey feather

These two wonders--a turkey feather and an Osage orange--were gifts from my husband yesterday. He walked up to the front porch holding one in each hand and handed them to me as things I might want to use in the windowsill. You bet! And his gift was much, much more appreciated than many dozens of roses would have been!

John saw a flock of about 18 turkeys crossing our property yesterday, by the way. I saw three this morning.

Friday, August 10, 2012

August 10, 2012 -- celosia

A perfectly beautiful day. Relatively cool, a little breezy, and overcast most of the day. A gift for August, especially since it rained last night. I gardened almost all day, and that gardening involved pulling out lots of celosia so other plants could breathe. I hate pulling out anything that's blooming, but it was necessary today. In this bottle are two pretty celosia plumes that would have otherwise wound up in e compost heap.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

August 9, 2012 -- garden phlox

This just a wee pitcher full of pale pink garden phlox and scented geranium leaves. Both of these are things I snipped off as part of cleaning up part of the garden today. The phlox needed to be cut back to get it to rebloom and the scented geranium was sprawling all over the place. Some of the scented geramium leaves on the stems I cut were fried around the edges, but I pulled them off, leaving just these nice ones.

This smells really good, not just because of the scented geranium leaves, but because of the sweet-smelling phlox.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

August 8, 2012 --- black and orange

I couldn't resist displaying this beautiful orange pepper some way. Best way seemed to be to jam it onto the top of a black vase.

So then I was into black and orange, so I went looking for another black vase (turned out to be a gin bottle), which I filled with black peppers and some black-eyed Susans. This made me notice how black the centers of black-eyed Susans really are.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

August 7, 2012 -- hydrangea

Long day. No energy, so I'm posting something I took a photo of a few days ago. It's hydrangea blossoms drying by the "evaproation method" in the windowsill. See how low the water level in these vases is? By the time the water evaporates, the hydrangea blossoms will have dried, maintaining most of their color.

There are also a couple of plume poppy stems (with seed structures and blue-green leaves attached) in these glass vases.

Monday, August 6, 2012

August 6. 2012 -- garden in the windowsill

If this looks like a garden, that's because it sort of is. I wandered around the garden this morning picking everything that interested me and then dropped most of the stems into these wonderful vials on the windowsill. Included are zinnias, lettuce flowers (tiny, but a beautiful lemon yellow), old-fashioned petunias, a dahlia, some orange kerria flowers, pink phlox, and yellowing Japanese Solomon's seal leaves. In the background, if you look hard, you can see the rolled up hose--one of the few times it has been rolled up this summer!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

August 5, 2012 -- same stuff

These are the same materials (zinnias, coleus, snapdragons) I used in yesterday's arrangment, but I've dropped them into a different container. The "container" is a ball of twine with a spice jar inside to hold water. I think I like this because it looks so autumnal--and I'm perishing for some autumnal weather!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

August 4, 2012 - snaps added

Wish I had my real camera, because iPad camera isn't doing these colors justice. This is yesterday's arrangement with some apricot-colored snapdragons added. These, too, I picked just to keep the plants blooming.

Friday, August 3, 2012

August 3, 2012 - zinnias and coleus

I cut some small zinnias and blooming coleus back today, and these flowers and leaves wound up on the ground. I rescued them by gathering them up and dropping them into a mug of water. I fluffed them up just a bit before taking their picture on the windowsill.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

August 2, 2012 -- orange peppers on sunflower pads

I was determined to disply these sunflower remnants in the windowsill today. They are just so interesting  (the flowers from which all the petals have fallen off but the green calyxes remain). I tried them in various vases but wound up placing them on the windowsill more like lily pads. Then I put an orange pepper on top of each one (secured through the bottom with a sharp stick). I can't say this is very pretty  (I'd like it better if the pepper on the right had a nice, long  stalk coming out of the top), but I have a feeling I'll use this technique again, maybe with something else on top of the sunflower pads.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August 1, 2012 -- passion vine

You can't even see, in this first photo, the reason I picked this vine:  for the fragrance of its flowers. But I also loved the droop of the vine, so I put it on the second level of the window frame so it could trail.

About midway down the vine are flowers that smell like...what? A website says they smell like  heliotrope, which is accurate but doens't help anyone who doesn't know what heliotrope smells like! Another website says their fragrance is "mildly fruity," but I find their fragrance strong.  Sorry, I just don't know how to describe it, but it's wonderful. Passion vine grows like a weed where I live, but I moved it from the wild into the garden where it is now sort of a pest, but a beautiful one.  

   Passion vine flowers above.