Multiple May Miracles



 I peeked in the Towhee nest Wednesday morning;  three eggs. 

Wednesday afternoon--one has hatched!  The wee creature looks limp in the photo, but was moving and looked well.  May Miracle #1.


Then a much-anticipated visit to the magnificent 1.75 acre (7,000 square meter) garden of Shae and Alan.  May Miracle #2.  Unfortunately, none of my photos can possibly do justice to the garden's beauty.
Shae and Alan know how to garden!



May Miracle #3:  Shae and Eric Cortina gave a demonstration of flower-arranging.    Eric is the immensely talented designer who brings such fabulous beauty to the displays at Roger's Gardens, the local garden center.  

The first step to an arrangement is walking around the garden gathering foliage and flowers that catch your eye.  Collect different color schemes into different buckets.  Shae sometimes does her arranging at a table right out in the garden, so she can get additional snippets of material as she works.

For a garden flower arrangement, Eric suggests a casual container.  Garden flowers are intrinsically less formal than florist materials.
Two masters show how it is done.  Eric starts with foliage.  He chose a mid-green Euonymous Rhaphiolepis, variegated Myrtus, Plectranthus, Rosemary, a bronzy Loropetalum, chocolate-centered Pelargonium.  Placement is dictated by the natural habit of the foliage--the Myrtus was arching and horizontal--so that went at the bottom.  The Euonymous Rhaphiolepis was more vertical.  He placed it slightly off center. 

There's the rest of Eric.  Shae's hand-painted patio was the setting for the demonstration.
Eric starts to add flowers.  Larger bits, like the sunflower centers, at the base of the foliage;  wispy bits, like the golden milkweed, above. The sunflowers were finished, so he pulled off the petals.  The centers were still very decorative!
But there's more!  He added an artichoke from Shae's garden--she grows them for arrangments, not for eating--and Pomegranates on their leafy stems--and chartreuse Hydrangea flowers.  Note again that large items are nestled in the foliage, down low.

No, not done yet!  Orange roses, and Anigozanthos.  As Eric works, Shae demonstrates simple small containers for herbs--a charming addition to the dinner table to make a meal more special.
Shae's centerpiece of Alan's home-grown Artichokes, Queen Annes Lace, and limes with Italian tableware.  "I love all things Italian--I married one!" 
A little jar of Sage, basil, rosemary, myrtle to add a touch of herbal fragrance.
Shae's elegant arrangements of white roses, honeysuckle, and apple tree stems complete with small green apples.  Another arrangement is of white roses and olive tree stems--though she prefers stems with ripe olives on them--wrong time of year for that...
In the meantime, Eric had completed the arrangement.  Red and yellow milkweed, red Cestrum, even the red new foliage of a rose, all done before our amazed eyes.  Wow!
Then Eric spent about three minutes throwing this little thing together.  Perovskia and several different Salvias--a favorite of Shae's.  A mildewed squash leaf at the base--even a mildewed leaf has decorative value.
Then another quick arrangement of hydrangea and roses.  Why can't I do that?  It would be a miracle indeed if I could.  For Eric and Shae, it appeared to be the natural result of walking around the garden with a pair of clippers and a bucket.  
Where those arrangements came from...

The last May Miracle of this post--we got close to half an inch of actual rain Thursday afternoon!  Back at home, buckets and bins and tubs and barrels and pails were ready.  Wheeeeee!
Multiple May Miracles. 

Comments

  1. Oh! So upbeat! Everything in this post is simply gorgeous. Arrangements are spectacular. Thank you!

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    1. What is more cheering than sweet precious rain?

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  2. That garden is beautiful! I assume it's in CA though, which means that lushness comes at a price?

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    1. The main "bones" (trees, shrubs) are all quite xeric: Myrtus, Eugenia, Cypress. The lawn is quite small; the irrigation is all soaker hose. For so large a garden, it's water thrifty.

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  3. Such a positive post Gail! And by no means all those miracles are small, wonderful :)

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    1. Nothing puts a Californian into a good mood like a grey, cloudy, dark, rainy day.

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  4. So many miracles, great. I love the pictures of that garden and the flower arrangements are awesome. arrangements from the garden are always best.

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    1. If only I could make arrangements like that!

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  5. Visit us when your mood needs a lift. It's only fair...you just lifted my mood by several degrees.

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  6. I dream of having a garden as full of wonderful cutting material as that one (or yours for that matter) but then I probably don't have the eye or the patience necessary to create masterpieces like those either. As to the rain! It's ABSOLUTELY, almost unspeakably wonderful. My 50-gallon and 160-gallon tanks are completely full, as are all my watering cans. At last check, my 265-gallon tank was only 2/3rds full but, still, what an unexpectedly glorious christening they got!

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    1. Yes, wonderful rain--even more wonderful because unexpected. Congrats on all the rainwater saved. I got about 100 gallons.

      I dunno, by the looks of your bloom-day post, you have a lot to work with...

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  7. The garden images are wonderful, I love the first image, the opening in the hedge beckons you to wander further and discover more beauty. So pleased that the baby chick has hatched from its egg.
    The assortment of flowers from this amazing garden are beautiful and such inspiring floral arrangements.
    So pleased you managed to collect some rainwater.
    xoxoxo ♡

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    1. Thank you, Dianne. It was a fun couple of days...so nice to remember gardening is supposed to be FUN! I need to keep remembering that.

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  8. Towhees! A gorgeous garden! Wonderful arrangements! (How I heart that one with the little pomegranate -- it's just perfect.) And rain...!!! Two tubs filled here, and the whole garden is minty-fresh and shiny as new. Still spitting a bit today. They say our "unusually-wet-for-May" rain might even be a harbinger of El Niño -- from their lips to God's ear...

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    1. The rain makes us all happy. A stretch of cool weather ahead--hope springs. :) Let's hope El takes a firm grip and holds on through next winter.

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  9. What glorious flower arrangements! Alan's ability to combine different textures and shapes in such a natural way is very inspiring. So is their garden - overflowing with raw materials!
    Congrats on the rain!! Keep those fingers crossed for more!

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    1. I am going to attempt to do an arrangement--wish me luck, I'll need it.

      Everything I can cross will be crossed!

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