Mixed Greens Blog

Mixed Greens Blog
Living Sustainably in the Pacific Northwest


Foraging Backyard Bouquets

I’ve been foraging in the backyard for bouquets, looking at the garden with a murderous glint in my eye for lush leafings and anything gone to seed. Surely plants don’t need all of those leaves and pods.  artichoke-2


A bouquet with vegetable leaves might be a little avant-garde in the flower-arranging world. Avant-garden. My own backyard offers a palette of possibilities beyond flowers. Artichoke, horseradish, grape leaves, fennel, hops, peony and hydrangea leaves; alliums and artichokes have gone to seed and made beautiful flowers on their way to hibernation; potted plants and herbs need trimming; a gorgeous Striped German tomato is a bouquet of its own; ornamental grasses abound. And so on. Along with the few flowers I have in my garden, such tidbits present interesting possibilities, the opportunity for an eclectic creation in the realm of boquetdom.

I walked around the garden with an open mind about what is a bouquet. There’s plenty of beauty on the ground at the park and the beach that can be legally foraged too, and I’m a constant gatherer of stones and autumn leaves so they find their way into the mix.


tomato-bouquet nasturtiums

I’ve had my eye on the Brussels sprouts for weeks now. Their leaves are gigantic, silvery green and purple-veined. You’d never guess that a stalk of round sprouts are forming in the lush purple shadows underneath, but they are.  They need a grand entrée somewhere with arched ceilings.hydrangeas-coleus-2-1

hydrangeas-2 Hydrangeas and coleus.

Horseradish leaves and grapevine. b-y-bouquet-horseradish-2 bouquet-blue-vase-1-11 Oak leaf hydrangea & peony leaves

So this is just playing around with more free stuff in life that’s right in our own backyard so to speak. No need to run florists out of business, but once in a while the bouquet can be created economically, quietly and sustainably with just a few footprints in the backyard. Consider sending a photo of your own foraged backyard bouquets – I’ll collect and post them, share the creative bounty.

And then there are actual garden salads that are bouquets on a plate, almost too beautiful to eat. An inspiration for what is possible to put on a plate that is edible and healthy and artful – if you want to bother. NY Times, Gargouillou: A New Meaning to ‘Garden Variety’.


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9 Responses »

  1. Beautiful arrangements and photos! Thanks for the inspiration to slow down and look more carefully.

  2. It is always good to stop and think outside of the box. The picture I saw on Fast Grow the Weeds (from El), and this post, reminded me that there are so many bits of goodness to come from a garden aside from the obvious pleasure of the veg/fruit it bears. Not to mention, its fascinating to see how each plant bears its blossoms/seeds in unexpected ways.

  3. Noticing what more is there, everywhere I suppose, is at the heart of looking differently at a garden, a weedy vacant lot even. Thank you, P & MC, for your appreciation of the concept.

  4. What lovely photos! Cutting down branches and blossoms from the garden has taken me some getting used to, but I’m amazed how just a few stems in a vase can add so much beauty.

  5. I love, love, love it when the garden follows us inside! This summer I have easily gotten as much or more pleasure from my $2.49 eggplant than it’s neighboring big money perennials. Heresy from the mouth of a former nursery owner…shhhhh.

  6. Beautiful pics, beautiful images in them. You’re so gifted, Sally. What an eye!

  7. These photos are BEAUTIFUL!! Wow. Nice work Mama!

  8. Lorene, it’s odd when you think about it, that we have certain things that are bouquet material, others that aren’t. Vegetables, along with their leaves and vines and pods, are among the best.
    Judy & Karri – thank you.

  9. Sally, these arrangements and photos are stunning! They are a wonderful reminder of the beauty that surrounds us when we take the time to look, as well as vivid examples of your amazing talent in giving form to that beauty. Thank you!