WILDFLOWER BOUQUETS
by JoAnn Wasson in central Georgia, USA

{click thumbnails to see bouquets}

Fingertip Bouquet of the "Unsightly" June 10, 2014
  • Carolina Geranium (Cranesbill), Geranium carolinianum

Comment: Many websites offer advice for getting rid of this plant, classed as a weed, which commonly occurs across our country in lawns, gardens and fields, listing the plant as unsightly and unwanted. A close-up of the flowers, however, reveals their striking beauty!

Geranium carolinianum
Fingertip Bouquet in Lavender and Blue - May 27, 2014
  • Ground Ivy, Glechoma hederacea
  • Star Chickweed, Stellaria pubera
  • Persian Speedwell, Veronica persica

Comment: While flowers of bright red, yellow and orange hues usually attract more attention, I find the patterns of color in these lavender and blue flowers to be delightfully captivating. In contrast, the simplicity of form in the white Star Chickweed easily stands on its own.

 Lavender and Blue
Fingertip Bouquet in Golden Yellow - May 7, 2014
  • Dandelion, Taraxacum officinal
  • Hawkweed (Rattlesnake Weed), Hieracium venosum
  • Slender Yellow Wood Sorrel, Oxalis dillenii

Comment - Sometimes bouquets almost design themselves, whether the fingertip sort or the larger, more traditional-sized arrangement. This is one of those. Interestingly, these blossoms were found within a small wildflower community less than one square foot in size.

Fingertip Bouquet in Golden Yellow
Fingertip Bouquet in Blue and Green - April 22, 2014
  • Ground Ivy, Glechoma hederacea
  • White Clover, Trifolium repens
  • Wild Violet, Viola papilionacea

This is the first of a series of "Fingertip Bouquets,"  the sort of bouquet one collects in the wild, then arranges right there and photographs on site. This method is especially useful (and much easier!) when working with tiny flowers, those which are a half inch or less in diameter, than attempting to fashion them into a traditional bouquet.

finger 1

The Dogwood's Tiny Bouquet - April 14, 2014

  • Flowering Dogwood, Cornus florida

The creamy white bracts ("petals") of the Flowering Dogwood's blossom form a stunning backdrop for the elegant diminutive bouquet of greenish-yellow flowers found in the center of the blossom. This bouquet is one of the splendid examples we have in the wild of beauty just waiting for our observation and enjoyment; no arrangement needed by us.

052.jpg (97801 bytes)
Field and Garden - December 10, 2013
  • Hydrangea, Hydrangea macrophylla
  • Jimson Weed, Datura stramonium
  • Elephant Garlic, Allium ampeloprasium var. ampeloprasum
  • mystery wildflower from Kentucky

In the fall of the year when the bright splash of summer colors wane and give way to soft shades of dun, taupe and brown, it is then that the delightful form of the wildflowers and those in the garden take center stage.

Field and Garden
Field and Garden - December 10, 2013 {close-up} Field and Garden
Pink Perfection - December 5, 2013
  • "Pink Perfection" hybrid, Camellia japonica

Here is some of what we find that is neither dun nor brown at our place these days.

Pink Perfection
Pink Perfection - December 5, 2013 {close-up} Pink Perfection
Just Sunflowers - November 19, 2013
  • Narrow-Leaf Sunflower, Helianthus angustifolius

These Sunflowers were some of the last wildflowers I found in the field before our first frost this fall. Being captivated by the pretty colors and the pleasing form of both the flowers and foliage, I chose to use just the Sunflowers.

Narrow-Leaf Sunflower
Goldenrod and More - October 18, 2013
  • Gray Goldenrod, Solidago nemoralis
  • Elm-Leaved Goldenrod, Solidago ulmifolia
  • Rough Leaf Goldenrod, Solidago rugosa
  • Willow-Leaf Goldenrod, Solidago erecta
  • Maryland Golden Aster, Chrysopsis mariana
  • Narrow-Leaf Sunflower, Helianthus angustifolius

When I first glimpsed the rusty, gallon metal milk container--a "find" which came from one of the old sheds at our new home--I could almost hear it
begging for a bouquet of Goldenrod.

Goldenrod and More
Goldenrod and More - October 18, 2013 {close-up} Goldenrod and More
Golden Simplicity - June 25, 2013
  • Blackeyed Susan, Rudbeckia hirta

Rudbeckia work well in arrangements with other sorts of wildflowers.
However, when used alone, they themselves create a spectacular bouquet.

Golden Simplicity
Golden Simplicity - June 25, 2013 {close-up} Golden Simplicity close-up
The Beauty of Community - June 18, 2013
  • Wild Garlic (Cow Garlic), Allium vineale
  • Musk Thistle, Carduus nutans
  • Lesser Daisy Fleabane, Erigeron strigosus
  • Buckhorn (Narrow-leafed, English) Plantain, Plantago lanceolata
  • Basket Grass (Woodgrass, Mary's Grass), Microstegium vimineum
  • Common Blackberry, Rubus fruticosus

This arrangement is an effort to present something of the beauty we saw along the roadside a few days ago. All but the foliage of the Basket Grass and the Common Blackberry came from a solitary community of wildflowers, harmonious in their form as well as their color.

The Beauty of Community
The Beauty of Community - June 18, 2013 {close-up} The Beauty of Community
Sunlight and Shadow - June 4, 2013
  • Seven Sisters Rose, Rosa multiflora platyphylla
  • Virginia Spiderwort, Tradescantia virginiana
  • Japanese Honeysuckle, Loncera japonica

Sometimes, for me, it is the form of the container which prompts both the content and configuration of an arrangement. In this case, the old pitcher seemed a natural for these classic flowers.

Sunlight and Shadows
Sunlight and Shadow - June 4, 2013 {close-up} Sunlight and Shadow close-up
Simply Nice - April 16, 2013 
  • Robin's Plantain, Erigeron pulchellus
  • Japanese Honeysuckle, Loncera japonica

Oftentimes, the shape of a central flower is what drives the design of an arrangement. I find that to be the case with the Robin's Plantain in the simplicity of its daisy-like form. Here, the spring-green leaves and the vining character of the Japanese Honeysuckle provide the needed contrast.

Simply Nice - April 16, 2013
Simply Nice - April 16, 2013   {close-up} Simply Nice - April 16, 2013, close-up
A Tiny Arrangement - April 2, 2013
  • Field Pansy (Johnny Jump Up), Viola bicolor

Tiny flowers present a special challenge for arranging. (For perspective, note the coin.) The solution for this arrangement was to find a small container, a cup just 2 inches tall, and to use entire plants for stability. First I filled the cup two-thirds full with garden soil, poured in cool water and then added at least 8 or 10 whole plants. To give fullness to the bouquet, I added a dozen or so stemmed blossoms, being sure the stems reached the wet soil. After several hours the arrangement remains fresh as you see it here.

Field Pansy (Johnny Jump Up), Viola bicolor
A Tiny Arrangement - April 2, 2013   {close-up} Field Pansy (Johnny Jump Up), Viola bicolor
A Trio of Purple Pouffes - March 26, 2013
  • Purple Deadnettle, Lamium purpureum

These velvety-leafed Purple Deadnettles lend themselves well to miniature, bunched arrangements I call "pouffes"--pouff being an import from 19th
Century French, meaning "something puffed out."

Purple Pouffes
A Trio of Purple Pouffes - March 26, 2013 {close-up} Purple Pouffes
Silhouette of Winter - February 12, 2013
  • American Wormseed (Epazote), Chenopodium ambrosioides

The gold cord ornamenting the bouquet hints of this plant's value. In the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico no pot of simmering black beans would be complete without a few fresh sprigs of Epazote for flavor. Moreover, the American Wormseed has long been revered for its medicinal importance as a vermifuge. To me, however, of primary value is the lovely natural form of the dried plant itself with its tiny globular flower spikes, all remaining quite characteristically aromatic even in February.

American Wormseed flower arrangement
Silhouette of Winter - February 12, 2013 {close-up} American Wormseed winter flowers
Dried Wildflowers: In Celebration of Christmas - December 25, 2012
  • Sumac, Rhus coriaria
  • Rabbit Tobacco (Life Everlasting), Gnaphalium obtusifolium
  • Pennsylvania Smartweed, Persicaria pensylvanica
  • American Wormseed (Mexican Tea, Epazote), Chenopodium ambrosioides
  • Hairy Wood Sunflower--the seedhead (Appalachian Sunflower), Helianthus atrorubens

To me, the Christmas Season makes its own statement; nothing really need be added. Yet for those wishing to compose adornment, the natural materials are matchless.

Dried Wildflowers: In Celebration of Christmas
Dried Wildflowers: In Celebration of Christmas - December 25, 2012 {close-up} Dried Wildflowers: In Celebration of Christmas
Clover in Autumn - November, 2012
  • Mistflower, Conoclinium coelestinum
  • Pennsylvania Smartweed, Persicaria pensylvanica.
  • Common Fleabane, Erigeron philadelphicus
  • Red Clover (Cowgrass), Trifolium pretense
  • Late Purple Aster, Symphotrichum patens
  • Hairy White Oldfield Aster, Symphotricum pilosum
  • Japanese Honeysuckle, Japonica lonicera

Often, even in the last weeks before the first frost, it is still possible to find a wide
variety of color in wildflowers, even a lone Red Clover blossom.

Clover in Autumn
Clover in Autumn - November, 2012 {close-up} Clover in Autumn
Lilliputian Loveliness - October, 2012
  • Shaggy Soldier (Hairy Galinsoga), Galinsoga ciliata

While the largest flower in this arrangement measures barely one-fourth inch in diameter, a closeup view reveals the exquisite form of the ray and disk flowers which make up this tiny composite.

Lilliputian Loveliness
Lilliputian Loveliness - October, 2012 {close-up} Lilliputian Loveliness
Lavender Mist - October, 2012
  • Seminole False Foxglove, Agalinis filifolia
  • Downy Lobelia, Lobelia puberula
  • New England Purple Aster, Aster novae-angliae

The many-branching "misty" form of this False Foxglove belies the delicate beauty of the tiny flowers.

Lavender Mist
Lavender Mist - October, 2012 {close-up} Lavender Mist
Bug-eaten Beauty - October, 2012
  • Strawberry Bush (Hearts-a-bustin, Wahoo), Euonymus americanus
  • Smooth Sumac, Rhus glabra

Although obviously not wildflowers, who could ignore the autumn beauty of these two wild shrubs?

Bug-eaten Beauty
Bug-eaten Beauty - October, 2012 {close-up} Bug-eaten Beauty
The Gold of Autumn - September, 2012
  • Willow-Leaf Goldenrod, Solidago erecta
  • Broadleaved Goldenrod, Solidago flexicaulis
  • Gray Goldenrod, Solidago nemoralis
  • Elm-Leaved Goldenrod, Solidago ulmifolia
  • Maryland Golden Aster, Chrysopsis mariana
  • Hairy Wood Sunflower (Appalachian Sunflower), Helianthus atrorubens

To me, even a single stem of Goldenrod is sufficient in itself for a stunning display. Nevertheless, to add the Sunflowers and the Asters makes an arrangement much like the glorious communities of wildflowers we see at this time of the year.

The Gold of Autumn
September's Garden - September, 2012
  • Black Krim Tomato, Lycopersicon lycopersicum
  • Marglobe Tomato, Lycopersicon lycopersicum
  • Sweet Cherry Tomato, Lycopersicon lycopersicum var. cerasforme
  • Cow Horn Okra, Abelmoschus esculentus
  • Blue Lake Bush Beans, Phaseolus vulgaris var. nanus
  • California Wonder Bell Pepper, Capsicum annuum
  • Hot Yellow Hungarian Wax Pepper, Capsicum annuum
  • Poblano Pepper, Capsicum annuum
  • Sweet Basil, Ocimum basilicum
  • Greek Basil, Ocimum basilicum

As a departure from wildflowers, here is a potpourri of green representing the close of what has been a joyous--even if not always productive--season of gardening for my husband Jim and me.

September's Garden
Imaginary Silk - September, 2012
  • Carolina Elephant's Foot, Elephantopus carolinianus

At first glimpse, this flower appears as a delightful pouf fashioned by loose loops of silken lavender floss. Closer observation, however, reveals that this flower is a member of the composite family whose flower head or inflorescence usually has both ray flowers and disk flowers. While the flower head of the Carolina Elephant's Foot has no ray flowers, each flower head here has four lavender disk flowers.

Carolina Elephant's Foot
Imaginary Silk - September, 2012 {close-up} Imaginary Silk
Breakfast Radiance - September, 2012
  • Purple Morning Glory (Common morning glory), Ipomoea purpura
  • Oceanblue Morning Glory, Ipomoea indica
  • Slender Bush Clover, Lespedeza virginica
  • Pennsylvania Smartweed, Persicaria pensylvanica
  • Florida Beggarweed (Dixie Ticktrefoil), Desdemodium tortuosum

Forget morning glories for midday or later-in-the-day arrangements. Better to choose them for an early breakfast setting when their radiance can be spectacular.

Breakfast Radiance
Breakfast Radiance - September, 2012 {close-up} Breakfast Radiance
August Morning - August, 2012
  • False dandelion (Catsear), Hypochoeris radicata
  • Pennsylvania smartweed, Persicaria pensylvanica
  • Evening primrose, Oenothera biennis

The beauty to be found in nature has not so much to do with a particular month or season as it does with the perception of what is right before our eyes.

August Morning
August Morning - August, 2012 {close-up} August Morning close-up
The Exuberance of Composites - August, 2012
  • Blackeyed Susan, Rudbeckia hirta
  • Common fleabane, Erigeron philadelphicus
  • Japanese honeysuckle, Lonicera japonica (an accent on the board wall)

Blackeyed Susans are a fine choice for a spirited arrangement, full of life!

The Exuberance of Composites
The Exuberance of Composites - August, 2012 {close-up} The Exuberance of Composites close-up
Cup o' Blossoms in Pastels - July, 2012
  • Common fleabane, Erigeron philadelphicus
  • Red clover (Cow grass), Trifolium pratense
  • Pink knotweed (Pennsylvania smartweed), Polygonum pensylvanicum
  • Virginia meadow-beauty (Deer grass, Handsome Harry), Rhexia virginica

In July the wild affords an astonishing array of gorgeous bright colors. However, to see a collection in soft pastels can be particular soothing.

Cup o' Blossoms in Pastels
My Fair Lady - July, 2012
  • Musk thistle, Carduus nutans
  • Grass

While the Musk thistle is considered to be the bane, the scourge of the pasture land; at close range who could argue with the exquisite beauty of its flower head?

My Fair Lady
My Fair Lady - July, 2012 {close-up} My Fair Lady
Appeal of the Common - June, 2012
  • White clover, Trifolium repens
  • English plaintain, Plantago lanceolata
  • Common lambsquarter (Goosefoot), Chenpodium album

Too often we can step over (or on) the common things. Only as we look more closely do we appreciate the appeal of their subtle colors, the beauty of their often muted detail (as with the frostiness of the lambsquarter), and -- as with
the clover -- their soft fragrance.

Appeal of the Common
Summer's Community - June, 2012
  • Common blackberry, Rubus fruticosus
  • Japanese honeysuckle, Lonicera japonica

These two plants I found growing in close community, the honeysuckle intermingled with the blackberry brambles thus providing semi-shade and nurturing development of luscious berries.

Summer's Community
Summer's Community - June, 2012 {close-up} Summer's Community
Cherokee Summer - June, 2012
  • Summer phlox, Phlox drummondii
  • Queen Anne's lace (Bird's nest), Daucus carota
  • Red clover, Trifolium pratense
  • Grass -???

These flowers came from a mountainous area in North Georgia which into early 1800s was home to  Native Americans, the Cherokee.

Cherokee Summer
Cherokee Summer - June, 2012 {close-up} Cherokee Summer
Garlic with Sage - June, 2012
  • Elephant garlic (large flower head), Allium ampeloprasum
  • Wild garlic (Cow garlic), Allium vineale
  • Common sage, Salvia officinalis
  • Basket grass (Woodgrass, Mary's Grass), Microstegium vimineum

Throughout the season the home garden affords a rich variety of possibilities for arrangements.

Garlic with Sage
Old Fields with Plantain - June, 2012
  • Butterfly weed (Chigger weed), Asclepias tuberosa
  • Daisy fleabane, Erigeron strigosus
  • Buckhorn (Narrow-leafed or English) Plantain, Plantago lanceolata

This arrangement was named with thoughts of the countryside where the arrangement's container was made, a porcelain one-liter pitcher made in Czechoslovakia in the early 1900s. My parents found the pitcher in an old house they bought more than 50 years ago.

Old Fields with Plantain