Once again (hooray) I was part of the Lan Su Garden Ninth Moon celebration, a juried show of floral design. As usual there were some fabulous, fabulous pieces but I wanted to focus on the blooms themselves not the structure or cleverness of design. For that reason, I highlighted just a few blossoms, some of which I acquired from the local Chrysanthemum Society. Using acrylic cases that might display art or jewelry, I put together an piece focused on flowers.
I can’t quite for the like of me figure out how I’ve gotten so behind on my 52 week challenge. I know I missed some weeks for traveling and the like but had I been on track, the year would have been over in September. Nonetheless, I still have some vases and vessels to feature and some items in the garden that I think I can highlight without too much repeat from last fall.
For this week I am featuring a new vessel repurposed from a friend who is downsizing. Copper is one of my favorite fall materials for vases and this one is a nice compact size and great shape. The oranges, yellows and bronzes of fall dahlias and other materials slip nicely into this autumnal color scheme.
I’ve got a turquoise piece of pottery I think will go nicely with what’s left in the garden. Look for it next.
Seasonal seedpods: caryopteris
One of the things I love about this time of year is that it encourages (forces?) me to look at my garden differently, finding things that are not usually considered arrangement material.
This piece, in a hand made, raku fired vase, feature typical things and a-typical ones. The Chinese lanterns are a very usual fall material with their glowing orange shapes. With this arrangement I’ve chosen only the lightest in color, and the green ones, to echo the light yellow orange of the abutilon.
Abutilon are not typically an arrangement flower but I’ve found they can survive for about five days or so, indoors.
The vertical greenery are seed pods of a hyssop, the purple/blue flowers having fallen off.
And the fuzzy green orbs are from a asclepias (butterfly weed) called either “Family Jewels” or “Hairy Balls”. I think you can see why.
I was in Italy for a good part of September and as always, on the lookout for flower shops, flowers and gardens. People always seemed to have room for something, even if it was just a pot of geraniums, and even in the smallest towns. I did find florists of course, and flowers for sale at the markets. What charmed me though was a flower cart, using the ubiquitous (for Italy) Ape three wheeled vehicles. I so want one of these!
At the market
Florence Flower Shop
Two small handties
My ‘dream’ vehicle.
I don’t even like coleus but these looked perfect in the large urn
The small hand ties seen at the florist shop reminded me that it doesn’t take much to have a floral impact. I put together these three arrangements for small vases (in this case champagne glasses) when I got home as a memento of that.
A month’s hiatus means that the incredible lushness of the garden has gone undocumented. The rush of August weddings and events, and September travel, means I have come back to a slightly desiccated although still verdant garden where the dahlias and abutilon are going wild, the vegetables reaching the end of their life, and trees and shrubs showing the colors of autumn. In this setting I’ve found a large handful of flowers, a round bunch of blooms to showcase. Dahlias again take the stage, they are a useful flower in that their bloom period stretches from late June til frost and they come in an abundance of colors. Growing in my garden this year are purples, pinks, deep burgundies, oranges, and yellows. In the hunt for things to complement the dahlias, I have found a variety of greenery and flowers gone to seed.
I will showcase two: one highlighting the purples and the other the orange and sunset tones. Both arrangements in plain vases to showcase the beauty of the flowers.
The purple poke is typically a weed (and somewhat invasive). This cultivated variety was ‘guaranteed’ not to reseed. I love the complementary colors of this arrangement.
I’m finding the Chinese lanterns to be an indiscriminate spreader…but I do love it’s autumnal look. This is more of a monochromatic look.
Wedding work and the hot weather are wreaking a little bit of havoc with my fine tuned plan for one arrangement per week. There is still plenty blooming in the garden chiefly dahlias but some scattered annuals and perennials like loosestrife (captured in a pot), clematis, snapdragons, Alstromeria, agastache, abutilon, fuschia and the like, many of these rather dainty especially against the blowsy dahlias. So this week features a finely textured arrangement with some of the other flowers blooming right now.
The vase is extra special too with a lovely blue color and embossed looking swirls. It’s vintage art pottery.
I never tire of dahlias – their endless color and bloom shape. This year I went overboard on a certain color, positive the summer brides would want it. Well, I guessed wrong! But there’s a silver lining in that I get the dahlias in my garden and my house bouquets.
Here they are in a simple colored canning jar.
The key to getting a good vase life out of dahlias is to cut them early (or very late in the day), put the cut stems in 2-3″ of near boiling water and let call. Cut them to the length you want.
These dahlias were ready for their close-up.