Posted tagged ‘containers’

Chanticleer’s Cutting Edge

July 30, 2011

As most of you know by now, my favorite public garden on the East Coast (or in the continental US, for that matter) is Chanticleer Garden, in Wayne, Pennsylvania. I’m looking forward to this fall’s annual pilgrimage to the Master Garden Photography Workshop there in early October.

One of the many delightful aspects of the garden is its inspired use of cut flowers in (among other places) its public restrooms. Over the last couple of years, whenever I’ve visited, I’ve shot images both of the current “bouquets” in those areas as well as from the Cutting Garden itself. Here’s a sampling of the combinations I’ve found throughout the garden.

Let’s start with a ‘vignette’ of masterfully chosen perennials which begged to be photographed as well as serving as fodder for bouquets: sunflowers, liatris, lilies, and goodness knows what else:

Chanticleer cutting garden, sunflowers

An enormous sunflower anchors a gorgeous combination of summer flowers in the Cutting Garden at Chanticleer in July 2010. I like this image so much I've framed it and hung it in my own home.

Other summer shots from the cutting garden, cropped for effect in some cases:

An image from the Cutting Garden in August 2010

Chanticleer Garden, cutting garden


Chanticleer Garden, cutting garden

Lilies, rudbeckia, and other annuals in the Cutting Garden in August 2010.

And now, the masterpieces created from the Cutting Garden. Please note (ahem) that at least one of these photos was shot in the men’s restroom (albeit before the garden opened to the public).

Chanticleer Garden, cut flowers, cutting garden, cut flower bouquets

The restrooms at Chanticleer always have amazing cut flower bouquets at the washbasins.

Chanticleer, cutting garden, cut flower arrangements

In the other bathroom.

Chanticleer Garden

A late summer/early fall arrangement.

And visitors are always greeted with astonishingly beautifully arranged cut flowers in the outdoor visitors’ gazebo.

Chanticleer, cutting garden, cut flower arrangements

Gorgeous. What else can I say?

Chanticleer is open until the end of October. If you’re in the area, or within an easy drive, don’t miss it.

Garden Shoots will be on hiatus until early September.
See you in the fall!

Not Just for Sissies

November 13, 2010

Recently I came across a post from one of my favorite garden photographers, David Perry. Entitled “Flowers Aren’t Just for Sissies,” it immediately brought to mind the scenes I witnessed during my trip to Mexico earlier this month during the Day of the Dead celebration. Perry’s message, aimed at “tough guy” types, includes the point that it’s OK to put cut flowers in something other than a delicate crystal vase.

Like, for example, these lovingly arranged flowers in metal cans – or other humble containers – that I saw repeatedly in the old cemetery in San Miguel de Allende on the Day of the Dead while we were there.

Day of the Dead, San Miguel de Allende, flower offerings

Flowers in a metal can, painted purple, in a cemetery niche in San Miguel on the Day of the Dead

San Miguel de Allende, Day of the Dead, cemetery, flower offerings

Carnations, marigolds, and even artificial flowers in a variety of containers

San Miguel de Allende, Day of the Dead, flower offerings, cemetery

Another painted metal can with marigolds and coxcomb flowers is the central offering in this cemetery memorial niche.

The cemetery was filled with families, including plenty of men, who were celebrating the lives of their beloved but departed family members by freshening graves (including piling newly dug soil on top of tombstones) and painting memorial niches.

Day of the Dead, San Miguel de Allende cemetery

A family member repaints the back of a memorial niche before placing flowers as an offering on the Day of the Dead.

Were there more elaborate memorials with formally arranged flowers? Absolutely.

Day of the Dead, cemetery, San Miguel de Allende

An angel stands guard over a tomb on the Day of the Dead, splendidly bedecked in garlands and with beautifully filled urns at her feet.

What stays with me the most clearly, however, are the more humble offerings – and their simple, unassuming containers – that I saw at most of the graves or memorials. Flower offerings, whether for yourself, a friend, or the table, don’t have to be elaborately displayed. After all, it’s the flowers that are taking center stage and which you choose for your message.


All Decked Out

June 12, 2010

As a garden designer,  I have a confession to make: I don’t think of myself as particularly inspired when it comes to containers (planters, pots, whatever you want to call them). My colleague Kripa is the star at our company, and I always love to look at and photograph her creations. Here are two of my favorites.

annuals, plant combinations

A summer container with lantana, sweet potato vine, geraniums and style by Kripa. (Nikon D100)

plant combinations, shade

For a shady site, a blue glazed pot with white and pink New Guinea impatiens is simple but effective. (Nikon D100)

This year, however, I decided to lift my own back deck out of the doldrums. For Mother’s Day weekend, with no one to entertain but myself, I headed to my local independent garden center. First, I picked out some shade-tolerant flowers for the front, north-facing stoop, where two square concrete planters that are actually too small for the space flank the front door. I picked out white caladiums, white impatiens, Begonia ‘Benitochiba,’ and a dark coleus. I’m still waiting for this combo to start filling in, unfortunately.

On the east-facing deck, I decided to go for bright and bold. Coleus combinations are real show-stoppers if done right. I have a lot of sun on the deck so I could have opted for just about anything, but this year I decided to stick to the coleus theme. In one pot I planted a ‘Red Star’ cordyline for height and surrounded it with five different kinds of coleus. The eye-catcher that inspired me at the outset is Coleus ‘Alabama Sunset.’

Coleus 'Alabama Sunset'

Coleus 'Alabama Sunset' offers stunning gradations of orange and yellow. (Canon G11)

Around it, I added four other varieties . Clockwise from ‘Alabama Sunset,’ you see ‘Religious Radish,’ ‘Ruby Jewels,’ ‘Sky Fire,’ and ‘Red Ruffles.’ Later I stuck in one plant of ‘Pineapple Wizard’ below ‘Ruby Jewels’ and added a ‘Blackie’ sweet potato vine. Three weeks after planting, they are spilling out of the container, comme ca:

Coleus Alabama Sunset, Religious Radish, Ruby Jewels, Sky Fire, Red Ruffles, Pineapple Wizard

The coleus are about to engulf the poor Cordyline plant in the back. (Canon G11)

A second pot holds my annual herb collection of basil, thyme, and rosemary. (I gave up on cherry tomatoes on the deck several years ago after watching them be attacked on a regular basis by some unknown creature (squirrel?) who took ONE BITE out of each tomato as it ripened.) The third container is planted with four plants of Coleus ‘Indian Summer’ and is filling out nicely, thank you. Here’s a closeup of the leaves on ‘Indian Summer.’

Coleus 'Indian Summer'

Coleus 'Indian Summer' shines on its own on my back deck. (Nikon D300)

I also took a photo of the leaves with my iPhone camera and while I like the image (a little dreamy and soft), the color is off.

Coleus Indian Summer

The iPhone photo of the same leaves is beautiful, but the color is off.

I’ll never equal my fellow blogger Deborah‘s talent for creating stunning arrangements, but I think I’m making progress. Check in with me this fall, when my biggest challenge rears its annual head – window boxes for a client with a shady front yard. Who wants COLOR. Help.

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