Monday, December 22, 2014

In a Vase on Monday: The Berries Steal the Show

I have to confess that my vases this week were created Saturday night as decoration for a small family gathering on Sunday.  I wandered about in the half-dark collecting flowers to fill two vases, barely able to see what I was cutting.  Still, I'm pleased with how they turned out.

This one landed on the dining room table.

This photo, taken in Sunday's early morning light, turned out better than those taken the evening before under artificial lights
Back side of bouquet, photographed in my night-darkened kitchen


It contains:

  • Agonis flexuosa
  • Alternanthera tenella 
  • Gaillardia x grandiflora 'Mesa Peach'
  • Gomphrena  haageana
  • Nandina domestica (berries)


I used 2 forms of Agonis flexuosa - the thin-leaved stems came from one of our peppermint trees and the lower stems with wider leaves came from the dwarf variety 'Nana'

I used the chartreuse Alternanthera to pick up the similarly-colored centers of the Gaillardia

The Gomphrena are on their last legs - the lower petals (actually bracts) have dried and flaked away like rice husks


The second, smaller vase served as decoration in the guest bathroom.

Photographed without the benefit of any natural light


It contains:

  • Aster x frikartii 'Monch' (reused from last week's vase)
  • Eustoma grandiflorum 'Echo White'
  • Hebe speciosa 'Variegata'
  • Solanum xantii (also reused from last week's vase)


The Eustoma bud hasn't yet opened

As the sun went down, the flowers of this Hebe seemed to gleam in the twilight but its photos didn't contain the same magic

These vases are my contributions to Cathy's "In a Vase on Monday" meme at Rambling in the Garden.   You can see her vase and find links to other gardeners' creations here.  Most participants are dealing with far colder temperatures than I am.  Our temperatures hovered in the mid-60s Fahrenheit (around 18C) last week but, in response to high winds, they're expected to climb up to 80F (26C) tomorrow before settling back to normal levels before Christmas.  Hopefully, the warmer temperatures following last week's rain will bring more flowers (rather than more weeds).


All material © 2012-2014 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party


21 comments:

  1. You can tell that you know what you are doing, as that first vase in particular is so well balance in terms of shape and colour and it works so well - and I had to smile at the thought of you collecting all your material in the half-dark! I haven't got any flowering hebe, but when we visit my Mum who lives off the western coast of Scotland she often has a sprig or two of hebe as part of a little posy in our room, as it tends to throw up flowers at any time of the year there. Thanks so much for sharing your vases with us, both lovely as always :)

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    1. I was worried about getting all the details of our holiday party together and decided not to leave the vases until morning when I'd be rushed taking care of final preparations. My visitors read my blog and I didn't want to disappoint by leaving the house unadorned with flowers!

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  2. I like. Never head of Agonis before. Is that the one with the two-colored leaves? Does it really smell like peppermint? My nandinas only set one small spray this year.

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    1. Yes, the Agonis is the foliage plant with the 2-toned leaves. The red color seems to come out more strongly this time of year. It was quite awhile before I realized that the trees circling the house were Agonis flexuosa - I was familiar with A. 'After Dark,' a small tree with dark leaves but hadn't connected it with the much larger specimens I inherited with the garden until this year. I should have when I planted the 3 A. 'Nana' dwarf plants last year. They do have a minty smell. It's not usually too strong but it was definitely noticeable when I cleaned the stems to prepare them for the vase.

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  3. Nice use of the nandina berries Kris--you combined it with some nice complements. I really like the Eustoma. Not sure if it grows here.

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    1. The Eustoma (also known as Lisianthus) is usually grown as an annual even here, Susie. The nurseries here carry it in spring and I've found it'll produce another round of flowers in fall. It will over-winter here but the flowers aren't as impressive the 2nd year so I usually treat it as an annual.

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  4. Oh Kris I love both of these...what a stunning berry filled arrangement, but as I need a bit of spring or summer I am smitten with the smaller purple one. Merry Christmas!

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  5. Both are lovely and original! You make the best bouquets.

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    1. Thanks sweetbay! I was pressed for time but I think that actually helped the creative process in this case - no over-thinking was permitted.

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  6. You're such a natural and a pro Kris, your compositions are great even when you collected your materials in low light. Fabulous arrangements as always!

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    1. Thanks! Maybe fumbling about in the dark ist good for my creative process, at least when it comes to flower arranging.

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  7. Very pretty vases, and the first one is so Christmassy with all the red berries. I had a lovely hebe at the bottom of my garden but the foxes managed to kill it as it was right in their path for jumping on and off the fence. I need to get another one and place somewhere else, I miss having a flowering hebe in the winter :-)

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    1. I know how frustrating losing plants to visiting critters can be, Helene. I still can't get over the idea that there are foxes running about London but then I guess some people would be surprised to learn there are coyotes running around Los Angeles too.

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    2. Oh, we have foxes all right! Estimates varies from 10 000 to 30 000 for London alone. Here is an article from a few years back that I saved in my favourites, might enlighten you :-)
      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1343802/Foxes-getting-bigger--deadly-Marksman-culls-issues-chilling-warning.html

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    3. Yikes! Even our coyotes don't seem that bad. They pose similar risks but, if there are that many running about, I haven't heard about it. Take care of your beautiful cat!

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    4. Well, luckily there are few reports of attacks to humans, and the foxes seem to live fairly nicely side by side with mine and the neighbourhood’s cats as they don’t really see healthy cats as prey. Foxes are scavengers and would much rather eat a newly thrown, half eaten McDonald meal! But I am a night person myself, and I often go out with the rubbish late at night, my bin is just right outside my front door, inside the front garden – and I often see the foxes roaming the street. They are not scared of humans at all. If I come out and there is a fox outside they won’t run away, I have to shush them away! There are often reports of people who have been followed home from the grocery stores by foxes, and sometimes the foxes have attacked their shopping bags, trying to get the food out. Not very nice when the foxes often can be the size of a small dog. And think that some people feed them and think they are cute!!

      I am not surprised you were not aware of the urban fox problem we have, even people over here get surprised when they move into London and see them first hand. My main problem with them over the years have been all the damage they have done to my garden, digging tunnels and holes, uprooting plants, leaving droppings everywhere, not to mention the stench from when they are marking their territory. If you think a male cat’s urine smells bad, come and have a sniff in my garden the morning after a male fox has been marking. Ugh!

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  8. You usual high standard and absolutely beautiful as usual Kris. Even though you picked your flowers in the dark, they are just right for your vases.

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    1. I learned that the biggest problem in working in the dark is avoiding tripping over something (especially when carrying sharp clippers)!

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  9. I really love the first vase for the lovely shape and structure as well as the colour, and I like the second one especially for the Hebe. I love Hebes, which don't usually survive the winters here, but I do occasionally buy one for a summer or autumn container. The Gomphrena is lovely even as it starts to go over. Happy Christmas Kris!

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I enjoy receiving your comments and suggestions. However, with apologies to bona-fide commentators, due to a significant increase in spam, I've eliminated the option to post comments anonymously.