Tuesday, September 30, 2014

today's harvest

Three red Echinacea blossoms, a sprig of raspberrry foliage that broke of in my hand as I was pruning back some canes, a sprig of yellow celosia, a very long Asian stringbean (twirled into an oval), and a pattypan squash.

Monday, September 29, 2014

roses, pokeberries, etc.

I didn't intend this to be so elaborate, but it just kept growing and growing. I picked three little roses and then started looking around for something to put them in. The first thing that caught my eye was this little basket, and, probably because I'd just been reading about birds' nests, I decided to use it sort of like a nest--with a pin cup in it to hold the flowers. The color seemed to call for some purplish coleus leaves, then some pokeberries I'd picked for another reason, then a plum that was already on the windowsill, then a walnut (in its husk) that I had picked up in the yard earlier.

P.S. Secrets of the Nest is a wonderful book.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

yellow Sternbergia, aka "fall crocus"

One of the advantages of writing this blog is that it forces me to try to remember plant names. The little yellow flower below is often called a fall crocus, but it's actually a plant called Sternbergia. There are crocuses that bloom in the fall, but this isn't one of them. I love it when the Sternbergia blooms, not just because it's always a surprise but because it reminds me of the place where I first saw them blooming en masse--in Hatton,Virginia. There, Sternbergia bloom in the lawns and borders of almost every house (there aren't many houses in Hatton!) and it seems so very clear that this has been a pass-along plant, passed from neighbor to neighbor.

The foliage in the vase with the Sternbergia flower is lily-of-the-valley.

Friday, September 26, 2014

damaged dahlia

This little arrangement exists only because I damaged a larger one. I was trimming something from a big arrangement when I nicked this dahlia, rendering it short-stemmed. Here it is in a tiny Cracker Barrel syrup bottle. I love this color of dahlia wherevever I see it,  but I'm particularly in love with this one (and its dark foliage) because I grew it from seed. There's a long Asian bean in this photo, too.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

another syrup bottle

Here's another sweet arrangement in a Cracker Barrel syrup bottle. Mary Garner-Mitchell created this one as a sample for Shrine Mont arranging workshop. It includes two little zinnia flowers and a sprig of scented geranium foliage. Beautiful windowsill on the porch of the Rectory cottage!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

breakfast leftovers

This container is a Cracker Barrel syrup bottle that Mary Garner Mitchell cleaned up and decorated (with nametags) for an arranging workshop this past weekend. I put flowers in it for the workshop, but this morning it was sitting around the kitchen empty when this rib of a Swiss chard leaf became available (I ate the rest of the leaf for breakfast). The colors of even just this remnant of a leaf are gorgeous. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

apple for the teacher

Dear Mrs. Gaunce (best 6th grade teacher ever),
     If you were still alive I would give you this apple. Since you're not, I'm going to eat it, but it was fun thinking about you and looking at the apple from the Shenandoah Valley on the windowsill. Just the fact that it still has its leaves attached makes it seem fresh and beautiful.
     Your appreciative student,

Thursday, September 18, 2014

white petunias--pulled up by accident

This little arrangement has an interesting history. I was picking flowers today (dozens of buckets of them) for an upcoming workshop, and I was trying to weed as I cut. Not a good idea, in general. I was pulling some spent celosia out from among snapdragon plants, when I inadvertently also pulled up a self-seeded petunia plant that I'd been enjoying all summer. My groan was deep. There was no use replanting it; I didn't have time to water it in and it probably wouldn't have succeeded anyway. But I was happy to have a way to celebrate its life in this windowsill arrangement.

I had to prop a black tray up in the windowsill to make the white petunia show up.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

goldenrod and pink asters

This little concoction is dedicated to Brenda Gilman and her daughter, Buffy, who, when she was married, had pink and yellow flowers in her bridesmaids'  bouquets. At the time, I thought (because I was helping with the bouquets),"Really? Pink and yellow?" But Brenda was so far ahead of me in terms of understanding color it wasn't funny,and the bouquets were gorgeous. Many, many years later, here I am again playing with yellow and pink. These asters are pinker than they look in this photo, and their centers are bright yellow/orange, and they look GREAT with goldenrod (which happened to be growing right next to them in the garden). There's also one little stem of an annual bee balm in this, and it's sort of lavender-blue.

Monday, September 15, 2014

false dragonhead

This is a stem of false dragonhead (Physostegia) that was almost lying on the ground in the garden. It had fallen over then started stretching upward toward the sun again, resulting in a really curved stem. This was the best way I could find to display what I liked best about it--that curved stem--but I don't think it's particularly successful.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

view from the sink

I don't know why this particular view of the windowsill made me so happy. I think it's the way the goldenrod seems to be growing out of the sink! (It's actually in a water glass in the sink, where I dropped it until I decided what to do with it.)  I also sort of like the bottle with just a stick in it. The stick had bee supporting something that wilted--a leaf maybe--and now it's just a stark linear thing, but I like the way it looks with the gourd stalk.

Friday, September 12, 2014

plaited grass

You know how, when you used to take your hair down after it had been in braids, it maintained the kinks put in your hair by the plaiting? When these grass flowers were still tight and spear-shaped, they looked like braids and now that the "strands" are loose, they're still holding that kinked look. Gorgeous. The only way I could find to make them show up on the windowsill was to put a black tray behind them.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

whole windowsill

This is a photo taken earlier--when okra flower was still open. I'm posting it again now, because when I finally opened the GCV journal I'd used as a prompt for this windowsill arrangement, I realized the cover illustration was created by Esther Carpi. That was a thrill, because Esther took a botanical drawing class at Flower Camp once (or maybe it was nature journaling?). Either way, Esther was a pro before she ever arrived at Flower Camp, so we can't take credit for her artistry, but it was fun discovering I knew the artist whose work I was admiring on my windowsill! 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

big sassafras leaf

This is one of the biggest sassafras leaves I've ever seen. And it's a great red color, too. Propped it up in this vase with a chopstick behind it yesterday morning, took it with me to a talk last night, brought it back home with me, and this well-traveled leaf is still looking fresh and gorgeous.

hibiscus pods

For the record, the okra flower I picked for my last post lasted about 8 hours.

This is something different--hibiscus pods in a glass hibiscus holder. The pods are gorgeous, and the holder is pretty nifty, too, because it holds water in a way that can hydrate an almost horizontal stem.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

okra flower

I couldn't resist picking this gorgeous okra flower and bringing it indoors this morning. Its big leaves will wilt (in fact one of them is already wilting in this photo), and the flower will last only a day, but I'm curious to see when it actually closes--after 12 hours? After 24? Stay tuned.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

gorgeous ligularia leaves, shrimpy squash

It was hot and terribly dry at Flower Camp today, but these ligularia leaves seemed to be defying the elements. They are shiny and unblemished--seeming to come from a different universe. These little squashes, on the other hand, are...well,..stunted.

Friday, September 5, 2014

This is just too complicated to explain, but....

suffice it to say that (most of) this stuff on the windowsill was drawn there by the colors on the Garden Club of Virginia Journal cover. I went outside to pick a fig to perfectly mimic the cover, but an animal had eaten the only one I had! I substituted red okra. The "other-worldly" objects surrounding the vase of red okra, are winged gourds.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

tickseed sunflowers, goldenrod, grass

It's September, so Virginia's roadside ditches are filled with tickseed sunflowers. I think this may be my favorite roadside wildflower. In the vase with these tickseed sunflowers is some goldenrod, a few black-eyed Susans, and a stem of Japanese hakone grass.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

African melons

I think the seeds of these wacky little green things were labeled "African melons" in the Rare Seeds catalog. And I'm sure they were labeled "poisonous." What interesting little things they are, because in addition to their unusual shape, they have a rubbery texture. They remind me a little of Jimson weed pods.

Monday, September 1, 2014

adorable arrangement--and arranger

Arrangement of zinnias and cosmos for Flower Camp windowsill by Grace Ann Hugo.