Tag Archives: Flowers

Jean-Frederic Schall’s Dancing Ladies

Jean-Frédéric Schall, a French painter born in Strasbourg in 1752, was one of the last important artists to contribute to the fête galante style popularized by Antoine Watteau.  His works are mostly small in scale and executed with a characteristic liveliness in form.  His female subjects, particularly his dancers, portray an idealized femininty with delicate facial features and impossibly slim waists.

I find them utterly charming.  They’re like miniature cupcakes, sweet and lacking substance.  And they’re so 18th century, or at least how the 18th century aristocracy had hoped to appear.

Graced with innocence and ebullience, these ladies seemed a natural pairing with flower sketchings from The British Florist volumes.  Enjoy!

Lady with a Dog

Dancer with a Tambourine

A Young Lady Dancing in a Wooded Glade

 Portrait of a Lady, possibly Marie-Madeleine Guimard, ballerina of the Paris Opéra

Dancer with a Feather Hat

Dancer with a Bouquet

Dancer in a Louis XVI Costume

All drawings from The British Florist, or a Lady’s Horticultural Journal, Volumes 1-8

Antoinette Tulips

I have a thing with gardening, an obsession really.  I would not quite call it Tulip Mania, but it’s bad, and now I have one more obsession to boot.  The Antoinette tulip is multiflowering, which essentially means its hues change over the bloom period, and it is gorgeous.  Antoinette would have been a fan simply for the tulip’s whimsical nature.  It’s Easter yellow and green . . . no, wait, raspberry pink.  No, salmony orange.  Oh, dear.

As a bouquet tulip, Antoinette is also abundant, producing 4-6 flowers per bulb.  The name really is perfect and although spring seems an awfully long way off, any Antoinette fan would be remiss to not have some of these in her garden.

Pretty Little Vases

 

 

 

Flowers pictured:  blizzard mock orange, morden blush rose, lady’s mantle, mexican evening primrose.

 

Chive Flower Salad

Chives have a special place in the garden – and that would be right up there with weeds.  Much like mint, they’re invasive, spreading and stretching, popping up feet after feet away from their original planting site. Pesky plants.  After I dug up some clumps last spring, they’ve sprouted near my roses bushes, nudged next to the lilies, and tangled themselves up with the thyme. 

This annoyance is really all my fault.  Before laying out a formal herb bed, I moved my chives three times.  The worst was crowding them into the perennial flower garden (a bad, bad idea which still has me pulling onion-scented sprigs!)  But there was an upside because now I’ve an abundance of chives bursting with spiky purple flowers and those edible petals are every bit as delicious as they are pretty.  Slightly more pungent than the chives’ green stems, they impart equal parts soft crunch and potent oniony flavor to salads and pastas.  Under Jon’s dubious brow – which believe me, was contorted with dreading curiosity – I tossed lemon vinaigrette with greens, walnuts, feta, pepper, and a few choice flowers.  Needless to say he was surprised by the flavor.   This edible is not your typical, bland pansy! 

When you’re prepping, just make sure to wash and dry the flowers carefully, keeping an eye out for any small crawling creatures.  Then discard the hardened flower stems and voila!  

 

 

Curious which other flowers are edible?  Edible Flower Chart

Butchart Gardens – Victoria B.C.

A Stroll in Spring

Butchart gardens is simply breathtaking.  I find the scope and sheer amount of flower beds mind boggling especially since come late spring, all the tulips and spring flowering plants (with the exception of trees and bushes) are pulled out and replaced with summer flowering varieties.   Yes, I asked!

The sunken garden (last picture) used to be a limestone quarry before Mrs. Butchart saw amazing potential in the big, ugly pit.  What a woman can do when she sets her mind to it!  Now, if only my garden looked so spectacular . . .

Georgian word of the day:  Puce

A popular color in Georgian and Regency times, found in fabric and on home articles.   Not charming to say the least as in French puce literally means “flea.”   Caroline Weber, in Queen of Fashion, recounts an amusing exchange between Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI:

“When the Queen asked her husand how he like the confection, which was made from tafetta of an odd pinkish-tan hue, he replied laconically: ‘It is the color of a flea [puce].'”

I can see a husband saying that!

FYI: The color is brownish-purple or pinkish-tan depending on the source.

Baronne D’Oberkirch, also noted in Queen of Fashion, wrote in her Memoires:

“every lady at court wore a puce-colored gown, old puce, young puce, ventre de puce [flea’s belly], dos de puce [flea’s back], etc.  [And] as the new color did not soil easily, and was therefore less expensive than lighter tints, the fashion of puce gowns was adopted by the [Parisian] bourgeoisie.”

Update: See my March 2012 post on ‘Pretties in Pink’ for more on puce.