lavenders and grass

by Justine on July 19, 2014

in flora,my photography,Our Cottage

lavender and grass

more experiments with flowers and grass…

lavnder and grass

on my dining table with: lavender, Russian sage, Veronica, sweet pea, grape vine, grasses, and other weeds

lavender and grass 2

lavender and grass 3


dracus ingontacus

by Justine on July 16, 2014

in Cape Cod,kids,my photography,shells


While beaching it the other day, Oliver, Solvi and I spent a good hour conjuring a sea dragon from mussel shells, rocks, and seaweed. Then Oliver sketched the following characterization in the sand.

Dracus Ingontacus:
Enormous sea serpent, known for its friendly attitude and poisonous tail.
Most fearsome dragon in the ocean.”

dracus ingontacusIt looks small in pictures, but it was actually about 6 feet long.

dracus Ingontacus detail

dracus Ingontacus close up


pastimes of a faerie queen

by Justine on July 15, 2014

in Cape Cod,kids,my photography

Solvi Fairy

Those of us who are lucky
(or perhaps just really still)
may glimpse the faerie queen.

Amongst the flower bed,
a wee posie,
fortune conveyed by a tiny friend.

A quick smile,
(She has seen you too.)

Then with a flit,
she’s off again.
More wonders to behold.

Solvi Fairy 2

Solvi Fairy 3

Solvi fairy 1

Solvi Fairy4

Fairy posie

Fairy with posie

Solvi Fairy takes flight

Solvi Fairy flies away

bye Solvi Fairy


grass flowers

by Justine on June 27, 2014

in flora,my photography,Our Cottage

peony and grass

The more time I spend in my cottage the more “decorative objects” I take away. Am I getting more minimal? In a way, but really what I’m doing is leaving room for the ephemeral – cut flowers, which, week by week mark the progress of the season, reflect my changing mood.

So far this summer, all of my arrangements have included grass.

While partaking in a time-honored family tradition of harvesting fresh flowers preferably some of which are not your own, I ventured across the road to Gramma’s garden. It still hosts her favorite blooms, but since her death it has gone to seed a bit, allowing tall grasses to spring up amongst the plants. I liked the way they looked. So I included some in my arrangement.

To everyone else these weeds add texture, height, and “visual interest” to my bouquets. But to me, while the flowers remind me of Gramma’s life, the grass acknowledges her death. And for some reason that seems important right now.

hot pink roses and grass

dorothy perkins roses


feverfew detail

peony and grass detail

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razor clam pendant

by Justine on June 26, 2014

in DIY,my photography,shells

razor clam pendant

Remember Sheila’s “installation with razor clams” on her living room shelf? This week, I too got creative with these elongated shellfish, when, inspired by the porcelain works at Parma Lilac, I created a razor clam (or Atlantic Jackknife Clam to be more precise) lamp shade. See Gardenista for a complete tutorial.

razor clamsUncle Mon shows off the haul from one walk on the beach.

bleaching razor clams in the sunbleaching razor clams on the deck

bleaching razor clams, Justine Hand

making a razor clam lamp suppliessupplies for the lamp

drilling hole in shelldrilling

drilled razor clams

threading wirestringing

threading the razor clam shells

strung shells

Hammer and Heel lightthe base: a pendant from Hammers and Heels

finished razor clam lampmy finished lamp

razor clam lamp sade detail by Justine Hand

finished razor clam light Justine Hand


past, present

by Justine on June 6, 2014

in history,kids,my photography

Solvi Spy scopeDonned in their souvenirs from my recent trip to Colonial Williamsburg, the kids do their best imitation of Revolutionary-era children.

colonial style portrait

Solvi fan

Olie map

Olie map 2

Solvi fan 2

Olie scope


portraits of bridal wreath

by Justine on May 23, 2014

in flora,my photography

bridal wreath and bottlesI don’t know when this became a flower blog, but there it is. Some day I’ll get back to design, but right now I find myself drawn to plants – their architecture as much as their blooms. I appreciate the way in which the same flower can appear wholly different when grouped in an abundant bouquet or as a single stem, or when out in the garden or inside the home. It seems rather human of them, morphing their personalities thus.

But most especially, I love watching flowers respond to the changing sun throughout the day. Where we humans like to flirt with the noir, flowers prefer to explore the complexities that exist in the light. In the morning they seem refreshed by the cool slanting rays on their cheerful faces, while in the evening the warm backlit glow from setting sun seems to set their insides aflame.

Unlike a building or a piece of furniture which stands immobile as the environment reacts upon it, the conversation between flowers and their setting is a two-way street. They respond. They move. They are alive. And yet they are ephemeral. For me it feels like a gift to capture their portraits before they fade. To be party to their slow dance, but for a moment in time.

Here then is a study of bridal wreath now in bloom in my yard: as two single stems and a boisterous bouquet.

bridal wreath branch

bridal wreath buds

bridal wreath detail

bridal wreath detail 2

two bridal wreath branches

two branches evening light

bridal wreath branch 2

bridal wreath bouquet

bridal wreath silhouette

bridal wreath fireworks

bridal wreath bloom

bridal wreath and mirror

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by Justine on May 21, 2014

in flora,my photography

commom lilac bloom by Justine Hand for GardenistaThere are many flowers that remind me of my Grandmother Sylvia. Langorus wisteria whose cascading blooms and entwining vines each summer veiled the front porch in a dreamlike canopy. The reclusive Mayflower, modest of bloom but brazen of scent, pilfered from under the power lines in order to perfume Gramma’s bedroom. The solitary lady slipper, also nicked in the wild, this time by Grampa’s pocketknife. And that bumptious old friend, Dorothy Perkins, bedecked for summer in the same unnatural shade of pink as Gramma Sylvia’s lipstick.

In fact, perhaps it would be more accurate to say that there are few flowers that do not remind me of Grandma Sylvia. But lilacs were her favorite.

common lilac blooms by Justine Hand for Gardenista

common lilac by Justine Hand for Gardenista

President Lincoln Lilac by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Humphrey Lilac by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Jean Bart Lilac  by Justine Hand for Gardenista

white Lilac by Justine Hand for Gardenista

To see my entire homage to Gramma’s favorite flower, visit Lilac Love: A Guide to Spring’s Best-Loved Flower on Gardenista.


spring’s most enduring blooms

by Justine on May 14, 2014

in flora,my photography


photos from today’s article on which of this season’s favorites last longest indoors at Gardenista

Longest Lasting Spring Blooms-ranunculus-day-1-Gardenista

Longest Lasting Spring Blooms-sweet-pea-day-1-Gardenista.

Longest Lastest Spring Blooms, Hyacinths, Day 4


happy mother’s day

by Justine on May 11, 2014

in flora,my photography

sweet peas grape hyacinths

excerpts from my article for Gardenista on the Evolution of a Bouquet

small spring bouquet

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