A bit of the familiar


Everyone keeps talking about the “new normal”.  I’m not certain what that even is or looks like but I am certain that I needed a dose of the familiar.  This time of year is beautiful in the south.  My normal on Saturday is a trip to the nursery for ferns, flowers, and herbs.  It is a trip I plan and savor.  Once there, I love taking my time. Imagining new combinations, thinking about a cocktail or dinner on the patio and the joy of summer.

I ventured out not certain what I’d find since we are still “closed for business”.  I was pleasantly surprised to find my nursery open for business.  For a brief hour, I immersed myself in the familiar and joyous task of planning my patio for the summer.  How wonderful to think of fun things.

When I left the nursery, my car was filled with herbs for cooking, flowers for the containers and ferns for the front porch.  I’ll take that hour of familiarity in a time that is otherwise so uncertain.



I’m always looking for inspiration for a flower arrangement.  I’m constantly snapping pictures of flowers and arrangements that I like with my iPhone.  My new favorite flower is the ginger blossom, the blossom on the ginger plant is so fragrant and wonderful – I can’t get enough of them. I first saw it in the flower market in Hong Kong.  Now the question is where do I find ginger blossoms in the States?  Hum, a challenge!


I thought I would share some of my favorite arrangements!  I find them everywhere – hotels, airports, shopping centers, anywhere there are flowers I find inspiration!


The Peninsula Hotel, Hong Kong


The Four Seasons Hotel (Hong Kong, Austin, Texas, and Las Vegas, Nevada)


The Ritz Carlton, Atlanta, GA



The Winter Antique Show, NY, NY

Frederick Fekkai Salon, 5th Avenue, NY, NY

The Blue Ridge Ball, NY, NY (The Univeristy Club and the Cosmoplitian Club)

Ljubljana, Slovenia –  Saturday Market


Charleston Symphony House, Society Street, Charleston, SC

Colonial Williamsburg, The Inn – Williamsburg, VA


The Greenbrier- White Sulpher Springs, W. VA


The inspiration sometimes shows up in my home, in this case, my dining room!


The Art of the Bloom

There is nothing better to brighten up a room than a vase of fresh flowers.  Since the florist does not make regular appearances at my door, I’ve taken to the flower aisle at the local grocery store.  As a child I remember sitting at a table in the garage that my grandfather set up for my grandmother.  She loved making flower arrangements.  She had a box of “frogs”, flower tape, ribbon and wire, and – beautiful flowers.  She would set out everything she needed and a bit later a work of art would sit on the table.  I’m not certain if this was a southern thing or a Charleston thing, but she could work magic with whatever was at hand.

My grandmother’s arrangements were complicated with a variety of different flowers, greens, tall, short- all mixed together depending upon what was in season.  When she had a hole to fill you would find her out in the garden with a pair of clippers and her imagination.

Where  grandmom’s arrangements were complex, I opt for simple.  In the summer, I tend towards sunflowers.  They are happy and make me smile.  I have a couple of go to vases but my favorite vase is one a bit on the modern side that works with my eclectic sense of style.  In the flower aisle I look for one flower that is fresh and crisp.  I then buy enough of that one flower to fill my vase.  At the grocery, flowers are usually sold in a bunch of three or four so I need multiple bunches to fill my vase.  The end result I want is a very full vase so I always add one bunch over what I think it will take to fill the vase.


At home, I cut the stems at an angle to three or four inches above the top of my vase and remove all the leaves that are “inside” the vase.  I then add the flowers one stem at a time turning the vase as I go.  I start along the outside of my vase with the shorter stems and move to the inside with the stems cut slightly taller.  Then, my secret ingredient, a shot of vodka.  Be careful with the vodka, it serves to extend the life of the flowers but, if you add too much, you can get a drunken flower arrangement.  Finally, add clean water.  My arrangements tend to last a week so long as I remember to change the water.