I bought my Week Thirty-Two flowers of the Bouquet-a-Week Project from Erlinda, the talented floral designer at Flower Garden in the Pike Place Market.
Because I still had some leftover blossoms from Week Thirty-One, I chose my own flowers for Week Thirty-Two versus opting for a premade bouquet.
The chosen blossoms included six peonies ranging from white to pale pink to deep crimson. There were even four “babies” attached to the bigger flowers. “Babies” are what I call unopened, lolly-pop-sized peonies. They are so fun to watch unfurl.
I also got two BIG yellow dahlias. Once again, I was delighted to discover there was a “baby” attached to one of the stems.
A deep-crimson and pale-pink peony partnered perfectly in my glossy purple jellybean vase.
Later in the week, after the peonies had faded, I replaced them with one of the fuzzy yellow dahlias, bear grass, and a trio of pussy-willow stems.
The single white peony looks starkly beautiful over multicolored marbles in a clear-glass vase.
This is a new “vase,” which actually started life as a soap dispenser in our kitchen. You never know where an unusual and useful vessel will be found! A crimson peony and its “baby,” along with a few pieces of greenery, are stunning.
The “baby” peonies look so happy in three small vases backlighted with natural-colored light.
Just for fun, here is the same grouping backlighted in green. . .
Then, pink. . .
And finally, my favorite Buddha vases flank the same central vase with the pink backlight. Festive!
Sweet Spencer brought home the fresh Pike Place Market flowers for Week Thirty-One of the Bouquet-a-Week Project and I marveled at their diversity of varieties and colors.
Pictured below in all their glory are deep-purple gladiolas, yellow and crimson dahlias, a single pale-yellow Asian lily, three giant sunflowers (!), and more than half a dozen zinnias, a flower that I hadn’t yet worked with during this summer season. And there were almost as many dried purple flowers as fresh ones.
There were so many gorgeous blossoms to play with during Week Thirty-One, I couldn’t resist laying them out in a long row along our granite dining-room counter.
And then “painting” them in the Vibrant mode of Waterlogue.
What’s more dramatic than the color combo of dark purple and bright yellow, rather like a clergyman’s robe?
The zinnias snapped to attention when I arranged them over colorful marbles in a clear round vase.
The single yellow lily and some of the dried purple flowers look splendid in my favorite tall pale-blue vase.
More dried purple flowers and one of the sunflowers play happily together in a bulbous white-and-blue-striped vase. I think I was channeling Vincent Van Gogh when I created this bouquet!
A single yellow dahlia and dried purple flowers rise gracefully in a shapely blue-glass vase.
One of the crimson dahlias and more dried purple flowers form an Ikebana-inspired design in my blue Buddha vase.
This striking trio of dahlias and dried purple flowers are the perfect way to conclude the line-up for Week Thirty-One of the Bouquet-a-Week Project.
By mid-week, several of the dahlias had died, so I rearranged two new bouquets. I call these “extras” and they bring me just as much joy as the original week’s bouquets.
Here is the first one and you may notice that the sunflower’s petals are drastically shortened from the original bloom. That’s because I went a little wild with the shears as I cut away the brown tips. Oh, well. The sunflower’s big eye looks even more dramatic this way!
And here is a “normal” (unshaven) sunflower with a backdrop of deep-purple gladiolas and a single crimson petunia for a dramatic note.
Here is the same arrangement photographed in dramatic evening light.
The Pike Place Market flowers for Week Thirty of the Bouquet-a-Week Project were more formal in feeling than past arrangements because I was expecting some important company that week and wanted to impress.
Nothing beats white Asian lilies and gladiolas along with an outlier–a single pink peony. Not sure how that got in there, but I was glad it did.
The Pike Place Market bouquet for Week Twenty-Nine of the Bouquet-a-Week Project came from one of my favorite long-time flower farmers called Flower Garden.
Erlinda is Flower Garden’s friendly floral designer. This week she created a beauty that included a half dozen pink peonies (several with “babies,” i.e., smaller blooms), white snap dragons, and white and pink golden arrow. A plethora of dried pink and purple flowers served as filler.
It was a happy day when David, a dear friend from high school whom I hadn’t seen in 44 years (!), came to Seattle on business in early August. We agreed to meet for a glass of wine at our condo in downtown Seattle, followed by dinner at a popular restaurant nearby. Barbara, another friend from high-school days, and her husband, also happened to be in town. So with my hubby, Spencer, it was a lively party of five.
He’s also active on Facebook and Instagram, places where we originally rekindled our friendship.
David was the first to arrive, and when I met him at the door, he surprised me with a Pike Place Market bouquet.
“This is like bringing coals to Newcastle,” he admitted as he presented his prize. We hugged, and it was as if 44 years melted away in an instant.
“They’re in water,” he explained, “so you don’t have to do anything with them right now.”
I nodded, found a pretty vase, and placed the bouquet in water for safekeeping.
After a lively dinner over rivers of Rosé that encouraged rambling reminisces of our high-school days, I returned to the beautiful bouquet. As I cleaned and recut the stems, I mulled over how best to arrange it since I wanted to make David proud.
I had already decorated the condo with a plethora of Pike Place Market flowers in honor of David’s and Barbara’s visit (“coals to Newcastle”), so horizontal space was at a premium. Instead of creating half a dozen smaller bouquets, I decided to opt for one large one. I realize this goes against the underlying principle of the Bouquet-a-Week Project, but every once and a while you can break the rules.
And here are four different versions of the fresh flowers “painted” using the Waterlogue app.
This is Waterlogue’s “Natural” mode, which (as the name implies) does the least amount of manipulation to the image.
“Vibrant” mode amps up the colors just a bit.
Things get crazy in the “Bold” mode of Waterlogue. It is often among my favorite looks.
“Color Bloom” adds subtle white highlights, which creates another interesting effect.
I was curious to see what David would think about the way I had rearranged his bouquet and which of the Waterlogue versions he would like best.
He said it was a toss-up between the Bold and Color Bloom versions. But he particularly liked the Bold version because of the vivid green blossom in the back of the bouquet and the splashes of green from random leaves in the front.
Barbara was more decisive, with a solid vote for the Color Bloom version.
Which bouquet do you like the best? Which one speaks to your soul?
One of the most special afternoons during our Dover-to-Reyjkavik cruise in May was a visit to Arduaine Garden, a National Trust of Scotland property located 20 miles south of Oban.
It is a magical place, full of bright colors and sweet fragrances thanks to specimen plants collected from across the globe.
Arduaine Garden evokes glamorous destinations, which is no coincidence since, “the garden was begun in 1898 at a time when curiosity about foreign travel and an appetite for the exotic were all the rage,” according to the garden’s website.
Although located on a windswept coast of Argyll in the Western Highlands (a place you might not associate with warm climes), Arduaine enjoys the warming benefits of the North Atlantic Drift, allowing for a wider range of plants than is usual in this part of the world.
Pulling another interesting factoid from the garden’s website, I learned that the name “Arduaine” is a Gaelic one, meaning “green point” or “promontory.” It is generally pronounced as “Ard-doo-a-nie,” though this is something about which Gaelic scholars regularly disagree!
Plants from across the globe thrive here. You’ll discover towering rhododendron bushes, azaleas, magnolias, giant Himalayan lilies, camellias, tree ferns, and water lilies from as far afield as East Asia to South America as you wander the twirling foot trails.
Here are six of my favorite photos (culled from dozens I snapped that afternoon!) “painted” using the amazing Waterlogue app.
Which do you like best? As I finish writing this post, my favorite is Bold Pink Hearts, although Tall Trees and Stumps is dreamy as well.
Week Twenty-Six in the Bouquet-a-Week Project brought a welcome change of pace because our long-time housekeepers surprised me with a dozen, deep-maroon dahlias. The flowers came freshly picked from the head housekeeper (and owner of the agency’s) garden near Fife.
The dahlias were delivered in a classic clear glass vase, the kind you get from the florist. I didn’t have the presence of mind to snap a photo, but here is the sort of vase I mean, painted using the Waterlogue app.
It was a pretty vase, but since I already had several like it, I let the housekeepers take theirs home and chose one from my collection instead.
Here is the first bouquet I created, which the way-too-kind ladies ooh-ed and aah-ed over. It reminds me of a nosegay and the kangaroo paw adds needed height.
Just for fun, after the housekeepers left, I transplanted the fistful of flowers into this antique cranberry-glass decanter. It looks beautiful backlighted in red and framed by a few sprigs of kangaroo paw and greenery.
The decanter used to sit proudly on the cocktail trolley in the dining room of our family home in suburban Philadelphia. During fancy dinner parties my parents used to throw, my father made a big deal about serving after-dinner Port (which he called “a nightcap”) from the heirloom decanter.
I also had some Asian lilies and a kangaroo-paw sprig left over from the prior week, and arranged them in a clear-glass cylinder over smooth, ebony stones to dramatic effect.
It’s amazing how a simple Champagne flute serves as the perfect vessel for a handful of Golden Arrow, stems carefully arranged in a criss-cross pattern.
A single cheerful sunflower and some purple dried flowers from Week Twenty-Five (more long-lived leftovers) take on the look of a Van Gogh painting when placed in my favorite blue Buddha vase. Warm summer sunlight!
The Bouquet-a-Week Project kicked off with a stupendous array of flowers in Week Twenty-Five. I was drawn to this beauty by the graceful lime gladiola, spiky kangaroo paws, single sunflower with its fuzzy brown eyeball, and yellow Asian lilies. Pale-pink peonies and white golden arrow formed a pleasing framework around the major blossoms.
And here is the Week Twenty-Five fresh bouquet “painted” using the Waterlogue app.
As I always do, I unfurled the fresh flowers from their white wrapping paper and divided the flowers into a loose pile. Then I cut the stems and stripped them of any small leaves that remained. Next I “arranged” the flowers in a glossy-black, bell-shaped vase filled with water that would hydrate the blossoms until I could create the smaller individual bouquets.
Here is that shot “painted” in Waterlogue. I liked it so much, I was tempted to call it a day, but that would defeat the purpose of the Bouquet-a-Week Project, which is to buy a fresh Pike Place Market bouquet or single blossoms for less that $20 per week, then design smaller arrangements.
The first major bouquet of Week Twenty-Five means a lot because of the cranberry-colored, cut-glass vase, which is a family heirloom. There used to be two of them and the pair sat on either side of our mantel in the house where I grew up in suburban Philadelphia.
Unfortunately, one got crushed when my parents moved from the family home in Pennsylvania to their retirement house in Austin, Texas. After my parents died, I inherited it.
For years, it has sat in our bookshelves looking forlorn and, frankly, rather forgotten. But, thanks to the Bouquet-a-Week Project, I pulled it down (very carefully!), dusted it off, and graced it with the gladiola, peonies, and kangaroo paw.
I imagined my mother looking down and smiling at her industrious daughter’s clever re-use of her beloved mantle-piece “objet d’art,” as she used to call it. She was an amazing woman, and you can read more about her (specifically, the words I spoke at her memorial) on the Five More Minutes With website.
My favorite robin’s-egg-blue narrow vase is well suited to the yellow irises and another sprig of kangaroo paw. Majestic!
More yellow lilies and kangaroo paw form a fitting foil in an Asian-inspired vase with a double opening.
A few days later, the peonies had faded so I took the remaining blossoms and created two “extra” bouquets. Taking this shot at night under a neon-pink back light using the “Bold” setting in the Waterlogue app resulted in this dramatic shot.
A small arrangement looks winsome in my pink Buddha vase.
My sweet husband brought home the Week Twenty-Four bouquet and it was a bounteous beauty, bursting with several different types of blossoms that I hadn’t worked with much before. These included a vivid blue hydrangea, one huge scarlet dahlia, and three daisies with fuzzy faces that seemed to smile at me from the perimeters of the bouquet. Here are the fresh flowers from the Pike Place Market for the Bouquet-a-Week Project, Week Twenty-Four, which cost $15.
The gorgeous glob of pink Stargazer lilies caught my eye first, and I knew they would pair dramatically with a single sprig of kangaroo paw.
Next I made a grab for all the purple-and-yellow irises and the single crimson lily. I like the way the lacy shapes of the irises contrast with the strong horizontal lines of the vase.
What to do with the single hydrangea? I thought my Asian-inspired celadon vase would form the perfect foil for such a singular bloom, especially when paired with pink sweet peas, two of the pink petunias, purple flowers, and a single spear of bear grass.
Here’s another design using a pink lily and a huge sunflower (left over from a prior bouquet) in my swooping robin’s-egg-blue vase, my ode to Vincent Van Gogh.
Sweet peas, that single crimson dahlia, and more purple flowers for contrast look fetching in a pink Buddha vase backlighted in fuchsia.
There rather droopy snapdragons and lively purple flowers look jaunty in a squatty, clear-emerald vase backlighted in green.
As I always do, I released the blossoms from their white butcher-paper wrapper, unwound the bouquet’s rubberband-bound plastic bags and moist newspaper, and placed the flowers back on the stretched-out butcher paper. I made sure the stems were cleared of small leaves and recut the ends, then stuck all the flowers in this shiny black vase so I could figure out exactly what I had.
I snapped a photo because I was so taken with the result of this impromptu bouquet. Glorious!
But I knew that I didn’t want to use all of the Week Twenty-Three flowers in one arrangement. So (rather sadly) began to design individual bouquets. Here is the first one of those.
The second one is an ode to the paintings of Vincent Van Gogh. BRIGHT COLORS!
My favorite colors came into play in the arrangement below, which includes a single intoxicatingly fragrant Stargazer Lily (rife with blossoms that I could hardly wait to watch bloom over the coming days), and selected greenery to create a fluffy frame.
The “Bold” setting of the Waterlogue app created this dramatic version of the same vase with only the greenery from the Week Twenty-Three bouquet.
My favorite small blue-glass vase forms a fitting contrast when planted with red sweet peas and purple flowers.
I love the romantic way the red and purple flowers drape in the two small bouquets below.
And here are the small bouquets from Week Twenty-Three. These miniature arrangements decorate the twin vanities in our bathroom and one sits next to the television in the bedroom.