Saturday, November 14, 2009

On Pomegranates

Ways to Display Pomegranates

I'm lucky to have a small pomegranate that produces just enough fruit for me to bring in and have around the house for the holidays. This year I piled some of them into a basket and others I displayed on a platter.

It seems like a no-brainer to load a bowl with fruit, but sometimes it isn't. First of all, the size of the fruit should actually vary in order to get a nice full bowl without gaping holes. Store bought fruit is too uniform (I suspect if they could grow a square tomato to make shipping easier, they would...maybe they already have). Home grown fruit is actually better because sizes and shapes vary.

I start by putting the most marginal (scarred or scabby or poor color) on the bottom and build up saving the most beautiful fruit for the top. I try to keep a few tiny fruit for that top layer as well.  And since pomegranates have those cute little tops, I pointed them all in the same direction.  They remind me of some very well-fed baby chicks squawking to be fed (more).

Pomegranates will keep for a long, long time. I have some from two years ago. They eventually dry out, but it takes a long time given that the fruit is so juicy to begin with. The skin darkens and loses that lovely rosy color so I cheat. I rub the dry skins with a little red acrylic paint on a paper towel. This year's crop was a bit pale for some reason so I suspect I'll be "enhancing" these sooner than later.

This year's crop had a mealy bug and ant infestation. After picking the fruit, I laid them out on a table outside until the ants abandoned their "farm." That left the mealy bugs. I washed each skin with rubbing alcohol and left them another week to be sure I hadn't left any bugs before bringing them indoors.

Experiment in the Never Ending Arrangements Update

Yes, those tenacious arrangements are still hanging in there so I guess you could say that my experiment succeeded.  I'm sick of seeing them though, so this will be their last resurrection.

This time I took out pretty much all live matter and replaced it with an inexpensive fall bouquet I picked up at Trader Joe's and filled in the holes with things from my garden.  The bouquet consisted of chrysanthemums, a thistley looking thing, some goldenrod, gerbera daisies and a tiger lily.  I nixed the dry fiber optic plant.  It was looking too messy.  Some of that migrated to the second arrangement (which still lives but I couldn't get a good shot of it).  Its cigar box container suited it better.

I really wanted to include something unusual in this one and found an overgrown succulent which was just itching to come indoors.  I'm hoping that it will like it here and take root.  I'll plant it in my garden when this fades

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

October Resurrection - Part II

The other experiment I wrote about had similar results.  The grasses stayed well as did the potato vine and nandina. The sunflowers were dumped and in came some pomegeranate, a succulent from the garden as well as that funky geranium (I promise to pay more attention to the plant names I purchase).  After short order the geranium wilted but the rest has stayed healthy. 

This simple arrangement has given me more than three weeks of pleasure with little upkeep.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

October Resurrection

On October 11 I posted shots of two arrangements I'd composed with the hope of changing out some of the elements and repurposing whole deal over a number of weeks without having to start over again from scratch. Here's the verdict: it worked pretty well.

The Second Life

Two weeks later, out came the tall grasses and the sunflowers started getting stinky even before they wilted. Also the Brussels spouts started to yellow and the gourds that were in contact with moisture began to rot so out they went. Interestingly, some of the ferns began to turn yellow, which added a nice color contrast but, alas, they started shedding. They were dumped along with the freesia. Left was the sweet potato vine, seteria, dried fiber optic grass (scirpus), and baby pomegranate.

Added were more sweet potato vine, some large philodendon leaves, mini-chrysanthymums, a clipping of a funky old fashioned geranium, fresh asparagus fern and some white baby's cap hydrangia that had dried on the shrub into a speckled rose color.

Also, you'll see a purple leafed thing in the lower left corner. I have no idea what it is. I clipped a cutting from a storefront planting and it thrives in shade. Someone told me they saw it all over Crete. It's working here.

The little mums add nice bright spots among the darkness of the overall design. Makes me happy.