Monday, May 2, 2016

In a Vase on Monday: Fumbling with Foliage

Last week, I noticed that one of my favorite plants, Arthropodium cirratum (aka Renga Lily), was starting to bloom.  I used this plant in my last garden and it was one of the first plants I added to our current garden after we moved in.  It divides easily and I now have almost 2 dozen spread throughout the shadier sections of the property.  It was the natural choice for this week's vase.  The only problem was selecting foliage that would set it off.  I'd forgotten that I've struggled with this before.  My first choice was Pittosporum tobira but it overwhelmed the delicate lily.  After diddling with other possibilities, I ended up using the feathery foliage of Acacia cognata 'Cousin Itt'.

The Acacia created a skirt of sorts below the flowers, which wasn't really the effect I was looking for either

Top view


I'm still not happy with it.  Much as I love the plant, I'm not sure it can hold its own in the starring role in a vase but I may try other combinations in coming weeks.  Here's what went into this week's vase:

Clockwise from the upper left: Arthropodium cirratum, Acacia cognata 'Cousin Itt', Jacobaea martima, Lupinus propinquus, Solanum xanti, and Trachelospermum jasminoides


Another uncommon flower also called out for inclusion in a vase this week, Globularia x indubia (aka Globe Daisy), which I fondly refer to as my hairy blue eyeball plant.  I used some of the Pittosporum I'd originally cut for the first vase in this one.

Those are the hairy blue eyeballs peering at you from each side of the vase

Top view


It wasn't hard to find companions for the Globularia.

Clockwise from the upper left, the vase includes:  Globularia x indubia, Acacia cognata 'Cousin Itt', Aquilegia hybrid 'Spring Magic' with noID sweet peas, Centranthus ruber 'Albus', Pittosporum tobira, and Salvia 'Mystic Spires'


Once again, I had leftover foliage and flowers, which I threw into a third vase.

I couldn't quite bring myself to throw out the unused flowers and foliage so I cut some ivy geranium to flesh out the leftovers

In addition to more of the unused Pittosporum, this vase includes: Gomphrena 'Itsy Bitsy', dark pink Pelargonium peltatum, and Persicaria microcephala 'Red Dragon'


This week's vases displaced last week's creations (even though the bright yellow vase from last week was still in great shape).

The Renga lilies sit on the dining room table

The hairy blue eyeballs sit in the front entryway

And the mish-mash of leftovers sits on the bedroom mantle


Visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden to see what she and other participating gardeners have put together this week.  Cathy herself ran the marathon equivalent of floral design!


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

34 comments:

  1. That lily is indeed gorgeous, and delicate. Maybe alone in a vase would be best for it? Or with a simple large leaf? Oh and I love the hairy blue eyeballs as a cut flower!

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    1. I think you're right, Loree. When I looked back at prior vases containing the Renga Lily, the most effective were the ones I kept simple and restricted to flowers.

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  2. It is always hard for me to pick a favorite...loved that first one and even more the second but the burgundy and reds in the last really had me ooohing and ahhhing! Just something about the foliage and flowers and how they come together...

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    1. If I'd had more of the large-leafed Persicaria, I think that might have made a good complement with the Renga Lily but I didn't want to cut all the plant's stems. I do like the way the Persicaria combined with the Gomphrena and the Pelargonium, just not the shape of the composition in that particular vase.

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  3. Your vases are always such a delight, Kris, you have so many interesting plants in your garden!

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    1. My climate supports a very different mix of plants than yours, Anca, but I do wish I could grow the tulips and peonies you can!

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  4. Yes, the hairy blue eyeballs are fantastic - like Donna I was liking that in preference to the first until I saw the third one, which is delightful. The pelargonium looks really special somehow, and such a lovely shade. Thanks for sharing

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    1. I probably don't give the Pelargoniums their due, Cathy. They're such a common plant here, it's easy to dismiss them. I do love the deep pink, almost red color of that one, which I brought with me from my former garden.

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  5. More beautiful combinations, Kris. The first is light and airy as a summer breeze. The 'hairy eyeballs' are perfect for keeping an eye on the front door, ;-) and with the last one, I love the combo of the gomphrena, persicaria and geranium. You have a great eye for mixing colors.

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    1. I had that same thought when I placed the "hairy blue eyeballs" by the front door, Eliza! As no one who visits is likely to be familiar with my name for them, no visitor is likely to appreciate the joke, though. But even private jokes can be fun.

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  6. I always enjoy seeing your vases full of unusual flowers Kris. The Renga lily is so beautiful and I love those furry eyeballs. All three vases are delightful.

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    1. I'm not showing those Renga Lilies to their best advantage but I'm going to try again soon, Chloris.

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  7. These are all beautiful Kris. I actually love the third design most of all. The Ringa Lily is such a delicate form, perhaps it would work best without companion plants? I can also see it used in Ikebana designs. The lupine is gorgeous. It must be fun to choose from among your vast array of flowers each week.

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    1. There is a lot to choose from at the moment, Susie, hence the series of multiple vase posts. But summer will be here all too soon, which will make finding material for vases much more difficult.

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  8. the lily with something equally delicate - asparagus fern?

    Or the large dramatic leaf as Danger Garden said. I have a tuberous begonia with large and lovely leaves which would echo the purple stems.

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    1. I was on the same wavelength about finding delicate foliage, which is how I ended up with the Acacia but that was too wispy. I thought about asparagus fern too but mine has nasty thorns this time of year, which makes it less than pleasant to work with. Large leaves are hard to come by in my garden - I wonder if Acanthus would do?

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  9. The Renga lilies make such a delightful airy vase with the purples and yellows, Kris, and I had to smile at the "Cousin Itt". My daughter really watched that a lot. But the Hairy Blue Eyeballs give Cousin Itt a run for the money, and the purple is picked up so prettily by the sweet peas. I really like the intense magenta color of the Pelargonium and matching Itsy Bitsy, you get so much mileage out of them. Lovely vases, all.

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    1. Calling that Acacia 'Cousin Itt' was inspired on the part of whoever named it - it's a popular plant (here at least). Maybe if the Globularia was officially named 'Hairy Blue Eyeballs' there would be a better market for it too.

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    2. The first arrangement is so bright and airy, free and casual. Love the hairy blue eyeballs which are new to me - such fun!

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  10. The Renga lilies are new to me; maybe they would be best as a secondary flower with one large bloom in a similar colour? They would still look the star of the show but a larger bloom would form the focal point. I love how it looks in your vase anyway. I wondered if you would use the 'hairy eyeballs' when you featured them in a recent post.

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    1. I considered pairing the Renga lilies with Limonium perezii but hesitated because I thought the strong color of the latter might overwhelm the former. Still, I may try that while the lilies are still blooming.

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  11. Hairy blue eyeballs are awesome! I wish I could find them as cut flowers... Or maybe plant some in my garden! Your vases are always so inspirational.

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    1. The stems of my "hairy blue eyeballs" are probably too short to interest the florist trade but you might want to try a plant in your garden, Renee. Given adequate time to establish a good root system, it seems to be able to handle both heat and dry conditions. Mine are planted in my dry garden (irrigated once a week at present).

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  12. As usual beautiful displays Kris. I can't believe P. Red Dragon grows with you Kris. It thrives in the damp here in my garden. I was going to suggest that maybe large leaves would suit the Renga lilies better but see that others have already mentioned it. I've no doubt you'll get it just right before too long.

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    1. I brought the Persicaria with me from my old house as a cutting, Angie, and planted it near the house where it gets just morning sun. It's not as vigorous as it was when I could water at will but it's hanging in there.

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  13. I love your fumbles and all your gorgeous flowers. Such incredible variety. I'm beginning to think that I squandered my time in So. Cal. I want to go back and try again. Beautiful as ever.

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    1. While it's possible that I previously walked about with blinders on, my impression is that the nursery stock here has changed a lot in the past 5+ years, Jenny. There seem to be many more plants from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa now.

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  14. OK, your hairy blue eyeball plant is my choice for most fun plant of the week! I also love Cousin It. I have a real fondness for quirky plants. I am surprised that Red Dragon Persicaria grows for you, as it has done very well for me, too. That's another plant that that has real plant personality!

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    1. The Persicaria definitely needs shade here but it's hung on for 5 years, despite receiving less water than I think it'd like.

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  15. I love that white and purple Globularia, so charming. All three of your bouquets are beautiful!

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    1. Thanks Sweetbay! The globularia has certainly grown on me. I bought it for the foliage and initially found the flowers just a bit odd.

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  16. I see what you mean about the eyeballs! The vases are all lovely, but the third with the 'leftovers' is definitely my favourite this week! Wonderful!

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    1. If only the Pelargonium didn't drop its petals so quickly!

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  17. Kris, I love all three of these vases, especially that last photo of the third vase on the mantle. The Renga Lily is drop-dead gorgeous. Wonder how it might look with fern-like leaves. I agree foliage use can be tricky All beautiful at any rate.

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