It is ‘high summer’ and our gardens and farmer’s markets are bursting with fresh vegetables. These can inspire us to use them in different colorful ways for our own enjoyment or for summer entertaining. With houseguest season in full swing, one of these ideas might brighten up your kitchen, porch or wherever your guests congregate.
How’s this for some melon excitement? This gorgeous artistry had pride of place on the welcome table at the Dixon Museum of Art, Memphis TN, in April. Kudos to the talented person who sculpted this! I’d say do try this at home, but how do you start?
The cut glass container above is a celery jar. In the Victorian age, celery was a delicacy and was served standing at attention in these jars which are generally straight and wide to hold the stalks. I have collected some for my favorite ‘marching down the table’ theme. My idea was to use the celery with its stalks and leaves as a component in the design – but definitely not for plucking out and eating! The challenge is to find celery stalks with leaves intact, which is nearly impossible as only the inner stalks seem to escape the chop of the seller’s knife, and farmers are not growing it locally around here.
A take on the modern-mass (see The pastels of June) using both green peppers and Savoy cabbage as components, with beautifully variegated cordyline leaves and asparagus fern. These peppers are large and are on skewers (always use pairs of skewers to be secure). If you dip the skewer in clove oil (drugstores, health food shops) and then into the pepper, the pepper will seal itself around the skewer and you won’t get fruit flies breeding in the opening.
An old wooden starch box with patty-pan squash, assorted sweet peppers, brussel sprouts and Savoy cabbage, topped with the sinuous curves of garlic scapes – what wonderful rhythm they create, animating the box.
So maybe all your starch boxes are being used! This grouping is in a metal container (Michael’s crafts). I have eliminated the cabbage and squash and used a maidenhair fern plant (grocery store) still in its pot (easily watered). Notice how much 'quieter' the design is without the yellow and purple. All your vegetables will play well with others, so go and have fun with them.