Monday, February 9, 2015

In a Vase on Monday: On the Cusp Between Winter and Spring

The seasons are already shifting here - I can feel it.  Although winter in coastal Southern California is little more than an abstract concept, there are changes I've come to recognize as signifying the onset of spring.  One of these, as I described in my last post, is the explosion of blooms on our ornamental pear tree, Pyrus calleryana, which seems to occur overnight.  At the same time, I notice that the hummingbirds are getting feistier and other birds show signs of nest-building, while spring bulbs produce their first blooms.

In preparing this week's vase for the meme sponsored by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden, I was juggling the winter and spring blooms in my garden.  I thought I'd pair some of the new blooms of my pink Alstroemeria with wintry stems of Grevillea lavandulacea 'Penola' which has been blooming for a good 2 months now.  But the 2 just didn't seem to belong together.  So, yet again, I ended up with 2 vases, one geared to spring and the other to winter.

The spring blooms went into a cut glass vase with a heart-shaped throat, as appropriate for the week heading into Valentine's Day.  I don't often use this vase as its tapered opening has proven awkward to work with.

The finished vase shown from different angles


The spring-like elements I included are:

  • Alstroemeria (no ID)
  • Bulbine frutescens
  • Coprosma repens 'Plum Hussey' (foliage)
  • Freesia
  • Jasminium polyanthemum
  • Pelargonium tomentosum (foliage)
  • Zantedeschia aethiopica (common Calla Lily)


This short-stemmed Alstroemeria is traditionally one of the first spring flowers to bloom in this garden each year

The Freesia, loved for its scent as much as its flowers' shape, is appearing on roughly the same schedule it did last year but earlier than it did in 2013

The Jasmine doesn't actually belong to me - it spills over the fence from my neighbor's garden

This Zantedeschia, shown here with the snake-like blooms of Bulbine, grows along the stairway leading down our back slope


In addition to the Alstroemeria, I tried pairing the Grevillea lavandulacea with the Calla Lily and the Jasmine but neither seemed right with the strong gray color of the Grevillea.  So, I cut some of the blue-gray foliage of Senecio cineraria (syn. Jacobaea maritima, commonly called Dusty Miller in the US) and popped it and the Grevillea into one of my favorite mugs and left it at that.

The rose-red blooms say Valentine's Day to me

Blooms like these cover literally every stem of the 6-foot tall Grevillea


The glass vase landed in the entry way, where it can be viewed from a couple of angles.



And the wintry mug landed on the fireplace mantle in the master bedroom.



To get a look at vases put together by other gardeners from materials on hand in their gardens, please visit Rambling in the Garden.


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

29 comments:

  1. I like the simplicity of the grevillea and senecio. I would have liked to see the jasmine in there, too, just to know what it looks like, but I'm sure your instincts were right to leave it out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The jasmine was tucked into the spring vase so you can see it there Evan. It's pretty and fragrant but its vining habit makes it difficult to weave into arrangements (for me anyway).

      Delete
  2. lovelovelove the grevillea and senecio

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They do look good together. The Senecio was originally part of a container planting but it has done well in the garden and I've come to love that blue-gray color. I really need to plant more of it - I used to think of dusty miller as a tired, over-used annual but this one plant has changed my impressions.

      Delete
  3. That close up photo of the calla lily is sublime. That stem just might merit a vase all its own though it is certainly playing well with others in your arrangement. Fresh, fragrant, springtime glory right there in your house. We barely have three things blooming - sparsely - but it won't be long. I feel like I'm getting a sneak peek here!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was worried that the Callas might not appear this year due to the drought but they're showing up here and there, right on schedule. My neighbor has masses of them but she also irrigates more than I do.

      Delete
  4. Isn't it nice when you definitely start seeing signs that spring is just around the corner? And loving that lone, elegant Calla lily enhanced by those other blooms!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I came across that Calla lily as I was headed down the slope and, as I don't pass that way too often, I decided I'd get more joy cutting the flower than leaving it be.

      Delete
  5. What a contrast between your two vases and how incredible to have made them both at the same time. Whilst I love your wintery one I am drawn to the beautiful fresh colours of the spring vase - that Alstroemeria is stunning and freesias are one of my favourite flowers. I have to grow them in pots but I imagine yours survive in the garden.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the Freesia go directly into the garden here. I really should have planted more corms in the fall - they're care-free plants here.

      Delete
  6. How lovely to welcome alstroemeria as your first spring flowers - and these ones are a gorgeous colour, as is the jasmine. We get the occasional sight of pink jasmine from over the fence but not a full stem like this - very pretty! And the calla - it looks so thick and waxy and perfect! Al lovely, but your Valentine's mug is appealing its own way too. Thanks for sharing both, Kris.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The jasmine is a vigorous grower here, Cathy. It was hard to control in my old garden but I don't mind the vines that creep over from my neighbor's property.

      Delete
  7. Lovely Kris. I like how you are transitioning....here we are well into winter with no change in sight for 6-8 weeks. Beautiful bounty of blooms and foliage.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You easterners are getting another tough winter this year, Donna. I hope the snowstorms abate soon.

      Delete
  8. Isn't it curious how some things do/don't go together? I love both arrangements and have no doubt there needed to be two. Like you, I think of Dusty Miller as one of "those" overused plants, but it's exquisite paired with the grevillea! I really like the glimpses of bulbine too, not sure where I get that... but it goes well with the freesias and alstroemeria :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gray is supposed to be one of those neutral colors but the bright green foliage of the "spring" plants just didn't fit. A darker matte green might have been better with the gray. Bulbine is definitely something you should look into - it can take heat (although I don't know how sensitive it is to frost).

      Delete
  9. That calla arrangement sets a high standard for those that will be delivered (with love) on Valentines day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's unlikely that I'll have enough Callas to make a bouquet but I do enjoy the fact that they pop up here and there. Most were put in along the slope in an area that my neighbor formerly believed was hers (before a prior owner of our property had the survey lines defined).

      Delete
  10. You have included some of my favourite flowers this week Kris, I love Freeias, mine are all just foliage, if there was space I might try to bring one pot into the greenhouse for some earlier blooms. It is amazing that you have so much material to choose from, I'm struggling at the moment. I love the simplicity of the second vase with the silver foliage and the bright fresh colours in the spring arrangement.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope spring arrives in your area soon, Christina! Your area clearly gets a lot colder in winter than ours. We haven't had a freeze yet in the 4 years we've been here.

      Delete
  11. This is an uplifting post Kris, Spring is on its way! Both of your bouquets are really lovely and if my neighbour grew Jasmine I would borrow some too (They have a Russian Vine growing into my garden but its not a plant to borrow). The Grevillea is very romantic too and perfect for Valentines.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you see signs of spring soon, Julie!

      Delete
  12. Hooray for spring! Your spring flowers bloom in summer here so it's very exciting to see them and anticipate what's to come! Your winter arrangement is perfect with the screaming pink flowers and soft silver foliage. How lucky you are to have jasmine spilling over your fence! My jasmine is also blooming but it's in the greenhouse!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jasmine vines can get very big here so I'm glad that my neighbor takes care of it for me!

      Delete
  13. Kris, if this is what you 'scavenged' from the garden, the garden itself must be simply spectacular. Such color in early February! Is it ever really winter in your neighborhood? Thank you for sharing the beauty for those of us still waiting for the snowdrops and daffodils! Best wishes, WG

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, we don't have winter as most of the country or the folks in the UK would define it. We haven't had a single freeze in the 4 years we've been in this house. Winters along the coast are generally mild but the last few years have been even warmer than usual. The lack of winter chill has been an issue in some respects - plants that need a slap of cold, like many of the fruit-bearing trees, aren't producing buds.

      Delete
  14. You have so much colour and so many beautiful plants even in the middle of winter! Glad you are noticing signs of spring. I really loved your wintery vase this week, but the freesia in the other one must smelll gorgeous. They are one of the few strongly scented flowers that I like indoors.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Freesias can overpower a space if you have a lot of them but this single stem, combined with the Jasmine, is fairly subtle. Every time I step through the front door, the vase reminds me that spring is just around the corner,

      Delete
  15. Ooh, I especially love the second one. How incredible is the scent of Freesias? Yum!

    ReplyDelete

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.