Sunday, March 30, 2014

pussy willow, daffodil foliage, and aconite foliage in celery seed tin

I'm not sure Crown Colony (a Safeway brand) still even exists, but this little tin of celery seed was still on my shelf this morning, when I needed celery seed. Used the last of it in a cole slaw dressing then left the tin sitting around hoping it would inspire me to put something in it. It didn't happen immediately, but I eventually realized black pussy willow would suit it.  First, I added some tiny pussy willow twigs, then, to hold that upright, some dead cryptomeria foliage, then, for good bright green color, some daffodil foliage, then for REALLY bright green color, one umbrella-like leaf from a winter aconite plant.


I can see from the photo, in a way that I couldn't see it in the kitchen, that the lines of this arrangement could use some tweaking! And this won't last very long, because I discovered immediately that the little tin leaks. I emptied it of water and decided to use it anyway, because the pussy willow doesn't really need water and the daffodil foliage and aconite leaf will hold up until at least after dinner without it.  

Friday, March 28, 2014

scrambled eggs

You know you may be getting a little to deeply into your flower arranging when you change the way you crack your breakfast egg to make a vase! That's what happened this morning, because I wanted to drop a scrambled egg daffodil (that's a variety with many sort of poorly organized petals) into an eggshell I had used for a vase yesterday, but this morning, I wanted the eggshell taller, so I knocked just the top off of it.  To make it stand up on a plate, I attached it to the plate with a drop of floral adhesive. Voila--sweet vase.  I had this all set up with daffodil in place, when I decided it would be fun to put the top of the eggshell in the photo (as if the emerging daffy--think chick--had popped it off), so I had to fish that out of the compost bucket. Crazy, crazy. But fun! And I do love the sight of a scrambled egg emerging from an eggshell! Second photo shows a different, fully open scrambled egg daffodil in the eggshell.

Thanks to Audrey Suhr for these beautiful blue eggs (from her chickens)!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

daffodil in egg shell

I couldn't throw these beautiful bluish egg shells away, so they sat around the kitchen until today when I decided to use one as a vase. To keep it upright (so it could hold water), I put a tiny bit of floral adhesive between it and the plate underneath. As soon as I finished this, it occurred to me that I should have used a Scrambled Egg daffodil!  Maybe I'll try that tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

black pussy willow (with steak knife)

This black pussy willow is so gorgeous I could drop it into anything and it would look pretty, but the most appropriate thing I could find to drop it into was this bamboo-esque vase. Unfortunately, it doesn't have a weighty liner and the pussy willow made it top-heavy so, to make it all stand up straight, I had to jam a steak knife between the wooden sticks of the vase and into the gap between the window and the jam to make the whole thing stand up. I defy you to find the black handle of the steak knife in this arrangement, though!

For the record, it snowed this morning, it's really cold outside right now, and the radiator near this windowsill is cranking out heat! .

Monday, March 24, 2014

daffodils and New Yorker cover

I was cleaning my desk when I discovered this copy of a 2008 New Yorker cover Louise Witherspoon had sent me. (Louise must have been cleaning her desk, too!) It's such a wonderful cover--lady standing on her front porch exalting in spring weather & flowers. It's cold in Virginia today, but it's also sunny, and the angle of light says spring. I propped the NewYorker cover up in the windowsill (on a clipboard) and used it as a prompt for an arrangement. The daffodils and hellebores are in a turquoise coffee cup, and the only constraint on this arrangement was trying to keep the exultant lady visible!  

Sunday, March 23, 2014

weeds and a twig

My daughter and I were chatting today about how important it is to learn to recognize spring weeds, because if you can't tell a weed from a new garden flower seeding, you'll pull the seedling up! So: today I decided to arrange with spring weeds. In this tiny little vase are hairy bittercress (beautiful little weed with deeply cut leaves and tiny white flowers), henbit (magenta flowers), and marsh marigold. Unlike the first two weeds, marsh marigold is something I actually planted in my yard, but give it another year or two and it will be a weed! There is also one tiny, tiny twig in this arrangement, and it was SO much fun to add for this reason: I spotted this slender little thing only because it was sticking up above the snow one day. It's sort of stiff and woody but not part of a shrub; it's just a leftover weed or wildflower of some sort. Anyway, I brought it home and left it lying around the kitchen, where, today, it was the perfect thing to add to this arrangement. The hole in this vase is only about 1/3 inch wide and, by the time I had added the bittercress, the henbit, and the marsh marigold, there wasn't room for anything else, unless it happened to have a really tiny, stiff stem that could make its way past all those mushy stems--and my beautiful little twig could!

Friday, March 21, 2014


Oh, how Iove this little weed! But today, around 4 o'clock, when I was trying to remember its name, I couldn't. I had picked some while waiting for paint to be mixed at a local paint store (this and purple dead nettle were blooming around the parking lot), and when I went inside with my little bouquet the proprietor was interested in knowing what the weed was. Blank. Total mental blank. I couldn't remember its name and it's a name I've cherished since I first learned it about 30 years ago. I was sad because here was a chance to teach someone the name and I couldn't. When I got home and stopped trying to retrieve it, I thought the name would come to me, but it didn't. Until tonight at 7:41 pm. Henbit!! Boy would I love to know what twist of fate or gift of grace caused that neuron to finally fire.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

yearning for winter (?)

Today was a beautiful spring day that I didn't have time to honor. I was totally occupied with tasks that were important but not nature-related (apart from the fact that I, an animal. chose to participate in them). Anyway, here's what wound up on the windowsill. I fear this spring is going to come on so fast that I won't I be able to document it a minute at a time. This year, I fear, spring will overwhelm me, and I'll see too much too fast to be able to distill anything comprehensible from it. Whatever: here's today.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

winter weary daffodils

I should take inspiration from these daffodils. Some days, because of arthritis in my neck, it seems almost impossible just to hold my head up. But, hey: look at these daffodils! They've been hit by at least three snow storms, and, although their stems are weak and their petals are mushy and their postures are bent (at best), they are still blooming!

It seemed like a small miracle today when first these three little purple vases then these 'Jetfire" daffodils  fell into my lap. The vases are some my daughter is selling on her website ( and she needed them photographed with flowers in them. The minute I saw them, I thought they needed 'Jetfire' daffodils (with their orange trumpets) in them, but I had no idea I'd come home to find 'Jetfire' daffodils blooming in the garden. I knew 'Jetfire' daffys SHOULD be blooming at this time of year, but this has been no normal year. Sure enough, though, they were blooming. Here they are, outside, laying their weary heads on the ground. Their color is off in this photo because I took it outside, with a flash, after dark.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

filbert (?) catkins

I'm struggling with so much today--illness, uncooperative software, leaky memory--but the thing that's bugging me most right now is the fact that I can't remember the name of the shrub from which I clipped this twig. I think it's a filbert of some sort--a shrub given me by a neighbor who's at work and unavailable for a shrub-name-consultation. At any rate, its catkins are always really, really long at this time of year, and this year too, despite the snow, they are gorgeous. I propped the twig up in the windowsill behind a jar of gumbo I'd bought in Charleston.

True--this is really true--my husband, who is on the road, just called in response to phone message from me asking if he could remember the name of the shrub the Pellmanns gave us. He thinks it's a hazelnut, and I'm almost sure he's right. Is a filbert related to a hazelnut? I'll have to look it up!

Monday, March 17, 2014

frozen red maple on radiator

Back to Virginia...and snow! I was walking this morning when I encountered the PennLine men (the men who trim trees for our electric company) trimming trees. Oddly enough, they weren't dealing with an electrical problem, they were just doing their routine trimming. On the ground near them were beautiful, flowering red maple branches. I snapped a few twigs off the branches and brought them home, where I started looking for a vase to put them in. I had found the one I thought was best, when I decided, instead, to just jam then into the voids between the radiator pipes.  They've been thawing there ever since!

P.S. Now I need to go back outside and keep my eye on those PennLine men, who, in my experience, do a better pruning job when you're watching!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

same pansy on a real windowsill

same little arrangement on a real windowsill

pilfered pansy

Picked this pansy flower and pittosporum foliage the courtyard of my Charleston hotel. Bought the sweet little vase nearby. Totally by accident, this looked pretty in front of a painting in the hall, so, with the help of a young man in the lobby, I photographed it in front of the windowsill in the painting!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

wintry, but right

I had time for only 15  minutes of gardening yesterday, so I pruned the old leaves off the winter-weary holly fern. I was raking them up and carrying them to the compost heap when I realized how pretty some of them were. Not every leaf had this gorgeous color and interesting shape, but some did. This may look wintry, but it's actually as seasonal as a daffodil!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

the most beautiful Lenten rose

This morning, as I was turning around in my driveway, one clump of blooming Lenten roses caught my eye. It's totally hidden from public view, but, wow, it should be in the Guggenheim! I picked these two and tried to capture their sublime color in this photo, but I was only halfway successful. The bottle is perfect for them, because it's a pale purplish pink. Have no idea how I acquired it, but it has the words "E. A. Saunders & Sons/ Sole Proprietors/ Richmond, VA" embossed on it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

grandson creation!

Be still my heart! This, truly, is what my grandsons, David and Adam, came up with tonight when I asked them to go outside and pick me some flowers for a windowsill arrangement. They not only picked the flowers but dropped them into this vase, which they selected themselves. Geez...l couldn't have done better.

P.S. Grace Ann Hugo (David and Adam's sister) took the photo. I think I can retire!

P.P.S. The flowers are Lenten roses (Helleborus occidentalis) and stinking hellebores (Helleborus foetidus).

Monday, March 10, 2014

daffodils, at last!

I can't remember ever having to wait until March 10 to pick daffodils in Ashland, but this year... it happened. I actually came back from a trip to find daffodils blooming in the backyard on Sunday, but their heads were bowed over, stems terribly weakened by snow, sleet, and freezing rain. I picked a few of them today, with 3-inch stems, and dropped them into this tiny vase. Diminished as they are, they are still sights to sore eyes!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

tiny iris blooming!

I was turning around in our driveway when I spotted this Iris reticulata blooming among the leaves. It is about 20 feet from the spot where I once planted this wonderful little early-bloomer. I'm guessing an animal must have spread its seed. Such a sweet surprise! The leaf is from Friday's arrangement--a blade of liriope.

Friday, March 7, 2014

rescued crocuses with gumball

After being snowed under, then rained on, then iced over this morning, these crocuses were downright weary when I went to pick them this morning. Still...they are beautiful. And the evolution of this arrangement was fun. I combined the crocuses with some liriope foliage, and in the process of doing that, decided I wanted one of the liriope leaves to twirl in a circle. It was easy enough to tuck one end of the leaf into the neck of the vase to complete the loop, but it wasn't round enough to suit me so I started looking around for something to weight the loop down. (An Ikebana arranger would actually use a tiny fishing weight!). I first tried a wishbone (below), then a gumball (above). I love the gumball with the crocuses, because it's so reflective of this time of year. The gumball was frozen to the ground when went to pick it up this morning!


Thursday, March 6, 2014

glove w/pine cone

On my walk this afternoon I was looking for a particular kind of pine cone to add to a specific arrangement. I wanted a cone that was half-eaten by squirrels, because such a cone has almost a stem (the bottom half of the cone has no scales). Ha! What was I thinking?! By today,almost  every cone on the ground had been totally decimated by squirrels and looked like little more than a "core," I did, though, find a couple of recently fallen cones before the squirrels did, and I brought those home with me. Had no idea what, if anything, I would do with them, but when I saw them lying on the table with my pretty black gloves, I wanted to keep them like that--in proximity to the gloves. Result--this windowsill arrangement.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

tiny bits of statice

A couple of stems of purple statice came in a bunch of florist flowers I bought over a month ago. I never used them in an arrangement, and, in fact, thought about throwing them away more than once. Still, I kept them in the utility room until they dried and, today, one little group of florets sort of dropped into my hands as I was cleaning the surface of the washing machine. I dropped them into this little container, put a marsh marigold leaf  (salvaged from an earlier arrangement) under it, and let a few florets fall where they might. All in all, this is a sweet little thing--and no bigger than a chicken egg.

 I love this little bottle (which  I used earlier to hold snowdrops). Can't remember where I found it (it still has dirt in it), but it has begun to remind me of the little containers of oil paints that used to accompany paint-by-numbers sets.

Monday, March 3, 2014

frozen crocus

This crocus was a stiff as a board when I picked it this morning.  It was already snowing at 8 am, and now the crocuses are barely visible. In another hour, they will be completely covered with snow. A couple of stiff, frozen maple leaves accompanied the crocus when I picked it, so I decided to include them in the arrangement. You can barely see it, but there's a little puddle of water to the right of the vase where the leaves dripped water as they thawed!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

adding a moth

The one advantage of being a lackadaisical housekeeper is that you sometimes discover natural phenomena in your house that others might not have! Yesterday's discovery was a beautiful (dead) moth in the windowsill  I had brought my arrangement upstairs, to try to find better light in which to photograph it, but when I set my vase (and napkins, etc.) on the bedroom windowsill, I had to brush away debris, which, I discovered,  included a gorgeous (dead) moth. I gently picked it up and added it to the arrangement. If you can't find it in the first photograph, you'll find it in the second. It's really a gorgeous insect. 


Saturday, March 1, 2014

greens rearrranged

Here I've combined some green hellebore flowers with green aucuba leaves--both recycled from previous arrangements. The greens seemed to call for a green vase, which seemed to call for a green napkin, which seemed to call for a yellow napkin (both underneath the vase)!