Pink and white

I can’t remember the last time I bought flowers. I have found such contentment in trimming the backyard and arranging cuttings of leaves and randomness in simple vases. I sometimes help a neighbor down the street by taking tiny snips of their Lilac tree. Can you blame me? I’m delighted with the large leafy palm in the back, floating my poppies now and again, and simplifying ranunculus singly.

I have a lovely friend Anne that has one of those fabulous San Francisco yards that gardener’s from out-of-state swoon over. I’m sure her neighbor’s don’t blink an eye, as their yards are just as rich with foliage and blossoms respectively.

The last time I saw her, she brought me gobs of fragrant Jasmine; twisted, blooming and viny. As well as so much Rosemary. Wow, the Rosemary. I love it, it’s incredible. I was trying to keep up with it. Drying it, adding it to arrangements and of course cooking with it. I paid her a visit recently and she promptly handed me some scissors and let me at it. The Jasmine is out of control right now, literally taking over the pathway of stairs to her front door. I snipped and sawed and pulled and certainly extracted as much as I could but really, she may have to go back with some heavy clippers and just trim it all back entirely. You feel so bad cutting it back, though it is very good for the plant, is growing like a weed. But even I would need a moment to organize just what to do with all that Jasmine.

Anne’s backyard is pure magic. Even in the dark.

(L) Jasmine vines. (R) Calla Lily

I think I mentioned in this blog once or twice that in Texas, Calla Lilies sold for about 7$ stem. Here in SF they grow wild and in if your lucky enough they are growing in your own back yard. Literally. Vendors on the street can get away with charging a dollar for them, other wise your better off just going outside to pick some because they are everywhere. They are such a beautiful flower. I have always connoted the flower with elongated elegance and with Mexico, because of the well-known painting Diego Rivera produced of his then wife Frida Kahlo’s sister (also his lover) sitting naked and holding armful of Callas. Such a beautiful painting though painful, the imagery.

In Anne’s backyard the Calla’s are growing towards the sky and at height of about 3 ft. They are simply phenomenal and the leaves are so wonderful on their own piled tall into a tall container , stuffed short in a black round vase with Orchids peeking out, or swirled in the bottom of a vase to conceal flower stems.

Group shot of Pink and White

On my way out the door I noticed she has a lovely blooming blossom tree. Not sure as to which kind it is, but I cut a small piece of it.

(L) Blossom branches with (R) Peony

If my eyes do not deceive me, I think these are first bloom Peonies. I snipped two. One is closed and the other is partially open. They smell incredible and I’m quite certain they are peonies.

Wildflower Bouquets

In a previous life I worked in a flower shop in Texas. I certainly miss working in that flower shop now. Being amongst constant, and amazing beautiful selections of fresh-cut flowers. Many exotic, many tropical, and many from  far away places, like Holland, Costa Rica, and even California. I loved having the creative freedom to put something together based upon a certain price range, and with no other specifics. I use to love when I was just given an amount to work with, and it was free rein to create what ever I wanted; designer’s choice. I do miss those days…how fitting now that I live in California, the land of flora and fauna. The land of plenty. Tall purple Lilac trees are blooming down the street. My mind is still amazed to see Calla Lilies sprouting tall everywhere. Abundant bushes of Hydrangea in every yard. Tulips and Iris grow wild….yes that is how it is here..abudantly beautiful.

I am fortunate to have access to some amazing hiking trails close by, and I find inspiration around me constantly. My mind still churns with creative ideas, and I see color, texture, and the balance of design in many things. Even within the sight of a snail who has lost its shell, or rather is looking for one. And moss engulfing a muddy step.

And though I do not have daily access to tulips and roses in every color imaginable, or daily deliveries from far, wide, and locally, I have my own local. And I can’t help but not create something from what is around me. The Queen Anne’s lace is in full bloom, and is some of the tallest varieties I have seen. There are many other wild flowers growing and I am in awed inspiration….

On my hike today, I decided to bring my camera as well as a strong grip. I began collecting, foraging, designing, arranging..I started with this, and it slowly evolved into something more.

Composed of wild Iris, Queen Anne’s lace, several types of grasses, leaves, and several flowers I honestly don’t know the names of it is essentially a spring wildflower bouquet. When I arrived home, I decided to re work the flowers into a small glass square vase I happen upon at the local Ross for about 6 dollars. I am happy with the arrangement as a casual and wild hand tied bouquet, which I’d love to tie with some gold or black satin ribbon. It also works well as a wild yet composed vase arrangement. Would be lovely in a small silver julep cup or brass gravy dish..

As my dear friend Charles ( a brilliant and fabulous Floral designer and Chef) once told me ” When life gives you lemons you make lemonade”. Well I have plenty of lemons, and I’m happily squeezing away..

Unenclosed Vivarium

My version of a Terrarium or Vivarium…or even a biosphere with out the dome.

I’ve been collecting succulents and rocks on different hikes, and decided to begin to root them in this multi-functional blue bowl. Once they go rooted, I am thinking that I will replace the water with more rocks and dirt.

This will be a work in progress.

Hiking in Tennessee Valley

It is spring time in Marin county and I have frequently been hiking in the Marin Headlands which is about a 10 minute drive from where I live. I take the Tennessee Valley trail that leads you straight to a little beach also called Tennessee that is  very secluded and very peaceful during the week. The hike to the beach takes about 30 minutes and it is a great trail to run on because of the uphill elevation.

Everything is bloom, and lush and green from all the recent rain we’ve had. I encountered a huge bush of golden pussy willow (above picture). These trees can reach over 10 ft. tall and the stems dry quite nicely.

Orange poppies sprouting up everywhere. I love the way the bud shape looks before the flower has opened. Reminds me of a tightly wound orange acorn teetering on a stem..

The flower on the right is purple but reminds me very much of a Texas blue bonnet. I am missing all the Texas wildflowers that are blooming alongside the highways at the moment…But in Texas calla lilies(above right) don’t grow wild like they do in California. I used to pay 7 dollars a stem for white calla lilies, and here they are commonly growing wild. I don’t mind that one bit.

The red flower on the left is growing alongside the trail and I have no idea what it is called. I’m thinking I may need to get a book about the local flora and fauna here in Marin…just a thought, I have many.

Needless to say Nature is incredibly inspiring. I am charmed by the random order in which plants and flowers grow in the wild. Organic landscape design that happens with ease in nature is very fascinating.