Sunday, September 30, 2012

September 30, 2012 -- more marigolds

More marigolds, this time lined up in three vases. There's a little sprig of yellow tansey in the middle vase.

This was pretty interesting  at night, too. Look at the shadows of the foliage!

Friday, September 28, 2012

September 28, 2012 -- mystery leaves

Oh, how I love these leaves! And the story behind them, too. Here's the short story behind them: I pulled these leaves off the bottom portion of larger stems from a plant I was trying to root. Here are the larger stems in their rooting bottle.


The longer story is more interesting. A month or so ago I saw this beautiful, apricot-leaved annual growing at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. It was over 3 feet tall and had lavender crape myrtles blooming behind it. Gorgeous. Vowed then that I'd try to find out what the plant was and try to grow it. I thought it might be some sort of coleus. On Tuesday of this week, I was back at Lewis Ginter and happened to walk by another stand of these plants as they were being cut back. I asked the gardener for a couple of stems, which she graciously gave me. I think she also told me the name of the plant (an annual, not coleus), but for the life of me I can't remember what she said. Anyway, I now have this plant rooting in the windowsill (and in pots in the shed). As I was getting the stems ready for rooting, I was pulling off the lower leaves, but they were too pretty to throw away so I dropped them into the nearest water-holding vessel, which happened to be a wine glass in the sink. Later, I lifted this glass of leaves to the windowsill where the light hit it making all those wonderful colors even more luminescent. This morning, I spread the leaves out into two glasses, where they look even better, because you can see through some of the leaves and their overlapping creates even more color variations. As the light kept changing this morning, looking through these leaves was almost like looking through stained glass.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

September 27, 2012 -- black sweet gum leaves

I did all sorts of things to try to spruce this up--put it on a tile, added goldenrod, added a red pepper, but, in the end I liked this best--just a black vase with a sprig of black sweet gum leaves in it. I found the leaves on a sweet gum growing along the Ashland railroad tracks. Their undersides (a smoky olive green) are as interesting as their almost-black upper surfaces. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

September 25, 2012 -- same thing, cheese dish added

This morning as I was putting things away, this little dish that had held cheese surfaced and seemed to want to be in the windowsill with yesterday's orange vase. The dish is dark green on the outside, orange on the inside. Couldn't quite figure out how to use it though. Two experiments below.

Monday, September 24, 2012

September 24, 2012 -- begonia leaves

This little orange vase drifted to the top of a box of things I was unloading from Shrine Mont workshop, so I decided to use it in the windowsill today. The decoration on the vase looks sort of like wings, so I used hardy begonia leaves, which are also sort of wing-like.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

September 23, 2012 -- snaps and caryopteris

This isn't really a windowsill arrangement. It's a "real" arrangement sitting in a windowsill. I didn't get home from Shrine Mont until 8:30 tonight and was too tired to create anything new. Instead, I took an arrangement I'd brought home with me (one I'd created at Shrine Mont) and plopped it onto the windowsill. These are materials I've used before in this container --'Butterfly' snapdragons and celosia--with the addition of caryopteris (a blue flower that  comes from a shrub also known as Blue Beard). The most interesting thing about this is the open window through which really cool air and the sound of katydids is coming.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

September 22, 2012 -- zinnia and fasciated willow

I'm at Shrine Mont in Orkney Springs, Virginia, and I talked my friend, Debbe Peck into doing this windowsill arrangement. Wish my photo were better because it's really pretty: one Queen Red Lime zinnia, one curved fasciated willow stick, and some poet's laurel foliage with berries on.

Friday, September 21, 2012

September 21, 2012 -- more chopsticks

I'm sort of practicing this chopstick thing for a workshop I'm doing this weekend. Here's another arrangement using them. This one has just a couple of small, wizzened zinnas and a stem of hardy begonia in it. My favorite part of this is the big hole in the largest begonia leaf.  It suggests an insect was once part of this story.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

September 20, 2012 -- sunflower, chop sticks, etc.

This indomitable little sunflower just won't die. So I used in yet another arrangment this morning (and I'm going to carry it with me to a workshop this weekend!). It's combined here with a little sprig of 'Butterfly' holly, which has been moving around from one windowsill arrangment to another for over a month. Behind the sunflower and the holly sprig are some chopsticks.  This is so simple and was so much fun to pull together.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

September 19, 2012 -- added small sunflower

Someday--but not today--I'm going to learn how to vary the layout of this blog, because I'd like to put the following two photos side by side. The second shows what was in one of the vases on the windowsill yesterday (sweet gum leaf, maple leaf, wild grape foliage), and the first shows what I added to that combination today: a small sunflower and a piece of bindweed.  It's just so much fun the way these windowsill arrangement evolve. (And maybe that's why I can never find time to really learn the mechanics of blogging!)

 Now, wait a minute: could it be possible that I like this  better without the flower? I think so!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

September 18, 2012 -- wildflowers and leaves

This is windowsill arranging at its purest--just things I gathered on my walk this morning (and a couple of things that were already in the windowsill). From left to right: a red tupelo leaf, some tickseed sunflowers combined with a yellow sweet gum leaf, a ripening avocado, some sumac leaves, blackend stems of Queen Anne's lace, more tickseed sunflowers, and a vase that includes a red sweet gum leaf, a yellow maple leaf, and a twig of wild grape.

Monday, September 17, 2012

September 17, 2012 -- nandina and rose

This may not be the last rose of summer, but it's one of the last red ones on my climber. I've combined it here with a little topknot of a colorful nandina. The container, which you an barely see, is the most interesting part of this, though. It's a piece of rusty metal (looks like part of an old bucket) that had twisted itself into sort of a teepee shape. Looked like it wanted to be a vase, so I positioned a glass jar under it, and it's that jar that is holding water for the rose and the nandina foliage.

I tucked some moss into gaps in ther rusty metal so the glass jar inside wouldn't show.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

September 16, 2012-- tupelo leaf

Lots of these red leaves on the tupelos (black gum trees) this afternoon. This one was particularly beautiful and "has a story to tell" re its insect visitors. I think the black spots are the result of a fungal disease peculiar to tupelos.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

September 15, 2012 -- weary sunflowers

These sunflowers reflect my condition--weary. Spent three full days on my feet arranging flowers and wasn't too excited about doing a windowsill arrangment when I got home....until I realized I'd left a big, broken sunflower stalk on the back porch and I could easily harvest its weary heads. I'd kept the stalk just because I liked its branching pattern and thought I might use the greed backsides of the flowers in an arrangement someday. Little did I know it was the weary faces I'd be feeling a sense of kinship with today!

I cut these stems off their original branch and orgainzed them in pairs like this, because somehow they seemed more like nodding heads this way.

Friday, September 14, 2012

September 14, 2012 -- beat

Spent fourteen hours arranging flowers today, so I had no energy for windowsill arranging tonight. Still, how can I complain, as I'll be sleeping in the bed reflected in this window tonight? For this "arrangement" I used the rose I'd had tucked behind my ear all day and dropped it into a cute container in my bedroom (in home of the bride whose wedding flowers I've been working on. All I can think of tonight are the lyrics to a song a Flower Camper taught me: " Bed is too small for my tiredness./Give me a hill topped with trees./ Tuck a cloud up under my chin./ Lord, blow the moon out please."

Thursday, September 13, 2012

September 13, 2012

Almost completely forgot. I'm away from home. Put this artificial arrangement in the windowsill before going to bed.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

September 12, 2012 -- friends

My arrangement from Sept. 7 made friends with my arrangement from Sept. 11, and here they are playing together.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 11, 2012 -- miscellany for David Foster Wallace

This afternoon I didn't want to do what I knew how to do (i.e., make a windowsill arrangement that would look good/feel good to other people). Instead, I picked a few things that were available and threw them into a vase. I guess it's up to you to figure out what they mean.

Helpful hints: pink phlox, Aucuba, Japanese Solomon's seal, bindweed, red okra pod, and {what fern is it, my aging brain?)....BRACKEN fern! Yay!

Monday, September 10, 2012

September 10, 2012 -- same materials, different light, container

Would you believe these are the same materials I used in yesterday's arrangement? They look so much more natural in this light! I just pulled them out of the glass vase I used yesterday and arranged them (on shorter stems) in this little tin pitcher. I like this so much better!

These ara all wildlfowers from one small patch of meadow, with the exception of a couple of hardy begonia leaves, which I added to this conglomeration today.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

September 9, 2012 -- meadow flowers

Remember Meadow-in-a-Can? Well, this is meadow-in-a-vase. I picked this thistle, Sweet Annie, daisy wingstem, and tall verbena (Verbena bonariensis) all in about a one-square-yard area of an unmown field, where some of these wildflowers had perennialized, some just seeded in. I adjusted them not at all before dropping them into this glass vase.

Colors aren't quite right in this photo.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

September 8, 2012 -- gooseneck loosestrife

It was the fall leaf color and curved flower stalks of this gooseneck loosestrife that attracted me today. I spotted it in a weedy part of the yard from which it should have been eradicated months (years!) ago, but every fall it's the source of beautiful arranging materials.

There's one red okra pod in this vase, too.

Friday, September 7, 2012

September 6, 2012 -- autumn crocus

My garden is such a wreck. I walked over to a weedy corner to see if things were really as out-of-control as I thought they were, and they were. Sigh. But then, as if to give me hope, under a tunnel of weeds I spotted these autumn crocuses blooming.

I'm calling these lavendar flowers autumn crocuses, as most people do, but they are really colchicums (Colchicum autumnale), an entirely different species. When colchicums bloom they bloom on naked stems (their big, strappy foliage comes up later). I've combined them in this inkwell with a sprig of hypericum foliage and a few blades of an ornamental grass.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

September 6, 2012 -- lineup of green gourds

To tell you the truth, I'm not sure some of these aren't squashes. The warty ones are definitely gourds. Couldn't resist lining these up in the windowsill today, because I just like looking at them!

Just realized I'd included a patty pan squash (fourth from the right).

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

September 5, 2012 -- so seasonal

I picked all this from the roadside (in the rain) this afternoon: tickseed sunflowers, ragweed, and (the black things) Queen Anne's lace seed structures. I really love the tickseed sunflowers (Bidens bipinnata) because they bloom absolutely every year at this time--when school is opening. In fact, don't think school should be allowed to open without them. And I  love how black the Queen Anne's lace seed structures look when wet.

These flowers were filled with nice, non-threatening bugs when I brought them in the house, and for a few minutes after I dropped the flowers into these vases (bought yesterday at WalMart), they (the bugs) were flying all around the kitchen. Most of them look like a cross between lightning bugs and beetles .

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

September 4, 2012 -- lots of stuff

This is a rearrangement of yesterday's flowers, plus a few more. Among the things I added were the hosta flowers I'd picked and used in an arrangement on Aug. 3. I knew I'd left them sitting on the windowsill for a reason! This is really way too elaborate to qualify as a windowsill arrangment (and you can see I had to sneak it onto a table), but it seemed to be what I wanted to work on today. I just love all these flowers in combination: zinnias, coxcomb, blue ageratum, hardy begonia, snapdragons, blue salvia, obedient plant, hosta flowers.

Monday, September 3, 2012

September 3, 2012 -- zinnias, etc.

This wasn't created for the windowsill; I made it for the kitchen table, but it must do double duty on the windowsill this afternoon, because I don't have time for anything else. Seeing this photo makes me realize there are ways I could improve this arrangement, so maybe I'll play with it again tomorrow. On the other hand, some things that look good in three dimensions, just never look good in two dimentsions (i.e., a photograph). I love the pressed-tin container, which a friend gave me not too long ago when she was cleaning out her vase stash.

Included in this are zinnias large and small, some pink cosmos, blue salvia, hardy begonia, magenta coxcomb, yellow coxcomb, a couple of snapdragons (way low), and a snapdragon seedhead or two.  

Sunday, September 2, 2012

September 2, 2102 -- tiny marigold

I'm so thrilled to have this tiny marigold again. (Its blooms are smaller than a dime.) I couldn't find it in any seed catalog this spring, but I had saved seeds from the few plants I had last year, and I planted them with great care. A very few plants were coming up from those seeds when my husband inadvertently weeded them out. I was afraid that was the end of my tiny marigolds forever, but then I noticed four volunteer plants coming up at Flower Camp. They had that unmistakable tiny, tiny, very dissected foliage. Yay! I'm guarding them with my life and will try to save more seeds this fall. Here are a few stems I cut and dropped into the nearest vessel available--and empty spice jar.

Here are the flowers and foliage up close.

And here's an update on the butterfly attached to yesterday's cosmos flower: this morning, the dead butterfly had fallen from the flower and was on the porch floor. The spider had devoured most of its thorax and abdomen.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

September 1, 2012 -- amazing butterfly, spider, cosmos flower!

I noticed this swallowtail butterfly on a pink cosmos flower today around noon, but there was something weird about it. The butterfly wasn't moving at all, and it seemed odd that its wings were spread so wide on such a cloudy day. Even when I watered near the cosmos plant, the butterfly didn't move. I finally decided it must be dead, but it wasn't until I cut the flower (with butterfly attached) that I saw what the real trouble was--a spider that must have paralyzed the butterfly and begun to eat it. The spider is whitish green. Absolutely amazing.