Thursday, December 31, 2015

hellebore flowers and sacred lily berries in new red bowl

This started evolving when I removed some green hellebore flowers from other arrangements and dropped them into a tin measuring cup that happened to be sitting on the counter. Then I started shuffling some red sacred lily berries around, and they wound up in the tin cup, too. Then I decided they would both look better in my new red bowl ($2.99 at Tuesday Mornings). The tin cup is actually embedded in the red bowl, which helps keep all the stems in place.


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

December daffodils!

Weird weather, to be sure, but the daffodils blooming are wonderful! This is a particularly early variety, Rijnvelds's Early Sensation, from Brent & Becky's Bulbs, and, believe it or not, it has bloomed in late December before.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

window open--with geraniums on the windowsill!

Dec. 26 and the kitchen window is WIDE open. What crazy weather. Crazy, too, to have an abundance of geranium flowers to be using in windowsill arrangements. These are part of the windfall of geranium blossoms I scavenged from The Greenhouse on Mountain Road, where they had been pruned from hanging baskets.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

recycled ranunculus

These red ranunculus have been recycled so many times they're getting whiplash! Here they are with green kerria twigs, nandina, and one white snapdragon (also leftover from a workshop and two previous arrangements).

Friday, December 18, 2015

red geraniums

Day before yesterday, I happened upon a windfall of geranium blossoms. I was visiting The Greenhouse on Mountain Road and noticed a bucket full of blossoms that a nursery worker had pruned from hanging baskets. I asked for the bucket of flowers and got them! Now I have cups-full of short-stemmed geranium blossoms of all colors recuperating in the shed. Here's the way I used a couple of them. Such a wonderful red they are!

Monday, December 14, 2015

new vase, leftover flowers

This vase was a gift from the Women's Batteau Guild, and, oh, how I love it. They know me too well! And, although I'm guessing there's not much that looks bad in it, it's hard to imagine anything prettier in it than these red ranunculus. To my total surprise, these, which I'd thought would be the first flowers used, were leftover from an arranging workshop Kate and I led last night. Thank you batteau crew for the vase and flower arrangers for not using all the red ranunculus!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Bill's Amaryllis

Yesterday, when I walked into Bill Horner's room at The Hermitage, this is what I encountered--early morning light, like a spotlight, on this Amaryllis. And the Amaryllis (so huge and top-heavy) supported by a gorgeous branch of Harry Lauder's walking stick. Thanks to Martha Ann Ellis for all!

Friday, December 11, 2015

birthday leftovers + sacred lily berries

Rosanne Shalf gave me a wonderful arrangement of things blooming in her garden for my birthday. It was an amazing mix of materials---roses, camellias, hellebores, campanulas, among other things. By yesterday, though, much of it was weary so I pulled out the still-happy materials, added a hunk of orange sacred lily berries, and this was the result. Love the mix of colors, esp. in December when everything else in the house is green and red. And that light coming in the window...beautiful!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

great gift

I'm going to have to go some to give any gifts my friends like as much as I liked this one from Marty Ross--a beautiful little butternut squash tied up with red twine.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

bring on the bling

Believe it or not, those sweet little arrangements from my last post (Cryptomeria and rose hips in small pyramid vases) are in here somewhere. I just dropped them, vase and all, into these contemporary planters and then added yellowed parsley foliage from another old arrangement, some aucuba, a big ivy leaf, and bling-y ornaments. WAY over the top, but then so is the rest of the room, so I had to pump the windowsill energy up, too! Once you bring out the bling-y stuff, everything else looks pale in comparison.

Sunday, November 29, 2015


These Cryptomeria greens have been bouncing around between arrangements on the windowsill for weeks. Today they have some leftover rose hips sharing vases with them.

Friday, November 20, 2015

gourd with marigold topper

The pretty little stem of this gourd broke off leaving a wounded top, but I couldn't throw the gourd away. Instead, I decided to give it a little toupee. A toothpick connects the marigold flower to the gourd. And, as anyone who watches movies set in India knows, marigolds last a long time out of water!

Monday, November 16, 2015

"Birds of Blue on Green Hat Night"

Mary Guess sent me this absolutely adorable card (by Vicki Sawyer), and I had to use it for a windowsill arrangement prompt, because it makes me laugh every time I look at it. Wish I had some blue eggs to drop into the Chinese chestnut husks. Now they have sugar maple helicopters in them, and the brown, oblong things are redbud pods.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

me, my arrangement (of tiny marigold flowers and nandina foliage), and two overripe avocados

I actually took a nice glamour shot of this arrangement earlier, but I like this one better, because it's somehow more real. That's my reflection taking the picture in the window and those are overripe avocados on the right.  I should be making guacamole instead of taking these pictures!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Cyclamen, relocated

Because I needed to use their test-tube vase for something else, I moved my tiny hardy cyclamen blossoms into a different vase this morning. This little green vase is their usual home--or has been for the past few years, but this is the first year their companions have been: an arum leaf already occupying the vase and that Microbiota foliage that originally accompanied them in the test-tube vase.


Saturday, November 7, 2015

Mouse art

Cleaning Flower Camp today, this was one discovery--mice-ravaged toilet paper. Pretty in an annoying sort of way. Stuck some Rhododendron foliage into the center of the roll as garnish.

Friday, November 6, 2015

hardy fall cyclamen with Russian arborvitae

Doesn't feel like November in Virginia. It's about 72 degrees outside. But at least the hardy cyclamen is blooming predictably. It comes up and blooms without foliage (the foliage comes later), but I've combined it here with little sprigs of Microbiota (Russian arborvitae).

Monday, November 2, 2015

view from bed

View from my bed with sugar maples lighting the world this morning.

rain on screen

This is actually a photo from last week, when raindrops trapped in the window screen got lit from behind by early morning sunlight. So beautiful! In the arrangement (upstaged by the raindrops!) are castor been seed pods, celosia, and some impatiens cuttings.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

yellow eggplant

Kept trying to photograph this little eggplant on a windowsill where the color of the leaves outside would be visible. My photography skills failed me, but I enjoyed all the time I spent seeing this through the eyes of my camera! Same windowsill, same eggplant, same trees, same time of day. Different photo results.

Friday, October 23, 2015

tribute to my beloved 1999 Subaru

Windshield arrangement on my beloved 1999 Subaru, now, alas, the property of WCVE and Car Talk.

My Subaru, friend of 16 years and over 235,000 miles, being towed away. Sob.

Monday, October 19, 2015

rolled hosta leaf with marigold, parsley

Because I'm getting ready for a talk tomorrow, I did lots of windowsill arrangements this morning, but this was my favorite, and, of course, it happened not because I planned it but because all the "ingredients" happened to come together in my kitchen: red marigold flower, stem of parsley leaves, old hosta leaf. When I sort of rolled the hosta leaf into a tube, it wound up looking almost like a calla lily! And, of course, I love the bite/hole in it!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


This is fun, because it was created entirely from leftovers--plant materials I saved while tossing the dead ones in a larger arrangement.

Believe it or not, here's the larger arrangement these flowers, berries, etc. came from.

Monday, October 12, 2015

old zinnias, fresh parsley

I was throwing away most of the flowers from a large arrangement I did last week, but I couldn't seem to toss these three zinnias. They're old and ragged now, but they are singles in colors I love, so I saved them and dropped them into this cruet. Then added a pretty stem of parsley--which is as fresh and happy as the zinnias are old and weary, but the two look pretty together.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

more radish shenanigans

So, then, the color of the radishes sent me back out into the garden to see if I didn't have something equally electric. Turns out I did--some small dahlia flowers. But when I tried to photograph them together on the windowsill--the dahlias and the radishes--I ended up with a crazy/wacky windowsill and mullion line. My inability to competently use the "straighten" function of my photo software resulted in this wacky photo, which, for reasons I can't explain, I love


radishes, in new home

So: this was so much fun. First. because company was coming, I moved my sprouting radishes into a more elegant home (from discarded plastic container into low yellow dish). They felt so honored and will, I'm betting, send up greener/straighter leaves tomorrow as they adjust to their new home.

Sunday, October 4, 2015


These store-bought radishes wanted to grow so badly I had to let them--in a plastic dish on the windowsill  Their greenery looking happier, and less "refrigerator starved of light" every day!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Chinese long bean

Drizzly day, but the birds and I were outside anyway. Spotted a Chinese long bean vine growing up into a sugar maple. It had started in the compost heap! Full of blooms AND long beans!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

posies in Rosie's water bottle

Returned Rosanne Shalf's water bottle today, and as per my mother's teachings, it couldn't go back empty. Filled it with zinnias, celosia, and an aster that Rosanne's grandfather used to call "Farewell Summer,"

Oh, and the vine with the orange-ish flowers is crossvine (Bignonia).

Monday, September 28, 2015

selaginella fern

This little fern in round basket usually sits on my side porch, but it was looking so pretty this morning, I decided to bring it in and enjoy it on the windowsill. Love the way the fern has begun to grow between the twigs in the basket.

Friday, September 25, 2015

September honeysuckle

Vince Tolson created this beautiful little arrangement--honeysuckle in a tiny vodka bottle. And it smells SO good!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

celosia stems

I've been pulling up celosia plants and discarding them, but seeing them on the ground made me realize how colorful their stems were. SO: I gathered some up and sort of organized them in a vase. First photo is closeup of of stems in the vase, second if of arrangement on the windowsill, and third is is of what started it all: stems on the ground in the garden.

Monday, September 21, 2015

workshop windowsill--Shrine Mont

This is one of the windowsills in Virginia House at Shrine Mont, Orkney Springs, Va. My watch is holding a sprig of scented geranium.

pokeweed, monkey balls, Malabar spinach, hydrangea flowers, gladiolus flowers, etc.

This beautiful arrangement was created by David Pippin and Cabell Hodges at an arranging workshop this past weekend. Gorgeous! I got to bring it home with me (because the container belongs to a friend) and enjoyed it on the front porch for a while before I realized it would sit on the windowsill. Sorry for the ladder in the background, which sort of detracts from the beauty of the arrangement!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

state of mywindowsill

This is sort of a mess, but it is an accurate rendition of the state of my windowsill (and kitchen, and house) right now. Need a "straightening" day.

And despite the mess, hardy begonia leaves on the right are looking mighty pretty with light streaming through them.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Herbs de Nags Head

You've heard of herbs de Provence. This is herbs de Nags Head--basil, parsley, and edible marigolds.

Friday, August 28, 2015

leaf on wooden spool

This is the most satisfying windowsill arrangement I've done in months, and it started out in the weirdest way. I was looking for something to use as a platform for a very small ornamental gourd. Thought a large wooden spool would be good. Discovered that in my entire collection of spools of thread there was only one wooden one. Why didn't I save more wooden spools?! Tried to use that one under my gourd, but it was too small. Tried the small spool under a tomatillo that happened to be sitting nearby. Too boring. Then I looked to my right and saw this wonderful little leaf sort of shriveling up in and arrangment I had done earlier (and posted on August 22). JUST RIGHT!

Friday, August 21, 2015

hardy begonia looking for a home

These stems of hardy begonia wound up in these vases only because the vases were sitting on the windowsill with water in them, and I needed a home for the stems. Ended up liking the combination of wacky leaves and wacky vases.

 And, just because it was part of this process, here's the place the hardy begonia stems were removed from--a little shelf in my dining room. Very long story, but the hardy begonia stems were in these test tubes before the dahlias were, but I needed to photograph this...and the begonia stems looked to "heavy" in the photo...hence, the shift.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

tiny leaves, flowers, and cicada shell

Catherine Ellyson created this beautiful little collection of leaves, hydrangea florets, and a cicada exoskeleton. Interestingly, three of the leaves are artificial (made out of tin), but you'd never know.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Marty's marigold

This one's for Marty Ross, who gave me a package of mixed Marigold seeds. I didn't expect much from the mix (probably the ones the seed company had leftover, thought I), but boy, was I wrong! I'm getting the most interesting marigolds from that mix. I particularly love this one, which has stems long enough to cut but not so tall they need staking and bright red-orange flowers with yellow edges.


Saturday, August 1, 2015

coxcomb color

I've been eyeing these particular coxcomb flowers for weeks and today decided, why not cut them?! I'd been thinking I needed an artist in residence to appreciate their color with me, but having none such, I photographed this, which does them no service. They're not the usual color (sort of magenta) but instead have undertones of yellow and orange and apricot. I wish I had the photography skills to prove it!

P.S. Other things in the photo are Tatume squash and hardy begonia leaves. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Mortgage Lifter

This is a gigantic tomato called Mortgage Lifter--so called because when these huge tomatoes started coming in, the farmer could pay off his mortgage! One slice exceeds the sides of even the biggest piece of bread!