Monday, January 19, 2015

In a Vase on Monday: A Moment in the Spotlight

Even when I have quite a few flowers in the garden, I struggle with decisions about what to cut for a vase.  I don't like to duplicate the prior week's selections or color scheme if I can help it.  And some flowers are just poor candidates for life in a vase - either the flowers close up in low light or they don't survive long.  This week, the Primula obconica were calling.



They're pretty enough and may have combined well with the deep blue Anemone coronaria in my backyard but my skin reacts to the small hairs on their leaves, resulting in a nasty, itchy rash.  This problem has been bred out of some P. obconica but, as I learned after planting these unlabeled varieties, this group isn't rash free.

So I went with Plan B.  In my Bloom Day post, I complained that my beautiful Bauhinia x blakeana tree had been loaded with flowers before our last rainstorm but it was in a sorry state when Bloom Day came around, with its pretty petals all over the ground.  It has since recovered some so, even though the blooms don't last long in a vase, I decided they deserved a moment in the spotlight.

Front of vase, featuring Bauhinia flowers

Back of vase, featuring Pelargoniums


The vase contains:
  • Bauhinia x blakeana (aka Hong Kong orchid tree)
  • Coleonema pulchellum 'Sunset Gold' (aka Breath of Heaven)
  • Cuphea x ignea 'Starfire Pink'
  • Pelargonium peltatum (aka ivy geranium), 2 varieties (no IDs)


Close-up of orchid-like Bauhina flowers

Close-up of the small, light pink Coleonema flowers

Close-up of the cigar-shaped flowers of the Cuphea (loved by hummingbirds and bees!)

2 unknown varieties of Pelargonium, one a double form


The arrangement ended up on a glass end table in the living room.  (Last week's vase with the Leucadendron stems still occupies the area by the front door, where, with the exception of some of the Narcissus flowers, it looks as fresh as it did last Monday.)



The Bauhinia flowers are likely to drop within a couple of days and the buds left behind are unlikely to open but, assuming they don't, I can turn the arrangement around and position the Pelargonium to face outward.  Maybe next week, I'll put on surgical gloves and try doing something with the lavender primrose...

Visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden to see what she's got in a vase this week and to find links to other gardeners' creations.


 All material © 2012-2015 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

22 comments:

  1. The colour of the Bauhinia is stunning and the cuphea and pelargonium reflect the shade beautifully. Hope the bauhinia lasts longer than you think. What a shame to have to those pretty primula, but at least you know about it now and can avoid it as best you can. Thanks for your contribution, as always

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    1. One of the Bauhinia flowers is holding up well thus far but the other is already folding. The Pelargoniums may get center stage yet.

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  2. Lovely pinks. The arrangement is beautiful from either direction, front or back. Hope the Bauhinia last a while for you.

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    1. It's nice to enjoy the Bauhinia up close, even when they don't last long Susie.

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  3. Kris it is an explosion of pretty pink flowers in your vase....I especially love the Bauhinia flowers. And I adore your lavender primula flowers....perfect old-fashioned spring color....I hope you can pick them for a vase...too pretty not to...but do be careful.

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    1. Surgical gloves may do the trick in handling the primula - we'll see.

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  4. Shame about the rash thing but the alternative creation is fabulous as always!

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  5. Another new flower to me - the Bauhinia is wonderful! I love that deep shade of pink and even if they don't last in a vase they do deserve a moment of glory so we can all admire them! I do like the way you always make sure your vases look lovely from both sides. :)

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    1. The Bauhinia tree is flowering especially well this year so I don't mind cutting a few of the flowering stems.

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  6. Another wonderful colourful arrangement Kris, I love that pink. But what really struck me about this post was the bright light in all your images. Even on a bright day the light is never like that here in winter. I now understand that you live in, what would be for me, summer all year! I noticed a bit of the same thing when I moved to Italy where the light is totally different to the UK but to have bright light as you do in winter is wonderful.

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    1. We do get a lot of bright sunny days, even this time of year (although we're absolutely socked in by fog this morning), and it helps that we have floor to ceiling windows on one side of the house. I also turn on every light in the kitchen and the adjoining dining room area before taking photos.

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  7. We have a variety of Cuphea popular in Central Texas that has an arrangement of red and purple suggesting (sort of!) a bat's face. I'd supposed it was well liked because of our free-tailed bat population (it is actually called "bat faced cuphea in nurseries here) but I was wrong. While that might be part of the appeal, people like/d it because of its reliability and sturdy nature, belied by the delicate appearance of the blooms. And while the deep purple and red combination is striking in what is often the harshly bright light of Texas, the lighter pink and purple colors in yours is so appealing! And you are right - the hummingbirds adore it. I'm glad for this reminder to to hunt for more in the nursery when spring shopping.

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    1. The bat-faced Cuphea llavea is sold here too, Deb, but it hasn't proven as durable as C. x ignea in my garden. The red and purple variety of C. llavea is the most common type here but, occasionally, you can find a pink and purple variety - maybe it'll show up out your way this year.

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  8. Beautiful! You have such great color blends.

    I still have rose pruning bouquets everywhere, colors not nearly so well blended.

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    1. But they're roses! They can't help but to be beautiful in any combination!

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  9. What opulent rich colours! Gorgeous. I would love to be able grow Bauhinia.

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    1. I wish it lasted longer in a vase, Chloris, but it's a beautiful flower.

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  10. Those Breath of Heaven flowers are so sweet!

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    1. And the foliage smell, well, heavenly so it's a great addition to the garden.

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