Vase from Homewood House

Homewood VaseGreen/gray.  How was I going to green the Homewood vase when I couldn't figure out the color to use.  It came to me when reading one of Paula Pryke books (will talk about her in book reviews) that the salal leaf is not  bright green and even turns a little grey when it dries.  I put the salal up against the vase and was not totally taken with it.  Then I walked around the yard to see what other greens I had.  I stopped.  Here was a lamb's ear that would mix nicely with the salal.  Next to it was some dusty miller, another grey saw-toothed leaf.  (The wholesalers have them but it's so exciting to have plant material for free. I had planned to use some deep purple trachelium as the low topiary flower (its head is sort of like that of yarrow.  I bought a deep blue delphinium for a dramatic match as the high flower.  The two didn't jive.  I went into the fridge and found red shrub roses.  They were striking with the delphinium in the Homewood pot. Tip:  Try greening your arrangement first.  You might not have to use so many flowers.

St. Michaels, MD

We had the good fortune of spending the weekend in St. Michaels.  On Saturday we went to the Farmer’s Market in Easton.  My husband realized he had to kill some time because I instantly became engrossed with Terry Jordan of Longridge Gardens who had some really neat ornamental grasses for sale.  Terry’s philsophy is to plant whenever possible material that she can use in her arrangements.  I bought 3 Blue Dune Grasses and 3 Mexican Grasses.  The stalks were already showing on the Mexican Grass, a very fine, delicate, seed head.  Her lilies were magnificent, all sold in the arrangements she had made for her customers.  I don’t have any Oriental lilies and it just so happened that after we left the market the next stop was Target’s.  Yes, the Eastern Shore is growing.  There I found some Smith and Hawkins prepackaged pots with 3 lilies and inflatable dirt inside.  The price was right and I bought 3 pots of the lilies and one of the calla lilies.  Perhaps it’s too late to see them come up this year but my cutting garden will have them to snip next year.  There’s the Miles River on your left just off our creek.  But I should really be talking about flowers.  The water vs flowers?  All I can say about this foreground in the pix is that I took cuttings from vitex ( sort of like butterfly bush but better architecturally, stella d’oros, pink knock out roses, purple butterfly bush and catmint to give the table some flowers which really aren’t necessary when all you want to do is look outward  The ginger from the pond has a stunning leaf for some drama.  Anyway jars and jugs were used to show specimens, flowers that really wouldn’t be used all together in an arrangement but show off nicely by themselves yet in a grouping. Tip:  Single specimens of flowers make an arrangement.

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Realtor Opening

My friend and neighbor is a Realtor. Last week her new listing, a 100+ year old Victorian home was going on the market and she asked me to create several arrangements to highlight the special places in the home. We decided the dining room table, living room coffee table, family room/kitchen and front steps would invite the eye to further investigate the lovely home. In the family room I used the Evergreen Vase with strawflowers which really went well with the decor All the colors were light and airy because having gone through this before, a prospective buyer should not be distracted by strong colors. They want to envision their own taste. Hope the flowers can help bring in a contract.


Three PastelsHydrangeas make me fraid. So did fire engines for my daughter. Hydrangeas are such a large mass and they look great in an arrangement with many of them, or with peonies but these big white fluffs can create mass and holes in a colored arrangement. When I started this piece I put the yellow stock in first. 3 pieces which would anchor it. I had the clear and light blue stones in the glass vase so they had the opportunity to stand up straight but for some reason they listed to the left. I went with it, making the arrangement off-center, adding my puffy hydrangeas and then the pink spray roses. Wow, I had never let the spray roses open up so much. Their round form complimented the spike of the stock.

Vase from Evergreen House

Strawflowers Serendipity. Yesterday I stopped by the Evergreen House Museum to look at their gift shop. I'm a sucker for museum gift shops because they always have things you don't see everywhere. Low and behold I found this tin can at a very reasonable price. We looked at it to see if it could hold water but alas not. There were tiny pin holes in the bottom. Not to be deterred I bought it. When I got home I put a VAZU in it. That's a plastic vase that stands up when you put water in it. I trimmed it down to accommodate the size of the vase. Then I rummaged around for some flowers to put in it. Strawflowers (in purple, also come in white) were the perfect match. Little flower arranging needed to be done. Just a few snips to create a mound. Tip: Strawflowers have little, easily breakable branches. It is a multi-purpose flower - a filler, a lengthener, or standing up as its own.


No more peonies! I was going to ask my neighbor the other day (and I don't even know her, yet I was knocking at her door at 8:00 am) if she would share some of her peonies because all of mine had been picked. In exchange I would give her the arrangement I was going to make. I had bought some white hydrangeas and wanted to put them with the peonies. Actually I wanted the soft pink and white with a dab of pink. Her's were the hot pink. But just for the shape I wanted (a mound) the hot pink would do. Two days later I did introduce myself to her as she was out gardening. The hot pink petals were lying in the street. So instead of the mound of peonies and hydrangea (which were used at a recent wedding), I show you an arrangement of all peonies. The vase is something special from Pier One. It looks Oriental to me and the shape is conducive to holding a fair amount of flowers but it isn't necessary to fill the top opening with so many because the base gathers enough to fill it in. I really like the color pink. This vase has an interesting muted pink that doesn't take away from the show. Right now it is in a Thai restaurant wowing the customers I hope! Tip: Peonies don't hold up easily so support them. If it's a one dimensional arrangement, some branches will hold their heads. If you can get a hold of some Harry Lauder Walking Stick branches, even better. They are showy and give you another dimension. A fellow garden club member gave me the hint.