Thursday, February 28, 2013

February 28, 2013 -- flowers from the alley behind the bank

This is why I love windowsill arranging: it made me jump out of the car as I was headed to make a deposit at the bank and pick these little flowers in the alley behind the drive-in teller's window. Talk about your promise of spring! I think this is star-of-Bethlehem; it's the Ornithogalum that smells like garlic, a terrible, awful, very bad weed, but a thrill to see on a cold February day.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

February 27, 2013 -- so dark

I probably need to photograph this after dark, to emphasize what drew me to this today--the dark, dark flowers of some Lenten roses.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

February 26, 2013 -- much better!

This is SO much better than yesterday's attempt to use this Ikebana container. The magic bullet was an asphidistra leaf I came across while emptying a bucket of florist greens leftover from Dec. 28. (No kidding, this bucket of greens had been sitting on the side porch since before New Year's Day, and the asphidistra still looked great.) I twisted the leaf a bit and ran its own stem through a slit in the leaf to create this twirl.

Monday, February 25, 2013

February 25, 2013 -- this is so not it

Today Carol Hammer gave me a perfectly wonderful container that (little did she know!) should work perfectly in a windowsill. And I couldn't wait to use it, but ... my attempts failed. First, I tried adding a collard rib (leftover from some cooking), which, it seemed to me, echoed the sweep of the "nose" of the wooden container. Yes, but.... does one need two noses?

Then I added scrambled egg daffodil blossoms, which only made the whole concoction more confusing. This container deserves better, and I'll try again.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

February 24, 2013 -- more daffodils

Bigger tubes, more daffodils. Tonight's triumph was figuring out how to photograph this. Couldn't seem to get the color of the daffodils right...then I did!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

February 23, 2013 -- daffodils and mahonia

This is prettier than it looks in the photo--daffodils, basil leaves, and mahonia foliage in connected tubes. I'm too tired to describe how it came together, but all these materials appear in arrangements from previous days.

Friday, February 22, 2013

February 22, 2013 -- hairy bittercress, a season marker

Today was sort of dreary, weather-wise in Virginia, but anyone looking around outdoors would have found many, many signs of spring. Here's one of my favorites: hairy bittercress. A little clump of it was blooming (tiny white blooms) between the stones of my back patio and the steps to the back porch. I pulled up the whole clump (it's a weed, but a pretty one) with the intention of washing off the roots before putting it in a vase, but this little baking dish seemed to want to accept the roots, dirt and all.

The maple and other leaves in the photo came up with the hairy bittercress when I pulled it.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

February 21, 2013 -- February Gold

Yesterday afternoon you could just feel the daffodils growing. It was as if the sun was pulling their leaves and buds up from the wet ground. Today, I decided to pick some. The earliest ones blooming in my yard this year are called 'February Gold,' an apt description. I dropped the flowers into my test-tube container then tried dropping my basil snippets in with them. That didn't work. They needed real daffodil foliage. Their own foliage was too young and important to pick (it was only halfway out of the ground), so I harvested some from some clumps that stopped blooming years ago but still produce good foliage.

And here is something that was gorgeous this morning--yesterday's greenbrier leaf with morning light streaming through it from behind.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

February 20, 2013 -- Lenten rose and greenbrier leaf

I couldn't begin to tell you why, but there is something Mexican about this arrangement. The formality of the flower and leaf placement, maybe? It's actually the creation by a very tired gringo (me) who grabbed the first flower she saw (a Lenten rose growing by the front doorstep) and combined it with a greenbrier leaf I'd picked yesterday on a walk.What's showing is the underside of the leaf, which is a gorgeous, dusty, gray-green.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

February 19, 2013 -- mahonia

I think I can do better by these Mahonia leaves, but I haven't figured out how yet. They are the colorful, unhappy ones on the shrubs right now.

I do love this vase, a vinegar cruet I bought in Mexico. Wish I'd put the stopper in the photo. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

February 18, 2013 -- back at "mi casa"

Arrived home from Mexico at 3 a.m. this morning. Much to do. I had left plants growing in a sunny windowsill with lots of water under them. There they grew lank and needed pinching back. Snippets below are from one particularly lanky basil plant that I dropped into a juice glass. Tonight, I decorated the glass with a beaded bracelet I'd brought back from Mexico. Why didn't I buy more!? They were only about $3 each in the outdoor markets and now that I'm home I can think of a thousand ways to use them (including decorating juice glasses!).


Sunday, February 17, 2013

February 18, 2013 -- airport arrangement

In the Mexico City airport, I moved this little arrangement from a table in the bar to a round window on an exterior wall. The flowers are artificial, but they hardly look it, and the little white vase is cute (a pig).

February 16, 2013 -- stone windowsill

This is a dried palm frond I picked up and propped on a stone windowsill in the San Miguel botanical garden El Charco de Ingenio). The windowsill itself, in a little stone outbuilding, was really pretty.

Friday, February 15, 2013

February 15, 2013 -- scrubber

I did a "real" windowsill arrangement today, but due to technical difficulties (the photo is on my camera not my iPad), I'll have to post this instead. This is a decorative pot scrubber on the windowsill of the house where we're staying.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

February 14, 2013 -- black-eyed Susan vine on steps

This little vine that I have grown in Virginia is prolific in Mexico. Here are a couple of snippets in a small vase I bought yesterday in the market. I like this photo because it shows bouagaviilea florets on the beautiful steps of the home where we are staying.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

February 13, 2013 -- bell with bougainvillea

I spent today on a mountaintop with monarch butterflies (be still my heart!), and because the visit required much travel and some hiking, I'm spent. Back at home base tonight, I didn't have energy for creating, so here's a bell with a couple of bougainvillea blossoms tucked into it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

February 12, 2013 -- so pretty

I shouldn't get credit for this. It's a gorgeous (believe it or not) ARTIFICIAL arrangement I found in a room where we're staying in Mexico. I just moved it to an outside windowsill.

Monday, February 11, 2013

February 11, 2013 -- same windowsill

This chrysanthemum was leftover from some larger arrangements I did today. And the fern frond came from plants on the patio. I am surrounded by gorgeous flowers, but can't seem to shepherd them to the windowsill.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

February 9, 2013 -- flower donor

And here's the cooperative stewardess who shared her flower comb. For the record, she didn't seem to consider my request a bit strange.

February 9, 2013 -- traveling

I don't know how to post but one photo at a time from my iPad, so I'll upload them in two separate posts. I'm traveling, on Aeromexico, and the stewardesses are gorgeous with red artificial flowers in their hair. I asked one to share her flower comb with me so I could photograph it on the plane windowsill. It wouldn't stand up properly, so here it is being given a little assistance.

Friday, February 8, 2013

February 8, 2013 -- Delaware 3

Here's what you do when you don't have clippers and must rely on plant material on the ground! This Norway spruce branch was lying on the ground (brought down by a storm, I guess) as were these cones. I appropriated one of my host's beautiful tureens to use as "vase." I actually learned something from doing this, because I kept trying to make the cones stand up before I figured out they looked better lying down.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

February 7, 2013 -- Delaware 2

The Delaware Valley really is Mecca for gardeners, so I was thrilled to get to stay in the guest cottage of a couple supporting the Delaware Center for Horticulture. Picture cottage windowsills framed by stone and you'll appreciate my euphoria. Anyway... this morning here are two windowsills I want share: 1) the view from a conservatory filled with exotic plants that are totally unfamiliar to me, and 2) the windowsill of an abandoned playhouse (on the same property) that totally enchanted me. The hammer was already hanging on the windowpane of the playhouse when I found it. I added the white pine cone (which I found on the property) just to make it mine.

And here's that wonderful "playhouse-now-shelter-for-fertilizer-and-gardening-paraphernalia"  from a greater distance.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

January 6, 2013 -- Delaware windowsill

I'm in Delaware, at the Delaware Center for Horticulture, where the witch hazel and the red twig dogwoods are gorgeous. I moved this orchid over to an interior windowsill in the auditorium. So pretty, the whole place!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

February 5, 2013 -- some color

I was dying to have some color in the kitchen this afternoon, so I grabbed some new chip clips and attached them to my test-tube vase. Quite cheery! The plant material is stinking hellebore flowers. They're blooming outdoors.

Monday, February 4, 2013

February 4, 2013 -- cloistered broomsedge

I was too tired to do anything elaborate tonight, so I grabbed a couple of pieces of broomsedge (still sitting around from Jan. 26) and tucked them under some small cloches I'd  found sitting around on a shelf this weekend. Why does this remind me of jellyfish?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

January 3, 2013 -- recycled materials

The nandina is from yesterday's arrangement, the vase and green aucuba leaves appeared on Jan. 30, and the yellowish pine is from a large arrangement I did earlier in the week. I particularly like the yellowish (chloritic) pine, because, in this context, it looks like a flower.

The best part of this is something you can't quite see in the photo: a mat made of recycled newspaper. It was a gift from a friend, who, I think, bought it at Ten Thousand Villages.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

February 2, 2013 -- nandina

This was so simple to do--just dropping nandina leaflets into test tubes, but it looks so sophisticated. Reminds me of Japanese brush painting in its simplicity.

Friday, February 1, 2013

February 1, 2013 -- sycamore leaves/winter arranging

These are sycamore leaves that have been sitting around in my utility room, leftover from some earlier arrangement. It's funny the way something discarded earlier sometimes looks good to you again later in the season!

I was reading Valerie Easton's book Petal & Twig the other day, and here's what she said about winter arrangements: "Winter arrangements are like vegetarian cooking--just as there's  no slab of meat to plunk down in the middle of the plate as the centerpiece of the meal, there aren't any bravado lilies, or roses, or delphiniums to build an arrangement around. Winter bouquets are bits and pieces of what remains during the darkest, coldest days, often picked close to the ground, foraged from alleys, or traded with friends and neighbors." 

BYW: I did make soup from yesterday's Jerusalem artichokes, and it was delicious! Used a Knorr leek soup mix as the base and built from there.