It was his last class of the season, and Ron Morgan was on fire. Funny, witty: part stand-up comic, part creative genius. He took piles of branches and buckets of flowers and made the most amazing things...
This low red Chinese buckety-thing didn't look promising when he started shoving brown branches in, but it became this gorgeous confection:
Orange dahlias, green aeonium, eucalyptus pods. Perfect for a dining table, you can see - and converse - over it. Do you know the rule for dinner party height flower arrangements? Put your elbow on the table, your arm pointing toward the ceiling. Fold your wrist down so your hand is parallel with the table. No higher than your hand, please, unless you're British. They think talking across the table is appalling, you're supposed to speak to the person beside you. I know several things the Brits do that I find appalling, but in the interest of better international relations I won't list them here.
Who'd think to put these colors and shapes together? And yet they look fabulous, inevitable, even. So comfortable together, so interesting.
It reminds me of a favorite quote about writing. According to the novelist Elizabeth Bowen, a writer must move toward “...an end not to be foreseen (by the reader) but also towards an end which, having been reached, must be seen to have been from the start inevitable.” A bit wordy, but it sums up Ron's gift. I mean, what else would you do with these flowers? I'd probably massacre them (remind me to tell you the flower delivery story some time soon).
Ron glued this shallow glass bowl and bronze candlestick together, and with tall ornithogalum and the huge leaves of hosta, some variegated geranium and a few zinnias, he made this mostly foliage arrangement. I always think I don't have anything in my garden for a flower arrangement. But I always have foliage (or as Liz says, foilage) and I'm heading for the garden as soon as we're done here. With clippers in my hand and hope in my heart.
He started this with a few sprigs of philadelphus in a low bowl:
Adding some dusty miller and some huge proteas that looked frightening until they were nestled into the arrangement. Then they looked great.
Some clumps of fuzzy grass, a few lamb's ears, and some white orchids. Who else would put those things together?
Fun. Inspiring. Different from every side.
And Loot, his shop on College Avenue in Oakland was a feast for the eyes.
You have to walk through, then turn around and walk back thru the other way. You'll see different things each time, and you'll see something that wants to come home with you.
I love these birds,
This gilded Chinese wood carving,
This Thai headdress. With those gorgeous maps of Paris in the background. If only I were a Thai princess...or could dance. Or had one blank wall left for Paris.
Alas, no. But I am a much better flower arranger thanks to Ron, and I see - and love - my garden in a completely new way.