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Wild Flowers

The lilacs are blooming, so spring is officially here. Four years ago we cut ours back aggressively. They were too tall, and stringy, and were collapsing onto the second floor bedroom window. They immediately started looking healthier. But then they didn't flower. So we googled: " Lilacs cut back, not flowering"... and found out that it would take a year or two for them to flower again.

By year three, when all we got was a couple of buds, we started to get worried. But this year they are Back. Full of lovely, heavy, scented blooms. They are perfect, and give me the vague feeling that our lawn belongs to someone else - an adult who loves gardening and knows how to do it.

For me, spring means the season of cut flowers and the opportunity to arrange them. My love of cut flowers is inherited from my Mum. Her house is never without them. In fact, whenever we traveled as a family, one of the first things she would do is buy flowers and place them in our temporary abode- whether it was a hotel, motel, bed & breakfast or vacation home. (The second thing she would do is make sure we had salsa in the fridge but that is material for another post).

So this past Christmas, I gave her a book called "In Bloom: Creating and Living with flowers" by Ngoc Minh Ngo. If you love flowers, this book and the authors' previous one "bringing Nature Home" are must haves. They show stunning arrangements, exquisitely photographed in equally beautiful interiors.

Shortly after, my Mum started sending me photos of arrangements that had been inspired by the book. She said that studying it had freed her to create more expressive compositions that were abstract and asymmetric.

This was a huge light bulb moment for me. For years I thought that a beautiful flower arrangement had to be symmetrical and balanced. Regularity in shapes, evenly distributed color and a regular structure. Now that I think about it, I'm not sure why I was convinced that this was the case. It seems similar to thinking that only realistic art is beautiful or only minimal interiors are worth it.

Today, I set out to make some expressive, irregular flower vignettes using our newly blooming lilacs and other bits and pieces from the garden. Hope you enjoy them.

This is Pepper. He makes every picture better, in fact he makes everything better. you will be seeing a lot of him, mostly because he wants to be part of whatever is going on and walks into every picture. all photographs by Ian Cartwright. Links to Ngoc Minh Ngo and books below.



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