Monday, February 1, 2016

In a Vase on Monday: Split Personalities

We woke up to rain on Sunday, which was an auspicious way to start the day, or so I thought.  I took advantage of a break in the weather mid-morning and cut flowers for "In a Vase on Monday," the weekly meme hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.  As the Leucadendron 'Chief' in my dry garden was in full "bloom" I went out with a plan to build a vase around its flower-like stems.

The cones and yellow bracts of Leucadendron salignum 'Chief' make a splash in my dry garden in winter


Instead, I end up with an arrangement with a split personality.

As this front view shows, the left and right sides of this vase look very different

The top view emphasizes this.  I tried mixing the stems together differently but it didn't help.

In theory, I thought the colors of the 3 plants would complement one another but they demonstrated dysfunctional behavior when combined.  Left to right, the plants are: Leucadendron salignum 'Chief', Leptospermum scoparium 'Pink Pearl', and Grevillea 'Scarlet Sprite'.


In retrospect, I think I probably should have left well enough alone and let the Leucadendron 'Chief' stand on its own.

The lighter pink tones in the Leucadendron weren't strong enough to balance the dominant pink color of the Leptospermum


I've gotten used to having more than one vase to add color to the house so I wandered beyond my dry garden and found materials for another vase.  Its dissociative identity disorder is less pronounced.

The white and blue daisies struggle a bit for dominance in the vase but neither really overwhelms the other

View from the top

Clockwise from the left, this vase contains: Pericallis x hybrida (aka florist's cineraria), Argyranthemum frutescens, Lavandula multifida, Lobularia maritima (alyssum), and rosemary


After another round of rain, the noID Narcissus by the back door was flattened so I ended up with a third vase.

I couldn't leave the Narcissus plastered to the pavement like this

Pipig expresses curiosity (or is it jealousy?) about the vase on my desk


Unfortunately, the rainstorm that started our day deposited far less rain than was forecast, at least in our location.  We received only 0.20 inches of rain but we got lots and lots of wind.  The wind pushed the rain right out of here but that's not all it pushed.  I walked into the living room mid-day to see this:

The wrought iron screen on the side patio collapsed, knocking over the pots at its base


It wasn't as bad as I initially thought.  Amazingly, none of the pots broke.  The pink Echeveria 'Afterglow' had just one broken leaf and an Aloe vera lost the tips of a few leaves.  However, the Hoya carnosa that grew up the heavy screen broke at the base.  We righted the screen and tied it to the patio post.  I took cuttings of the Hoya but I think I'll try replacing it with another vine in this location.  Although the Hoya bloomed reliably, its leaves were sun-bleached so I'll plant the cuttings in a more shaded setting.

After the clean-up, almost as good as new (except for the Hoya vine)


With that chore dispatched, I took shelter from the wind inside, spending the afternoon catching up on a household chores.  It's no way to spend a Sunday afternoon but at least I have a clean start to the week!  I also found appropriate spots for my vases to sit.

The mixed up Leucadendron/Leptospermum vase sits on the dining table

The blue and white arrangement sits in the front entry


Visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden to see what she and other gardeners have brought inside to add cheer.  The signs of spring are out there!


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

47 comments:

  1. Kris, I got so excited when I saw your second vase! A blue daisy? Is that for real? I have never heard of it or seen one. I think, the blue color is stunning and that it is flowering at this time of the year makes it even more precious. Later in my lunch break I have to do some research on this plant...
    I love the "simple" vase with the Narcissus. They are so pretty just by themselves. Nothing to distract from there beauty.
    I am glad that the storm didn't do more damage to your yard. Yesterday the winds were pretty brutal here, too. They knocked over a few things, but didn't do any severe damage. I guess, we got an inch of rain, so that was at least something.
    Wishing you a lovely week!
    Christina

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    1. a blue daisy? Kingfisher daisy. Felicia.
      The colour of happiness

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    2. Diana's right that Felicia offers blue daisy blooms, Christina, and the plants are perennial in our SoCal climate. The Pericallis hybrids shown in my vase are annuals even here and I've never seen them reseed. Regrettably, they're also prone to leaf miner, although they don't suffer that problem to the degree the older forms of cineraria do. Annie's Annuals & Perennials offers a perennial form of the plant, sold under an outdated classification as Senecio stellata. They die back in late spring/early summer but do come back, at least for awhile.

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  2. I love the first picture! Lots of great plants! The Leucadendron can stand on its own. I really like the blue and white combo. Sorry you got wind instead of rain. The hoya will probably resprout from the base, as well as the cuttings you took. Glad nothing else was seriously damaged. You have Vriesea ospinae var. gruberi! It looks like a more manageable size than the monster I bought. Hehe, want to trade? lol

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    1. That Vriesea is relatively new. I'm not sure how happy it is in that spot. Some of the leaves are tinged orange, which I'm thinking may show excessive sun exposure. Any thoughts?

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  3. Glad you got at least some rain Kris, but I suppose the wind dried the plants more than the wind wetted them - that happens here quite often too. Great vases as usual; my favourite this week is the blues!

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    1. Some rain is better than none, Christina, but I was disappointed we didn't get more. Still, it topped off my rain tanks, which I'd drained by well over 100 gallons since the prior rain.

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  4. Strong winds seem to be a feature of our changing weather patterns here in the UK too. Sometimes it is just too uncomfortable to contemplate being outside. I love your blue and white daisy vase which looks very summery and pretty for February.

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    1. We get wind almost every afternoon, Sarah, but this was much stronger than usual. Trees came down in some areas and at least one person died in connection with such an event. Fortunately, most of my trees had recently been trimmed so we came through unscathed (except for the Hoya).

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  5. All three vases are amazing, Kris! What is the secret of having so many plants in bloom at this time of the year?

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    1. That's life in coastal southern California, Anca! It's all about the climate.

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  6. Ahh, floral design dilemmas, once they start they are the gift that keeps on giving. I like all the vases, and love the blue flowers, such a brilliant hue.

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    1. That blue Pericallis is an annual but, as with pansies, I tend to fall prey to its charms every year.

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  7. Kris these are fabulous ....love the look of the split personality vase....and oh those blue daisies are incredible....all 3 vases are perfection...and I am glad you got some rain....too bad there was not as much rain as wind.

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    1. Between the wind and the high pressure system that's keeping El Nino's rains from reaching us, we've not been lucky in the weather department thus far this year but the forecasters still expect we'll get some good rain in February and/or March. There's no sign of it on the near horizon, though.

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  8. LB Airport recorded 1/4 inch of rain. But you're right, the real story was the wind! I had a few pots tumble and break, plants leaning but not broken. Sirens blared most of the day once the wind started, and my youngest son was without power all night in Torrance. It was howling! And still is today, to a lesser extent.

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    1. That wind was scary at times! There were lots of creepy noises far into the night. I can understand why storms are so often used to add a sense of dread in movies.

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  9. Love your frog in the last image. The vase in my bathroom with brown and dusty pink dried flower heads is accompanied by two frogs. You are lucky that none of your outdoor vases broke in the wind-related activity. One of my favorite large, handmade ceramic vases shattered when it blew over in the wind last summer. I never thought about the fact that it had a very tall shrubby plant in it that might get airborne in the right situation!

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    1. When I saw that screen on the ground, Linda, I thought for sure that one of more of the 4 pots around it must have been broken. I was lucky there. The screen came down once before a few years ago but we thought we had it secured...

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  10. We learn such a lot from trying out different things in our vases so there is a lot of merit in having more than one - but where material is still seasonally limited I think I would be wary in case it left me with nothing for next week! Your photos suggest your garden is quite exposesd to any wind - is there no shelter from it?

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    1. The only protection from the wind here is provided by the trees, although they can also be hazards, especially in times of drought. Although I was unhappy about it at the time, it's probably a good thing that we took down the 60-foot Eucalyptus tree that once stood only 10-12 feet from the house - they're notorious for coming down in high winds.

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  11. I always enjoy reading about how your vases coalesce. By the time you share the pictures with us they always look great. The blue daisies are eye-catching.

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    1. The blue daisies do sound a siren call as soon as they appear in the garden centers, Susie. Once again, I was not immune.

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  12. First things first: thanks for catching my error regarding the Leucadendron in my vase. You were right, it is L 'Jester'... I have no idea why I decided to rename it. Thanks for catching that. On to your Leucadendron, WOW! Indeed it could stand on its own. I am not familiar with that one, so many colors! Love it. As for your weather I am sorry your still not getting drenched, and damaging wind is such a nightmare. I've seen photos of lots of garden destruction, I am so glad yours was not worse!

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    1. We really lucked out with this windstorm. There were 2 dead Eucalyptus at the one and only entrance to our neighborhood but (at my husband's instigation) the HOA arranged to have both trees taken down as part of the El Nino preparations in December. Had those trees come down on their own, I hate to think what might have happened. Out neighborhood has messes to contend with (mostly from the drought-stressed pines) but nothing more troubling.

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  13. I like the mixed up vase! Somehow, the asymmetry adds something. We got a dusting of snow this weekend. Strange weather...

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    1. Snow! Actually, the wind blew away the smog (briefly), giving us a great view of the snow-capped mountains in San Gabriel.

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  14. Ah, California, I can sense a change in the atmosphere as soon as I step off the plane. So many plant possibilities and mild weather. I love the loopy red Grevillea, I think the color goes well with the Leucadendron, leaving the Leptospermum as odd man out. But I like the colors, and the blue/purple/whites are so pretty, true blue is so hard to find. I was surprised the screen blew over but when it is standing I can see the animals add some wind resistance. Pipig looks like she is either trying to figure out how to drink out of the vase or basking in the fragrance of daffodils, so thoughtful and cute.

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    1. My original plan was to use just the Leucadendron and the Grevillea in that first vase but the flowers on the Grevillea are relatively sparse and I decided it'd require too many branches to make an impact.

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  15. I love that Leucodendron. It' s funny how we always crave the plants we can' t grow ourselves. It looks good with the Leptospermum or by itself. Gorgeous blue daisies.
    We have had wind too, this one is called Henry.

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    1. You'd probably have to grow the Leucadendron in a glasshouse, Chloris. It's probably do-able but would take a lot of room!

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  16. Shall we call your vases Sybil one and Sybil two? They're lovely despite their mental health issues. (Crazy pretty?) Sorry that your storm didn't bring more rain and that the wind caused an extra chore. What's this "household chores" thing of which you speak? It's like you're speaking some foreign language.

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    1. At least the flowers don't spin their heads around in the vase, Peter! My house was sorely in need of a good cleaning - that's another reason we need more rain.

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  17. It sounds as if you would have welcomed more rain than you got Kris. Three most attractive vases. What a fabulous screen. I'm glad to read that there was no serious damage done when it toppled over. It's very windy here tonight with hail lashing against the windows so a good night for gazing at vases of flowers :)




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    1. We need a LOT more rain, Anna. Luckily, northern California has made some headway against our ongoing drought but a high pressure system is keeping the El Nino rains from reaching us in southern California - we're still running well below normal levels in what was supposed to be a banner year for rain. My seasonal total (since October 1st) is just 3.3 inches.

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  18. Sorry to read you didn't get much rain either. Sigh.

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    1. I said I was trying to keep my expectations in check but I was still very disappointed by that last storm.

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  19. The Leucadendron does look good on its own, and the second vase is just gorgeous, reminding me of summer and blue skies! A shame you didn't get more rain - wish I could send you some of ours! ;-)

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  20. I love the Leucadendron 'Chief'on its own, it is so interesting. Great to see pictures of your garden too.

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    1. That Leucadendron has become one of my favorite plants, Noelle. It requires virtually no care, gets by on low water, and always looks good.

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  21. Split personality or not, I like your vase – well both of them! I like your Leptospermum, big flowers on yours! – I haven’t featured mine on my blog yet but I have 3 Leptospermum babies I am trying to get to survive our wet winters, not sure if I will succeed but this is second winter I have them so I think they will be OK. Sorry to hear about the continued lack of rain and the wind damage, I wish I could send you some rain from London – mind you, you would not like to have the accompanying wind we had here two nights ago, I thought the roof was coming off around midnight – but it stayed put and no damage to any plants, just pots everywhere to sort out next day.

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    1. I can probably do without the high winds, Helene - those we had last weekend were bad enough - but some additional rain is gravely needed before El Nino moves on.

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  22. Wow, that must have been some storm! That is a nice looking screen…too bad it killed the hoya. Does passion flower grow well there? It might make a nice replacement for the poor hoya. I love your blue/white vase, such an electric blue! You have such wonderful material with which to work - I love leptospermum. <3 That'll be perfect for Valentine's Day. :-)

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    1. It was the worst possible storm, Eliza - little rain but lots of dangerous winds. I haven't grown passionflower since moving here but I've been thinking of trying it on the screen. It grew well enough at my old house, some 15 miles from here. The Gulf Fritillary caterpillars consumed most of the plant but that's okay with me.

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  23. The screen is super cute - I like all of those animal figures. I love your blue and white w/ a dash of purple arrangement too.

    Sorry to hear that you got so much wind and little rain though. Ugh. That's got to be frustrating.

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    1. Our weather has been frustrating for a few years now. You'd think we'd be used to its idiosyncrasies but we're not.

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