My Italian majolica vase inspired this week’s flower CSA bouquet.  Flower stems (marigold, zinnia, rudebekia, gomphrena) were paired with grasses and fragrant herbs (basil, fennel, Mexican mint) then fringed with dianthus to set off the rooster.

Kind of an usual arrangement but one thing led to another. Which reminds me, you must read The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert. Her wonderful book immerses you in the forgotten world of 19th century scientists and gardeners on the cusp of Darwin’s theory of natural selection. Makes me long to meet someone as intrepid, brilliant and determined as her Alma.

Researching Alma leads me to discover the likes of botannical illustrator Marianne North and Gertrude Jekyll, one of the most influential garden designers of the 20th century. Jekyll (yes, of Jekyll and Hyde fame) created nearly 400 gardens across Britain, Europe and the United States. Who knew? Finding accounts of women who succeeded long ago is deeply satisfying to me given how much of what I’ve been taught is limited to the achievements of men.

I also love how one passion – gardens – can lead to the creation of another – vases. For instance, see how Gertrude’s great, great granddaughter has restored her legacy by reintroducing vases she designed 100+ years ago, www.gertrudejekylldesigns.com.

Flower growing and arranging does inevitably lead to what to put the darn things in. Should it be a showy ornate vessel (there’s that majolica again!)?




Or a plain thing that does not distract? flowers041114-2

Each week’s Flower CSA bouquet is given to you in a red cup full of water. We do this so the stems are fat and juicy and easily transported in your car’s cupholder. But does this work? Should we just bundle them like other flower growers do? What do you prefer?