There’s probably a fine line between what is a bouquet, an altar, and a pile of stuff you just like to look at it. Whatever makes your own heart sing. Bouquets might come from the backyard, the park, or a beach. Sometimes an actual flower is involved, sometimes a bunch of twigs. Winter leaves for example. The hardiest ones have come through the seasons gnarly and gorgeously blemished, each an abstract painting. Arrange them on a flat surface or standing up in a container. Seed pods, pine needles, rose hips, vines, stones, a single leaf . . . foraged material for inventing non-traditional bouquets.
I know where this all started. My grandmother again. We’d be driving along in the middle of nowhere, she’d see some flax along side of the road, stop and cut an armful. A tumbleweed or a stone, a handful of wheat, any of it raw material for nature’s praise. I know this sounds like the makings of a mess that might have ended up in her house or garden, but no. An organized person in general, they ended up in just the right spot, sometimes in a creative arrangement for one of her garden club events. They were often stunning. She collected bags of dried pine needles and made baskets with them. And she knew when to throw a thing away. Full of heart about nature’s bounty and beauty, but realistic about when it had to go. So, I have this genetic predisposition for foraging/gathering and not quite enough for the throwing away part.
Hydrangeas from the previous season . . . old news, but a respite all winter long.
I’ll admit that I have a wild thing for stones. A pile of them are like a bouquet. To me anyway.
Pomegranate, rose hips, poppy seed pods, pine needles. Yes pine needles. Their fragrance lasts for years.
And finally, my favorite dried thing. Sundried sungold tomatoes from the garden, not for anybody’s bouquet, but for my own belly. These are exquisite morsels of sweet sunshine. Especially mid-winter. In a bowl with a piece of garlic, bay leaf and plenty of olive oil these are an orange eyeful. An edible bouquet.
And then the forageables that aren’t dried.
A single new vine from the grape.
Mint. Gardeners have a love/hate relationship with it. It knows no boundaries and can make itself a nuisance so pruning or pulling out a bunch is necessary. Toss a handful in a pitcher for lightly flavored water or into a green salad, another fistful into a glass of its own water for a bouquet. Aromatic and bright green, a fine addition to the kitchen scene.
A large leaf from an artichoke or hosta, by itself or with one bold flower.
It’s Father’s Day. His kids gave my dad an excuse to indulge in his second or third favorite thing, playing. Especially outdoors. Horseback rides, rodeoing in the back pasture, ice skating on remote ponds, fly fishing, not fly fishing while he untangled our line, camping with pack horses and cast iron pans for steak and potato breakfasts. We crept hand over hand up steep river canyons, and slept, literally, on beds of pine needles. He was a dare devil, but ever patient and loving.
Hail Dads and surrogate Dads. Your attention and love are incredibly important in our complicated lives.