I have to confess, I “defected” during Week Thirty-Five of the Bouquet-a-Week Project and bought my flowers at a farmers market other than Pike Place.
I felt mildly guilty, but sometimes convenience and expediency are more important than political correctness. And my guilt was assuaged since the bouquet I purchased that sunny, yet cool, Saturday in early September was particularly spectacular.
The farmer who sold it to me was a lovely young Asian woman who explained that, even though it cost $15 (her most expensive bouquet), it was really a bargain since it contained purple statice, small globe thistle (a branch with five seed pods that looked like small balls), and several sprigs of eucalyptus. Since those parts of the bouquet were dried materials, they could be reused indefinitely.
I was especially drawn to the fresh blooms because they included my favorite color of deep purple along with pristine white. Three towering gladiolas, half a dozen dahlias (many with “babies” or smaller blossoms), purple flowers with yellow centers, and prickly greenery with small pink and white flowers formed the crux of the fresh portion of the bouquet.
Because of the plethora of both fresh and dried flowers, I was able to create three truly “major” bouquets and two smaller ones during Week Thirty-Five.
Here are the fresh flowers that I picked up at the Shoreline Farmers Market. You can get a good sense of the five balls and eucalyptus sprigs from this shot.
I couldn’t decide which of the three “major” bouquets from Week Thirty-Five was my favorite, but finally chose this one since it was the most ikebana-like among them. The flowers are in one of my all-time favorite vases, an Asian-inspired, matte-black vase made by Paddy McNeely that I bought years ago at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show.
The second major bouquet from Week Thirty-Five is more conventional.
The interesting thing about the third major bouquet from Week Thirty-Five is that is is mostly composed of dried blossoms including the small globe thistle. It was so tall parts of it touched the ceiling!
I rarely use this simple matte-white vase, but it did the trick this time to offset the pretty purple blossoms.
Here are three of the smaller bouquets I created during Week Thirty-Five.
I still had some “extra” flower arrangements left over from Week Thirty-Three of the Bouquet-a-Week Project, and I simply didn’t need as large and elaborate a bouquet as the prior week. So when I went to the Pike Place Market, I chose a $10 bouquet versus the more substantial and costly $20 from the prior week.
I think that after you take just one glance of the bouquet I finally settled on, you will understand the reason I chose it. I have no idea the variety of the fiery central dahlia, but I am in love with its intense orange color, yellow tips, and curly mane. It looks like a fireball or colorful sea creature!
The “raw” flowers look like a sunburst when “painted” in Waterlogue.
I must have been thinking about the concept of Ikebana during Week Thirty-Four because both of my “major” bouquets had a definite Japanese vibe.
Here are three of the dahlias from the bouquet, with two orange ones centered around a deep-purple one. They are placed in one of my all-time favorite vases. It is called a Stems Vase and I purchased it years ago at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show.
If you’ve never been to the show, you owe it to yourself to put it on your calendar now and check it out in person February 20-24, 2018. NFWG is the perfect antidote to gray, winter skies.
The fiery orange dahlia and a single pussy-willow stem were all I needed when planted in my dramatic shiny-purple jelly-bean vase.
For Week Thirty-Four’s first trio of small bouquets, I enjoyed using the single small sunflower and two more of the dahlias. The small yellow flowers looked like black-eyed daisies.
Here’s a second trio using different small vases.
Just for fun, I took a night-time photo of the first major bouquet of the week.
And one final image–even more dramatic than the one above since it is “painted” in the Waterlogue Bold Mode–to enjoy before Week Thirty-Four’s flowers fade forever.
For Week Thirty-Three of the Bouquet-a-Week Project, I returned to the Pike Place Market and chose the bountiful bouquet myself, versus having my darling husband pick one out.
Because it had been several weeks, I went a bit crazy, spending my entire budget of $20 on a SPECTACULAR mosaic of periwinkle, deep purple, and pristine white flowers. Here is the big bouquet in all its raw glory.
And here it is “painted” using the Natural Mode of the Waterlogue app.
I couldn’t resist laying out the individual flowers, placed together by type and color, to see just how many I had to play with during Week Thirty-Three. Here they are!
And these are the same flowers “painted” in Waterlogue.
Because of the sheer number of dramatic blossoms I had to work with, I was able to create four major bouquets for Week Thirty-Three. Here is the first one and interesting to note that the “greenery” this week is actually curly kale. You might say this is an edible arrangement–ha!
I fell in love with what I call pom-pom dahlias and felt they would look the most impressive in my Ikebana Vase from Design Within Reach. Backlighting in pink ups the drama.
More curly kale and the white dahlias, with just a touch of pink, fill this beautiful bulbous crystal vase to the max. I used a Perfect Arrangers stainless-steel “frog” in the bottom of the vase to hold the stems just how I wanted them to appear.
Another big-boy dahlia and a single pom-pom dahlia, when paired with pussy-willow stems in my favorite Asian-inspired celadon vase, really “sing.”
A single pom-pom dahlia and pussy-willow stalk look stupendous in my pink Buddha vase.
Shooting Week Thirty-Three’s trio of small bouquets becomes even more dramatic than usual when “painted” using the Waterlogue app’s Bold Mode.
I thought it would be instructive during Week Thirty-Three to show just how much of this bouquet was made up of dried pink and purple flowers as filler. This is one clever way that the flower farmers at the Pike Place Market manage to make their bouquets appear so full and also sell them at such reasonable prices.
As mentioned in Week Twenty-Five of the Bouquet-a-Week Project, I sometimes end up making “extra” bouquets mid-week when the blossoms begin to fade and I rearrange the surviving ones using new vases and decorative fillers.
Week Thirty-Three “extra” bouquets included three interesting bouquets. The first shows a bunch of the smaller dahlias (“babies”) clustered together in a pretty rose-embossed vase that I don’t use nearly enough. It originally held an FTD bouquet I sent to my mother-in-law and that I inherited when she passed away.
To help the flowers stay upright and not flop against the lip the vase, I used a round kenzan (a.k.a, a “spiky frog”) that is used in the Japanese art of ikebana. I bought the kenzan at the Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival but they are widely available online if you want to purchase one.
A second “extra” arrangement is presented in my tall, baby-blue vase which makes any flower assortment look impressive.
Finally, more “baby” dahlias and some of the dried purple flowers fill my pink Buddha vase to good effect.
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.
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.
I bought my Week Twenty bouquet for the Bouquet-a-Week Project from Erlinda, one of the long-time and most talented designers in the entire Pike Place Market. Here she is proudly displaying the flowers I chose.
I’ve known Erlinda for years and always appreciate the fresh and clean bouquets she crafts at Flower Garden in the Pike Place Market’s Main Arcade. You can find Flower Garden under the Market clock, just a few steps away from Pike Place Fish (which tourists often refer to as “the place where they throw the fish”).
I was drawn to this lush bouquet, rife with vibrant contrasting colors, because of several “new” varieties of flowers. I use the word “new” loosely here, simply because the names of the “new” flowers were hitherto unbeknownst to me. More on the “new” varieties that I discovered thanks to the PlantSnap app later on in this post.
Here is the fresh bouquet of Pike Place Market flowers that cost $15.
And here is the same bouquet “painted” in “Natural” mode using the Waterlogue app.
This was not only a visually opulent bouquet, but it smelled great, thanks to the peonies and one of the “new” flowers I discovered on PlantSnap called Golden Arrow (Plumeria Pudica).
Here is the first major bouquet I created using the single orange Asian lily and two of the graceful Kangaroo Paws (Anigozanthos) positioned so perfectly in an Asian-leaning vase lined with smooth black rocks. Although I had worked with the lacy red flowers for years, I never bothered to learn their name until now. Good to know!
Here is the same arrangement shot at night with ivory backlights. Magical!
I knew that the dark-pink peonies and snapdragons would look pretty in a Waterford cut-glass vase. I love using this vessel because it was a wedding gift when my husband and I married 36 years ago.
I really wanted to use this interesting art-glass vase in a muted burgundy color. Orange canna lilies and purple flowers and greenery are so dramatic.
My favorite blue Buddha vase backlighted in blue looks royal with the addition of White Golden Arrow and purple flowers.
A single Kangaroo Paw in an Asian celadon vase is the spirit of ikebana.
The three small vases for Week Twenty of the Bouquet-a-Week Project made use of a single pink peony, Golden arrow, purple flower, and a couple of lilies left over from Week Nineteen.
Week Eighteen of the Bouquet-a-Week Project began under a cloud since it also marked the date for my five-year routine colonoscopy procedure.
For anyone who has ever undergone this experience, you know that the preparation is worse than the actual procedure, which takes just half an hour and is performed under “twilight sedation,” which essentially means strong knock-out drugs.
Preparation begins about a week before you go into the hospital, when you are strongly advised to go off any vitamins or supplements that contain Vitamin E, fish oil, or anything else that keeps your blood from clotting. Alive and Ibuprofen are also verboten for the same reason; Tylenol is okay if needed.
But the fun doesn’t stop there. Three days before the procedure, you have to stop eating nuts, seeds, and popcorn. Fiber supplements are also off the table (or, more correctly, out of your system). Going off fiber supplements certainly wasn’t a problem, but the other three forbidden items were more problematic, especially since I practically live on nuts and nut butters.
Twenty-four hours before the big procedure, I had to stop eating solid foods entirely. So on Wednesday morning, the 13th of June (aptly named, since it was definitely not my lucky day) I ate my last bite of Dannon Oui Vanilla Yogurt. I had chosen this particular brand of yogurt since it comes in an old-timey glass cup (civilized!) and is especially thick and pleasant-tasting.
I ate the cool, creamy yogurt with a small spoon in tiny bites over 1 1/2 hours. I wanted to make my final tastes of solid food last as long as possible.
From then on, until 7:30 on Thursday morning (two hours before the procedure), I was allowed to consume only a clear liquid diet, things like bouillon, Popsicles, Jell-o, and fruit juices. Caveats included no milk or dairy products and no red or blue-hued liquids, since those colors could mimic blood, confuse the doctor, and negate the test results.
From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., I had to drink two (yes, two!) liters of what I rather derisively refer to as “the solution.”
Said “solution” is officially called Golytely or GaviLyte–a polyethylene glycol and sodium solution. You mix the fine white powder with four liters of water plus a packet of Crystal Light drink mix, shake well, and refrigerate.
“The solution” tastes strongly, and strangely, of salt, rather like diluted Thai fish sauce. The packet of Crystal Light is supposed to mask the bad taste. Trust me, it doesn’t.
From the first cup of “the solution,” the stomach begins to roil and rumble, rife with cramps and spasms. And then the bowel movements begin.
The more you drink, the more you go to the bathroom. And go, and go, and go.
I went to bed that night around 11:30, after my daily dose of the Trevor Noah show. But sleep came slowly as I focused on my turbulent tummy, deciding whether I needed to jump up and run to the bathroom one more time, or whether I could catch a few hours of shut-eye.
My alarm clock was set for 4:15 so I could stumble out of bed and begin drinking the final two liters of “the solution.” Strangely, although I was sleep-deprived and starving, I was almost looking forward to drinking the last two liters of “the solution,” more than ready to finish cleaning out my bowels and head to the hospital to undergo the actual procedure.
I wrote this blog while drinking the final two liters of “the solution.” My writing flowed quickly, as if an invisible hand was guiding my fingers over the keyboard. I stopped briefly every fifteen minutes to drink a cup of “the solution” until finally. . .mercifully. . .thankfully. . .the giant jug was empty and I could place it in the recycling bin. Victory!
My dear husband drove me to the hospital. I felt dizzy and had a splitting headache, a combination of low blood sugar and dehydration. I felt as though I had been reduced to a bag of blood and bones, a mind and body that just wanted to get “the procedure” over and done with.
I checked in without incident–thankfully all the paperwork was in order–and the receptionist encircled my left wrist with my patient ID. My husband got his marching orders as well, told to stay in the waiting room and monitor my progress on a color-coded overhead monitor using my secret patient number.
A male nurse prepped me for the procedure. I stripped down to my bra, put a cotton robe over my head, and arranged myself over the sheet-draped gurney with a warm blanket over my body.
The nurse inserted an IV drip into my arm and taped it down. My husband and I waited an hour, making small talk and gazing out the window, before I was wheeled into the operating room.
The doctor introduced herself and we discussed the impending procedure. The nurse attached the monitors and the anesthesiologist began the job of sending me off to dreamland.
The next thing I knew, I was being gently shaken awake by a nurse. I had survived. I was awake. I was alive.
My husband looked as relieved outwardly as I felt inwardly. Soon, the doctor arrived and informed us that my bowels looked normal and I didn’t have to have another colonoscopy for five more years. In addition to that most welcome news, she said I could go home and eat a simple meal.
The point of all of this way-too-graphic reporting on my colonoscopy is that the one bright spot during that otherwise horrible week was when my dear husband brought home a fresh Pike Place Market bouquet for me to play with.
The beautiful blossoms filled my senses and brightened my outlook. For at least a few hours, while arranging the beautiful blossoms, my mind was happy and free.
Afterwards, as I admired the resulting bouquets, I was relieved from the ugliness of sitting in the bathroom, drinking copious amounts of a gag-inducing liquid, and worrying about going to the hospital.
In short–flowers saved me.
Here is that beautiful bouquet–a medley of oranges and purples–that cost my husband all of $15.
And here is the bouquet “painted” in Waterlogue.
I knew that a handful of deep-pink peonies, and a single white one, would look scrumptious in one of my favorite vases.
I have never used this rustic clay vase, but orange Asiatic lilies and purple-and-yellow irises fit it perfectly.
This may be my favorite creation from Week Eighteen–pale-pink sweet peas, a single purple sweet pea, and a Perennial Cornflower. I have to admit I was unfamiliar with the latter, but figured out its correct name thanks to the amazing SnapPlant app. If you’re not familiar with this useful tool, you should be. Simply snap a photo of the plant in question and several possibilities pop up on your iPhone or iPad. Choose the correct one, then archive it in your Recent Snaps gallery for future reference.
An ikebana-inspired design using my favorite “jelly-bean” vase features deep-pink peonies and the above-mentioned Perennial Cornflowers.
More of the spiky blue cornflowers look gorgeous in a clear cylindrical vase with gray-glass decorative filler. The vase is lighted from behind with blue candle lights.
Here are three small bouquets I made using Shrubby Yellow Crest and irises. I love the color play between the yellow and deep purple flowers.