Saturday, August 31, 2013

tomato & sunflower: so summer

In the kitchen, flying around this tomato and sunflower, is a big fat fly, which, unfortunately, I couldn't capture in the photo. If I could have, the photo would have really captured high summer!

Friday, August 30, 2013

from magical Mathews

This arrangement was created by Louise Witherspoon in Mathews County, Virginia, where I saw it on her windowsill today. So, so sweet. I know it includes a hosta leaf and some Jewels-of-Opar seed structures, but what the other leaf is, I don't know and forgot to ask. Pachysandra maybe? The twirly wire is attached to the vase.

What this photo doesn't show is the sweet autumn clematis blooming outside the window and perfuming the entire back yard. Almost overwhelmingly wonderful. Wish I still had some sweet autumn clematis growing in  my own garden, because I'd love to use it in a windowsill arrangement. Photo below shows Louise's  arrangement less well, but you can make out the sweet autumn clematis in the back yard.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

four little maple leaves, all in a row

Picked these red maple leaves off the ground yesterday, pressed them under a drinking glass overnight, and now here they are. I didn't think they'd be as pretty in the window as they were on the wet ground, but they are, because now light is coming through them.

Here's one of the leaves close up. Talk about pied beauty!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

marigolds & sunflower, squared

The way this came about is pretty interesting, because this certainly isn't an arrangement I woke up in the morning imagining! Here's the story: day before yesterday I was cutting back large yellow marigolds to keep them from getting top heavy, and, in order to keep them blooming, I was snipping off any bloom that was waning. I had so many of them I started tossing them over the fence onto the grass where they looked really pretty! I wanted to gather them up to make leis or pull them apart and use their petals to line a midnight walk, which is what I would have done if I'd had some Flower Campers around! But I didn't. So I just gathered up some of the marigold blossoms and started casting about for something easier to do with them. Best option seemed to be to pave the interior of one of these boxes with them. (Flower Campers will recognize these as the Buckingham boxes we used to used to fill with plant material at Flower Camp). At first the flowers completely filled the box, but as the day wore on, they began to sag, leaving the black void at the top, which I like. Then, late yesterday afternoon, I noticed a mammoth sunflower about to topple over in the vegetable garden. Its flower was round...and about the size of a Buckingham box.. and it seemed to be and the perfect conpanion for my square of marigolds!

All the sunflower petals fell off as soon as this sunflower head hit (left) hit the ground, and I knocked off the other flower parts sitting on the immature seeds.  

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Morning glories

I had trouble starting my regular routine this morning because I was so focused on these morning glories. The light kept changing and making them pretttier and prettier. I cut them because they were twining around a snow-on-the-mountain stem, where the whites looked so pretty together, but I couldn't seem to make the snow-on-the-mountain work in an arrangement. Instead I detached the morning glories and dropped them into this jug. New flowers keep opening (after the old ones die), and they've stayed open much longer than I might have expected.  

Monday, August 26, 2013

Red flowers with gourd, squash, clippers

OK. This is a little nuts, but it's what evolved after I added a green striped gourd, and then a white pattypan squash to the windowsill (with my little red morning glory & zinnia arrangement from yesterday). The pattypan squash looked sort of anemic next to the other things, so I jammed my red clippers into it. Whoa....that felt almost too good!

And here's the same wicked thing after dark. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

tiny zinnia with little red morning glory

It's crazy what moves you. I have buckets of huge zinnias and marigolds sitting on my back porch right now, but, coming home from Flower Camp today, it was not those flashy flowers but a couple of tiny ones I was protecting. In this little bottle are the one volunteer mini zinnia I had blooming at Flower Camp (in the midst of hundreds of giant ones) and a couple of stems of little red morning glory. The morning glories are all gorgeous right now, but this little red one particularly cheers me. I actually planted it at Flower Camp--an act most any knowledgeable gardener would consider a mistake--but even though it's invasive and will pull down a flower half its size, I  love looking at it.

You can't really see it, but I also dropped a little bit of asparagus foliage into this bottle. It seemed as exquisite--and diminutive--as the flowers.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

little gourd, with marigold (and hat)

This little ornamental gourd wanted to be in the windowsill, and so did the marigolds, so I combined them. I cut the top off the gourd (not entirely easy; they're pretty hard), scooped out a few seeds, added water. The little gourd does holds water. But my favorite part of this was finding a way to include the cap, because its stem is so wonderful. It looked cute just sitting next to the arrangement, but I like it much better propped up among the flowers. It's held up by a stick that runs from the base of the cap to the bottom of the scooped-out gourd.

Friday, August 23, 2013

More Playing with Knotweed

Decided to sort of deconstruct the knotweed stems I put in a vase yesterday. Here's just one leaf with a spray of flowers on top. So pretty!

And below is an array of knotweed flowers (all with their nearby leaves detached). I've displayed them in three little test tubes in front of a green serving dish.  When my husband saw this, he commented: "That knotweed is really earning its keep," meaning I was getting a lot of use out of our worst weed!

Thursday, August 22, 2013


The morning light was so beautiful on the Japanese knotweed this morning that I had to bring some inside. Knotweed is a terrible, awful, very bad weed that I pledge to totally eradicate from the garden every year. I'd pledge it again, but why bother?!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Eggplant with begonia

This is the same hardy begonia arrangement from yesterday, but I've put an eggplant in front of it. It's a misshapen fruit that looks almost like a bagel (!), but if you look closely you'll see it really is an eggplant. Love the way its stem and shape work with the other materials. I've also tucked a pretty begonia leaf under the eggplant.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Hardy Begonia

Two stems of hardy begonia (Begonia grandis) in a wide-bottomed vase. So simple, so sweet. If  you look carefully, you can see the leaves are still wet from morning dew.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Sedge, tomatoes, rusted windowsill

This is a perfect example of the way windowsill arranging functions as a form of nature journaling. This picture says so much: 1) the window is open on August 19 (so unusually cool!); 2) the tomatoes are ripe for the picking; 3) the sedge flowers (in the rice wine bottle) are huge, because we've had so much rain.

Oddly enough, this is not the "windowsill arrangment" I had intended to post today. I did a couple of arrangements I liked in the windowsill over my kitchen sink, where I usually take my photos, but today I turned around and shot this picture of what just happened to be sitting in the windowsill by the radiator. No kidding. I don't usually photograph things here because the radiator and the rusted storm window are distractions, but today they seemed to look pretty with the tomatoes and sedge! 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Tilt-A-Whorl (with zinnia, dill, onion)

It's been a while since I had as much fun with an arrangement as I had with this one. It started with a really wacky looking dill flower head. Actually all the flowers and seeds had fallen off, and all that was left was the whorl of wiry stems that had held the seeds. They were wonderfully, strangely twisted, so I decided to display them in a modern green vase. But they lost some of their charm when held upright so I started thinking about a way to tilt the vase. Started trolling around the house for an appropriate wedge and found an onion stem (with some of its dried leaves still on) that worked.  At that point the arrangement looked like what's below.

I liked this, but couldn't leave well enough alone when I remembered there was one zinnia in a batch of them I'd picked yesterday that I had really liked. It's sort of an odd orange and has jagged petals (a cactus-flowered zinnia, I guess). Added it to the arrangement, and now it is REALLY jazzy. Love the way the zinnia looks with the whorl of dill, and the onion leaves peeking out from under the vase are fun, too. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

July 14, 2013 -- new mugs with marigolds, etc.

I bought four new mugs from a potter in Fredericksburg, and I like them so much I decided to use them as vases before drinking out of them. Thought it was going to be easy to just drop some giant yellow marigolds into them all, but I found I didn't want to do the same thing in every mug, so this got more complicated than expected. And I'd forgotten how many stems it takes to fill a vessel that doesn't have a narrow neck!

Included in the mugs are (from left to right): 1) sunflower, blackberry lily pods, marigolds, basil; 2) giant yellow marigold flowers; 3) orange butterfly weed and giant yellow marigolds; 4) ripening tomato--the same one I've been using on the windowsill since August 31!

My favorite mug is the one that has marigolds and butterfly weed in it, but the photo doesn't show the design on the mug very well. (It's a barking dog that looks like a hieroglyph.) The other thing that doesn't show in the photo is the fragrance of the marigolds, which lingers on your fingers long after you've stopped fiddling with them. Love it!

Monday, August 12, 2013

August 12, 2013 -- blue lobelia

I had been thinking about blue lobelia--thinking this was the time of year it should be blooming but assuming I didn't have any anymore--when I found a little patch of them blooming in a far, neglected part of the garden. This stem had actually fallen over and was lying on the ground (hence its curve). What a gorgeous blue flower! And every stem on the plant is unusually thick, because it has been so wet this summer. Made a vow to myself not to forget where this plant is, to protect it, and to try to propagate some seeds.

August 12, 2013 -- yesterday's arrangement, amended

Yesterday, toward the end of the day,  I added a soup bowl to my windowsill arrangement. Love the way it makes the already circus-like colors seem even more vibrant.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

August 11, 2013 -- summer color

These colors looked so pretty together outside, I decided to pick some of the flowers and bring them inside. Included are orange marigolds, lipstick salvia, pink asters, some blue liriope flowers, magenta celosia, pink petunias, pink hardy begonia, and orangish lantana. The tomato next to the arrangement is the same one that was on the windowsill July 31, when it was green. Now it's a gorgeous yellow/orange.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

August 8, 2013 -- coxcomb, hydrangea, and hardy begonia

I enjoyed photographing this, because I finally got my camera to see the arrangement the way my eye was seeing it. It's a combination of hydrangea (with a little red appearing in its petals), hardy begonia leaves (with little drops of red appearing in their stems), and coxcomb flowers, which are boldly and brazenly red!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

August 7, 2013 -- more bean play

Couldn't resist playing with these longbeans another day. They are just so expressive! They remind me of hair.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

August 6, 2013 -- playing with beans

Here are some Asian long beans combined with one hock of cockscomb. Pretty crazy!

Later, I did this zinnia arrangement for my sister.

Tried adding long beans to it, too, but that didn't work very well.

Monday, August 5, 2013

August 5, 2013 -- coxcomb in begonia wrap

"Coxcomb in begonia wrap" sounds like a menu item! I wrapped a begonia leaf around the lip of this vase because I wanted to cover up the threads at the top of the bottle. But the leaf  (which actually has its stem in water) turned out to me my favorite part of the arrangement! I tucked the tip of the leaf into the top of the bottle to hold it in place. 

Later I added another little vase of coxcomb flowers to some trumpet vine foliage leftover from last week. 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

August 3, 2013 -- trumpet vine (and green tomato again)

Loved these two sprigs of trumpet vine--one with bud, one with mature blooms.

And, amazingly enough, the foliage on the green tomato I displayed on the windowsill is still looking great. THAT is a real surprise to me. It must be "drinking" from the tomato.