Saturday, June 30, 2012

June 30, 2012 -- no water

As result of storm last night we have no power and therefore no water. So I put some tomatoes in a glass bowl and added them to windowsill with an arrangement from another day.  I'm also working on battery power, so this post must be short! 

Friday, June 29, 2012

June 29, 2012 -- green shouldered tomatoes, etc.

I guess you can tell what's here: ripe tomatoes, a little bit of basil (in red vase), and a green pepper. They are just so pretty to look at, although this display started differently. I had planned to just display some tomatoes with "green shoulders," because I heard a piece about them on the radio yesterday. Evidently, lots of heirloom tomatoes have green shoulders (tops that don't turn red when the rest of the tomato does). This trait, so the expert said, has been bred out of most modern tomatoes, because consumers want an all-red, perfectly round tomato. But it has been discovered that older varieties, which are often misshappen and have green-shoulders, taste better than newer varieties because all that cholorphyll on top is helping the rest of the tomato develop its sugars. Anyway, I now see green shouldered tomatoes, like the ones below, in a new light

Thursday, June 28, 2012

June 28, 2012 -- hot and wilty

These are some materials I've been wanting to harvest for a windowsill arrangement (my first sunflower, from a self-seeded plant, and a droopy, lime-green amaranth), but today was the day that they said "cut me!" (There are also a couple of orange daylily flowers and some foliage from daisy wingstem in this bottle, which you can't even see in the photo.) The amaranth flower scape is so long and droopy that this had to be displayed on the second tier of the window. And the irregular, struggling sunflower seems perfectly symbolic of this hot and challenging day.  Over the course of the past week I've battled yellow jackets (5 stings that left my hands looking like catchers' mitts) and a copperhead that refused to be killed. So wilty flowers seem like the worst of my worries, but .... still... I wish we were both less challenged.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

June 27, 2012 -- blue ageratum, garlic, and basil

This is a vase of Blue Horizon ageratum nested in a larger vase with basil in it (so that it looks like the basil skirts the bottom of the ageratum). The wacky stems stretching out in several directions are garlic flowers.

There is also some Queen Anne's lace emergaing from the top of this arrangement, but it's cut off in the photo (and it should probably be removed from the arrangement!).

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

June 26, 2012 -- elephant garlic

I harvested lots of garlic today. Then I looked up the directions as to how and when I should have done it!  Oops. Seems I should have cut the scapes back weeks before harvesting the bulbs. Anyway, there were lots of flower heads with strangely twisted stalks and I put them in vases all over the kitchen.  Here's one that went in the windowsill.

There's also one gravid daylily bud in this vase. It's a leftover from a previous arrangement.

Monday, June 25, 2012

June 25, 2012 -- bulbing fennel

I had harvested this fennel for my daughter, and put it in a vase of water to keep it fresh, when I realized this could be my windowsill arrangement today.  The fennel foliage is so beautiful and the "bulbs" so interesting. 

Truth be told, I have no idea whether or not I'm harvesting this at the right time, and I'm only half certain that the bulbs are the modified stems just above the roots.  A friend served me a chicken dish with fennel bulbs in it last year and that prompted me to grow "bulbing fennel" this year. Here are what I believe to be the "bulbs"  up close.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

June 24, 2012 -- butter n'eggs

This post is for Kim Cannon, from Australia, who spent the year 1989 with our family as an exchange student. Never was there a better exchange student/host family fit. Kim's father was a biologist, which may explain why, as a teenager, Kim was willing to spend a day with me at Flower Camp (then Higher Ground) messing around with plants. She and I moved several clumps of this beautiful little wildflower, Butter n' Eggs, to 6 different places on the property. At the time, I thought our chances of any of them succeeeding were pretty low.  Truth be told, the chances of anything succeeding at Flower Camp, given the soil, the exposure, the critters, the neglect, are pretty low. But here we are 23 years later and today I could have harvested these diminutive wildflowers from any one of three places. Three out of six:  not bad, Kim! 

There are some river oats in this bottle, too. And here's a closeup of Butter n'Eggs.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

June 23, 2012 -- cup tower

Last night, when I was cleaning up after a party and the dishwasher was full, I made a stack of plastic cups to wash this morning. I loved the way the stack looked (the mix of cup colors made the stack look sort of stripey), so I gathered up all the materials that had been in windowsill  (basil, parsley, and coreopsis) and dropped them into the top cup.  Here's the result.

I can't wait to repeat this, using cups of many other colors!

Friday, June 22, 2012

June 22, 2012 -- parsley and basil

I love it when doing something I want to do contributes to accomplishing something I need to do. I needed to cut back my parsley before it bloomed and I needed to cut off the tops of my basil, which was already flowering. So: here are the gleanings displayed with a few yellow coreopsis flowers.

Oh, and there's a green tomato in this array. See how harsh the light is outside? It's 92 degrees at 3:30 p.m..

Thursday, June 21, 2012

June 21, 2012 -- tomatoes

I'm cheating because this basket is too wide to fit on the windowsill; it's sitting on the radiator.  I couildn't resist posting it because it's so pretty. Just a basket of early tomatoes.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

June 20, 2012 -- Gloriosa daisy, etc.

I wanted to display this gloriosa daisy, with fennel, comfrey, and some iris pods in a brown bottle, but couldn't find one, so I added some strong tea to the water. Worked like a charm, and I bet these flowers and foliage are feeling really peppy!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

June 19, 2012 -- more hydrangeas

You don't want to see all the ugly things I did before I landed on this.

And this, which I like even better, because it's so simple. Just one small hydrangea blossom standing alone.

But in case you're interested in how many complicated things sometimes have to be rejected before landing on to something simple, here's what I started with today: an array of hydrangea blossoms in every color I could find. Not pretty.

Then I tried using the bloom that was my favorite color (sort of a lilac-wine) in green cereal bowls. Better, but still not very satisfying.

Why I didn't have enough sense to start simple, I have no idea. I think I just felt obliged to showcase all those many-colored hydrangeas, because I've never had such profustion and variety in the garden before.  Just goes to show you, too many choices as much of an impediment to good design as too few!

Monday, June 18, 2012

June 18, 2012 -- red hot pokers, etc., then white hydrangeas

Well, this first arrangement was fun. I did it while I was screwing up my courage to attempt using hydrangeas again. It includes red hot pokers, lavender bee balm, pink sweet peas, feverfew, and a couple of yellow coreopsis.

On to the hydrageas. First I picked some white ones, cut their stems really short, and dropped them into cereal bowls.

They actually look more like cauliflower heads than hydrangeas! Just to clean up the counter, I added some red tomatoes to the windowsill, and that helped to jazz this up a bit, but I'm beginning to think hydrangeas are just too formal for me. Maybe I'll try yet again tomorrow.   

Sunday, June 17, 2012

JUne 17, 2012 -- hydrangeas

I've been resisting trying to use hydrangea flowers in my windowsill arrangements because they are so big, so round, and so  intimidating in their formality. I finally took the leap and picked some blue ones which seemed to want to sit like balls in a white vase, but I just had to loosen them up. Added some white sweet pea flowers and some daisy-like feverfew flowers, but I'm not sure they really look comfortable together. I think I'll try hydrangeas again tomorrow and see if I'm more successful.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

June 16, 2012 -- fragrance of yarrow

 I've already satisfied my personal commitment to doing a windowsill arrangement every day for a year, and I could easily stop. It's just so hard to get an Internet connection at Flower Camp (which makes stopping seem attractive)! But today, here we have: iris leaves I weeded out by accident, some black-eyed Susans I love, and some white yarrow I picked because it needed picking (the flower heads were falling over). Doing this "arrangement" required me to have yarrow in my hands long enough for that pungent fragrance to embed itself in my skin. Therefore: I'm still getting something important from doing a windowsill arrangement every day.

Friday, June 15, 2012

June 15, 2012 -- hollyhocks and coleus

I harvested these hollyhocks today because the plants needed to be destroyed. Sob. Too much hollyhock rust, despite my efforts to control it. These flowers were pretty, though. I added some coleus clippings that were still in the windowsill from another day ( when I had displayed them in a green jug). Discovered they had rooted, which was fun. Will plant them tomorrow.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

June 14, 2012 -- today's harvest

This is the result of a walkabout in the garden this morning. Picked orange daylilies, lavender bee balm, and yellow coreopsis. The plumy thing is from plume poppy, and if you see yellow-orange "ink"  in the water of each vase it's from the plume poppy stems, which bleed when you cut them. Also got some on my wrist, where it looks like iodine!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

June 13, 2012 -- after dark

Got home after dark--and had to go flower-gathering then if I was to do a new windowsill arrangement. Easy, actually, because I knew the evening primrose was blooming. This one is 'Tina James,' which has huge yellow flowers that open as the sun is setting (and after). It's pollinated by moths, and John, my neighbors, and I usually sit and watch it open on July 4, but it's early this year.  Truly--the way its flowers open is worthy of Disney.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

June 12 -- yesterday plus Mandevilla

To the bindweed and green tomato in the windowsill yesterday, I added pink Mandevilla blooms. The Mandevilla comes from a plant I bought Easter weekend. Very unusual for me to own such a tropical thing, but it was an impulse purchase, and it's mighty pretty right now!

Oh, and there are a couple of blades of a variegated grass in the vase with the Mandevilla.

Monday, June 11, 2012

June 11, 2012 -- playing with snapdragons, tomato

I cleaned out everything on windowsill this morning and began fresh--with butterfly snapdragons and some reddish loosestrife foliage. Then I added a green tomato, just because it was sitting nearby and its green looked pretty with the loosestrife leaves.

A few hours later, I pulled this all apart to use the flowers in an arrangement for a friend. To that arrangement, I added some begonia leaves that happened to be wrapped in bindweed.

 Giving the arrangement away left me with a green tomato and some bindweed, which I put in the windowsill.  And this is actually my favorite arrangement of the day!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

June 10, 2012 -- love-lies-bleeding

This is just a pretty piece of love-lies-bleeding. I picked it today (reluctantly) for a friend who needs it for an arranging demo tomorrow. I was reluctant to pick it only because it will get more and more elongate (and droopy) as it continues to mature. This isn't the usual reddish version of this Amaranth; it's sort of coral-colored, although it looks brown in the photo. My favorite is the green version, which is doing less well in my garden this year, but I gave it a dose of liquid fertilizer today, so it may show up in the windowsill before the summer is over.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

June 9, 2012 -- flower girls

Credit these two beautiful creations to Grace Ann Hugo, age 8. The little lady on the left is made from a hollyhock blossom, a hollyhock bud, and an acorn cap. The little lady on the right is made from a rose, a tiny stick, and a hollyhock bud.

Friday, June 8, 2012

June 8, 2012 -- horse nettle

Today's triumph was remembering the name of this weed: horse nettle. It's in the nightshade family and its flower looks like a tomatoe's. Very pretty but very thorny.

Here it is combined with some other flowers in that pale blue color range -- some hosta flowers and fading Johnny Jump-ups.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

June 7, 2012 -- result of windowsill walk

I can hardly believe I've been to Philadelphia and back since my my last post, but I have. When I got home, I just wanted to walk around outside without purpose, but I "needed" to do a windowsill arrangement, so I collected material as I walked. Here's the result (in vases from left to right): Vase1): yellow coreopsis flower, white Houttouynia cordata flower and foliage, magenta Sweet William, chilves flower, and a blooming stem of Japanese lantern plant. Vase 2: bellflower stem (in bud), flowering Italian basil, a yellow Knockout rose, and Houttouynia cordata flower and foliage. Vase 3: perennial sweet pea, blue ageratum, yellow Knockout rose, and Houttouynia cordata flower and foliage. 4) coral rose blossom (can't remember its name) and Houttouynia cordata flower and foliage. Vase 5: peachy daylily flower with coral  honeysuckle and Houttouynia cordata flower. I'm hoping that having typed Houttouynia cordata so many times will help me remember it!  It's the plant I've been calling "hootenanny plant."

For the record, the trumpet-vine trumpets I played with yesterday were pretty much dead when I got home this afternoon.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

June 6, 2012 -- playing with trumpets

Yesterday, when I picked my trumpet vine flowers, there were lots of individual trumpets, which had been shed by the vine, on the ground. Couldn't resist playing with them. My first inclination was to use one as a vase, but what I needed was a tiny pin holder to position it upright, and I didn't have one. Instead, I used a bigger pin holder, hid it in this green bowl, and positioned several trumpets upright. Then I stuck other plant material (astilbe flowers and Japanese Hanoki grass) into each trumpet. Silly, but sort of interesting.

Here's another single trumpet used more conventionally. I added it to a little vase of coleous snippings and a few leaves of Japanese Hanoki grass. Adding the trumpet was more complicated than it looks, because it had no stem. I stuck a threadlike stick down it's throat to create a stem. It's holding up surprisingly well.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

June 5, 2012 -- trumpet vine

This is just regular wild trumpet vine, not a cultivated variety, but some of its blooms seem unsually red (as opposed to orange) this year. Don't know what that's about. I love the foliage as well as the flowers, and, although it's weedy, I sometimes let the runners send up shoots just so I can clip them to use as arranging greens. Their graceful tips hold up really well.

Monday, June 4, 2012

June 4, 2012 -- feverfew, coleus, and record-breaking tomatoes

Here are some coleus tips (harvested from plants mentioned yesterday) combined with the feverfew that was already in the windowsill on May 29.

And here are some (small) ripe tomatoes added to the array. John and I are usually proud if we have a ripe tomato by July 4. This year, we had three on June 3. Here are two of them. The third I ate and it tasted water. Absolutely no flavor. It's a very early variety called 'Glacier.' Good description.  It tastes the way ice water would taste if it were red.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

June 3, 2012 -- beet and coleus

Went to the Charlottesville Farmer's Market yesterday and came home with lots of fun things, including some beautiful beets and a flat of mixed-color coleus plants. The latter were leggy, so I pinched their top growth out. Those tips were too pretty to throw away (I actually still have them all in water, where they may root), but here are a few of them, which I put in a little green jug. To the left is one of the beets I bought. Kept trying to figure out a way to put it in the jug with the coleus, because their colors are really pretty together, but nothing I tried made the beet look as pretty as it was. So here it is positioned upside down on its trimmed stems.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

June 2, 2012 -- Japanese maple revisited

Here's that same Japanese maple snippet reoriented and edited. Now you can better see how it mirrors the pattern in the vase.

Friday, June 1, 2012

June 1, 2012 -- snap redo and Japanese maple

I decided to try my Butterfly snapdragons in a different container (as opposed to the orange bag from yesterday). Here they are in a more traditional  glass vase. Prettier, I think. And all their wacky stem directions are sort of interesting.

Even more interesting to me was something that evolved yesterday afternoon. After I pulled the snaps out of their orange bag, they sat for a while in the container I'd used to line the bag--an off-white ceramic vase with sort of abstract splash of brown on it. It has a broken handle, which is why it was on the " vase liner" shelf.  Anyway, it's pattern must have been playing in my head, because later in the day, when John pruned a piece of foliage out of a Japanese maple by accident (it came down with a mulberry limb), I grabbed it because I thought it might look great in that vase.  This greenery needs some editing (more open spaces), but you can see that the shape of the Japanese maple leaves really does echo the pattern on the vase.  It's just so much fun the way these things evolve!