we like it wild: late summer gradation

When we visited the market last week we were hoping to find the ingredients to show you how to put together a late summer floral arrangement. As we walked around for our first look at what seasonal goodies were available, we noticed that actual flowers were in short supply. We weren’t in the mood for sunflowers, dahlias were already sold out, and nothing else looked all that great. Then we saw them. Strawflowers usually don’t impress us much, but this particular bucket had a beautiful blend of warm colors and our minds immediately went towards gradation. Alongside this week’s other big winner, heirloom tomatoes, we were able to create a palette-perfect tabletop setting to transition us out of summer and into fall.

The thing that first stands out about strawflowers is their texture; appropriately enough, strawflowers feel like straw. The have the same texture as most flowers do after they have been dried, which means they are long-lasting and hold up well for projects. This flower loves long, hot, dry summers, so by the time Indian Summer rolls around strawflowers are in their prime.

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And everyone knows that summer is the season for fabulous, flavorful, burst-in-your-mouth tomatoes. As the season winds down everyone should be running out and grabbing as many tomatoes off the vine as they can carry right this second. We did exactly that and ended up with a selection of tomatoes in every size, color and flavor. We paid particular attention to choosing colors that would blend well for our tomato “wreath”. Reds with a bit of green and orange ones with yellowy stripes worked particularly well for bridging the gaps between solid colors.

Then the real fun started. We snipped the heads off of our strawflowers and arranged them in color groupings on the table. You could leave the flowers flat on the table, glue them onto a wreath form, or string them into garland form like we did. The flowers are sturdy and easy to string, and their dry nature means that this garland will last into fall.

With a few serving plates strung along next to each other we were able to lay out our end-of-summer tomatoes in a similar gradation, although don’t count on this arrangement to last quite as long. Delicious, freshly cut heirloom tomatoes don’t stand much of a chance on our dinner table.


How gorgeous is this? I love it! Rainbow Brite would be totally jealous.

kate hart

Oh my goodness- these photos are absolutely stunning! rainbow garlands = amazing. this is just what I needed to look at on a cloudy seattle morning! thanks for sharing, studio choo!


The flowers are beautiful, but I’m realllyyyy stuck on how great those sliced tomatoes looked on the multiple plates on the table as a centrepiece. I’d be encouraging guests to stand up on the table so they could get a better look! Nice work.


Absolutely gorgeous..! This is like a floral / Andy Goldsworthy hybrid – a FANTASTIC thing in my book…

*swoon* :)


This is the prettiest post!

I have never seen strawflowers look better :)

And I suddenly have a craving for a Caprese salad after looking at all of those beautiful heirloom tomatoes!


I am running out to the farmer’s market this weekend and picking up bunches of these flowers…just to recreate this beautiful project. Thank you for sharing!


What beautiful colors! And two of my favorite things! Strawflowers and tomatoes. Farmers Market Tomatoes are incredibly good this time of year.


I love strawflowers! When I was younger my mom would let my sisters and I choose seeds from the seed cataglog. I grew strawflowers one year – they were so much fun!
Those garlands are gorgeous.


These would make Andy Goldsworthy ecstatic, I think. Here is a link to some of his gradation: http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.miqel.com/images_1/random_image/r1/andy-goldsworthy-2.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.miqel.com/random_images/fascinating-visual-chaos-9.html&usg=__HsSptA1uus6iINtY-HlG2NB1zjw=&h=438&w=485&sz=70&hl=en&start=0&zoom=1&tbnid=npsamUFyucJ9sM:&tbnh=157&tbnw=146&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dandy%2Bgoldsworthy%2Bimages%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26rls%3Dcom.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox%26biw%3D990%26bih%3D490%26tbs%3Disch:1&um=1&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=451&vpy=77&dur=140&hovh=213&hovw=236&tx=145&ty=118&ei=lWmKTOSKEYKcnwfpwIjeCQ&oei=lWmKTOSKEYKcnwfpwIjeCQ&esq=1&page=1&ndsp=10&ved=1t:429,r:2,s:0


i have been eye-ing strawflowers at the markets here in sf for weeks now, sooooo tempting! you guys just sent me over the edge! aaaaamazing.


How beautiful! I gobble up heirloom toms whenever I can find some non-squashed ones. And color gradations are a perfect intro to fall.


Lovely idea! My mom grew strawflowers so I often buy them when they are in season. Funny how a little thing like that can take you back to childhood…

Jen W.

The first photo of the flowers is beautiful! Wish I could buy a print!


these photos are beautiful! i’d love to know where the framed prints are from too. they’re lovely. :)


I found your perfect picture on the Internet.
May I take a part of the second photo for a NONPROFIT summer camp poster design?
I really like the image of fall!

Jason Fahy

We’d buy prints of several of the above shots, if you made posters of them! :) Beautiful work.



I am not sure of your copyright usage on your photos, but I can tell you a facebook page is using the one in this post of the tomato salad and passing it off as their own to drum up business. In the photo section at: https://www.facebook.com/amysbakingco you can find the picture.
Good luck and I hope that none of your other work has been lifted and not credited.

This is a beautiful post, by the way. The colors and theme are lovely and make me yearn for fall…and summer has barely begun! Oh, the wait.