Black & White & Red All Over.

Farmstand fresh flowersThese two brilliant bunches of flowers called my name at the farm stand yesterday. They both shared some of the same flowers and also each had a different one.

 Black and White ceramic bowlSomehow the white and red made me think of this black and white bowl (Target a couple of years ago). The whites of the flowers might work well with the white of the container.

Farmstand Fresh FlowersIn taking apart the two bunches, to ‘take attendance’ so to speak, I found 9 ruby Celosia, 16 white Cosmos (my most favorite summer flower!), 22 Zinnias in red or bicolor orange/yellow, and a dozen white Gomphrena.

GomphrenaGomphrena, as you can see, are rather oddly stemmed plants with often three or four stems branching from a swollen nodule which in this case is bright magenta.

Celosia & GomphrenaBecause I had so many flowers, I removed almost all the foliage from the flowers. No foliage filler needed. Beginning with the Celosia and Gomphrena, I inserted the stems in a 4” flower frog (kenzan). It would have been easier if I had used some florist clay to secure the frog as it tended to slide when inserting the flowers.

Adding White cosmos & red zinniasHaving set the framework, I began to add the Cosmos and Zinnias, always turning the vase to keep things hopefully symmetrical.

Finished with yellow orange zinniasThe last flowers added were the yellow/orange Zinnias to give the whole thing a little more excitement.

Shell like stones and the vaseWith so many flowers (and only $20!!!), the vase isn’t seen up close. You need to be across the room, or sitting at the table. Inside at the front, you can just see the pearly stones, used to hide the kenzan, glimmering in the water.

Zinnias on the Window SillFour orphaned pink Zinnias snuck into the original bouquets. They were given a spot of their own. I hope someone comes this week to see them.


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Entertaining flowers

Dock, parsnip and basketsIn high summer I always like the flowers in the house to be from the garden, if not mine (OK, mostly not mine), then someone else’s garden or the farm stand.

Flower Frogs with DahliasFor the entertainment of the realtors, each week I change around how and where I put flowers. This is a steel tray from IKEA with some lead flower frogs (see “Don’t kiss the FlowerFrog” in my old blogspot Archives: and bright golden dahlias. They all rest in about an inch of water.

Yarrow on the tableThis handsome red yarrow (Achillea millefolium) lasted beautifully or two weeks in the Pittsford Dairy cream bottles. The twig runner came from Crate & Barrel years ago and has paid for itself several times over by being neutral, country and a great texture.

Phragmities outedIn rushing to have something on the table for a showing one day, I succumbed to the beauty of the invasive no-no, Phragmities, in full purple bloom. I crept down the road to a clump of them near to the stream. Of course as soon as I had picked a few, I was outed by two charming young women who work for a local nature park nearby. “Do you know what that is? Oh, yes…” was my sheepish reply!!

Gallairdia on gingham runnerWhen the yarrow finally called it quits, bright big yellow Gallardia, looking like black-eyed Susan on steroids, went in the cream bottles on a quilted red check runner.

Pot et PotStarch BoxOne of my most treasured ‘containers’ is this old wooden starch box with its beautiful dovetailed corners. In it is a ‘pot-et-pot’ or really a ‘pot-et-pot-et-pot’: Anthurim (tall), ivy, Begonia (right).

 Heirloom zinniasAren’t these heirloom zinnias wonderful? So many color combinations within each flower?

Heirloom zinnias in copperThis week I used them on the dining room table in a copper wire structure. For how-to see another blogspot post:  Zinnias are very thirsty girls, these tubes have to be filled every morning.


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Summer perfection.

Cooperstown NY ViewCooperstown NY is one of those towns that is almost like Brigadoon, appearing each summer to delight visitors.

 Hotel Otesaga GatewayOtesaga HotelThe historic Otesaga Hotel sits on the shore of Otsego Lake at the southern end. It has been cosseting travelers since 1909.

 Lake with a band concertWednesday nights there are often band concerts on the lawn after dinner. Delightful old-fashioned summer traditions thrive at the Otesaga, like tea every day at 4pm on the porch.

Lake Otsego view morningNative son, and renowned American author, James Fenimore Cooper called the lake ‘Glimmerglass’ in his “Leatherstocking Tales”, novels of frontier adventures.

GlimmerglassThese summer days, Glimmerglass also means Cooperstown’s summer Opera Festival, featuring music of another kind filling the concert hall. This summer Mrs. Olana and I delighted in a captivating production of Leonard Bernstein’s “Candide”.

 Cooperstown Hanging basketsThe Clark family ARE Cooperstown. Their Clark Institute is the mainstay of many of the town’s great institutions. One of the traditions of the Institute is to create lush vibrant horticulture to decorate the town and it’s buildings.

 Fenimore Museum petuniasWe’re talking beautifully grown and well-tended handing baskets, topiaries and planters. The purple petunias, here at the Fenimore Museum, stretch towards the lakeshore.

Fenimore Museum Hanging PlantThis huge (heavy) basket of Bacopia at the Fenimore Museum shows the attention to grooming and lush health.

 Blue MingoBlue Mingo restaurant lies half-way up the lake on the west side, and is reached through an active boat restoration yard. We recommend the delicious mojitos (11 kinds) and yummy food in a spectacular setting.

Lake with a ViewThe view is just a beautiful at the northern end at the home of a friend who shared her garden with us on our last day, as we drove back to the Berkshires.

Lakeside GardenAnd the Clark’s greenhouses have nothing on the talents of this generous gardener!   Are those hydrangeas happy? You bet.


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