Friday, December 23, 2016

peppers with roots and shadow

And lo! The sun came up in the east and there was the shadow of the roots looking like a star on the kitchen cabinet!

Christmas windowsill

The ferns, pine, camellia foliage, upside down roots, and red anemone were already in the windowsill when Rosanne Shalf arrived with pickled peppadew peppers and a vase of winterberries and paperwhites. Onto the windowsill they went immediately! All so pretty together. Thanks, Rosie!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Mexican marigold roots

I'm so glad I let myself garden yesterday, because today it's too rainy and wet. While tidying up the vegetable garden, I pulled out some spent Mexican mint (aka Mexican marigold) plants. After shaking the soil off their roots, I realized they were too pretty to throw in the compost heap. Very regularly spaced--almost like rays of a star. Hence, this.

ferns and nandina

Fern fronds from a houseplant that was headed to the compost heap, plus one sprig of nandina foliage. That's it.

longevity award

This little concoction has been sitting around on my windowsill since before Nov. 15. I can't remember how long before Nov. 15 I plopped the yellow Echinacea flower into this clear glass vase (with a pretty piece of nandina foliage and some Jewels-of-Opar foliage and seeds), but I know it was before a talk I gave on Nov. 15. The Echinacea flower still looks almost as perky as it did the day I picked it, and so does the nandina and Jewels-of-Opar foliage. Amazing!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

railroad arrangement

I walked across the tracks late yesterday afternoon to pick some honeysuckle before the frost got it. Then a long freight train came, and as I waited, I entertained myself by picking more wild things growing near the crossing. Here they are: wild asparagus, goldenrod, red maple, some maroon leaves I can't identify, ground cherries, and, of course, honeysuckle blossoms (far left).

Thursday, November 10, 2016

honeysuckle--two ways

Lots of Japanese honeysuckle blooming along my walk yesterday. I picked a little piece and first dropped it into a tiny glass bottle. Then, today, I moved it to a little orange pitcher. I think maybe I  like it best just in the glass bottle, but it's been fun to play with both ways.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

peppers in a packet

Mary Garner-Mitchell created this beautiful little package of peppers at Flower Camp last weekend. The peppers were leftover from an arrangement she'd done with branches of hot peppers and she couldn't seem to throw away the ones that had fallen off. They're wrapped in a catalpa leaf.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

lilac and marigolds--huh??!!

Lilacs blooming in October? With the marigolds? Weird. I guess I've seen a lilac throw a bloom or two in the fall but never have a shrub covered with blooms--like the one we now have in blooming in Buckingham. Talk about a strange combination of fragrances: marigold pungency + lilac sweetness = olfactory overload!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

marigolds instead of a nap

Just back from a really fun trip to D.C. for a nature journaling workshop, but when I got home I was tired with little time to recoup before needing to go out again. How to rejuvenate myself? Decided to do a windowsill arrangement and it worked perfectly. I feel centered again and can now dance on!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

hyacinth bean, globe amaranth, etc.

Somewhere between the colors in these two photos are the correct colors of these flowers: hyacinth bean, Tatarian aster, and globe amaranth. The color I like best in this conglomeration shows up pretty well in both photos. It's the reddish purple of the hardy begonia and kale leaves.

Monday, September 26, 2016

eggplant with hardy begonia

This sounds like a menu item not an arrangement! I picked the tiny eggplant from Jerry Shalf's garden, stuck a skewer into it, and added it to a vase with a curled up hardy begonia leaf that was already sitting on the windowsill.

Three climbing milkweed pods

I actually picked these pods on Sept. 12, when I was visiting Bill Horner at the Hermitage. They are climbing milkweed pods, but these particular ones should be called traveling milkweed pods, because I took them all over the state with me when I was giving windowsill arranging talks this month. I've been astonished at how long they've held up, and they're showing no signs of flagging even now.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

leftover celosia stem with okra

Still playing with celosia stems. This red one was leftover, so it landed with some okra pods.

leaning left

Playing with reddish celosia stems yesterday, this was the result. All seemed to be leaning left, so I exaggerated the lean with some Job's Tears stems. This is a little like my politics!

color splash

This is crazy colorful--coleus leaves (from plants rooted from cuttings a friend gave me yesterday--at  least it seems like yesterday) and plumed celosia flowers. I do believe this would glow in the dark!

Monday, September 5, 2016

wacky coxcomb shapes

Couldn't resist dropping some wacky coxcomb combs into modern metallic vases. They seemed to call for each other!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

three jugs of hydrangea

These three little jugs have taken up seem to have taken up permanent residence on my kitchen windowsill, because absolutely everything looks pretty in them. Today they're filled with white 'Tardiva' hydrangea blossoms with scented geranium leaves.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

reflections (with green sedge flowers)

What I love about this is all the reflections in the window. The flowers in the bottle are green sedge flowers. I pull these plants out of the garden like the weeds they are, but I always have to save some of the flower heads. I've wrapped a little piece of black and white striped paper around the bottle in honor of Jane Shoenfeld, a Santa Fe painter who once taught at Flower Camp and displayed a huge sedge florescence against a backdrop of black and white (half of the florescence against black/half against white). Graphically gorgeous and I'll never forget it.

Monday, August 22, 2016

sunflowers--without petals

So--here's how the last arrangement I posted has evolved. Pulled the spent petals off some aging flower heads and added some more from the garden. For the record, I'm learning why most people don't grow huge sunflowers. When they fall down (or when you need to remove them) it's like removing a tree--lots of debris, a stalk like a trunk, and roots that want to take lots of garden soil with them. I spent about 3 hours tearing out a patch of spent sunflowers at Flower Camp on Saturday. When it was all over, I thought this must be the way a lumberjack feels!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

steamy weather, sunny sunflowers

This gathering sunflower blossoms and spent seed heads are all from one towering plant that was toppled by a thunderstorm Sunday night. The goldfinches will miss them outdoors, but it's nice to be able to enjoy them this way, too.

Monday, August 8, 2016

coxcomb remnant

On Friday I did some giant arrangements that included big, hunky stems of coxcomb, and as I trimmed the lower  stems, some tiny flowers like these were among the debris. I'm not sure I don't like these tiny remnants better than the huge flowers at the tops of the stems! At any rate, they are all really saturated colors, like this rich, velvety red.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

'Charming Lady' gladiolus

Note to self:  grow more of this beautiful gladiolus next year! It's Gladiolus tubergenii 'Charming Lady' from Brent & Becky;s Bulbs, and I  have it only because of an impulse purchase I made there in April.  'Twas a tiny bag of six little bulbs then. Now it's a collection of thrifty little plants with these gorgeous pink-backed-with-white, almost striped, blossoms. LOVE IT! And if I'm really planful (unlikely), I'll remember to grow it near Job's Tears and pink phlox, because it looks so pretty with them.

half-dead artichoke flower

I think this is a half-dead artichoke flower. But it could be a half-dead cardoon flower. I'm growing them both in the garden this year, their labels have disappeared, and they look almost identical. Beautiful foliage (see second photo), but I planted them way too close together and, with all the rain we've had, some of them have rotted out from the bottom. I harvested one almost-dead blossom last week and, even though I didn't even put it in water, it kept growing this little top knot of lavender blue fuzz. Reminds me of that line from Monty Python and the Holy Grail: "I'm not quite dead yet!"

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

gourd, tomato, peppers

The afternoon was long, the urge to create strong. That's how this happened--plus the fact that 1)this gourd had fallen off the vine and its top had broken off, 2)this tomato happened to be in the windowsill, and 3)I broke two cayenne pepper plant branches off by accident and had harvested these tiny green ones from it. Somehow, they all wanted to play together!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

rooted coleus

Debbe Peck brought me a beautiful collection of coleus cuttings last week, and they have already rooted! This seems like a miracle to me, because now I can grow the plants myself. In fact, I've already potted them up. But I took this photo of the rooted cuttings on the windowsill first.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Mortgage Lifter tomato and basil

My first Mortgage Lifter of the year was so big and pretty I had to display it in the windowsill before eating it. Here it is posing with some vases of basil. I remembered doing this last year, too, and checked my blog (which now serves as a journal for me) to see what date that was. It was July 27, so this year I'm getting them earlier. Mortgage Lifter, BTW, was named by the guy who bred this  gigantic tomato and sold the plants he grew to pay off his mortgage. Supposedly, he raised $6,000 selling the plants for $1 each.

hydrangea snippet

Just a tiny snippet of oak-leaved hydrangea flowers in a small bottle. This is something I pruned off the lower part of a stem holding larger flowers.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

coneflowers, purple basil, scented geranium

It's been rainy, but what a great day for gardening and flower arranging! Got to do both of these, my two favorite things, almost all day. Did some big arrangements for Fourth of July gathering tomorrow, but these two small ones got created from leftovers. Forgive the dirty windowsills; this looks like a "normal" windowsill, but it's really in the shed. The materials: coneflowers, purple basil, scented geranium foliage.

yellow wildflower

Love this beautiful little wildflower, which is blooming in CT, even in mowed areas, where it seems to pop back up after mowing. Flowers are pea-like and a really saturated, velvety yellow. With them in this plastic cupis some spearmint. I have, somewhere in the stuff I've been packing up from my mother-in-law's apartment, the perfect vase for them, but, at this point, I have no idea which box it is in!

linden in hard cider bottle

Beautiful linden trees blooming all over CT. Fragrance like honey. (Thought this had uploaded while in Connecticut, but evidently it hadn't. )

Monday, June 20, 2016

dahlias, hydrangea, salvia, comfrey

Don't know which I'm enjoying more--the air coming in the window or the flowers blooming in the garden right now. This jar of dahlias, oak-leaved hydrangea flowers, blue salvia, and comfrey is headed to a friend later today, but, for now, I'm enjoying it myself.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016


This is one of those cases in which the leftovers were better than the original meal.  I picked some dahlias to give away in a little jelly jar (second photo), but I had one leftover stem that remained in a green vase on the windowsill, where, as luck would have it, there was also a curved garlic stem waiting to be used somehow. They wound up in proximity to each other, and I liked their collision of forms better than the "real" arrangement.

Monday, May 30, 2016

butterfly weed and ant trap

You know it's summer when there's an ant trap sitting on the windowsill with your butterfly weed! Believe it or not, the photo is lying about one thing, though. This is a yellow-flowering butterfly weed, not an orange one. See second photo for its real color. Crazy how much the camera/light in the first photo changed the color.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

little red poppies in test tube vase

I think this vase was made to hold these delicate little poppies. They bloom along roadsides (and esp. railroad embankments), but I've also got some growing here and there in the garden, where I've scattered their seeds. So tiny, so cheerful, so poppy!

Sunday, May 22, 2016


I need to redo this, because the flower that really interests me here is the crossvine (orange tubular flower), and it got upstaged by a yellow nasturtium in this arrangement! I'm loving the crossvine on a trellis outside (second photo) but there's absolutely nowhere on the vine where I could pick more than a floret without damaging the vine, hence the one floret with no stem. (There are also some comfrey and forget-me-not flowers in this).
P.S. Crossvine looks a lot like trumpet vine, but it blooms earlier and is a more subtle color. Both are native.

P.S. Crossvine looks a lot like trumpet vine, but it blooms earlier and is a more subtle color.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

edible stuff (calendulas, mustard, parsley), with stick

Pulled these flowers and greens off plates where I'd used them for garnish today, then added a little snippet of Harry Lauder's Walking Stick that I'd picked up from the floor when cleaning up after last weekend's workshop. Love having the warm-colored calendulas at this time of year. I'm growing them in the vegetable garden, where they look so very cheery.

Friday, May 13, 2016

shoe decoration

I was pulling this leaf off my shoe (it had stuck to the shoe as I walked across the yard in the rain) when I realized what a sweet leaf it was. And how pretty it was against the dark background of my shoe. Decided to make it (shoe and all) today's windowsill arrangement.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

tulip poplar flowers

Tulip poplar flowers on the ground (probably snipped off the treetops by squirrels). Brought some inside to show them off on the windowsill this morning.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

first dahlia (with copperhead)

This, believe it or not, is a dahlia flower that is blooming in the garden on a plant I grew from seed THIS SPRING! Started the seeds inside in February, planted the thrifty little plants out in early April, and lo and behold, one of them is already blooming! (Also in the vase are some American wisteria flowers, hydrangea leaves, and fern fronds).

That should be the end of my dahlia story, but it's not. Yesterday, I was pointing out these new dahlia plants, plus some coming back from established roots, to my daughter, when I spotted a copperhead under one of them. Yikes! A neighbor came over and killed the copperhead, but I was spooked the rest of the afternoon and joked that I wasn't ever going outside again. Ha! I've been outside all morning, but you'd better believe I'm looking hard where I put my hands and feet.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

tulip pistil, etc.

What I like looking at in this little arrangement are the two tulip pistils (sort of in the middle f the other green things).  I've had them in water for over two weeks since the tulip petals fell off and I'm still enjoying looking at their shape. Very sculptural (and sort of phallic, which is odd, since this is the female part of the flower).

Sunday, April 24, 2016

jigger of bluets

I carried over a dozen windowsill arrangements with me to an event in Gloucester, Va, yesterday, and I liked lots of them, but none did I like half as much as this little jigger of bluets that Marty Ross brought by to show me. I don't think she intended this to be an arrangement--she was just showing me the little flowers in hopes that I could identify them--but the thin, thin glass jigger that she carried them in made a perfect vase for the flowers, and they've lasted a really long time, because Marty pulled them up with a little clump of roots still attached. Marty let me bring the jigger of bluets home with me and I've been drunk on them ever since!