Bringing Nature Indoors

I love having fresh flowers in my home. Their scents, colors and just having a bit of the outdoors in keeps inside spaces feeling charming and airy.

Sometimes I'll stop at the grocery story and pick up a small assortment of familiar flowers that are displayed for shoppers.

But most times, I love fresh cut bunches of wildflowers.

When I lived in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, I used to often visit a little farm called Pebble Hall Wildflowers that specialized in growing fields of wildflowers and herbs. The place is owned by a sweet couple from New York who greet you the moment you step out of your car. Even with the simple sign out front, I'm sure the place gets overlooked many times by passersby, not realizing that the grounds and gardens are open to the public as it looks like an unassuming country lawn with a house from what I'd guess to have been built around the Civil War. My favorite part about this place is that it feels like extension to your own yard. It's quiet, tranquil and welcoming. Each time I visited, I felt like an old friend who had popped in for the afternoon. Pepper, the couple's elderly Cocker Spaniel, can be found quietly wandering the property and there's a chance she'll follow you to keep you company during your visit.

Each guest is encouraged to pick up a wooden, woven basket from the miscellaneous collection in the shed before venturing out to the fields. Visitors can pick as many flowers and herbs as they'd like for a small fee and is paid on the honor system. Vases and florist bags are also provided to transport your bunches of flora, along with hula hoops for fun while you're there.

I used to spend whole evenings meandering through the fields, photographing butterflies and picking an array of seasonal flowers.

Here in my new home of South Carolina, I have yet to find a similar place but in keeping with my tradition, I drove around my new town looking for easily pick-able wildflowers. It's early summer which means we're approaching Queen Anne's Lace season. As a kid, my mom and I would pick handfuls of them and put them in water with food coloring and watch the white petals change to blue or red. Now, I like to keep them as their delicate white lacy flowers. Ferns are another favorite of mine. Many of my favorite natural places in my life have had ferns - like the fern glen in the woods that surrounded my childhood neighborhood or anywhere you look in the Dolly Sods in West Virginia. Also found vibrant orange lilies to add to my mix.

When I got home, I trimmed and sorted the flowers to prep them for arranging.

- First, I chose vases of different sizes to give dimension but I made sure they were all clear glass so as to have some coordination

- I used the smaller sprays of flowers to be the center of the arrangements

- Then I filled in with Queen Anne's Lace and Daisies

- To anchor and frame the bouquets, I used ferns around the outside

Now my home has been livened up with pretty little early summer wild things.

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