Saturday, November 27, 2010


Several years ago, a friend gave me her collection of stoneware crocks, nine in total, which I added to a couple of very old ones given to me by another friend.  Never could do anything floral with them.  Didn't feel like doing the old cliché of dried grasses or great bunches of daisies, so they just stayed in the garden shed catching dust and serving as homes for winter mice.  When David VanSciver asked us to bring a troublesome but rustic container to our second lesson, I immediately knew what I should take.  This crock is not tall enough for its height and nothing had ever looked good in it until now.  The seed pods helped quite a bit and the colors blended nicely.  Thanks, David, for the wonderful seedpods and for waking up this old crock from a long slumber.  Oh, and the angled stuff is equisetum (horse tail) from my garden.



A little bit of cardboard, some glitter, a few hours of boredom... A putz is built.  Once finished, the little house looks forlorn in its snowy field surrounded by its picket fence. As in real life, a house without a garden is like a body without a soul.  So here comes a bit of dried-up moss... still something is missing... trees!  Two snippets from my beloved cryptomeria japonica that died this summer due to the merciless drought.  Now the wee inhabitants of this chalet can smile and I'm sure there will be smoke coming out of the chimney as soon as they settle down in their new abode.  Good night.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Looking for interesting ideas for a design on a windowsill at the HUMC Harvest Festival, of course I went to the thrifty woman's flower emporium, the nearest Produce Junction.  After looking at the unispiring variety of cut flowers, I fell in love witht the amazing colors of this calla lily and the rest, as they say, is history.  The dish is from the fifties, found at some thrift shop or garage sale long ago.  Never used before, waiting for its perfect complement.   No way I was going to cut those flowers, so decided instead to use the whole plant, roots and all, add mosses and lichens and let it all hang out.  A stiff backing of liatris was all that was needed.  I enjoyed the puzzled expression of so many people who stopped over and seemed to wonder if this was a mistake, a broken pot, an unfinished work.  A card explained it all: "A Naturalistic Design"  Hopefully at least a few read it and learned something new. 


David Van Sciver is a retired Methodist minister.  His reverence for God is wondrous to witness.  There's something else that makes David tick:  FLOWERS. 

We met through flowers and pretty much talk through flowers~  the never-ending conversation.

Some years ago he founded the Floral Arts Guild in his church in Haddonfield. This has grown and grown, has a great workshop-cum-gift shop, a fabulous refrigeration system that would be the envy of many a professional florist, and a corps of lovely volunteers that make every Sunday a marvel in the Sanctuary.

David, like any gardener worth his salt, loves to share.  He does this by teaching and spreading the gospel of flowers througout this area.  His classes start at 6:30 PM or thereabouts and end when the last student is gone.  Last night I left close to 11:00 and there were still several ladies working on their arrangements. 

I am learning all kinds of tricks and techniques that are never shared at the Philadelphia Flower Show or anywhere else.  I'm also learning the ins and outs of keeping a church flower guild moving in the right direction.  Sheer willpower and dedication have to be the first two items. 

This little all-green arrangement comes from our first class, one week ago yesterday.  The photo was taken right before going to the second class and as you can see, the flowers are still fresh.  Well, that's one of the tricks!  More information in future postings.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Bernie and Duane lost their spouses some years back.  They met in church and fell in love.  It was a joy to watch them as they slowly realized how much they cared for each other.  Their wedding was this June and I had the pleasure to do their flowers.  Here is the flower basket I made for Bernie's granddaughter.  It is very easy and inexpensive to make. If you want details, leave a message in this blog.  After the fresh flowers die, the basket will last for years, kind of a metaphor for these two love birds.

Friday, November 5, 2010


Late 1950's.
By government decree, every woman had to march at a huge rally honoring the dictator. All had to wear white dresses, shoes, gloves, summer hats. My mother had her seamstress make her a linen dress with mother-of-pearl buttons down the bodice. Before the dress was assembled, Mother took it to a lovely Chinese woman in the tiny Chinatown in Santo Domingo. This lady hardly spoke Spanish, but through signs and my mother's own design, flowers bloomed all over the bodice and pockets. There were calendars on the walls of this lady's tiny shop. One showed gorgeous, smiling Chinese girls carrying parasols and wearing sinuous silk dresses with high collars. Another had illustrations of strange, steep mountains coming out of the water. As a seven-year-old I made up my mind that Chinese artists didn't know what they were doing because obviously no mountain could look like that. This year I went to Guilin and sailed around those strange mountains and for the first time in over fifty years thought of that Chinese woman and her embroidery machine in a sultry little room in the middle of the Caribbean. The dress was gorgeous. My mother was gorgeous when she wore it. She didn't wear it the day of the rally. She was "sick" that morning and had to stay home. No member of my family would ever appear at a government rally and shout vivas to the tyrant. There are many ways to resist tyranny, I don't know how many of them require a new linen dress. This one has resided in my closet for many years to remind me of my beautiful mother and her indomitable spirit.



About Me

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Moorestown, New Jersey, United States
Let's talk about our gardens. Let's talk about all the flowers and critters that thrive within the confines of our personal paradises. Let's talk about those we love and love us back, although once in a while they scratch us and make us bleed a little. Just to remind us that we are alive. Those roses and cats and people that thrive in our gardens... How important... How important they are...