Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Unobtainable "Wilder Mann"

In April of this year, I saw the National Geographic article on Charles Freger's book "Wilder Mann" which documents the ancient and still-thriving European practice of men dressing up in stunning costumes as "Wild Men" at various festivals and events. I have a deep interest in such subjects, and went to Amazon to check out how much the book cost. At that time it was 34.00. Well, I thought, I'll wait until I have a little more disposable income and order some other books along with it.

Big mistake. I checked for the book today and the cheapest copy I could find (in English) is about 450.00, with prices ranging to over 1,000.00.  I almost started crying! The National Geographic article must have generated a frenzy for the book and all the new copies were sold out. And prices for existing copies are now sky high.

My only hope is to wait and see if there is a reprint.

There are some truly astonishing photos in this book and since many of you are probably like me and are not going to shell out hundreds of dollars for the book, I am directing you to the article here at National Geographic, and a collection of photos here.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Untraditional Bouquets---The Random Gardener

I rarely buy flowers. I have a lot of foliage densely packed into my small yard and, I am willing to use flowers and greenery that are either considered weeds, or not common bouquet material. Above you see an arrangement made of the following:
Feverfew, commonly considered a weed (but valuable to herbalists)
Plantain, commonly considered a weed (but also valuable to herbalists)
Yarrow, both grown in regular gardens and valuable to herbalists
Buddleia, or Butterly Bush, now considered an invasive species in my area and is no longer sold in nurseries--however, it was here when I moved in so I get to keep it, apparently :)

Plantain has the most ethereal little flowers:

All of these plants were either here when I bought the place or self seeded at some point. If the Random Gardener has one overarching rule it is this: if it's growing there, it must like it there, and it gets to stay!

This arrangement consists of:
Oregano, gone to flower
Parsley, gone to flower
Calendula, or Pot Marigold

I planted the parsley, the calendula self-seeds every year and the oregano was already here. I love to make use of things that have gone to seed---its just another interesting form of the plant.

Here is the same bouquet with some Buddleia for a different look.

Okay, hold on to your straw hats for this one because this bouquet is based around---blackberries! There is also some feverfew, mint and an as-yet unidentified grass that has gone to seed. I think blackberries have the most lovely purple-pink flowers. I trimmed the thorns off the bottom parts of the stalk to make them easier to deal with. This is one you will want to keep away from the kids, unless you trim off all of the thorns.

see how pretty blackberry flowers are?

I often use vintage vases---a good match for untraditional bouquets.

Its all about seeing the beauty in what you have around you, and in common, often overlooked elements.