Saturday, August 30, 2014

yellow gourds, red okra

These are the most beautiful winged, yellow gourds. And the most wonderful thing about them is that I didn't grow them on purpose--the plants they came from sprouted in my compost heap! In the vase between them are some red okra pods.

Friday, August 29, 2014

this the season for....rose hips!

I love all rose hips, but especially these oblong, orange ones from a climbing rose I don't know the name of. The greens with the rose hips are leftover Swiss chard ribs. I ate the leafy parts that surrounded the ribs for breakfast this morning!

P.S. For some reason the hips look red in this photo, but they're actually orange.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

spent sunflower

This is a sunflower head from which the cardinals have eaten about a quarter of the seeds. I decided to grab it before all the seeds were gone, because I want to save some to plant next year. It's a mighty interesting object.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

summer flower mix

These were so pretty yesterday, and now all I can think about his how I should have "fluffed them up" better before taking this photo. Yesterday, I collected these flowers in my hand and dropped them into this vase almost exactly as I'd gathered them in the garden. Included are snapdragons, false-dragonhead, phlox, petunia, celosia, sedge, and morning glory vine. They were so much prettier yesterday (or I thought they were), but often I look back later on photos like this and think "What were you so concerned about?"  Just having a record of what was blooming on Aug. 26/27, 2014 in Ashland, Va., USA should be satisfying enough.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


You could look at this all day and never appreciate its true significance--fragrance. Thank you, Debbe Peck, for delivering me this fragrant blossom.

Monday, August 25, 2014

one coral zinnia

I am so pretty--one coral zinnia flower with some scented geranium foliage and a little yellow celosia. Love the shadow of the scented geranium leaf on the windowsill.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

celebrating cider

I did this arrangement as much to celebrate the cider as the season. The cider was Blue Bee Aragon 1904 and Blue Bee Charred Ordinary. Delicious! The flowers are tiny black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia triloba) and dark black bee balm seedheads.

Friday, August 22, 2014

pink coxcomb and rhododendron foliage

I love these huge coxcomb flowers, but sometimes they are so heavy and their "necks" so thin that they break off their long stems. That's what happened to this flower, but it was so dramatic I couldn't throw it away. I just jammed it into this narrow-necked container with some rhododendron foliage.

snow-on-the-mountain and spent bee balm flowers in cigar holder

Catherine Ellyson noticed the black, dead flowerheads of bee balm in the Flower Camp garden this morning, and she pulled them together with some white & green snow-on-the-mountain. Here's a mini-version of that combination in a cigar holder.

Monday, August 18, 2014

nasturtiums with banana peppers

My nasturtiums aren't very happy (I think they prefer cooler weather), but I picked some today to use as garnishes on salads. Here they are sort of plumped up and augmented with a piece of scented geranium foliage. I love the color of the pale yellow ones ('Moonlight' nasturtiums,) and I couldn't resist laying a few banana peppers alongside them, because they are almost the same color.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

yet another box--this one filled with tomatillos

Filling these boxes is addictive! My produce seems to fit them perfectly. Now I've added a box of tomatillos, and it's all I can do to keep myself from spending the afternoon filling boxes with gourds. Everything just looks so striking against the black bottoms of the boxes.

Friday, August 15, 2014

still playing with boxes

Anyone who went to Flower Camp will recognize these boxes: we called them Buckingham boxes and used them as containers/background for flower collages. This one I filled with an overripe tomato, some greenish coxcomb flowers, and a winged gourd. They are just so much fun to play with!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

today's gifts from the garden

This box of goodies started with the huge, green coxcomb flower, which broke off in my hand while I was trying to tease some seeds from it. I groaned, but saved the flower hoping to use it somehow on the windowsill. The tatume squash also came from today's harvest, and I found the white hydrangea flower (top right) on the ground  as I walked back from the shed. Because the coxcomb stem was so short, I knew there was no way to use it in a vase, so I laid it into this box. Then came the squash, the hydrangea flower, and finally the orange Japanese lantern pods, which had been sitting around the utility room since last year. They're faded and not as pretty as those from this year's , but they worked in this box and I didn't mind snipping them off their stems as much as I would have the fresher ones.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

hibiscus with hardy begonia

This hibiscus flower will last only a day--but what a day! I've been enjoying it since early this morning. With it are some hardy begonia flowers and leaves.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sedums in Pittsburgh windowsill

THis little crate of sedums nesting on a doiley was a gift from a vendor (of sedums) at a garden writers' meeting. It fits on the hotel windowsill perfectly. 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Historic house windowsill

This is a windowsill at an historic house called Newington in Sewickley, Pa. The owner let me pick this geranium blossom for picture. 

Pittsburgh windowsill

I'm sharing a room in Pirrsburgh hotel with Virginia landscape designer Kathy Brooks. Kathy brought this beautiful little arrangement with her to Pittsburgh, and now it's on our windowsill. It includes zinnias, globe amaranth, lavender, and small-leaved Passion flower vine, among other things. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

wildflowers from walk

Much to my delight, the highway department mowers are late mowing along Railroad Avenue, and the roadside wildflowers are wonderful. Picked this handfull of them as I walked this morning: wild petunia (Ruellia), red clover, sweet peas, and foxtail grass.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

cayenne peppers

Love the look of these long, dark green cayenne peppers. I picked this group of them for their shapes, and, while in the garden, I discovered the twirly one sitting on the windowsill outside the vase.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

black-eyed Susans with cherry tomato

This is a tiny little arrangement make from leaves and flowers leftover from a larger arrangement. The leaves are scented geranium and basil leaves, the flowers are Rudbeckia triloba, which always has small flowers, but these are particularly tiny.  The tomato is a small cherry tomato, so that shows you how small the whole arrangement is.

Monday, August 4, 2014

tomatillo husks on totem pole

I don't think grown-ups are supposed to have this much fun--at least not making totem poles. This was inspired by an illustration in the New Yorker of a fruit assemblage by Italian photographer Lorenzo Vitturi. When I found myself with some tomatillo husks I couldn't throw away, I immediately started picturing them assembled on a pole. Here they are, jammed onto a skewer, with a squash and a gourd.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

trumpet vine flowers, warty squash, helianthus

I think this is the first time I've used trumpet vine flowers in an arrangement all summer, which is weird, because I love trumpet vine flowers! This arrangement actually started with the warty squash, though. At the time I picked them, they were already too old to cook with, so I'd been saving them for an arrangement when I decided to use them today. I'd intended to drop a liner of some sort into the big one and use it as a vase, but, I couldn't seem to make myself pierce its wonderful, warty skin, so I positioned a vase behind it, and its smaller companion squash, instead. In the vase are yellow perennial helianthus flowers and one perfect cluster of orange trumpet vine flowers.

Friday, August 1, 2014

sycamore bark and sassafras leaf

I found these two huge pieces of shed sycamore bark and bright red sassafras leaf on my walk today. It was raining and the bark was so dark, the leaf so shiny red!