Wednesday, April 30, 2014

dandelions in the rain

I picked these as I walked in the rain this morning--spent dandelions. Not a single one of them was in yellow bloom when I picked it, but when I went to arrange them this afternoon, one of them had exploded into seed. Performance art!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

asparagus and flame azalea

I've done a lots of flower arrangements in the past few days--some for a wedding and some for myself--but none did I enjoy making quite as much as I did making this one. It started with the black vase (which magically reappeared after I thought I'd lost it), proceeded to the flame azalea (which the deer inexplicably let bloom this year), and continued on through a couple of minutes of trying to decide how to position this beautiful, curved asparagus spear (which I'd cut, along with others,at Flower Camp on Sunday). I kept trying to use it upright, but that just wasn't working, so I tried just leaning it on the vase (which didn't work either), then I tried laying it horizontally through the azalea and across the lip of the vase. This I like!

P.S. There's a little bit of  peony foliage in this, too.

Monday, April 28, 2014

lesser celandine and sorrel

Aha--I now know the name of the weed on the right. It's lesser celandine. Thanks, Libbey Oliver! The leaves on the left are sorrel, a gift from Erin Bishop on Easter Sunday. Can't believe how long they have lasted, but Erin "packaged" them perfectly by putting them in this narrow glass with a paper towel around the stems and the towel wicking up water. The leaves are so sour--like a lemon!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

asparagus and iris with ligularia leaf

What a gorgeous day! I'm posting this from the front porch of cabin at Flower Camp where a blue-gray gnatcatcher is flitting around in the dogwood, a breeze is keeping the temperature right around perfect, and the sun catching the treetops across the river is making them luminous.Amazing. But back to the subject at hand: the two most interesting things in the garden today were this deep purple, early-blooming iris and asparagus shoots. I combined them in a bottle then decided they needed an anchor, so I added a ligularia leaf. The colors are prettier, and more subtle, than they appear in the photograph.

Friday, April 25, 2014

grass in a pot

I spent all day yesterday arranging wedding flowers and, by nightfall, I didn't feel like creating a windowsill arrangement. Today I was still in "quiet down" mode (having overdosed on flowers) and the only thing that really moved me when I finally got outside to garden, was this little tuft of grass that came up beautifully intact when I weeded it out of the garden. Dropped it, dirt and all, into this little clay pot, gave it platform to stand on, and, voila, something sweet and simple that I'm enjoying looking at. To keep the pot straight, I tucked a little twig under one side of it and that actually added something visually interesting.

Here's the chaos of color that was occupying the windowsill when I decided I had to clear it (and my mind) out.  

Thursday, April 24, 2014

columbine and Solomon's seal

Must be time for Garden Week in Virginia, because our native columbine is blooming. Other things may lag or bloom prematurely, but it seems to me this red columbine is always blooming during the last two weekes of April. The other wonderful spring material in this arrangements is variegated Japanese Solomon's seal. This year it didn't even start poking out of the ground until around the first of April, but it came on really fast and now has the beautiful dangling white flowers and graceful leafscapes it's famous for.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

little yellow vase

I'm really exhausted tonight, but this little vase sort of revived me. I bought it in Charleston then figured out where it came from so my daughter Kate could offer it on her website (The Arranger's Market). It had been out of my possession because Kate had to photograph it, but today it was back and proved to be just the cheery, easy vase I wanted to arrange in. I'm pretty sure these daffodils are, strangely enough, called 'Geranium' and they look pretty wherever they are, but they are especially cheery in this vase. The added leaves are from scented geraniums. So confusing, name-wise!

P.S. The vase is a much more vibrant yellow than it appears here. I'll try using it again in the morning when the light (and color) might be better. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

spring things

Where's a good photo-fixer, like Robert Llewellyn, when you need him? Bob could straighten this photo up in PhotoShop, but I can't. Just try to imagine it straight in your mind. The flowers are so sweet: a small 'Lilac Wonder' tulip, a couple of tiny 'Hawera' daffodils, and some lavender Chinese temple bells. Pure spring.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter leftovers

My friend Linda was too sick to come to our Easter gathering today, but she managed to send a salad AND this wonderful little bird to hold her salad dressing. Her daughter, Erin (my goddaughter) forgot to take the little bird back to Linda, so I had a chance to play with it. Leftover from the celery I used in turkey dressing were some stalks I put out for people to drop into Bloody Marys if they wanted to. Several were leftover from that, too, so I "cropped" them and dropped them into this beautiful little green bird.  

Saturday, April 19, 2014

"spring green" greater celandine, etc.

Thank you, Libbey Oliver, for identifying my weed--greater celandine. It's now on the kitchen windowsill (far left) sharing space with lots of other things that have gravitated there. Far right is a mug now full of stinking hellebore and sacred lily foliage. Both landed there because they were discards from other arrangements.For the record, I've been assembling colorful arrangements all over the house for Easter, but none is as satisfying as this all green assemblage. Libbey provided words for what I love about all this (including one of my worst weeds, greater celandine): "It's spring green." Amen.

Friday, April 18, 2014

the wages of sin

About 30 years ago I dug a plant like this up (or collected its seed, I can't remember which) outside a Connecticut restaurant. It was growing in a neglected area, and I didn't think I was stealing, but I must have been, because I've been punished by this plant ever since! It's one of my worst weeds. Can't remember its name (something that begins with a C?), but if you see it, do NOT move it into your garden. Pretty is as pretty does, and this pretty-looking  plant spreads like wildfire. The round thing in the photo is a spool of wooden "ribbon"some arrangers unfurl to embellish arrangements. I left it coiled and added it to the windowsill just because it was handy and I thought it added interest.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Easter colors in small flowers

I love these colors anyway, but they seem particularly appropriate now, around Easter. The lavender flowers are Chinese temple bells (Moricandia avensis), the yellow flowers are 'Hawera' daffodils, and the spring green flowers are hellebore florets harvested from larger trusses of Helleborus foetidus.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

white comfrey on shed windowsill

We won't say who this shed windowsill belongs to. Probably someone who gardens when she should be painting the shed. It was almost pretty in its shabbiness today, though, and it seemed to be the only place I wanted to photograph these little white comfrey flowers.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

recycled hellebore flower and arum leaf

It's not like I wasn't outside today. I actually gardened, went to a nursery, and moved flats of seedlings under cover today--between downpours. But my plan to create an entirely new windowsill arrangement using newly-bloomed flowers from the garden had fizzled by 6 pm when it was raining again and I was tired. So I "harvested" a leaf and a flower from a previous arrangement to create this. So simple but satisfying.

Monday, April 14, 2014

willd tulips

I love these little species (wild) tulips. And I used to know their names. And, even now, I could look their names up if getting supper on the table didn't seem more important! In a rush, pictured here are two species tulips combined with a frond of variegated Japanese false Solomon's seal.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

true blue

Forgive the bad photo, but I'm in no shape to do better. Spring fever, I guess. I almost cried today over two things. #1: Virginia bluebells blooming exactly where I expected them to be along the road I travel from Buckingham to Ashland. As John and I rounded a curve, I predicted there would be Virginia bluebells blooming in the swale in front of an abandoned house. And there they were. This made me want to cry not because I was such a fortune teller, but because I was afraid no one else was seeing them. And #2, back in Ashland, I went to pick some equally blue flowers (Ipheon, aka spring starflower), and even now I am smelling their sort of garlicky fragrance on my fingers. Why in the world do these two wonderful things make me want to cry? I have no idea, except that  I wished I had the ability to make everyone enjoy them as much as I do. True blue flowers are such a rarity in nature, and because both flowers are so ephrmeral (disappearing as the trees above them leaf-out), it makes them all the more amazing,

These are spring starflowers. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

white windflowers (Anemone blanda, I think)

I have no idea where these little white windflowers came from, but they have been blooming in my yard now for about three springs. I have a feeling the bulbs were a freebie that came with some other bulbs I had ordered. Or maybe someone gave them to me? I'm pretty sure I didn't buy them, but I'm so glad to have them, because not only is the little patch of them in the yard getting bigger and prettier every year, but they make an absolutely wonderful cut flower (assuming your arrangements aren't but about 6 inches tall!)."Pert" is the best adjective I can think of to describe them.

Friday, April 11, 2014

more green hellebores

This is a detail from yesterday--three vases of stinking hellebore (Helleborus foetidus). I love the way the forsythia outside in the yard is providing them sort of a halo!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Green things

This was my favorite thing on the windowsill today: an aucuba cutting in a mug Betty Gatewood had made (think Vista Print) and gave me. The mug has Betty's botanical illustration of an Osage orange on it.  It's gorgeous!

And it seems I was obsessed with green today, because the windowsill filled up with green things:  three vases of green hellebore flowers, a vase of scented geranium foliage, a bottle holding a metal object with a green patina (have no idea what it is; Mary Garner-Mitchell found in the Flower Camp trash heap!), two boxes of green tea, and my beloved Osage orange mug. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Narcissus admiring himself

I laughed when I saw what had happened in this photo: image of one of the daffodils (aka narcissus) reflected  in the window. I think the god Narcissus was fond of admiring his image reflected in water, right? Anyway, this is a little glass vase filled with early spring-blooming things: daffodils, epimedium, Chinese temple bells, Spanish squills.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

violet in bottle

This is another bottle Mary found in the trash heap (aka archaeological site) at Flower Camp. This one was had a hole in one side of it, but its cap was still on and it appealed to me, so I brought it home. Today, when I encountered some enormous confederate violets in the garden, I decided to dig one up and plant it in the bottle. Very satisfying! (Please ignore, in the background of this photo, the scaffolding and the orange electrical cord! Please do not ignore the blooming camellia!)

Monday, April 7, 2014

natural terrarium

This is a little natural terrarium that Mary Garner-Mitchell found while "excavating" in the Flower Camp "dump" this weekend. This pile of debris, over 50 years old, was almost buried under soil and  honeysuckle, but Mary went after it with pick a pick and shovel and came away with a truckload of treasures. In addition to some old bed springs, an old stove, some great bottles and a porcelain doll's head (so beautiful it almost wasn't spooky), she found this totally intact old mustard bottle, which had all sorts of wonderful things growing in it.

bird's nest (made by a human being)

I didn't take a vacation from windowsill arranging while at Flower Camp this weekend, but I did take a vacation from posting them. Too much going on to get the posts out. Anyway, here is my attempt to make a bird's nest on Saturday. Based on instructions in Tinker (a novel), buy Paul Harding, there are steps one might want to follow if, as a human being, one wanted to attempt to do what a bird does as it makes its nest. One isn't allowed, for example to stockpile building materials! You've got to use what you find when you find it.  I discovered almost immediately that 1) making a bird's nest is harder than it looks and 2) there is more stiff plant material than there is pliable material in the landscape in early April. My untidy attempt to pull moss and some old grasses into a nest-like configuration was so unsuccessful, I had to add a violet just to make it more appealing to me. Call me a bower bird!

 P.S. Wild violets blooming on April 5.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

hyacinths in perfect vases

I think its really hard to display a hyacinth. Few vases seem right for them, but these are PERFECT. I bought three of them for $5 each at Colesville Nursery and wish I'd bought half a dozen so I could give them away as hostess gifts. Also in each vase are some green hellebore flowers and a hock of daylily foliage.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

handful of henbit

This is a bouquet of henbit (the most beautiful spring weed) that I picked from the roadside as I walked this morning. They landed in this jelly jar exactly as they had landed in my fist.