Archive for the 'Flowers' Category


IMA Holiday Open Greenhouse

Old Friends

A trip to the Indianapolis Museum of Art Greenhouse as a Christmas tradition? Yep. The Greenhouse is open for business year round whenever the museum is, but two Thursday evenings in December the Greenhouse folks, like my friend Lynne above, roll out a therapeutically warm and life-filled holiday welcome. You can pop into the final Open House of the season next Thursday, December 20 (free, open till 8:00 p.m.). It makes a great date night venue.

Warm Greeting

I love the subtle details. This year simple candles burning in the snow were at the gates. In the past, it was red fabric lanterns with tea lights inside.

If you think an emphasis on nature limits your color palette to sage and brown, the Greenhouse staff is ready to blow your mind. I’m thinking about buying this metal tree and all of its ornaments for our house so I can make it through the February and March blahs.

Aviary Tree


If you look closely you can see the guitar player through the window.

IMA Greenhouse

I’ll always need a plant and a smiling-person-pick-me-up to brighten my spirits when winter is bearing down on me. Sue, Lynne, and the Greenhouse crowd always hook me up with both.


Oldfields, the IMA’s American Country Place era estate of which the Greenhouse is a part, is open for free that Thursday, too. The grounds are lit so that you can enjoy the gardens at night. Cold as it was outside, winding through the endless luminaria trails was a calming way to end a typically wild December day.

Oldfields Formal Garden

On the Grounds

On the Grounds


Christmas Time’s A Comin’

Busy getting ready for the holidays, but wanted to show you a few finds. Mom, Dave and I went to the Country Friends Open House last Saturday. They had even more holiday stuff out than they did a week before. The holly and greenery at Country Friends is particularly good this year. I got this variegated type for our back porch chandelier because it had kind of a vintage look to it.

Porch Chandelier

I usually mix real with artificial, in this case with Frasier Fir remains trimmed from our tree. My mom got a more sage-colored, dusty green holly (sorry, I forgot to take pictures) that came in sprays as well as a garland. It was beautiful and more subtle than my garish taste usually allows me to get away with.

While poking around for Christmas I also found this red David Smith Windsor chair.

Red Chair
We just painted our mudroom from red to the same deep eggplant color that is in our kitchen and I was missing the red just a little. The chair scratches that itch and gives me something light to pull into the kitchen when we have more guests than chairs around Sam (our woodstove).

I kind of like the way it looks next to this sweet wreath Dave made us just in time for the holidays. Dave’s wreaths are normally more restrained.

He said he made a conscious effort to make this one look like it was about to whirl off the door (even used bird feathers) because he knows I like wreaths that , well, look like they are about whirl off the door. Not sure why, but I do favor spiral shaped wreaths. Though the one I have for the front door seems pretty subdued in comparison. Pam at J. P. Parker flowers remade this one from an old one I had.

Reworked Wreath

I was so glad my mom and dad came up this past weekend. They helped us get our tree decorated and mom helped me haul out and place all of the “stuff.” I really don’t mind doing it, but having help always makes it a lot more fun.


Power Pumpkins

Ace Hardware Pumpkins
I’m not a big fan of getting up early on a Saturday to head to the farmers’ market, which is what you have to do here in Indianapolis to buy most any vegetable or fruit worth having. I like farmers. It’s just that I like sleeping in a wee bit more.

Point in telling is that I needed some pumpkins for the house. I tend to get bored with most pumpkins. We’ve accidentally grown more interesting varieties in the past by tossing our rotting ones on the compost heap, but I guess we didn’t “plant” any last year. Since markets weren’t an option, I’d just about given into the idea of stopping by Kroger for a few. Then, as I was driving by the Ace Hardware store on Westfield Blvd., I saw these!

Ace Hardware Pumpkins

Ace Hardware Pumpkins

Ace Hardware Pumpkins

Aren’t they fun? I bought a few “Cinderella” pumpkins (seriously, that’s what the check out lady called them), and some plain ones for the front porch (they do tend to last longer outside than the fancy ones).

I put the Cinderellas on the buffet along with an arrangement made from the last-gasp of our garden’s hydrangeas (David painted the black, folk art-ish goose).


Fall Tablescape

Turd-nose Cat, a Country Friends find from a few years back (our name for him, not CF’s) seemed happy with his fall digs.

Speaking of Country Friends, the pumpkin folk in this picture are from this season’s collection.

Pumpkin Friends

I found the little skulls, which freak most people out, in a Taos, NM pawnshop. I think they are the bases of crucifixes (typically in religious art, skulls at the base of a cross are a reminder of our mortality or a reference to Golgotha, the hill where Christ was crucified). Anyway, Mabel Dodge Luhan, the NY socialite turned wild-west bohemian, wrote in her book Winter in Taos that a guest asked her about the collection of little skulls on one of her shelves. I imagine that these are those, and that the pawnshop owner didn’t just put another set out on his shelf as soon as I walked out the door.


Blusche and Eggplant

For some reason I love the color combination of this blusche Peony against the eggplant color (color: True Value Harware – River Mud) on our kitchen walls. If I could, I would paint a library with eggplant walls and have blusche colored drapes made from billowy silk (lined) for the tall windows. I think these two colors both look good with a little sparkly gold, so I would use antique brass details and light fixtures.  Crystal would work, too, I think.

Blusche and Eggplant 2

Blusche and Eggplant 3



Pink Hawaiian Peonies

(The Peony border my friend Kris recommended we plant.) 

My mom’s first cousin Gary made a tidy bundle selling what I call truckstop ephemera- things like shot glasses and mesh hats with front panels that say things like “Old Fart” and “Official Hiney Inspector.”   

Pink Hawaiian Peony

(Peony, Pink Hawaiian)

Of course, he sold literature like “The Official Hillbilly Cookbook” and “How to Talk Southern”, too.  The latter is where the blog title above comes from (Flares– “Ooowee shug, them flares yur bruther sent you sho’ is perty.”)  Like a fool I’ve let my copy disappear.  I’d ask my cousin Gary to help me find a new one, but I’m not so inclined since two family reunions ago he made a point of standing up in the middle of lunch to declare his undying love for George Bush and his most ardent opposition to gay marriage.  This even though he has a gay son, Matt, who–irony alert!– spends his days riding the highways of America with his gay truckdriver partner.  I’ve never met my cousin’s partner.  I’d like to.  I’ve often wondered what his hat might say.    

Pink Hawaiian Peony

These days Gary couldn’t hook me up with the book anyway, since he has retired from the retail humor business and made the move to travel humor.  In addition to his talent for laying flat a family event, he also does a mean Gomer Pyle imitation that knocks folks old enough to remember the plucky private on their behinds.  (“Mean” here refers to quality, not bitterness.  Bitter Gomer would actually be funny.)  Frequent impromptu impersonations on airlines eventually landed him a gig doing his bit on a regular paid basis.  Where?  On a cruise ship, a place guaranteed to be chocked full of people old enough to remember Gomer.  Now that, folks, is a salesman.  


(Allium and Siberian Iris)

Mom tells me that Matt sometimes travels with his dad to catch his cruise act.  Despite his bravura pronouncements, I believe Gary is on the path to a better understanding and acceptance of who his son and I are.  I think he took the first steps down that path not on the day that his son came out, but on the day of the reunion when my mom threatened to walk out of her cousin’s home and not come back if he didn’t put a sock in it.  As I believe hope springs eternal, it is in honor of Gary that I post these flares from the spring garden of his happily hitched cousin.   

White Iris

(Iris, “Butter and Eggs” [I think])


Easter Egg Working Group

Easter Egg Working Group

I boiled four dozen eggs, opened up the dye and a box of crayons and turned a few of my artist friends loose on them.

Categories emerged.

Bunnies and Chicks
Bunnies and Chick

Flora Eggs

Creepy Eggs

The Hills Have Eggs

Kept some loose flowers in buckets, pruners and containers on hand so people could throw together an arrangement for their Sunday dinners if they wanted.

Easter Florals 3

Easter Florals 2

There are 1000 mg of cute in every one of Karen’s Cupcakes.
Bunny Cakes

Animal and floral headbands from Target’s Dollar Spot provided inspiration.
America's Next Top Easter Model

Hard work? Yes. Too much? Maybe. But when it’s snowing outside the day before Easter you gotta bust your hump to pump up the joy that comes in the morning.

(More photos here.)


Picking Favorites

Jack Frost will bite Indiana’s behind for the next several days with lows in the 20s. Chill enough to wither all of the already blooming tulips and daffodils. To soften the blow I cut all of the blooming stems in our yard and made a few bouquets to enjoy indoors.

These double daffodils and yellow tulips make me smile, so I photographed them. But when it came time to choose their best shot (ala ANTM), I had a hard time deciding–The one that shows the blue and white vase I just bought? The one in the dark blue vase (actually a water glass), which is probably the best formal arrangement (not that I really know anything about making those)? Nothing but billowy blooms?

John helped me narrow the photos I shot down to these three. But I’m still having trouble choosing just one (not that I really have to, I just like picking favorites). What do you think makes a good flower shot? Is there a clear winner here for you?

Daffodils and Tulips

Daffodils & Tulips in a Blue Vase

Daffodils & Tulips close up