Sunday, March 31, 2013

March 31, 2013 -- many daffodils

Many, many daffodils blooming in the yard today. Here are a few (combined with scented geranium foliage)


Thursday, March 28, 2013

March 28, 2013 -- immortal cryptomeria

These little sprigs of cryptomeria have been sitting in a bucket on my back porch for MONTHS! Linda Armstrong gave me several branches of cryptomeria before Christmas, and I used them in a basket on my front door (where they still look pretty), and, from one branch I didn't use, I've harvested half a dozen sprigs for windowsill arrangements. They still look great, and they were cut over three months ago!

The "vase" is a tiny ketcup bottle I brought back from NYC; the green flowers are from Helleborus foetidus (stinking hellebore).

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

March 27, 2013 -- more leaves, marsh marigolds

Here are yesterday's leaves with some marsh marigolds added.

And here is another array of leaves (boxwood, red cedar, plum yew). Unlike yesterday's array, these are complicated leaves that sort of fight with each other, unless you put some space between them.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

March 26, 2013 -- simple-shaped leaves

I needed an illustration of simple-shaped leaves today and decided to create it on the windowsill. (I had tried this once before less successfully.) I like the way these leaves (marsh marigold, arum, and money plant) work together.

Monday, March 25, 2013

March 25, 2013 -- back in Ashland, with daffodils

It's crazy; I could easily have done more windowsill arrangements in NYC but didn't. I kept encountering interesting vases and windowsills, and I could have bought flowers on the street, but somehow I just didn't feel like doing it. Preoccupied with the city and my grandchildren, I guess. Today I'm back in Ashland where there is snow on the ground and the daffodils are getting tired of having their stems weakened by storm after storm. A rescued a few of them and added them to greens leftover from last week.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

March 21, 2013 -- sprig in NYC

It wasn't easy to find a green,growing thing in NYC, where I am today. Plucked this sprig of Japanese holly from a planting in front of a sports bar on 7th Ave. It's in a styrofoam cup sitting on the hotel windowsill.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

March 20, 2013 -- greens and pear

This isn't really an arrangement. It is an eleventh hour attempt to have something to post. Some greens from yesterday pulled together in vase with pretty pear nearby.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

March 19, 2013 -- bad rendition of a good idea

Where is a good photographer when you need one?! Today I was trying to photograph my conception of simple vs.complicated leaves. Here's the result: simple-shaped  leaves to the left (money plant and ivy), complicated leaves to the right (boxwood and red cedar). The point is: flowers (like the marsh marigolds in the photo) show up better against simple-shaped leaves than complicated ones.

Monday, March 18, 2013

March 18, 2013 -- same camellia

As predicted, it snowed last night, and today I thought I'd use my 'April Remembered' camellia in an entirely different arrangement--or at least a different vase. This little brown pottery vase seemed to fit the bill. So: this is the same flower from yesterday, but with some pussy willow and quince sprigs culled from earlier windowsill arrangements added. In truth, I think I like yesterday's arrangement (in the Ikebana container) better.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

March 17, 2013 -- 'April Remembered'

I've been wanting a camellia to bloom so I could use it in this vase, and today one did. A special camellia  it is, too. Called 'April Remembered,' a friend gave it to me when my mother died. Much to my dismay, the shrub is not happy, but it manages to put out a few blooms each year. It's not unusual for the first bloom to come in March. There is some chance it might snow tonight, so I didn't feel bad about picking it. The twirly foliage is asphidistra, the other green leaves are aucuba.

             I am in desperate need of a course in PhotoShop so I can clean up these windowsills!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

March 16, 2013 -- quince blossoms opening!

Ah, yes. As I had hoped, the quince buds I photographed on March 8 are now opening and look almost exactly like the ones in the illustration next to them. Thank goodness for things that are predictable!

Friday, March 15, 2013

March 15, 2013 -- Jetfire daffodils, etc.

The most interesting part of this is where the materials came from Only the Jetfire daffodils came from the garden. The little lavender flowers (Chinese temple bells) were blooming in a window of the shed where they'd volunteered in a pot containing a tender plant I was overwintering there. The pussy willow twigs, the spirea foliage, and the cryptomeria foliage (which you can barely see) all came from earlier windowsill arrangements that were sitting around the kitchen.

I added the pussy willow twigs just because they seemed to echo the color and "mood" of the rusty wire cage around the bottle.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

March 14, 2013 -- fasciated willow

This is a new vase (series of three bottles in a wire basket) that I bought in Staunton last weekend. Really like it. I've filled it with small twigs of fasciated willow, which, at this stage, looks like pussy willow but will eventually have flattened, and often knotted or twirled, branches.

I cut these small, fasciated willow twigs from a much larger branch I had to prune off to make way for a renovated patio.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

March 13, 2013 -- better hairy bittercress, plus locust

This is a much better photo of hairy bittercress, which was in the windowsill yesterday (and is still there today).

And here is a really wacky windowsill arrangement that "happened" today. While at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Louise Witherspoon and I spotted these locust pods on the ground near the Visitor's Center. Louise gathered a few for me and I propped them on the dashboard of the car. As I drove home, I realized they were a car windowsill arrangement! Before parking the car in front of my own home, I drove up the hill to get a better backdrop for these pods on the dashboard. In real life, they are black, not whitish as they appear in this photo.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

March 12, 2013 -- hairy bittercress

It's funny, but the first photos I took of this showed only a whitish vase against a brownish background. I had to enhance the photo to make the hairy bittercress flowers and foliage even show up. This is a delicate, beautiful, edible weed that is as ubiquitous as daffodils in a mid-Atlantic spring. It's also edible (if I remember correctly, Gertrude Jekyll added it to butter sandwiches in England), and it's the source of those jet-propelled seeds that can put an eye out of commission when you're weeding later in spring.

Monday, March 11, 2013

March 11, 2013 -- snowdrops!

I like this a lot! And I love the way it evolved. A friend suggested I replace the snowdrop photo in a book I'm working on (not good enough), and I went outside to see if, by any chance, some snowdrops were still blooming. In the spot where they were blooming a couple of weeks ago, they were no longer blooming (although those fat, green pods were still hanging on). Too bad, thought I, but when I turned to go back inside I discovered these three snowdrops blooming in a different spot. I put them in the same little brown bottle I'd used for them last year,  then started scrounging around for something to put behind them so they'd show up. This brown oval backdrop is the underside of the top of an old, wooden Chinese box I bought a million years ago and have never used. The little red dot is a drop of wax of some sort.

There's also some budding spirea and wild onion foliage in this little bottle of snowdrops. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

March10, 2013 -- more Staunton

This is a windowsill in the Stonewall Jackson Hotel, where, miraculously,I encountered Carter Douglas, who gave me this little pair of tete-e-tete daffodils growing in a tiny clay pot.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

March 9, 2013 -- Staunton

Spent the day in Staunton, Va. I am so impressed with the American Shakespeare Center, where I've seen two plays in the past two days. This is a hellebore flower in the hotel windowsill. Believe it or not, I encountered another flower arranger,
Carter Douglas, in the hotel lobby, and it was she, who was arranging in the hotel ballroom, who shared this hellebore flower.

Friday, March 8, 2013

March 8, 2013 -- print prompt

For the second time in ten years this book has survived a bookshelf purge. And that's primarily because of this illustration I love. The title of book, published in 1913, is Art-Craft for Young Folks, and it's full of arts and craft ideas like this one: "Bring sprays of leaves or fruit to school. Before you draw, look at different sprays and notice as much as you can. You will see that heavy fruit hangs by its own weight, and the stem must be large enough to bear it." Then there's info re how to "paint a spray from nature." .

     When I first put the book on the windowsill, I tried to "interpret" it by adding an apple and some flowers. That just distracted from the apple in the illustration. Then I tried an apple green vase, but that, too was just a distraction. This was my best interpretation: budding japonica (quince) with a sprig of osmanthus in an off-white cruet. I'll try to photograph this again when the light is better and the flowers have opened. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

March 7, 2013 -- daffy-down-dilly

Many nice encounters with daffodils today. First there were the old-fashioned, naturalized ones blooming outdoors. I picked some to drop into this test tube container, then laid some green chopsticks along the top of the wood base. That addition helped ground them.

While cleaning out files today, I also came across this illustration I'd once copied from a Mother Goose book (I think it was a Mother Goose book). I've always loved the illustration and the rhyme that accompanies it. 

"Daffy-down-dilly is now come to town
With a petticoat green and a bright yellow gown."

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

March 6, 2013 -- snow shoes

This is what happens when you're snowed in and don't have power. (I'm posting this from my iPad.) I spent the morning cleaning out closets and ran across this pair of shoes I'd been saving thinking one of my granddaughters might use them for dress-ups. I wore them to a rehearsal dinner over 40 years ago! Anyway, I had decided it was past time to get rid of them, when, because they were purple (and so were my windowsill flowers) I decided to use them as "vases." Too bad this color isn't true--this is all royal purple, not blue.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

March 5, 2013 -- playing with purple

This didn't quite work, but tonight, when the sky was dark blue, I tried to put some deep purple flowers in front of it. At least it's a record of what's blooming: tiny reticulated irises (on left) and pansies, which have lifted their heads in response to longer days but are likely to have their temerity punished by snow/rain tonight.

Monday, March 4, 2013

March 4, 2013 -- daffodils and catalpa cigars

Oh, how I could improve on this now that I've seen the photo: I want to pull the right-most daffodil upright, separate the vase of daffodils from the vase of catalpa pods, and open the window lever! But at least this is a record of a fine experience today. Photographer Robert Llewellyn picked these blooming daffodils in Earlysville, Virginia, where he also has the most amazing studio filled with botanical beauties like these slender, dark brown catalpa pods. I hate not doing his studio justice, does what one can do.

I could get all worked up about the limitations of my photograph--or just celebrate the fact that daffodils are blooming in central Virginia, and one man is saving catalpa pods because he appreciates their beauty!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

March 3, 2013 -- Neltje Blanchan page

This page, in a 1917 book by Neltje Blanchan, was by far the most beautiful thing I encountered today. Having gotten rid of an entire suite of bookshelves, I am ruthlessly discarding garden books. But this one, oh, this one, which I'd forgotten I owned, will stay in my possession: The Nature Library, Wildflowers, by Neltje Blanchan. I have no idea how it came into my possession, but what a treasure it is. Its illustrations (and text) are all wonderful, but this Solomon's Seal illustration is exquisite. I may be risking some damage to the book, but I've put it on the windowsill so I can enjoy the illustration. This seems sort of disrespectful, but it's certainly better than letting the book languish on a bookshelf unopened. I just propped it up next to yesterday's plant material.

Here's the page close up.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

March 2, 2013 -- fasciated willow and cryptomeria

What I like about this is the source of the materials. Today was sort of a cold, gray day on average, but this morning I was outside when the air was relatively warm for a while and the sun almost peeked out. I was enjoying being outside, and gardening! Some things that had seemed impossible to do suddenly seemed possible--like cutting down an overgrown fasciated willow and cleaning out part of the shed. From the shed (an old bucket of greens) came these very small sprigs of cryptomeria (the feathery evergreen foliage). And from the tips of the fasciated willow (pussy willow with flattened stems) came these pussy-willow-like twigs. I actually harvests lots of twigs--a bucketful--from the fasciated willow, because they were way too pretty to throw away, and I'm hoping they'll root.

Friday, March 1, 2013