Monday, April 11, 2016

In a Vase on Monday: Who's up?

In preparing this week's post for "In a Vase on Monday," hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden, I realized that I've been making up vases in connection with this meme for 2 years now.  My first vase post was March 31, 2014 and I don't believe I've missed a week since then.  This amazes even me.  Some weeks, especially in late summer when the garden's usually at its lowest point, it's hard to find anything fit to share, although I can't claim the difficulties faced by participants in colder winter climates - even in summer, there are succulents to draw on here.  In spring I have the opposite problem - there are too many choices and I wander my garden dazed and confused.  Sometimes, a flower is just so outstanding, I find I have to do something with it.  At other times, like this week, it's more a matter of deciding who's due a turn at bat.  This week, Lupinus propinquus was up.

Front view

Back view

Top view


The perennial lupine is pretty but it isn't nearly as flashy - or as blue - as I'd expected it to be when I selected it from a mail order nursery.  However, it is vigorous.  Its branches stretch a good 6 feet wide already and it's only been in the ground for 5 months.  Cutting it back for use in this week's vase could be considered an act of self-defense on my part.  In a vase, though, its pale colors are almost upstaged by its companions.

Clockwise from the upper left, the vase contains: Lupinus propinquus (syn. Lupinus arboreus), noID Antirrhinum, Centranthus ruber 'Alba' (a weed here), Freesia, Lavandula stoechas 'Silver Anouk', Limonium perezii, the dainty blooms of Pelargonium tomentosum, and Pittosporum tobira 'Variegata'


As usual, I picked some flowers that didn't make it into the main event.  These ended up in a small vase.  Even though small, I like the way these "leftovers" came together.

The burgundy color in the Pelargonium echos the color of the rose

In addition to Pelargonium 'Oldbury Duet' (left) and Rosa 'Ebb Tide' (right), this vase contains stems of Pelargonium hybrid 'White Lady' and Cuphea ignea 'Starfire Pink'


Last week's vase didn't hold up well.  My beautiful 'Medallion' roses withered within 2 days.  I'm not sure why they fared so poorly, especially the one cut in bud, except that it was unusually warm that week and I cut the stems near mid-day.  I cut 3 more 'Medallion' roses late last week when rain caused their heads to droop.  The heavy blooms still hang their pretty heads but the flowers have fared better than the two I cut for the last "IAVOM" post.  The cooler weather was more hospitable for the roses, even if the storms brought us very little rain.

Two rainstorms brought us only 0.17 inches of rain in total over a 4-day period.  These clouds, photographed on Sunday morning from our backyard, brought us nothing at all but at least some areas to the east benefited.


The roses sit in the front entry.

Maybe I should try wiring their stems to hold up their heavy heads?


The vase containing the lupine cuttings got pride of place on the dining room table.



And the small vase sits on my desk.



Visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden to see what she and others have assembled to fill their vases this week.


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

38 comments:

  1. Kris your vases always amaze me with so much to choose from in your garden....it seems purple is a common theme this week and I also adore seeing the lupine and Antirrhinum. The burgundy of the second vase is so vivid making it a favorite. And of course seeing roses always makes me smile. Wish I could send some rain your way!

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    1. I wish you could send me some rain too, Donna, even if it was frozen! Another storm system passed through the area today but left without depositing a single drop of rain in my area I'm sad to say.

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  2. Oh, I love your lupine. Am inspired to suggest to our community grounds committee we should try this in our meadow (which only grows Bermuda grass so far). Your small vase is wonderful. Great to place it where you can enjoy it.

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    1. This "blue bush lupine" is amazingly vigorous, Susie. I planted the yellow form to but it isn't nearly as aggressive.

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  3. Love the lupine's soft blue-lavender color. The small vase has a nice color theme, the variegation adds a pleasing contrast. A note about roses: they can get an 'air bubble' in their stem when cut and exposed to air, esp. if they are drawing heavily from the root as they would be at mid-day. I'm assuming you bring a bucket of water about with you as you cut flowers to immerse stems immediately. When you make your final cut for the vase, cut underwater in a bowl or pan, before transferring to the vase. That might help. :)

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    1. I'm afraid I tend to ignore all the wisdom about caring for cut flowers, Eliza. Perhaps this experience will teach me a lesson.

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  4. I love the pelargonium best. Is the foliage scented I wonder? The soft colours of your main vase are just lovely too.

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    1. This Pelargonium isn't scented, Sarah. It's main claim to fame, aside from those pretty flowers, is its variegated leaves. However, the rose has a very nice scent - one small flower has perfumed my entire office.

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  5. The lipine sounds a most useful plant - very pretty. But tell me more about the limonium which I don't know at all... The pittisporum foliage is the perfect shade to complement the rest of the blooms - thanks for sharing. What is the average annual rainful in your locailty? ps useful hints from Eliza which I shall make a note of too

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    1. Limonium perezii (aka statice or sea lavender) is a common short-lived perennial here, Cathy. It hails from the Canary Islands and deals with both heat and drought exceptionally well. The flowers are papery in texture and dry well, giving them a very long vase life.

      "Average" rainfall for Los Angeles is about 15 inches a year but we haven't had average rainfall for some years now. Our drought is in its 4th year. My current season-to-date total (i.e. since October 1, 2015) is just 5.49 inches and, as we seldom get rain outside outside of winter months, you can see that we're substantially below normal this year too, despite the inflated expectations as to what El Nino would bring. However, a stubborn high pressure ridge pushed those El Nino driven rainstorms north so northern California did relatively well this year. It's just SoCal that missed out on the rain boon.

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  6. Kris, arrangements are divine as always. This may be a weird comment but, I think the Pittosporum was an inspired addition. I envy those Blue Lupines!

    I also managed to obliterate your comment on my blog. By accident. So thank you!

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    1. I usually make more use of the variegated Pittosporum than I have this year and, as I realized that I need to cut it back soon (before it impedes the view out of our bedroom window), you may be seeing it again and again for a few weeks!

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  7. The purple vase is fabulous, thanks to the draping lupines, Kris. I love the color and texture of the Statice as well, and am growing some snapdragons and planted some freesia bulbs, thanks to inspiration from IaVoM, so hope to have some in vases eventually. The bicolor geranium is a favorite of mine, and looks wonderful with your burgundy rose. I have the same trouble with nodding roses, I have resorted to the plastic fork trick even. I am still waiting for the roses to show up but with everything so early maybe it will be soon. I hope you get some rain out of those clouds, they look juicy.

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    1. A plastic fork! I'll have to try that!

      Sadly, neither yesterday's clouds nor the new storm system that blew through today yielded even a drop of rain here.

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  8. the dinner vase echoes the colours in the painting behind it.

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    1. The dominant colors in that painting used to be orange tones, Diana, but they've faded dramatically since we moved here and (foolishly perhaps) hung that piece directly across from the floor to ceiling windows in the dining room.

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  9. Lovely vases, and impressed by your consistency! I planted a (very small) Cuphea ignea 'Starfire Pink' this weekend... And am now hoping for blooms like in your second vase.

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    1. I have 9 of those Cuphea! (I used to have 12.) I love that plant - all it seems to need is a good haircut at least once a year. The bees and hummingbirds love it too. While it can deal with a degree of drought, it does best with a routine watering but it's not a water hog.

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  10. I love the color of that soft Lupine and think it looks fabulous with its vase-mates!

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    1. It is a pretty color, just not what I'd planned to marry up with the other plants in that area but then nature isn't predictable.

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  11. Great combination of colours and textures, Kris, thanks for sharing!

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  12. Is it really two years already since Cathy started the meme? Can't get over it! As always your vase is beautiful and lush, Kris. By the way Cerinthe major grows naturally in the Mediterranean area. I live in the South-West of France and they seed about happily. Being a biennial it's just important that the winters are mild. They stand a little frost alright but not too cold and not persistant. You might want to give it a try :), Annette from Annette's Garden

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    1. Actually, Cathy started her meme some months before I joined it so she's already passed her 2-year anniversary. I do have some Cerinthe in my garden - most of it self-seeded - but nothing like that beautiful swath of flowers you have in your garden, Annette!

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  13. I like Lupinus propinquus, it sounds enormous but it must be related to our Mediterranean lupin that I allow to spread around in the garden. The roses are lovely; it is sad about their falling heads but there are so many petals it isn't surprising.

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    1. The 'Medallion' roses appear to droop their heads whether in the vase or in the garden. I don't remember that being such an issue in prior years (not that I got many blooms the last 2 years) but I also don't remember the blooms being as large.

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  14. But you always have such an abundance of flowers and your vases are always full of really gorgeous blooms. I love the lupins. You say lupine, we say lupin.

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    1. It's funny but I actually checked the spelling of lupin/lupine when I wrote the post, Chloris. I do pronounce the word as "lupin" but spell-check told me that it was spelled lupine! Maybe I should just stick with the Latin...

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  15. Wow! I am impressed with your two years of marvelous vases! I like the colors in both of your vases this week. The lupine looks delicate. I would not suspect it grows so large!

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    1. I didn't suspect that the lupine would grow quite that large either, Deb. The grower's spec talked about cutting it back to 3'x3' after flowering so I suppose I should have guessed. The yellow form seems to be a slower grower and is said to top out at 4'x4'.

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  16. Is there any fragrance to that lupine, Kris? I love the delicacy of the colors.
    Your pelargonium is fantastic; love the almost pansy-like patterns on it! And it goes so perfectly with the rose and cuphea. Now I know they can look like this, I'll be keeping my eyes open for more varieties...!

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    1. I hadn't noticed that the lupine had a scent but I checked in response to your question and, yes, it does! It's light but pleasant, almost fruity.

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  17. I like the colour of your lupin Kris. I have never been able to grow them here as the snails just adore them! The second vase is so sweet and pretty too - beautiful dainty little pelargonium flowers. Hope you get a drop more rain soon. I am currently in the UK and we have had showers since I arrived.

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    1. The advantage to having raccoons regularly visit my garden, if I can claim such a thing Cathy, is that at least they take out the snails. They leave behind just the empty shells, sometimes intact.

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  18. As always you've come up with fabulous arrangements. I particularly enjoyed the softness of the first one.

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  19. Gorgeous bouquets! I am in live with that lupine. The closest I can get to growing lupines are baptisias. The blend of colors in it are amazing.

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    1. I've tried growing baptisias a few times but they don't like it here. While wild lupines do pop up in the area, they and the other annual lupines aren't easy to establish here either but these perennial lupines seem to be a different story. Lupinus propinquus is trying to take over an entire planting bed!

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