Week Twenty: Pink Peonies and Snapdragons

The Bouquet-a-Week Project: Week Twenty

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.

Week Twenty: Erlinda at Flower Garden Holding My Beautiful Bouquet
Week Twenty: Erlinda at Flower Garden Holding My Beautiful Bouquet

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.

Week Twenty: Fresh Pike Place Market Flowers
Week Twenty: Fresh Pike Place Market Flowers

And here is the same bouquet “painted” in “Natural” mode using the Waterlogue app.

Week Twenty: Pike Place Market Flowers in Waterlogue
Week Twenty: Pike Place Market Flowers in Waterlogue

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!

Week Twenty: Ikebana Red Lily and Kangaroo Paws in Natural Light
Week Twenty: Ikebana Red Lily and Kangaroo Paws in Natural Light

Here is the same arrangement shot at night with ivory backlights. Magical!

Week Twenty: Ikebana Red Lily and Kangaroo Paws at Night
Week Twenty: Red Lily and Kangaroo Paws at Night

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.

Week Twenty: Pink Peonies and Snapdragons
Week Twenty: Pink Peonies and Snapdragons

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.

Week Twenty: Orange Canna Lilies in Mottled Burgundy Vase
Week Twenty: Orange Canna Lilies in Mottled Burgundy Vase

My favorite blue Buddha vase backlighted in blue looks royal with the addition of White Golden Arrow and purple flowers.

Week Twenty: Golden Arrow and Purple Flowers in Blue Buddha Vase
Week Twenty: Golden Arrow and Purple Flowers in Blue Buddha Vase

A single Kangaroo Paw in an Asian celadon vase is the spirit of ikebana.

Week Twenty: Single Kangaroo Paw in Celadon Vase
Week Twenty: Single Kangaroo Paw in Celadon Vase

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 Twenty: Three Small Vases

Week Twenty: Three Small Vases

Week Eighteen: Fresh Pike Place Market Flowers in Waterlogue

Week Eighteen: The Bouquet-a-Week Project

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.

Week Eighteen: Fresh Pike Place Market Flowers
Week Eighteen: Fresh Pike Place Market Flowers

And here is the bouquet “painted” in Waterlogue.

Week Eighteen: Fresh Pike Place Market Flowers in Waterlogue
Week Eighteen: Fresh Pike Place Market Flowers 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.

Week Eighteen: White and Deep Pink Peonies in a Purple Terracotta Vase
Week Eighteen: White and Deep Pink Peonies in a Purple Ceramic Vase

I have never used this rustic clay vase, but orange Asiatic lilies and purple-and-yellow irises fit it perfectly.

Week Eighteen: White and Deep-Pink Peonies in a Terracotta Vase
Week Eighteen: White and Deep-Pink Peonies in a Terracotta Vase

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.

Week Eighteen: Sweet Peas in a Clear Green Vase
Week Eighteen: Sweet Peas in a Clear Green Vase

An ikebana-inspired design using my favorite “jelly-bean” vase features deep-pink peonies and the above-mentioned Perennial Cornflowers.

Week Eighteen: Deep Pink Peonies and Perennial Cornflowers in the Jelly-Bean Vase
Week Eighteen: Deep Pink Peonies and Perennial Cornflowers in the Jelly-Bean Vase

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.

Week Eighteen: Spindly Periwinkle-Blue Flowers in a Back-Lighted Clear Vase
Week Eighteen: Spindly Periwinkle-Blue Cornflowers in a Back-Lighted Clear Vase

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.

Week Eighteen: Three Small Bouquets
Week Eighteen: Three Small Bouquets