“By all these lovely tokens September days are here,
With summer’s best of weather
And autumn’s best of cheer.”
Helen Hunt Jackson
When summer’s sultry heat has abated and the leaves have just started to turn is a wonderful time to enjoy some fall alfresco dining. Take a cue from nature and highlight autumn’s gorgeous jewel shades in your table setting. Start dinner a bit earlier to catch the setting sun and share some easy conversation around a table set under the early autumn sky. Bring in some candlelight and break out the sweaters to stretch the evening under the stars.
“The best way to eat crabs, as everyone knows, is off newspaper at a large table with a large number of people.” Laurie Colwin
A crab boil is one of the easiest summer entertaining parties to host. Low on stress and high on fun, I make mine even easier by ordering the crabs already cooked, encrusted in Old-Bay style seasoning and picked up piping hot, right before guests arrive. Where we live these red-shelled beauties are Maryland blue crabs from the Chesapeake. Their Latin name, Callinectes sapidus, means beautiful swimmer. Their flesh is sweet and succulent and they are in season now. Aren’t they gorgeous? Continue reading
Treating you to lots of eye candy today to inspire your spring or Easter décor and entertaining! From the welcome of spring blooms on our front porch to Easter around the house and at the table, there are ideas galore to take away. Enjoy!
An ice cream parlor chair repurposed into a planter greets visitors with a chalkboard welcome sign. Tutorial here.
Every day since I first published a tutorial on Biedermeier flower arranging in wet sand a few years ago, someone somewhere in the world reads that post. That is so cool! I guess there are a lot of us who still love to play with sand! Recently, I created a Biedermeier fall arrangement using that same wet-sand technique on a small china cake stand with a variety of mums and asters for a class I was teaching. I created a slideshow of the technique. Take a look:
“Spring has returned. The earth is like a child that knows poems.” Rainer Maria Rilke
The garden is slowly awakening after its long winter’s sleep. Everywhere shoots of new life are bursting out of the ground, reaching for the sky. I love everything about this time of year. One of my favorite color palettes is tonal greens and whites, symbols of new life and the colors of spring for me. The subtle variations in the greens and whites are brought out by texture. And there is no better place than in nature to appreciate greens especially.
Shopping for flowers the week after Valentine’s Day might not have been the best decision. I set out to find a big bunch of tulips to fill the Alice Goldsmith ceramic pitcher I had coveted and which my own true love had surprised me with. The tulips were picked over. The roses too. Then I spotted them~these dusty lavender and green roses that everyone else had left behind. “Perfect for Halloween,” said one woman. “Could I use them for funeral luncheon arrangements?” queried another. “Weird,” pronounced another. I had never entertained so much conversation in front of supermarket flowers. But those roses made my heart skip a beat. They were modern in a charming old fashioned way with their faded coloration. They reminded me of roses ones sees in fashionable Paris florists’ ateliers. Of course I brought 2 dozen home. Continue reading
One of the things I am most grateful for in my life is my garden club and the creative friends I have made in this group. Every year we get together to create a fresh Thanksgiving floral centerpiece. One of our members, the talented designer Mari Dolby, certified in flower arranging from the venerable Longwood Gardens, led us in a class to create a magnificent arrangement just in time for the busy entertaining season. I learned so much: from how to dangle apples from a floral arrangement( easy trick!) to wiring feathers for interest(why not!) and incorporating vine balls for organic texture. It was an inspiring class. The principles of flower arranging shared in the slide show below are useful for any seasonal centerpiece and I hope will help you in your future flower arranging.
The completed arrangement
With the leftover scraps and some foraged seed heads, this sweet little arrangement was made in a Dollar Store votive “vase” for the powder room.
Ornamental allium, cousin of the edible onion and garlic is the firework of the perennial border! Its stunning flowers soar above other plantings punctuating the garden with floral exclamation marks. These enchanting flowers always steal the show and never fail to make me smile. From pure white to soft lilac to brilliant purple, they are easy to grow and are animal proof as their onion taste is unappealing to animals. Allium bulbs should be planted in the fall and will naturalize. Continue reading
“To be overcome by the fragrance of flowers is a delectable form of defeat.” Beverly Nichols
Close up of a beauty in the local garden of master grower, E’Ni Foo
I discovered Chinese Tree Peonies about 10 years ago at the Philadelphia Flower Show and have been in love with them ever since. To behold a Tree Peony is to become smitten. Yet I find they are not known to many gardeners. Chinese Tree Peonies have often been classified as exotic plants but can successfully be grown in many climates. Continue reading
“A house with daffodils in it is a house lit up, whether or not the sun be shining outside.” A.A. Milne
All at once my garden has burst into bloom and there are so many gorgeous flowers to cut and arrange. Overnight the daffodils, Ice Follies, have opened up and are in abundance for cutting. I love using unusual containers for flower arranging. I thought the purple of a head of radicchio would compliment these white and yellow beauties and suit their size. Continue reading