Book Review: Herbs Can Build Artful Windowsill Arrangements

By Paris Wolfe, Blogmaster, The Herb Society of America

ST LYNN'S WINDOWSILL ART CVR - CopyWhen I was four or five I’d pick dandelions, violets, clover, whatever was in season to make tiny bouquets for my mom.  She would trim the stems and put the flowers into a short, juice glass on a windowsill.

After college I moved into a tiny ranch home and recaptured that childhood practice. Alas, somewhere in the mix of young motherhood, a bigger house and a bad marriage, I lost my muse. As my sons aged and I got divorced, the muse returned. The first hot summer in my condo, I excommunicated invasive weeds and introduced coneflowers, white yarrow and purple everything to the garden.

This summer, my friend’s granddaughter, Allison, and I started picking weeds. Creamy Queen Anne’s lace, for example, makes a stunning presentation in tall blue glass vase.

But, different flowers need different vases, so I’ve been scouring garage sales and secondhand stores to build my stash. I have a blue collection, some green and a creamy, three-inch Lenox china vase. Among my interesting containers are little crystal toothpick holders and an odd shot glass. These look playfully elegant when grouped together.

ST LYNN'S PRESS - Windowsill Art July 1Imagine my delight stumbling upon Nancy Ross Hugo’s Windowsill Art, Creating one-of-a-kind natural arrangements to celebrate the seasons (St. Lynn’s Press, 2014, $18.95). A talented floral arranger and writer Nancy has fast-forwarded my learning curve. She uses flowers, leaves, greens and even vegetables to create tiny vignettes. Why not herbs?! For example, of my favorite additions to a bunch of playful pansies are tall, spiky blades of chives.

“For me,” she writes, “windowsill arranging is almost a spiritual practice. When I am looking for materials to display and placing them on a windowsill, I feel like more like a poet placing words in a haiku than a flower designer placing stems in a vase. I love the limited space, the double connection to the outdoors (through the window and my materials) …” (Note: It doesn’t have to be a window. I use the ledge between the kitchen and dining area.)

Among her tips for these mini delights

  • Remember less is more … as in more than three materials verges on ‘regular” flower arranging.

  • Think 2/3 flowers, 1/3 vase for the best proportion.

  • Construct with a flagpole, a focal point and a filler. That means something linear (like chives or tall herb sprigs), a visually dominant element (a statement flower) and something that softens the transition (usually leaves).

Perhaps, the key piece of advice is: Know when to stop.

A hardback book, Windowsill Art is full of lush, color images and inspiration for stretching your creative muscles. I’m using it as a coffee-table book this summer.


Show us your pictures of windowsill herb art. Send to pariswolfe@yahoo.com. We’ll post images as we can.

4 thoughts on “Book Review: Herbs Can Build Artful Windowsill Arrangements

  1. Pingback: 12 Herb Books for Holiday Gifting – The Herb Society of America Blog

  2. Pingback: 7 Things to Do with Mint – The Herb Society of America Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s