Saturday, May 31, 2014


This is a late afternoon color, texture, smell extravaganza, but after a long day in the garden, I don't seem to have the energy to turn it into a good photograph. The beauties are blue catnip, lavender-flowered nigella, and an ornamental honeysuckle. Bronze fennel is in this, too, and I can't describe the mix of the catnip and fennel fragrances. Suffice it to say: I do wish I could convey all this, because it is intoxicating. 

Friday, May 30, 2014

all things edible

I pulled these flowers together this afternoon to use them as garnishes on cheese and hummus tonight, but they looked so pretty I decided to photograph them in the windowsill first. The orange and yellow flowers are calendulas, the purple ones are violas, and the white ones (which you can barely see) are from that Vietnamese plant I can never remember the name of.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

'Market Green' cabbage

This is such a beautiful head of cabbage, I had to move it from the garden onto the windowsill, where it will look gorgeous for a long time before I decide to eat it. I know its name, 'Market Green,' because John made a label for it when we started the seeds, and the label moved with the plants into the garden, but, for the life of me, I can't find the seed source (even though I thought I'd saved a copy of all my seed orders). Hope the source will turn up, because I love this beautiful, blue-green cabbage and want to grow it again next year. That's a vase full of Austrian winter pea flowers next to the cabbage.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

morning light on pea blossoms

Trust me, these pea flowers are in a vase on the windowsill, but the vase of flowers doesn't show up as well as this closeup of just the flowers with morning light filtering through them. This is the Austrian winter pea, which I use as a cover crop, but I think people should grow it for its diminutive flowers as well as for its tendrils and young leaves, which are delicious in salads.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Black-eyed Susans, feverfew, and chopsticks in yellow vase

These tiny little black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia triloba) seemed just right for this little yellow vase. To them, I added some little white daisy-like flowers (feverfew) and foliage from an Asian plant I can't remember the name of. Somehow, the arrangement was sort of boring me, though, so I tried adding something dramatic-- first a wooden spoon, then these green chopsticks. The chopsticks definitely look better than the wooden spoon did!

Monday, May 26, 2014

rose, peony, sage

I've been bowled over by all the great smells outside. I thought most of the fragrance was coming from white clover and honeysuckle, before I realized the sweetest scents were probably coming from this rose (Therese Bugnet) and an old-fashioned peony. I particularly appreciate the rose, because it's one I tried to move, without success, and what's blooming now grew from roots I left behind. The white flowers are blooming on long stalks of sage plants near the rose. This particular sage has enormous, grey-green leaves and didn't look worth keeping last year, but this year it is gorgeous. I think it's a biennial.

Mint in plastic cup

This is a cup of mint I brought with me to the beach. It was probably prettier before I used half the mint in a jug of limeade! Yummy!

Friday, May 23, 2014

bottle of daisies

The daisies (a.k.a. chamomile) in yesterday's arrangement seemed sort of overwhelmed by the coreopsis, so I moved them to their own vase (and a different windowsill) this morning. They are happier now!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

coreopsis & chamomile

I picked these little daisies from a field at Flower Camp, but I think they are actually chamomile. They certainly smell like it. The bigger, bright yellow flowers are coreopsis. Both are so summery!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

beautiful copper iris

This is the most beautiful flower--a native iris called the copper iris. Its flowers really are sort of a copper color. I'm VERY proud to have this iris growing at Flower Camp, where it's not exactly flourishing, but I do see a few more plants here and there every year.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

rhubarb seeds and coral honeysuckle

I should call this the 30-second arrangement, because that's about how long I had to make it (and photograph it). I was packing up the coral honeysuckle (because of its pollen) and the rhubarb (because of its seed structures) for a friend who wanted to photograph them today, when I realized how pretty they were together. I truly dropped them both into this cruet for a matter of seconds before photographing them and then packing them up for trip to Charlottesville.  I look forward to pairing these plant materials again (more deliberately!) another time.

Monday, May 19, 2014

blue irises and larkspur with brocollini flowers

Love these blue and yellow flowers together, but the most interesting thing about this is the source of the yellow flowers--they're from some brocollini plants getting ready to go to seed. What a great veggie--you can eat the leaves and the florets, and if you have more than you can use, you can let them bloom and use them as cut flowers!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

a different clover

This is a different clover from the one I found growing along the railroad tracks. This one is, I think, crimson or red clover, and it's often used as a cover crop. I picked it this morning as I passed through a friend's fields to look for a hummingbird's nest. The cross-hatching outside the window is the frame of John's scaffolding (which he's using to paint the house!).

Saturday, May 17, 2014

one small tulip poplar leaf

This happened totally by accident. I had put some tulip poplar flowers and foliage in a glass of water, they got old, and I dumped them out. But one small leaf clung to the inside of the glass. It looked so pretty, I decided to fill the glass with fresh water and use that one leaf as my "arrangement" today.

Friday, May 16, 2014

clover, golden ragwort, grasses

I picked these wildflowers as I walked along the railroad tracks yesterday. Must say, I like these flowers even more than peonies!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

more peonies

This is a different peony--still a single, but pinker than the one I used yesterday. With it are some white Dame's rocket and some pale pink columbine flowers (but you can't really see the latter in the photo). I didn't actually create this for the windowsill--I made it for a friend--but I figured it could do dual duty as a windowsill arrangement. I do love these relatively small, single peonies, because they are so much more versatile than the gigantic ones and their heads aren't so heavy they can't hold them up!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

peonies (without irises!)

These peonies are SO much happier now that I've separated them from the irises I paired them with yesterday. Divas just to not play well together!  If these flowers don't look like peonies to you, it's because they are a very unusual variety. I first saw them at Pharsalia, a beautiful flower farm in Virginia, where the owner, Foxie Morgan, really didn't like them. I loved them for all the reasons she didn't--they're small, they look ragged, and they don't look like peonies! The prominence of their yellow/orange stamens makes them look more like casual wildflowers than stately peonies, and I like that.  I also love the greenish cast in their petals.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

odd irises and peonies

This is an odd arrangement of odd flowers. The irises are an unusual color (sort of a peachy /lavender mix), the irises are on short stems (I plucked them from side shoots, not the tallest stems), and the small-flowered, single peonies are an unusual variety. There's actually so much "oddity" in this arrangement, that it makes it hard to read. And the green foliage is more visually important than I knew until I saw the photograph. I should go back to the drawing board with this...but I probably won't!

Monday, May 12, 2014

greens (of some sort)

These leaves came from little plants that grew up among some geraniums I overwintered on my bedroom windowsill. The plants' seeds must have been in the soil I used to pot up the geraniums. As I moved the geraniums to other pots this weekend, I salvaged the mustard-kale-or-some-other-leafy-vegetable leaves thinking I'd eat them, but they would up in this little vase instead. They're an awfully pretty blue-green.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Prestwould windowsill

This is a beautiful stone windowsill at Prestwould in Mecklenberg County, Va.  No vases here (or at least none visitors were allowed to touch) so my cousin Kate held this little bouquet of wildflowers in her hand. Included are clover, buttercups, and a little pink weed I couldn't identify.  I love thinking Lady Jean Skipwith, the 18th and early 19th century gardener who lived here, who lived here, knew this weed as well as I know my chickweeds.

poppy finale

And when the poppy petals fell off, even then, the result was beautiful.

Friday, May 9, 2014

popped top

No sooner had I posted my poppy bud photo yesterday than I walked downstairs and discovered the bud had popped its top! The flower now looks like this and the little cap that had encased the bud is resting on the windowsill. So beautiful.  I'm guessing the flower will open the rest of the way today. And, unrelated but for the record: I saw an active hummingbird's nest in the woods near my home yesterday--with female darting around nearby and occasionally sitting on the nest. I'd have never spotted it myself, but a neighbor, who's an active birder, drew my attention to it. Also saw baby bluebirds with down on their backs and chickadees so newly hatched they were still "naked" and pink.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Rosie's anemones and one popping poppy

These little white anemones were a gift from a friend. Rosanne Shalf brought me not only some of these cut flowers but some plants as well. This is at least the third time she's shared this plant with me and I have yet to succeed with it, but maybe the third time is the charm. It grows like a weed in Rosie's yard. The red-orange flower is a poppy bud about to burst forth from its bud scales. I wouldn't be surprised if it has unfurled by tomorrow morning. This is the kind of thing I should sit around and watch, but can't (or don't).

one beautiful poppy

This one gigantic, orange poppy bloomed earlier than its brethren, and it was under the branch of a shrub so I almost overlooked it even though its color is electric. These perennial poppies were a gift from a Hanover gardener named Mrs. Gilman, whom I knew only through her poppies (which stopped me in  my tracks one day as I drove down Rt. 623 on day about 20 years ago). "I'ts just a bed of beauty," Mrs. Gilman said about her own poppies.  I can tell Mrs Gilman has died, because her garden is gone and young people seem to be living in her house, but, although I never even knew her first name, she's in my thoughts every year when these poppies bloom.

Here's what the posture of the poppy was before I propped it up with a euphorbia stem. The others, growing more out in the open, will have straighter stems.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

buttercups, violas, Jacob's ladder--and John's ladder

Almost anything looks pretty in these little vases, but I think they're particularly suited to violas and buttercups. Right now the viola stems are stretching and they're just right for picking. My buttercups, on the other hand, have been mowed once, and their stems were almost too short to pick, but I found some long enough to use in these vases. There's also some Jacob's ladder (sweet little blue flower) in these arrangement, and I thought it was somehow appropriate that you could see John's ladder out the window!

peony bud in wine bottle

Did this last night but got distracted and didn't post it. This peony bud is at the "marshmallow" stage--soft to the touch, so I could force it open by putting the stem in hot water if I wanted to. I like looking at just the bud, though.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

false lupine, iris, asparagus, etc.

This was an attempt to do something simple that wound up complicated. I wanted to do an arrangement in this pretty little blue vase but the first thing I tried--yellow wood poppy flowers--didn't suit me. I kept trying and trying and wound up with way more stems in this vase than seemed called for. Included are yellow false lupine (Thermopsis), a small, pale blue bearded iris flower, some English comfrey flowers, some asparagus spears, and a couple of ajuga flowers. I'd have thrown the kitchen sink in if there had been room! The most fun part of doing this arrangement was watching the light play on it as the wind moved branches outside the window.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

jonquils and peony foliage on new windowsill

This morning, when a phoebe couldn't find her way out of the open door of the shed, I opened a window for her, so she wouldn't keep bumping into it. The phoebe escaped and I discovered a windowsill I'd never thought to use before. So this afternoon, after making this arrangement, I carried it to the shed windowsill, where I looks really pretty! In this little Japanese vase are several tiny jonquils and some peony foliage.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

wedding leftovers plus sorrel

This is leftover wedding flowers--two yellow ranunculus flowers, pink azalea, and some other bits and pieces of flowers and foliage. It's amazing these flowers still look as good as they do, given that they've been languishing, unattended, in a bucket. The sorrel, leftover from another day, is definitely on it's way out, but I liked the way its yellowing leaves looked in t his arrangement.

Here are the ranunculus and azalea flowers up close. The ranunculus are such a beautiful pale yellow!