where dahlias meet elderberries

by Sharon Santoni

bouquet of dahlias and elderberies on a table

Yesterday I had a ton emails and paperwork to catch up with and by the end of the afternoon I was ready for a break.  The dogs had been sleeping at my feet all day and we all agreed that a Walk in the Forest before dinner would be a Good Thing.

I put on some walking shoes, grabbed a lead and the food for the horses and head off up the hill, Gibson racing ahead and Ghetto pulling on the lead, urging me to go faster, faster.

Having fed the horses we carried on up the path and now they were both free to race to the tree line and disappear from sight.     I whistled regularly and each time they came bounding back, just to check in before racing off again.


‘This is great’ I thought, for once we’ll have a civilised walk together and be back home in time to prepare a nice dinner.  Ha!  In my dreams!

bouquet of dahlias and elderberies on a table

Forty minutes into the walk, they both went AWOL, and after spending 10 minutes walking up and down paths screaming their names like a soul in perdition, I decided to change tactic.  Determined not to let two ill-disciplined mutts spoil my evening pleasure I headed over to an open area in the forest where there are often wild flowers growing.

I wasn’t disappointed,  within a short while I had a giant bouquet of buddleia, queen anne lace and a couple of other non-identified varieties.  I tied them all up with a length of fern, shouted out to the trees, “that’s it, I’m going home, do whatever you want” and walked determinedly down a path.

bouquet of dahlias and elderberies on a table

Before I got to the first bend, I heard the noise of two dogs racing  up behind me.  Panting, wagging tails,  dripping mud everywhere.

As we made our way home, I told them very clearly what I thought about Dogs who Run Away, and they said I was right and that they really really promised never to do it again ……. hmmm …. they must think I’m stupid!

bouquet of dahlias and elderberies on a table

To forget about the episode and make the most of my wild flowers, I put together this little bouquet with the addition of a couple of dahlias from the garden, whose gentle colouring goes so beautifully with the half ripe elderberries …. I hope you enjoy.

bouquet of dahlias and elderberies on a table

Please don’t forget that today is your last chance to enter the artwork giveaway, and that tomorrow there will be a new giveaway to try your luck at.

Hope you’re enjoying the month of August, wherever you may be.  Thank you for reading me.

bouquet of dahlias and elderberies on a table


Pat W August 8, 2014 - 1:02 pm

Beautiful arrangement. You’ve inspired me–I’m going to make a bouquet of white Limelight hydrangeas and elderberry leaves, both in my garden.

Amanda August 8, 2014 - 1:11 pm

The arrangement u made look so lovely and ur house must smell devine….

BrocanteuseRose August 8, 2014 - 1:28 pm

So lovely!

Perhaps it is good that the puppies were occupying themselves in the mud 😉 instead of the flowers. In my experience flowers don’t hold up well to puppy feet, then again the puppy feet in my story belong to a St. Bernard. 🙂

Katherine August 8, 2014 - 1:31 pm

You put together the most beautiful floral arrangements – EVER. So lovely. I wish I lived near {for the beauty of France in particular} so that I could beg of you to create floral for my home.
As for Ghetto and Gibson – well, boys will be boys.

Mary Ellen August 8, 2014 - 1:42 pm

What a lovely read! And the flowers are beautiful. You’ve brought a gentle moment to my hectic day. You’re always inspiring 🙂

ann hodgkins August 8, 2014 - 1:54 pm

Such a beautiful and natural floral arrangement.
As for the dogs, they do what makes them happy.
Thank you for sharing the photos and the story.
Enjoy your weekend.

Jeannie August 8, 2014 - 2:26 pm

Thank you for letting us join you on your walk. Your arrangement is beautiful. It reminds me of those my mother used to do.

Jeanne McKay Hartmann August 8, 2014 - 2:30 pm

Sharon, I have to say that although they were up to no good, I’m kind of glad that your pups led you to this gorgeous bouquet. It certainly has beautified my morning! Thanks again for having me kick off your giveaway series. Looking forward to learning who the winner is! Have a gorgeous weekend and here’s hoping that those dogs keep there noses out of trouble! XOXO

Roxane August 8, 2014 - 2:38 pm

Such mischievous boys! Lucky for us because while they played you were able to pick these beautiful flowers for this stunning bouquet to WOW us! Are those the “Cafe au Lait” dahlias that you showed us last autumn? After seeing them on your blog, I pre-ordered right away from White Flower Farm for Spring delivery. They are now growing quite happily in my front gardens & I am eagerly awaiting the spectacular (I hope!) blooms.

Lory Bernstein August 8, 2014 - 2:39 pm

Absolutely gorgeous arrangement! I’ve only recently begun to enjoy the beauty of dahlias and just yesterday incorporated them in an upcoming project. How nice to come here and see your lovely flowers speaking right back to me. It’s the type of flower you look at, especially in the soft blush color you have here, that I would describe as heartbreakingly beautiful. Their beauty is so fleeting, and yet so overwhelming. I often wonder does everyone get the same emotional reaction when they view such beauty?

La Contessa August 8, 2014 - 2:55 pm

YOU have a way with the flowers……..do you talk to them as you push and pull to make them just so?I note we have the same Florentine tables……………!
Those mutts……….they know how far they can push your buttons!Happy they came galloping back!So, you did paperwork……..you did a long walk,fed the horses and then made the flower arrangement and then made dinner??BRAVA!

Katherine Leighty August 8, 2014 - 2:56 pm

Ha! off leash means off for puppers! my springer Bebe made me know today that she will have her way! We have an agreement. If I put my creamed coffee out of her reach she will stay out of it! This morning I found out just how far she will go to get a cup of java in the mornings! yes my kitchen counters are not quite tall enough when you add a lengthy tongue…must set coffee ata least 10 inches back on the counter! So I do feel your pains! Unfortunately no flowers to pick but, found plums I picked day before yesterday put in the pot and cheese cloth readied to make plum jelly! Tomorrow I will go pick again as well as blackberries! Then to talk my dh to the local barnstormers where they will be selling lovely found, redone items along with food, wine and music! Having a wonderful summer! Thank you for the fun read and lovely pictures! Kit

Karena August 8, 2014 - 3:01 pm

Sharon a beautiful and so natural arrangement of your wildflowers and garden delights! have a wonderful weekend!

The Arts by Karena

Peggy Braswell August 8, 2014 - 3:10 pm

as one comment said boys will be boys + beautiful arrangement. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

Leslie in Little Rock August 8, 2014 - 4:01 pm

Too beautiful! Enjoyed the story just as much. I could just picture you three. (-:

Pat August 8, 2014 - 4:05 pm

Beautiful bouquet! Thanks for another entertaining read.
xo Pat

Emm August 8, 2014 - 4:49 pm

Those flowers are simply glorious.

I so understand, and sympathize, with you about dogs who vanish for a time. But they’re always so happy when they come back: “Here I am, and I had such wonderful fun!”

Madonna/aka/Ms. Lemon August 8, 2014 - 5:26 pm

Your bouquet is breathtaking. Thanks for sharing.


Linda August 8, 2014 - 5:37 pm

What a lovely story of your exciting walk in the woods…I know the feeling of thinking your dogs are “lost” and the happiness when you see them running up to you. You don’t know whether to scold them or hug them! The flower arrangement was beautiful. You are so inspiring!

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Francoise Coadou-Porter August 8, 2014 - 11:16 pm

YOU make the very BEST bouquets de fleurs !!!… I envie you……

Susie @ Persimmon Moon Cottage August 9, 2014 - 12:19 am

Gorgeous colors in your bouquet. Your dogs were very good to have come back as soon as they did. I would be afraid to let my little Fuzzy pom off of the leash to run in the woods. He would never finish watering all of the trees that grow there.

Pat Smith August 9, 2014 - 1:52 am

So much for maturity in the dog department! Great flowers as always.

Delaine August 9, 2014 - 2:19 am

Wonderful post! Your arrangements are truly a work of art and you seem to do all this so effortlessly…amazing! You definitely have a gift!

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Colleen Taylor August 9, 2014 - 5:11 am

Absolutely glorious bouquet Sharon! I always & forever love your stories about your dogs. You live in heaven on earth! X

May August 9, 2014 - 9:08 pm

Charming and funny post! Thank you from my smiling heart
I laugh aloud reading about your adventures with Gibson and Ghetto.
The bouquet is beautiful.

Esther George August 10, 2014 - 1:43 am

Hi Sharon as always the way you tell your stories we feel as if we are there with you ….let me say I love that. Your furry friends are beautiful … mud included (I know they don’t need much encouragement) and your way with flowers delightful. Thank you for sharing beauty. Hope you are having a great weekend. Regards Esther from Sydney.

Nib's End August 10, 2014 - 2:00 am

You should be writing dog stories like James Herriot did.

Botanic Bleu August 10, 2014 - 7:58 am

Beautiful bouquet, especially the dahlias. Gibson and Ghetto stories always make me smile.


Heather in Arles August 10, 2014 - 5:43 pm

Sharon, I haven’t been on my computer much this week for a happy reason – it seems that our life in this new village will be much more social than it was in Arles! But I keep thinking about this post and the striking contrast between the real beauty that you created out of a stressful situation. My Mom calls it “making lemonade out of lemons.”

Marian from UK August 10, 2014 - 8:44 pm

Yep. Definitely a book in there somewhere!! Beautiful dahlias and wild flowers. A wonderful end to my weekend (only just read your post). Have a good week ahead.

Leslie in Portland, Oregon August 11, 2014 - 6:44 pm

I’m sorry–I just have to admire, grin at, and love Ghetto’s and Gibson’s adventurous, playful spirits! They did, after all, return to you when you began to leave. I’m sure they are obedient when it is really important…:>) And they had slept quietly at your feet all day. They are wonderful dogs!!!

And so is your beautiful bouquet, particularly against the pale shades in the setting in which you put it!

teresa August 13, 2014 - 7:52 pm

Beautiful arrangement…makes me miss my garden. Thanks for sharing


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