Thursday, October 31, 2013

Yuletide camellia

Like the stores, my garden seems to have finished with Halloween, skipped Thanksgiving, and moved straight on to Christmas! This Yuletide camellia is supposed to bloom in December, but it's blooming now. It's flowers are really pretty--a bluer pink than this photo captures. I added some parsley to the vases just because I had it and thought it would be a nice contrast to the more somber camellia foliage.

This photo revealed something my eye hadn't seen--the way you can see the green leaf through the petals of the flower on the the lower right. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

tiny marigolds with nasturtiums

Here's the backstory on this arrangement: I had a gathering at my house yesterday and several friends brought food. One brought cucumber sandwiches, which I"d requested because I had some tiny marigold blossoms I wanted to place on top of them. Except my tiny marigolds got zapped by frost. So I asked another friend, Rosanne Shalf, if she happened to have any tiny marigold blossoms, and she did. She appeared at the gathering with a wonderful bunch of them and some pretty nasturtium flowers, too. Here's what's left of them dropped into a green mug. I should have taken a picture of the cucumber sandwiches adorned with marigolds, because they were pretty, too!

Monday, October 28, 2013

wild & wilder

If yesterday's arrangement was wild, tonight's is wilder. To everything I'd dropped into this vase yesterday, I added some cut beets. This was entirely unplanned. I was cutting up some old, woody beets to have their hearts for lunch when I noticed just how gorgeous they were. Sliced a couple of them in half and added them to my arrangement. I expected them to start cinching up (or at least attracting flies) by this afternoon, but no! They still look great!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

spooky stuff

It must be the influence of Halloween making me do an arrangement like this. On the other hand, this is just a combination of stuff that interested me that I pulled out of the garden this afternoon--okra roots, embryonic squash (which were on vine zapped by frost), and an okra pod. To the left, you might also notice one of yesterday's leaves holey leaves!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

"a hole nother thing"

When I posted an arrangement featuring a leaf with a hole in it not long ago, Joan Kesterman commented "that's a hole nother thing." Loved the pun, but her comment most have also put me on the prowl for more leaves with holes in them. Here are some particularly pretty ones.

The leaf on the left doesn't actually have a hole in it; it just has a really great void created by the way the leaf curled as it dried. I kept fiddling with different ways to display it that would showcase its beauty, and this is what I came up with--just propping the leaf up with the bottle.

Friday, October 25, 2013

camellias with fern fronds

These camellia flowers are in bottles with some of the fern fronds I salvaged earlier in the week. I really enjoyed creating this because 1) the cold early morning air, as I walked out to pick the camellias, was fabulous; 2) because I liked reusing the fern fronds, and 3) because I took my time doing it. I had to take my time because my right arm is still pretty much inoperable from flu shot Wed. (seems the needle must have struck a nerve), and as I was going slower and sort of enjoying it, I remembered hearing a wonderful weaver say his work had become much more satisfying when he decided to let his art "take as long as it took."

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Oh, my, what a day! I can barely type this because of flu shot that has left my right arm and hand nearly inoperable.There's nothing about this on the "What You Need to Know" sheet. Surely it will feel better tomorrow. I have flowers and fruit looking beautiful all over the garden (not to mention the wild things I'd like to praise), but tonight all I had the energy to do was to photograph this fern root in a modern glass vase. This is another artifact of bringing tender ferns indoors for the winter.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

history repeats itself

Last year, this same thing happened: I was moving ferns indoors for the winter and in the process of dumping them out of their outdoor pots and into their indoor pots, some fronds broke off. And, like last year, some of them were so pretty I couldn't throw them away, so I gathered them up and dropped them into a glass until I could decide what else to do with them. There they have stayed. I added the pepper just for fun, because that's what landed at the base of my fern fronds last year (see second photo)!

Monday, October 21, 2013

bottle of dirt (plus pine)

This is the result of a happy coincidence: I found this little brown bottle in an antique shop last week, and it was still sitting on my kitchen table when I brought this piece of pine back from the walk. Loved the bottle not only because of its color and shape, but because it was filled with dirt! And it still is, because I haven't had time to wash it. Maybe I'll leave the dirt inside as evidence of its former life. I picked up the pine sprig because it was so perfectly symmetrical--with two cones forming beneath the tuft of tags. One of them fell off as I was positioning the sprig in the vase.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

camellias--inside and out

This is a sweet, fall-blooming camellia called 'Jean May.' Can you see the shrub it came from through the kitchen window?! Love its shell-pink color and musty fragrance. I also noticed it's actually producing fruit this year, and one open seed pod spilled its seeds when I picked this blossom.

Friday, October 18, 2013

hot peppers

I didn't plant a single hot pepper this summer, but, to my delight, some came up anyway--from self-sown seeds. I haven't eaten a single one of them, but I love looking at them. This is a particularly pretty branch I harvested from the garden this afternoon.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

dahlia with shaggy haircut

I tried combining this dahlia with lots of things before realizing it was such a prima donna, it needed to be displayed alone. Flowers like this "suck the air out of the room." I once heard someone say, and it's certainly true of this one.

This little piece of stemware, which I bought for pennies at a Flower Camp auction, has a rose-colored bowl. Perfect for this flower! 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

sycamore leaf with sage

Sounds like a menu item: "sycamore leaf with sage." This is the same sycamore leaf I used on Oct. 14. It sat out of sight for a while, as did a cruet of sage leaves, until I needed to cruet for something else and decided to drop the sage into the vase with the sycamore leaf. Turned out to be a great combination. The second sycamore leaf (sitting on the windowsill) is another one I brought inside on Oct. 14.

Here's the sycamore/sage combination up close.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

stacked cup topiary

I did an arrangement in stacked plastic cups a year or so ago, but the photo was bad, and I needed to replace that photo (for a publisher) today. So I tried it again. I know re-creating an arrangement is impossible, but, still, I tried. Last year this was all so spontaneous (the cups had been on the counter waiting to be washed, the coreopsis handy from another arrangement). But this time I had to deliberately stack the cups and use marigolds (since I had no coreopsis) instead. Here's the result:

Trying to make this more like the original photo, I added tickseed sunflowers, but it seems I've wound up with something entirely different!

Monday, October 14, 2013

sycamore leaf

I found this beautiful sycamore leaf on a rainy-day walk yesterday. It's notable for so many things--its size, its color, and the fact that it kept its shape after partially drying it under the weight of a gourd.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

red zinnia, begonia leaf

This started off with a bucket of beautiful red zinnia flowers I didn't know what to do with. They were just getting waterlogged in the garden in the rain, so I picked them. First, I tried them in a long string of tubes where they looked lonely, so I added begonia leaves and seed pods. That whole display just seemed too complicated, though. I like this simple bottle-leaf-flower arrangement much better.  

Friday, October 11, 2013

what the rain washed up

Because it's been raining so long, my husband has been prevented from doing outdoor jobs, so he's been cleaning out his workshop. This morning, in the detritus there, he found this wonderful little bottle. Then, this afternoon, I decided to take a walk in the drizzle, and on the ground I found this gorgeous little maple leaf. When I combined them, the leaf took on an almost a mask-like look. I particularly like this little arrangement, because, at only 3 inches tall, it's in such stark contrast to yesterday's extravaganza!

I'd love to know what this little bottle was originally used for. It reminds me of the containers the oil paints came in with some of the earliest paint-by-numbers sets.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

bright lights on a rainy day

How I allowed myself to be inside almost all day today, I do not know, because it's gorgeous outside--rain and all. In fact, the air (even with the rain) makes me feel an inch taller! It's also relatively warm and there's a truckload of stuff blooming in the garden. I had a hard time deciding what to display on the windowsill, and only the size of my three-bottle container restrained me from creating a really extravagant mix. Included here are previously used Mexican sunflowers, orange/yellow lantana, and lavender asters, plus some newly picked black-eyed Susan vine and yellow/orange Gaillardia. Those colors are such a pick-me-up on a rainy day! I could have cropped the second photo to omit the kitchen faucet, but I decided it was real, so I left it in.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

more pink, orange, lavender

I took these photos yesterday, when it wasn't raining and I was still playing with fall sunset colors. The deep orange flower in the photo is a Mexican sunflower (Tithonia), which was a monarch magnet yesterday. I'm so thrilled to finally be seeing some monarch butterflies, but I'm hoping the ones in the second photo left the area before the wind and rain arrived.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

pink, lavender, orange

Except for the lavender asters, which I harvested from a larger arrangement, all the materials in this little inkwell came from other windowsill arrangements. I've just recombined them. Included are orange/yellow lantana, pink hardy begonia flowers (and their deeper pink seed pods), cyclamen flowers (which you can barely see in the photo but which are my favorite ingredient in real life), and pink fall-blooming anemones. The green globular things are anemone flowers that have lost their petals. I think I'll play with this color combination again tomorrow, because I like it. Reminds me of some of the pink, lavender, orange sunsets I've seen recently.

P.S. In the photo I can see that one of the naked anemone flowers is cattywompus (leaning way right, toward 4:00). Lift it in your imaginiation, because I'll go do that downstairs!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

oak leaves, after dark

I'm too tired to explain further: a beautiful cluster of oak leaves, dropped into a glass vase, after dark. 

Friday, October 4, 2013


Which sunflower this is I couldn't tell you, but it's a perennial sunflower growing at Flower Camp. These particular flowers grow on stalks 10 feet tall, but the flowers I put in this wine glass are some I stripped from stems I was using in a larger arrangement.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

hardy cyclamen

Thank you, photography gods, for finally helping me capture a pretty cyclamen photo. This tiny little flower has been defying my attempts to photograph it on the windowsill, but this morning the light hit it just right. Can you see the reflection of the flowers on the window and the light streaming in?  This isn't your grocer's cyclamen--not the hothouse flower with big blooms. These blooms are tiny little things, and they bloom from corms that get bigger and bigger in the garden. This year, some of mine (the corms that is) are almost as big as bagels, and they have sent up scores of blooms. Unfortunately, some of my cyclamen corms are sitting under a pile of wood debris left behind by a tree trimmer, and it's really painful to see them trying to peek out from under the wood. The wood will get moved eventually and I hope the hidden cyclamen survive, because once they get this big (the corms that is) they're treasures. They also start showing up in places where you didn't plant them, because I think ants move the seeds.

P.S. The leaves in the vase are not cyclamen leaves. They come up later. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

red-rooted radishes

I was determined to display these radishes before eating them! And what I loved most about them was their red roots. You can see the red roots pretty well in the vases on the left and right, but I've made them un-ignorable in the inkwell in the middle, because I skewered the radish so its roots would hang outside the inkwell.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

gourd flower in hibiscus holder

I went outside about 30 minutes ago, after dark, and picked this gourd flower on its vine. So beautiful. And notice the tendrils on the vine. Because I just, finally, took time to read about gourd flowers on the web, I know that this is a male gourd flower, so I didn't sacrifice a gourd by cutting it. (In a normal fall, it would probably be too late to grow new gourds anyway, but with such a warm fall...who knows.) And here's something else I just gleaned from the web: The first vine that grows will generally have mostly male flowers, but you can make it produce more female flowers ( thus making more gourds ) by cutting the ends of the vine back. I'm so glad to now know this!