Thursday, 1 September 2011

Wild flowers in France

We spent our summer holiday in the Charente in France. This is a picture of a wonderful array of plants in Chalais market. All the produce – flowers, plants, fruits and cheese – was fresh and bountiful. We stayed in a gite in the middle of the countryside. There was a meadow next to the gite which was filled with wild flowers – they opened up during the day and closed their petals at night. This is a picture of one of the wild white flowers, not unlike the ammi we are growing in our garden.

I wanted to pick some flowers, but I didn`t have any vases in the house. But I did have some empty jam jars and my paints with me. I experimented with different ways of decorating the jars so that they looked good when filled with wild flowers. I really like this simple design that shows the flowers off well without distracting from their natural loveliness.

Then I made two more jars so that I could make a repeating arrangement of three. Our friends, John and Lindsey, are renovating a traditional French presbytery in Chalais. I took the three jars as a present for them when they invited us over for dinner. They added a fresh touch to a country dinner table. Naturally gorgeous!

Using jam jars in this way has made me think about the environment and flowers. My daughter, Jessie, has introduced me to the concept of up-cycling. The idea of this is to prevent wasting potentially useful materials by making use of existing ones. It is about adding value to something that already exists without all the costs (financial and environmental) associated with re-cycling. I think enhancing jam jars like this is a good example of up-cycling. Now I have got to thinking about flowers and the environment I will write some more about this in my next blog.

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