I can endlessly look at bouquets and flower arrangements which means that I can easily get lost on Pinterest. I stumbled across the arrangement pictured below over the weekend and it inspired me to try something similar for Cathy's weekly meme.
The arrangement was displayed on a pedestal on the runway at the Fall 2012 Jil Sander fashion show. I'm guessing these pedestals and "bouquets" lined the runway, though I've only seen individual examples like this one. The container is probably plexiglass but I have not determined if the flowers are real or fake.
I used a small glass container and real flowers. It was hard to push them in and keep the first ones in place while I added more blooms. Tweezers were too short to be of much help and any kind of kitchen tools too big and awkward. Finding flowers that were large enough to make an impression but small enough to squeeze into this narrow container was also a challenge. There's no water in the vase so this bouquet only lasted as long as it took to snap the picture. It was a fun challenge and made me realize those Jil Sander displays took more work than I first imagined.
It was so foggy early today that I snapped a picture through the kitchen window. I thought it looked quite beautiful until I saw these images of the landscape southwest of Madison that Mark photographed when he was out that way this morning.
The conditions were just right to create a "fog bow."
Driving back to Madison at noon when the fog had burned off.
I subscribe to food and recipe emails from The New York Times and Food 52. Usually I quickly glance at them and hit delete. But I try enough of them — and am happy with the results — to keep 'em coming. A few weeks ago Food 52 posted a recipe for Sriracha Lime Corn Salad which was fabulous. I've already made it twice.
It's another of those corn dishes that uses kernels sliced off the cob which is the most labor-intensive part of the recipe. Saute the corn, add sweet red peppers, finish with lime juice, parsley, Sriracha and Cojita cheese. Since it's available on-line I won't bother to reprint the complete directions here. I'll just tell you that you should give it a try. Spicy, summery, and good hot or at room temp.
We paired the Food 52 corn dish and another Caprese salad with a recipe from Martha Stewart's magazine. I tore out the page and it's been sitting around for a couple of years waiting for me to rediscover it. Her Swordfish with Watermelon and Lime-Ginger Citronette is another very summery entree and a great way to eat up watermelon. Mark likes to buy the bigger ones and I get tired of it quickly so this was a great solution.
Our rain gauge is in the farthest corner of the garden in a very open spot so we get a true reading on how much rain falls. But it's a bit of a trek through the wet garden if I want to know the results the minute the rain stops.
If I'm curious but not ready to step outdoors I have an informal measurement that I do from indoors. I look at the furniture on the deck to see if the vertical edge of the table and the backs of all the chairs are wet or if only the tops of things are wet. Then I look at the huge old Honey Locust tree that abuts the deck to see if there is any visible moisture on the side of the tree facing the house. If rain has made it through the leaf canopy and down onto the back of the tree then I know we had a real storm — like the one that woke us up at 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning with an incredible thunder crash followed instantly by an immense downpour.
We got .84" of rain in about 4 and 1/2 hours yesterday morning. During the evening I could hear it raining lightly and this morning the gauge had .22" so we had just over an inch of rain. Coupled with last week's 2 inches of rain and the hot weather that's returned, I'm afraid it means that the mosquitoes will be back again, too. Ugh, just when it was safe to get outdoors and work again.
August 23rd — today — marks the start of my ninth year of blogging at Each Little World. As all of you who blog know, the virtual gardening community is as friendly and supportive and helpful as the gardeners we interact with in our "real" garden communities. That knowledge has certainly turned out to be the biggest surprise and delight of blogging. It's what keeps me reading your blogs and writing mine winter and summer.
A few of you who are reading this post have been with me since the beginning; others have arrived more recently. For the latter group I offer this explanation of the name of my blog and a hint at all the topics I've written about over the years. This is what I posted on 8/23/2008 and it still holds true today.
. . .
For the mind, by nature stagey, welds its frame
Tomb-like around each little world of a day.
We jump from picture to picture and cannot follow
the living curve that is breathlessly the same.
— Louis Mac Neice / 1907-1963
What little world?
EACH LITTLE WORLD that collides with mine:
The world of interiors and exteriors; bibliophiles; china and dishing; feasts and fests; food; flowers and gardens; material possessions and textile obsessions; worldly goods and bads.
Your worlds and mine.
Let the collision begin.
The opening quoted text is the 2nd stanza of Louis Mac Neice's poem, "August," as it appears in A Little Treasury of Modern Poetry.
I had a couple of floral sightings over the weekend that I decided to share as my contribution to this weekly meme.
First off, my niece who lives in Vermont sent me a the three photos below from a garden tour that she went on. The images she sent are from the garden owned by the historic Woodstock Inn and supplies fresh flowers for them. As you can see there's an abundance of flowers blooming, drying and being arranged in vases for the Inn.
Look at those bunches of Alliums. It never occurred to me to dry them at that stage when they still have flowers and color remaining. I guess I will have to wait until next summer to try that myself.
I only grew Delphiniums once. They just a not a flower that you want to grow where I live which is subject to strong winds on and off all summer long. As for Gladioli, a wonderful selection of that flower can always be found at our local farmers' markets.
On Saturday a Wisconsin niece had her wedding ceremony and reception at a beautiful Lake Monona setting not far from where we live. The bride and her attendants all carried lovely bouquets but my favorite "flowers" were the sprays of Eucalyptus and grasses that graced the center of each table. I did not go poking around in this display so I don't know if the stems were inserted in those little tubes that hold water or if they were left to hold their own as long as possible.
I am lucky to garden in a place where we have not had a serious drought for a while. In fact I planted my whole garden — which is half an acre — without ever putting in drip irrigation or really even thinking much about supplemental watering. We had outdoor faucets on the front and back of the house and up near the Tea House and that seemed enough. Usually it is. I just hook up a hose or two if we haven't had rain and the garden starts to get parched.
But I find I use watering cans more than hoses to irrigate seasonal containers or new plantings or seedlings. Over the years I've amassed a world of watering cans. I have two cans each that are of American, French, German, and British design and manufacture (from the top of the steps down). They all share certain qualities like being made of galvanized zinc. But a quick glance suggests their differences.
They all sport "roses" aka the removable sprinkler head but only the UK cans (below), made by Haws since 1886, have roses not only made of brass but that come in two different shapes and hole sizes for different tasks. The oval rose is a fine spray designed to water delicate seedlings.
Haws cans also come with a brass emblem so you know you have the real thing.
My pair of of German cans each sport the famous "flying bat" logo. Bat cans date to the 1930s; mine hold 7.5 TGL/liters (2 gallons) and 5 liters (1.32 gals.) I found both of these at antique fairs and they were not particularly expensive. I bought them a long time ago before such gardening objects became "cool," which is probably why they were reasonably priced. I went looking online for more information but only found people with Bat cans to sell — ranging from $145.00 to $245.00 for the next largest size, 10 liters.
The French cans have no identifying marks. I only know they are French because that's how they were identified when I purchased them. One is new (the one still bearing residue of the sales label) and the other is antique.
The French pair are the most decorative with the raised bands of stripes (above). The German pair are more restrained — perhaps a bit of Bauhaus influence?
The Haws can — their "professional" model — is the most elegant to my eye. It's clearly the product of a nation of gardeners and was introduced when most of the work of gardening was all done by hand. They are the perfect embodiment of William Morris' dictum: "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."
Now look at the American cans. Functional — and the only can that does not have a rolled or curved handle for ease and comfort of carrying. I never use them as they hurt too much once you put water in them. And even these inelegant cans often sell for surprisingly high prices at flea markets and antique shops.
My Haws cans are a matched pair and hold two Imperial gallons (2.40 American gallons) which makes them heavy containers when full — about 24 pounds each. The tall neck keeps water from spilling out when you tip it to water with the roses. The long neck gives you an extra long reach. They are, by far, the most comfortable watering can to carry and use because of the two handles. I typically carry one can in each hand by the angled top bar. Yes, they're heavy but not uncomfortably so.
And I love the gentle spray they deliver!
I bought my pair of Haws cans in NYC in 1998 when Mark and I were there celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary. I got them at the Smith and Hawken store when they sold only the best of garden equipment from around the world. They cost $75.00 each which was a fortune to us. But we haven't been back to NYC since then and Smith and Hawken is long gone. So I consider them a great buy and a wonderful memento of the trip and our anniversary. Today one Haws can like mine costs $157.00 on the Haws website. Shipping is free for purchases over $50.00, so there's that.
It's not that bad a deal when you consider that White Flower Farm is selling them for $179.00 and they cost $168.00 at Terrain, and shipping appears to be extra. The price is pretty outrageous for a watering can. And yet, having used my Haws for almost twenty years now, I'd probably be willing to pay it I love them so much. They're always the ones I reach for first; the others usually just look pretty sitting in a spot in the garden where I don't want people to walk!
When I was in the garden looking for plants to photograph for Bloom Day and Foliage-Follow-up, I couldn't resist snapping pictures of a few of the seed heads that are part of the seasonal changes happening in the garden this month.
Nothing beats species Peonies' seed pods that start out looking like jesters' caps. This is P. obvata var. alba.
Here's Peony japonica beginning to split open.
The other bright red seeds belong to Arum italicum 'Ghost,' whose gorgeous mottled leaves will return as soon as the weather cools down. The purple foliage is Perilla and that's a candelabra Primrose in the rear.
Sambucus nigra 'Blacklace' whose seeds look like black pearls
Aquilegia 'Black Barlow' about to release its seeds. This is one plant that I always let go to seed as it's my favorite Columbine.
I leave most of the stalks topped with the seedpods of Lilium martagon so I know where to avoid digging in the spring. This is 'Mrs. R. O. Backhouse' who doesn't seem to lose any vigor by being left to go to seed.
What about your garden? Do you leave interesting seedpods in place for their decorative potential?
Foliage shines at this time of year when flowers are less abundant in my garden than in spring and early summer. Here Pinus strobus 'Blue Shag' makes a pointed foil for Geranium sanguineum and Bergenia ciliata.
Purple basil with Carex laxiculmis 'Bunny Blue' which is looking rather more green at the moment.
Toad lilies — like Tricyrtis hirta variegata, below — are the stars of the garden from now until the first frost. It's worth noting that none of these Toad Lilies have begun to form buds yet, which suggests just how late they bloom.
Tricyrtis hirta 'Golden Gleam'
Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Fernspray Gold' with Tricyrtis 'Lemon Twist'
Tricyrtis 'Lightning Strike'
To see what kinds of foliage other gardeners are featuring today, visit Pam Penick at Digging who hosts this montly meme.