Monday, January 4, 2016

In a Vase on Monday: A riot of exotics

Four storms are headed our way, all of which have a chance to bring us rain!  All we've received this season (i.e. since October 1st) is 1.44 inches (3.66 cm) of rain but El Niño is finally expected to deliver this week.  If we're lucky it will enter like a lamb rather than a lion.  I woke early and spent Sunday scrambling to get the garden ready to make the most of it.  In the process I caught a beautiful sunrise.

The sun highlighted Angel's Gate, the entrance to the Los Angeles Harbor


While making a circuit through the garden, I spied a Strelitzia reginae bloom in need of picking.  It looked better from a distance than close-up but I decided to make it the centerpiece of this week's vase anyway.  Initially, I questioned whether anything else in my garden could hold its own in a vase with a bird of paradise but I surprised myself by finding a full complement of flowers, each well equipped to make a statement all on its own.

Front view

Back view

View from the top


When it was assembled I thought it might be a bit too much but I couldn't bring myself to remove anything.  It fit the giddiness I'm feeling about the approach of rain.  Here's what I included:

Clockwise from upper left: Strelitzia reginae, Agonis flexuosa 'Nana', Gomphrena decumbens 'Itsy Bitsy', Grevillea 'Superb', Leonotis leonurus, and Nandina domestica (Included but not highlighted: Aloe 'Johnson's Hybrid')


It sits in the front entryway, which felt a little empty once I'd put away all the Christmas decorations.

We may have gray skies this week but my entryway now looks bright and cheerful


Visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden, our "In a Vase on Monday' host, to see what other gardeners have found to decorate their homes.


All material © 2012-2016 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

48 comments:

  1. Dear Kris, wow, that is a spectacular sunrise, indeed! I would have loved to get my garden ready for the rain as well yesterday, but unfortunately I had other commitments... We got some rain this night, but really not that much :-(. So hopefully the next couple of days will bring more.
    But now to your vase: It is simply gorgeous! The 'Bird Of Paradise' bloom is simply stunning as a cut flower and you truly managed to find it some lovely companions. I like especially the Gomphrena decumbens 'Itsy Bitsy' in your composition. Well done!
    Christina

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A spot of rain is more than we got, Christina. There was no rain at all here today either but Weather Underground says there's a 100% chance tomorrow - no wiggle room for the forecasters!

      Delete
  2. This is what the NWS LOX forecaster says this morning: Storm number 1 is looking like a bust. I wish they wouldn't get our hopes up and drop us down so low. I'm getting so I don't believe them at all any more.

    You picked my two least favorite flowers and made a stunning bouquet out of them! Call it the sunrise bouquet because the colors match. I've never seen bird-of-paradise used in a bouquet before. Well done, Kris

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What are your 2 least favorite flowers, Jane? I'm guessing the bird of paradise and the lion's tail, probably because neither is a favorite of mine either. Still, when I saw sun shining through the orange petals of the BOP, I couldn't stop thinking about it. As to the lion's tail, close-ups make me think of an orange tarantula but I like the plant in the garden.

      Delete
  3. That is stunning! Now you've inspired me to head to the garden (which also means walking away from clearing off my desk in preparation for getting some work done!). Happy New Year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's probably a good thing, Diana! The garden is a great place to clear your mind before you set to work.

      Delete
  4. I call that a Vase with wow factor. Great blooms, and the colours are wonderful too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Noelle! I was worried it was a little over-the-top.

      Delete
  5. Kris that sunrise is spectacular and your vase complements the colors perfectly....wishing you wonderful gentle rain to break that drought!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The gentle rain expected today didn't materialize but the forecasters are apparently certain the second storm is headed our way. Fingers are crossed there will be no landslides here or anywhere else!

      Delete
  6. What a beautiful vase you have made this week - your bird of paradise is stunning! We have had more than enough rain for a while now so I hope some of it is falling your way!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We've been waiting and waiting for these El Nino rains to arrive. I hoped they'd be here in November; I fully expected them in December; and I'm still wondering where the heck they are now as storm #1 didn't reach us.

      Delete
  7. I love orange. You are lucky to have blooms. Mine have to come from the store these days. Still, there is a puppy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What do they say about warm puppies, Layanee? I think the puppy trumps our warm winter temperatures.

      Delete
  8. Hope you get your rain, Kris! The strelitzia (I grew this from seed once and it flowered after about 7 years but then lost it when I left it outside one summer and it didn't get watered) makes a superb focal point and your other blooms complement it perfectly. As always you demonstrate what a good eye you have for shape and colour. Thanks for sharing

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One Strelitzia initially seemed too few to make a vase but I didn't have any more on hand (unless I begged some from my neighbor). In the end, I'm glad I stopped at one and let other flowers share the stage.

      Delete
  9. Kris, these look wonderful together. I'd love to be able to grow bird of paradise. The Leonotis works well with it. Enjoy your rain. Hope it is kind, gentle and nourishing. We finally have sunshine today after weeks and weeks of rain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That much rain can be too much of a good thing I know. Many years ago, when California was on the verge of drought, we got what was called the "March Miracle." It rained most every day for the entire month until people were sick of it but it did stave off drought. One El Nino year isn't going to end our drought this time but hopefully it'll ease the pressure some.

      Delete
  10. hope you get the promised, steady and gentle, rain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As much as we want the rain, we're also very nervous about it. At least people seemed better prepared for this El Nino. There are sandbags everywhere; drains have been cleared; dead and dying trees have been removed; etc. Hopefully that'll be enough.

      Delete
  11. That's a party in a vase, for sure. I'm really beginning to like that little gomphrena (in your arrangement and also when I see it in garden photos) --I can't believe how well it is holding it's own in the company of all those other flowers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The toughest thing about using that Gomphrena in a vase is disentangling the stems from one another in order to cut them. It'll be interesting to see how it handles heavy rain.

      Delete
  12. I love that - a party in a vase and so true. I just bought an Orange Bird of Paradise and he has not been planted yet. My leafless Bird of Paradise has done nothing but is in a not great place - so tell me your secret BOP growing trick and I will be happy. The only Grevillea we have here is a Silk Oak, which I secretly like even though they are vilified as invasives. I think Nandinas must flourish everywhere and a great addition to your vase. Let me know if you conjure up some secret meanings! Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have to admit that the plant the bird of paradise flower came from isn't even mine, Shrub Queen. At least I don't think it is - boundary lines are a bit wonky here. The flower in question grew on a shrub I think probably belongs to my neighbor, although the flower itself was sticking through my hedge and invisible to the neighbor so I absconded with it. That said, Strelitzia are everywhere here and seem to require nothing more than good sun and regular water (another reason to suspect that the shrub isn't mine as my poor plants are on a water-stingy diet).

      I do like the idea updating the language of flowers to include "exotics." I have a book on the subject somewhere - I'll have to take another look at it to see if I can ferret out the logic the Victorians applied in ascribing meaning before I throw out any ideas.

      Delete
  13. That is absolutely gorgeous! The sunrise shot is pretty spectacular too. I hope you get the rain you're expecting!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Storm #1 was a bust, at least here, but the second storm is expected to be more robust - it's due late tonight or tomorrow. My irrigation system is off and I've been drawing heavily on my collected rainwater but everything is still parched so I REALLY want it to rain soon.

      Delete
  14. WOW!! That is really incredible! I love it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rain-less SoCal has its positive aspects - we do have flowers in bloom in January.

      Delete
  15. Pretty! And it definitely matches your sunrise. We didn't get any rain in the desert today, although there was red in the sunset - so maybe tomorrow? I can't wait for the rain!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Renee, where have you been? I hope we both get rain this week. Tomorrow has the highest probability for us here.

      Delete
  16. Lots of orange here and you know that I like that! Thinks wet thoughts for you and your garden...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The rain arrived today! Not a lot in my particular location (0.61 inches) but it's good to start slow. More is on tap for tomorrow.

      Delete
  17. This has to be up there as one of my favourite arrangements of yours! Love it.

    ReplyDelete
  18. A really stunning start to 2016 Kris; I've only ever seen the BOP in a vase on its own (which I like if the stems are long); it really works well with the other flowers you've selected. I hope the rain arrives for you soon, I know you need it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The plants are very common here, Christina. They're taken for granted or flat out dismissed, much like Agapanthus. I like the flower better than the plant myself but, as they have a long flowering season, I think they earn their place in the garden.

      Delete
  19. The Bird of Paradise flower is wonderful in an arrangement, Kris. It seems like a dream that once I had a huge clump at my house in San Diego. The Itsy Bitsy flowers look great with it, and the Grevillea and Leonotis. And the fall foliage of the one plant I do have, the Nandina, I love it when it becomes flame colors in the fall. The vase goes well with all the bright colors.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was very impressed by the color of that Nandina, Hannah. They don't usually turn that bright a red. It must be a byproduct of the colder than normal temperatures this winter.

      Delete
  20. I love the Bird of Paradise which rightly takes centre stage in your vase. Enjoy the rain when it comes - we are experiencing a deluge of it here in the UK right now ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We've had so little rain for the past 4 years that it's hard to conceive of getting too much, Ann, but if the rain brings mudslides and the like (always a fear here) it'll certainly make it seem less welcome.

      Delete
  21. Wow, what an amazing sunrise! As for your Bird of Paradise arrangement, , well it is gorgeous. The thought of having such an exotic thing to pick, leaves gardeners on this cold damp island open mouthed with astonishment. I love seeing what amazing flowers you put in your arrangements.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As I admitted to Shrub Queen, this particular bird of paradise had crossed the property line from a shrub that I believe probably belongs to my neighbor. However, the plants are common here - every second or third house seemed to have one or more of them in their front yards in the neighborhood of my childhood.

      Delete
  22. That vase is a grand start to the year, Kris! It seems to match your beautiful sunrise :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that early morning sunrise is what sent me leaning in the orange direction when I started searching the garden for this week's vase flowers, Amy.

      Delete
  23. I can't tell you how cheerful that sunrise picture is Kris. I warmed me through no end.
    You vase is just as warming. A Happy New Year to you and yours - I hope the rain comes without too much damage.

    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.