Human Flower Project
Thursday, November 25, 2004
A Memorable Centerpiece? Get Clipping
Pat Rubin urges you hostesses boldly to go where no florist has been before – your own neighborhood. You’ll find the makings of a one-of-a-kind arrangement.
One of the most memorable table decorations I ever saw was made of nothing but American Beautyberry branches, fresh picked, loaded with purple berries, and dropped in a vase on a picnic table one fine evening in Red Rock, Texas.
This piece from the Sacremento Bee says decorative glories like these are yours for the picking.
“Instead of buying roses surrounded by a polite amount of baby’s breath, …arrange the nutty brown seedpods of black-eyed Susan with red or yellow maple or liquidambar leaves. Try a vase of blue asters and yellow chrysanthemums accented with golden plumes of miscanthus or feather reed grass.”
Once upon a time there was no FTD. Think like a pilgrim (only prettier): Grateful for what you find.
Stop! Don’t Toss Those Turkey Bones
Youthful temerity meets forensic hygiene in bone flowers of a Scottish art student.
Ewan Manson, a third-year student at Dundee University, was searching for a statement about the superabundance of household waste when he hit on the idea of making flowers out of fish and chicken bones.
Sue Black, a forensic anthropologist at the university, pitched in at it were, showing Manson how chemically to make the bones “more visually attractive” and preserve them. Ars longa, vita brevis.
But why did Manson choose to make the bones into flowers, the most ephemeral, some would say “wasteful” objects around?
“After creating the first rose from tilapia and sardine bones I knew that I wanted to take the idea further and create decorative bouquets,” Manson said. “It is a challenging project and I am constantly on the lookout for oddly shaped bones to create petals and leaves. My shopping bill increases as I need greater quantities of meat and fish.”
Hey wait! I thought the point was to criticize wastefulness not indulge in it. We need an osteo-aesthete for a second opinion.
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Flowers at the Barricades
The shields of Ukrainian riot police are opposed with flowers outside the Presidential building in Kiev. Supporters of Viktor Yuschenko are staging a non-violent protest of Sunday’s presidential election, alleging corruption and demanding a change in the nation’s leadership.
Photo: Viktor Drachev for AFP
Hopniss - Convenience Food Fit for a Pilgrim
“Groundnut” might be the ultimate North American forage plant. It was definitely on the board at the first Thanksgiving.
We think of turkey and corn on the original Thanksgiving menu. A sure side dish was “Indian potato” (Apios americana), also known as groundnut, wild bean, hopniss, and “that tuber-thing we’ve always got on hand.”
Garden writer Barbara Barger reports that, for the hungry Pilgrim, hopniss possessed many endearing qualities. It grows plentifully in the American East, it’s a great source of starch and protein, and unless the ground is frozen solid, you can dig it and eat it any time of the year. Sounds like the 17th century energy bar.
Let’s not forget that hopniss also produces pretty pink pea-like flowers August-September; these too are edible.
Barger notes: “Once hopniss had been introduced to English colonists, the colonists had the nerve to enact a town law saying the Indians couldn’t harvest hopniss on English soil.” Is it any wonder this country became the land where million-dollar political ads are defended as “free speech,” and throngs of people will pay to meditate?
If you’d like to take an autumn walk today and hunt some hopniss tubers for your Thanksgiving casserole, take along this thorough-going guide to groundnut digging, cooking, and savoring by wild food gastronome Sam Thayer.
“The very best places for gathering hopniss that I know of are all around springs and seepages, in very dark soil near skunk cabbage.”
Now, where did I see that skunk cabbage?