Leaf watch

I’ve stopped counting the days, but I’m guessing I’ve had these cut leaves in a vase now for about 2 and a half weeks…truth be told I need to check the water.The whole arrangement has literally sat frozen in time, all this time.

Not sure what tree this is, but the middle top section looks as though it has new growth on it. Who knew? I’m pleased.

I’ve also recently collected a few trimmings from a lime tree on the side of my place. I couldn’t resist as it appears as it is going to bloom soon.

Blooming lime tree in February? Yes that’s what happens when the end of January is filled with rain, humidity and temperatures in the mid 70’s.

The rest of the arrangement involves more random leaves from the yard and the wonderful curly willow I found (left for dead) on a street downtown.


Picked up some Hyacinth recently (at the store). Hyacinth is a bit like tapioca, you either love it or hate it. Once upon time, when I worked at florist, I had a woman want to return a bunch of Hyacinth. She said there was something wrong with it, and that it had the most horrible smell. She couldn’t believe we were selling it.

Yes, Hyacinth can sometimes create that type of reaction. It does have a very strong, pungent odor that can be overwhelming for sensitive noses. I happen to not mind the smell. It also helps to separate the stems (put them in other places), so that the blooms are not all contained in one area.

I put a stem in the my kitchen right above the sink.

Works well in a drinking glass, with a small section of a very large palm frond from the front yard. More on that later.


“Dating back centuries before Christ, cultures brought evergreen trees, plants, and leaves into their homes upon the arrival of the winter solstice, which occurs in the northern hemisphere between December 21st and 22nd. Although the specific practices were different in each country and culture, the symbolization was generally the same: to celebrate the return of life at the beginning of winter’s decline.”-  read more about the History of the Christmas Tree .

In lieu of purchasing an evergreen tree, either big, medium or small, I decided to out source ‘my tree’ by walking a short distance to the side of my house. I picked up the Ilex berry at the store and added a few snipping of the wild red berries I picked down the street. The greens are random as they come and are quite hearty. It was not only until after that I realized I had just selected my holiday ‘tree’. I initially was just gathering greens to fill my vase and then it became quite a serendipitous moment.

As much as I love the smell of evergreen, I don’t love the shedding..but that really isn’t the reason I didn’t go out and purchase a ‘traditional’ Christmas tree this year. I tend to lean toward the more non-traditional ways of celebrating (the season) and alternative ways to bring fresh greens indoors while still maintaining the symbolism behind said greens.

A few weeks ago my step-sister and her husband, invited me over to her house to partake in quite a festive night of decorating their very large Christmas tree with my two young nephews. It was an absolute joy and delight to help them unpack their special Christmas ornaments and watch them be boosted up to hang these precious decorations. After the tree was decked we sat down, enjoyed cups of eggnog and watched a Charlie Brown Christmas. It was the first time I had watched this iconic special in quite some time. It was so refreshing to be reminded about the true spirit of Christmas, as at times it can be easy to forget. Amazing that a Charlie Brown Christmas aired in 1965, and even way back then the premise was about “the over-commercialization of Christmas” and well, the enlightenment of Charlie Brown, so to speak. Or rather, how Charlie Brown discovered the true meaning of Christmas.

8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. 12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill towards men.'”

“…And that’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

It is truly an animated classic worth watching again each year. Preferably enjoyed in the company of family, and friends with a warm cup of kindness and cheer. It is also a time of reflection and appreciation. Appreciate and give thanks.

Happy Holidays!

Changing of the leaves

There is a saying  in Texas: “If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute and it’ll change.”

It is not uncommon for it to be in the high 80’s one day and a few days later it might snow. True story.

It is December, and last week we had some ‘winter’ weather. If you consider 30’s at night and high 50’s during the day, winter weather. Honestly, after living in the Bay for a few years it felt like just another day. Around these parts it means people immediately go shopping for sweaters, or pull out their winter clothes from storage. Yes, I have been wearing a scarf, it has been slightly chilly before 6 a.m. But today, what do you know, it is 79 degrees and I’m wearing shorts.

With the weather being so indecisive, we are still enjoying produce like tomatoes and spinach this late in the year. The trees are also changing colors. It looks like Fall. It is just beautiful.

I literally stopped (my bike) in my tracks when I saw this incredible tree today. Its leaves dripping with yellow, beckoning me to stop and clip some trimmings from it. Lucky for me it exists in yet another vacant lot, so I casually took a few branches that were hanging low to the ground. Casually.

There are tiny clusters at the end of the branches that look very much like Tallow berry but grey instead of white.
I arranged the branches in my white vase and set it in the kitchen. Works well against the yellow walls and matches perfectly with the squash.

Yellow in December. Why not?

Red, Green and December

Nothing like a rescued pine cone and some red and green to make it feel all warm and holiday like.

You know me, always looking on the ground for some new and exciting specimen to collect. Did I ever mention that as a kid I spent hours and hours digging in the ground looking for rocks and fossils? Sure did. That was when I wanted to be an Archaeologist (logic) and an Astronaut (reason). Alas I am currently flower foraging (=Math) and loving it.

I discovered this tangled vine of beautiful red berries on the same fence, in the same vacant lot as that wonderful pink Coral Vine. It quickly went into 1 of my 3 vases.

Backyard leaves (yes, again)

Channeling my inner Constance Spry, I went out back for leaves. Big surprise right? I ask you to bear with me as I continue to navigate through the natural elements just readily available all around me. There is such a bounty of overgrown foliage each and every way I look.Wild foliage and blooms are just seemingly more interesting.

This is what I’m faced with. The back yard is a bit of a wild mess. It was (and still is) in desperate need of some leaf and debris removal. Taking a rake to it would also certainly help. It’s as if someone hadn’t combed their hair in months. Many months. Now I get to work out the tangles.

Naturally I needed to trim some of these leaves out back. I also wanted to fill a vase.

And to think we sometimes pay for Ti leaves….lucky I have this variety growing all over. Just a nice handful ( 10 or more) spruces up a corner, adds some green to a room and yet still remains unfussy.

Because these leaves are so resilient, I switched vases and arranged them differently in the kitchen. Mind you, a week later.

Again, simple and unfussy. The leaves are now folded in and I’ve added a few stems of a very thorny plant (growing between a lime tree) for height and much texture. A single Riviera rose adds a pop of color. (Yes, I actually purchased roses recently). I just couldn’t resist the striking hot pink hue.

The gorgeous local produce (eggplant, tomatoes, okra and padron peppers) is from the Urban Harvest Farmer’s market at City Hall.