Sunday, November 30, 2014

old goldenrod

Last night, I came home from a hike in Virginia's Westmoreland State Park with a red oak leaf I was dying to display in the windowsill. It wasn't particularly colorful, but it was BIG and it was dramatic, but when I went to find it tonight, I couldn't find it. Instead, here's a tiny "jug" with a piece of dried goldenrod in it that has been sitting around my kitchen for a couple of weeks. It's still pretty, and I loved it at the time I picked it, but I'm still wishing I could find that red oak leaf!

P.S. Sorry the photo is out of focus. I'm too tired to enlist the help of my tripod.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

well-travelled Swiss chard, plus rain

Love the way you can see the rain out the window in this photo. The hunk of Swiss chard is something I carried from Virginia to Ohio with me to use in a demonstration. I didn't use it, and thought about throwing it away when I got home, but instead I dropped it into this wine glass. A week later, it's still worth looking at!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

too old to sell; too pretty to throw away

I picked these mums almost three weeks ago on the faint hope that they'd last long enough to use in a workshop my daughter Kate is hosting tomorrow night. Well, they almost made it. They're a little to old-looking to take to a workshop, but they were too pretty to throw away, so I harvested the best of them and brought them into the kitchen. There they landed near my clipper holster, which was an unusually rich brown, because I had just washed it. Beautiful with the pale yellow mums! In gathering equipment for the workshop I also knew just where to put my hands on a large plastic tube, which I dropped into my holster with the flowers and some epimedium foliage. The colors are gorgeous together, and, in my kitchen, the mums don't look as aged as they are.

Friday, November 21, 2014

cobalt blue and yellow-green

My sweet daughter remembered how much I loved this blue vase and gave it to me for my birthday today. I knew I'd been saving some yellowing geranium leaves for a reason--to put them in my new blue vase!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

two forms--okra and collards rib

These two materials seemed to want to share a vase tonight--one is an unusually curled okra pod and he other is the midrib of a collard leaf. The latter was left over after I used the rest of the leaf in collards cole slaw.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

too much to explain

If I had time (and ability), I'd write an essay about how all this wound up in the windowsill. The short story (re the most obvious material here) is that I tried to save some tiny marigolds for an upcoming (November 24) workshop but only a few of them persevered until now. I now know none will last until the workshop, but here, on the windowsill, are a few blooms that are still quite pretty. Pretty is obviously "in the eyes of the beholder."

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

basil and bloody dock

Winter brought these things indoors--some basil (an upright, small-leaved variety) and some bloody dock (an annual I had growing in pots outdoors). I harvested some bloody dock leaves (they're the larger ones with red veins) from the plants I now have growing inside, where they seem happier than they did all summer, because I'm watering them more regularly. If you look closely, you can see in the vase second from the right that some of the basil has rooted. And in the window, you can see the reflection of what appears to be a mean ghost. I fear that's me!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

tiny bracken fern "frondlet"

I can't right now remember what the sub-parts of a fern frond are called, but this is one of them. It's part of a bracken fern frond and wound up on my dining room table because of my quick packing for a talk in Ohio this weekend. On the dining room table, I assembled all the plant materials I would take, and among them was a cluster of dried bracken fern fronds from which this fell (or broke off).
As I was cleaning the leftover plant debris off the dining room table this morning, this little frondlet seemed too pretty to sweep into the trash can. Here it is, displayed in a really tiny vase a friend gave me, The whole thing--vase and fern frondlet--isn't but about 4 inches tall.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Hosta leaf in hotel windowsill

Not much of a windowsill in this Columbus, Ohio, hotel room, but the room is great and so was the color of the ragged hosta leaves in a border in front of the hotel. Some of them were almost transparent, so often had they been frosted. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

purple coneflowers with scented geranium leaf

My goodness these flowers have been stalwart! They've kept blooming through at least two hard frosts and several "soft" ones. I picked them today for a talk I'm giving on
Saturday and because I just thought they deserved to be celebrated!

P.S. The flowers obviously aren't purple. Nor are they as red as they look in the photo. They're a sort of russet color, a variety of Echinacea purpurea that I don't know the name of.

Mary's tarragon

This is some tarragon Mary Garner-Mitchell grew. She gave it to me blooming, on nice long stems, but I had to cut it down to use in this little vase. You can see some of the stems have whacked off ends, because I've harvested some leaves directly from the vase to eat them!

 Here's the same little arrangement with a piece of poet's laurel (and its berry) added. The little poet's laurel sprig came from the much a much longer piece still sitting on the windowsill close by.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

last rose of summer in broken sugar shell

Louise Witherspoon gave me this broken sugar shell this weekend, because, no doubt, she knew I wouldn't be able to resist using it as a vase. Using it turned out to be even harder than I thought it would be, because I had to prop the broken pieces up on the intact lid in order for the shell to hold any water. The easy part was finding the right flower to fill it, because this rose (almost identical to one on the sugar shell) was the very last one blooming in my garden. Crazy coincidence.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Nigella in roll of paper towels

Just to get them out of the way (after drawing them), someone dropped these nigella pods into a roll of paper towels at Flower Camp this weekend. I moved the whole thing over to the windowsill so it could function as my windowsill arrangement.

Here's another photo from the weekend. A red maple leaf-- so beautiful!

Friday, November 7, 2014


I picked this up on a walk yesterday, because it was such a great season marker--"fronds" of mimosa foliage falling to the ground entirely intact. Some of them were so perfectly symmetrical, they looked almost like little flat renditions of evergreen trees. By the time I got home, a few "frondlets" had fallen off, and more have fallen since I've  had this on the windowsill, but the leaf is still pretty.

The vase BYW was a gift from Sandi Shirey, whose mother made it many years ago.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

amazing piece of poet's laurel!

Where is a grandchild who knows how to take panoramic photos when you need one?! I definitely needed one to take this picture, because I couldn't get the whole length of this 4.5 foot poet's laurel branch in the picture frame. I discovered it, laden with orange berries, outside this morning and couldn't resist picking it. Interestingly, it came from my least healthy of  my poet's laurel shrubs. Maybe the shrub put all its energy into this one long branch? Or maybe the whole shrub is dying and this was its last hurrah? Some plants do that--produce lots of seeds or berries when stressed just to make they'll leave offspring.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

weary daylily leaves with coneflower

These materials caught my eye today, so I decided to combine them--a stalwart yellow Echinacea flower and some graceful, declining daylily foliage. I think there's something interesting about the contrast between the graceful, drooping daylily foliage and the rigid, straight Echinacea flower.

green gumballs

Some of these gumballs were bright green when I picked them up off the ground yesterday. They seem to be "browning" by the minute! I think strong wind over the weekend brought them down from the trees early.

Monday, November 3, 2014

dashboard flowers

Not sure if this counts as a windowsill, but I think it should. I was pulling out of my driveway with these flowers in my cup holder when I realized this was probably the only arrangement I'd do today. So I propped them on the dashboard (which is the car's windowsill, right?) and photographed them. The flowers are tiny marigolds (which I'd picked before last night's hard frost) and the foliage is scented geranium leaves. All are in a jam jar, which I delivered to friend.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

cyrysanthemum with amsonia foliage

I was picking a bucket of chrysanthemums this morning, when this little stem broke off in my hand. Carried it back to the house in a buttonhole until I could drop it into a bottle with a snippet of Amsonia foliage. The best thing about this is that the fragrance of chrysanthemums still lingers on my fingers! Also like seeing the colorful dogwood leaves and blooming camellias out the window.