Mixing it up

Susan DetjensIn the first summer of flowerflinging when it was on blogspot, I created a post called Mixed Bouquets, Mixed Results.” The post focused on the challenge of creating a lovely design from the somewhat haphazardly chosen mixed flower bouquets that are so popular at the supermarket. http://www.flowerflinging.blogspot.com/2012/08/mixed-bouquets-mixed-results.html

Mixed flower bouquetsSummertime allows us to find and pick many varieties of blooming flowers in gardens, hedgerows, and fields. Here are two bouquets, assembled with more a than average eye as to scale and color by a local florist, choosing from mostly commercial sources. However, many of the flowers are also growing locally now.

Two bouquets and a vaseThis striking bowl was purchased at Target a number of years ago. The two bunches are slightly different and have about ten stems each.

Stems from a bouquetWhen a bunch is dissected, that is when the dissatisfaction creeps in. One each of so many things: one yellow spray rose, one red Hypericum, one butterfly weed (Asclepias), one Gerbera, one Tanacetum. Plus three Ageratum, three yarrow, two dill flowers (far right bottom), two snow-in-summer (far left, bottom).

Hypericums large and smallThe addition of the second bouquet brings us up to 5 yarrow, 2 sunflowers, plus more single flowers, Ammi majus, Phlox, 3 safflower. Notice the two sizes of Hypericum. In the flower trade, Hypericum is sold in its seed form. The small capsule on the left is a warm fleshy color, the other, larger, is red.

First flowers only orangeI began this informal mass arrangement by using the largest orange flowers (lily, Gerbera, butterfly weed and safflower) as though they were all the same flower, radiating out from the center of the pinholder.

Next come the yellowsNext I added the yellow spray rose, the Tancetum, yellow yarrow and the Hypericum, which I cut into three parts: first the top of the spray which you can see in the design, then the side branches and finally the branches on the newspaper were cut apart and inserted.

Add  sunflowers and more foliageSince sunflowers will always be focal points, I put them up high and slightly apart to allow them to say “look at me”, which they always do. Snow-in-summer received the same dissecting and made a number of foliage pieces for the base.

 Shadowing by Dill flowersFinally, I put in the lacy dill flowers higher and almost shadowing the design.

Leftover flowersThese are the flowers that didn’t make the cut. If there had been more of them, I would have used them for the punch their color contrast gives. But one magenta phlox quickly becomes an eyesore.  In this quirky vase, it is allowed to be the star of the show.


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Flying high…

Berkshire Botanical Garden dayliliesThe Berkshire Botanical Garden was founded in 1936 (as the Berkshire Garden Center) by the Lenox Garden Club. Located on 15 acres in Stockbridge MA, it comes into its own during the late Spring and Summer months.

BBG metal flagsA delightful show called “Windswept: The Garden celebrates the beauty of wind” has flown into the Garden for this summer. Curated by the architecture and design shop called R T Facts, Kent CT, the show features sculptural pieces from their collections like the antique metal flags shown in front of the center house, the garden’s first structure.

Pond R T FactsParts of antique weathervanes populate the pond. If you look closely you can see a heron, a fish and an eagle, all from R T Facts.

 Pond and heronThis close-up of the heron shows its colorful patina.

Yellow ZingerMany larger pieces are by nationally known artists like Tim Prentice of Cornwall CT. This kinetic sculpture is called Yellow Zinger and it snakes a long distance down the shaded pathway.

Yellow Zinger in the treesLooking up into the trees, it brightens the path like a demented lightning bolt.

 Yellow Zinger detailA close-up shows the complicated wire construction and the individual yellow patches that move and sway with the wind.

Garden SequinsStanding like purple sentinels in a large patch of Gunnera, Garden Sequins by Richard Griggs acts like super skinny scarecrows made out of vertical geometric forms of the purple posts contrasted with the ornamentation of reflecting and moving discs of CDs.

Garden Sequins detailA close-up shows the construction of the ‘sequins’.

Memorialized in WhiteSeen from a distance, Suzanne Heilmann’s Memorialized in White captures the long-lost summer innocence of clothes drying in the sunshine.

 Memorialized in White closeupOn closer inspection, the row of mostly children’s clothing, permanently immortalized takes on a more chilling aspect. The fact that the actual clothes, either cast or dunked repeatedly in plaster, are very heavy and do not billow and flow in the wind contributes to this somber effect.

White plaster dressAt the Visitor’s Center, a child’s dress is framed and exhibited in its ruffled splendor, a peek at things to come.

 BBG GardenA visit to the Garden in any season is a treat!


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Dishing it out…

Hypertufa dish garden close-up  turtleSucculents are the plants of the moment. Their fascinating shapes and colorful variety combined with their laissez-faire care requirements make them in demand for planters inside and out. In a Bill Cunningham-esque sequence, everywhere I go I have been seeing dish gardens with succulents.

 Colorful dish gardenI hope I won’t embarrass my horticultural followers by pretending any horticultural knowledge here but I am guessing that the colorful plants are a moon cactus? These baby owls are hiding out among the succulents, too, in a hand-made hypertufa container.

 Virginia hypertufa dish gardenIn Virginia, these hypertufa containers were filled with a handsome variety of succulents. Going out on the botanical limb again to guess that the hippo-mouth-looking-plant is a Pleiospilos nelii, commonly called split rock plant for obvious reasons.

Dish garden with a blue poolOn Long Island earlier in the month of June, a gala party was successfully decorated with dish gardens surrounded by candlelight. Deep blue pots welcomed guests to the yacht club.

Garden with a Pool and benchEach pot was different in the selection of plants used along with charming miniatures. The candles, interestingly in groups of threes, began to glow and the gardens became more shadowy and atmospheric.

Copper Watering CansCharming copper accessories in excellent scale were woven through the taller plants in this garden setting. The copper makes a really distinctive contrast for the dish garden.

 Outside the floristOutside of Kamilla’s Florist in Millerton NY, an old hollowed tree stump serves as the dish for this assemblage of succulents both planted and potted. The pots and shards serve as colorful accents in the design.

 Dish garden with Candle holderInside the shop are a number of dish gardens designed to hold a candle as well. This one has the addition of wrapped cane ornaments for textural contrast. Their see-though quality opens up the design.

 Tabletop garden Succulents Dish GardenDish gardens would be fun to plant with vacationing children. There are a lot of websites selling these little plants which can’t cost much to ship.

Asterias superkabutoWith plants like Asterias ‘superkabuto’ out there, what have you got to lose?  One succulents and cactus site with good pictures is www.cactuslimon.net, but I’ve never used the site for plants. Have fun!




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