Monday, May 9, 2016

In a Vase on Monday: A Mixed Bag

We had a nice cool weekend.  Although we didn't get much in the way of the rain (less than a tenth of an inch in total), gray clouds hovered over the horizon full of unrealized potential all weekend.  We don't usually get rain in spring but I've held onto the vague hope that El Niño might still deliver rain to Southern California when it weakened, as some pundits had predicted.  We're on the cusp of summer and, in the face of that reality, I spent a good portion of the weekend laying 3 cubic yards of mulch, hoping this will help the soil retain the little moisture it gets from our irrigation system.

Saturday evening's view of the clouds over Los Angeles Harbor - areas to the east received some downpours amid flash flood warnings but we remained dry


I've got 3 vases again this week but they're a mixed bag, all very different from one another.  The first utilizes succulent flowers, which are suddenly appearing in abundance.

I can't remember a time when Aeonium 'Kiwi' has produced so many flowers throughout the garden at the same time

The vase contains just 3 elements (from left to right): flowers of the succulent, Aeonium 'Kiwi', and foliage of glossy-leafed Coprosma repens 'Plum Hussey' and Leucadendron salignum 'Chief'


The second vase represents another attempt to do something with the Renga Lilies (Arthropodium cirratum) I featured in one of last week's vases.

I limited my selections to just 3 plants this week, all delicate floral elements

Top view

I used a shorter, asymmetrical vase (top, left) with a heart-shaped opening.  The vase contains, clockwise from the upper right: Abelia x grandiflora, Arthropodium cirratum, and Coriandrum sativum (aka cilantro/coriander), now gone to seed.


The second vase was overcrowded with Renga Lilies but that's because I cut some stems with the idea of including them in the third vase, which needed a touch of white.  However, the flowers were eclipsed by the more vibrant blooms of Limonium perezii (aka sea lavender) so I removed them, tucking them into the second vase.

When fresh, the wide purple flower clusters of Limonium perezii have a white corolla but this drops as the flowers age and dry.  The papery calyxes can retain their color for months in a vase without any water at all.

Back view showing off the flowers of Coriandrum savitum

Top view, emphasizing how the Limonium dominates the vase - there are just 2 stems of the sea lavender here

Clockwise from the left, the vase contains: Limonium perezii, common borage grown from seed, more Coriandrum sativum, noID Lathyrus, and Tanacetum niveum


The first vase sits on my office desk.



The second is in the front entry.



And the third is on the dining room table.



For more vases, visit Cathy, the host of "In a Vase on Monday," at Rambling in the Garden.


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

40 comments:

  1. Wow...nice to hear it cooled...we are 10 degrees below normal here so the garden is still blooming slow...and it is to get down to 35 again tonight. Hoping no lower or we will lose so much. These 3 vases are certainly a mixed bag. I love the succulents...so different. And I do so love the others too especially the blue vase. So much variety is a blessing in your garden Kris!

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    1. I hope the temperatures stay well above freezing out your way, Donna. Winter needs to pack its bags and move on out!

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  2. I love the colors in your succulent flower arrangement, and seeing the pink stems through the vase is a nice touch.

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    1. I liked those pink stems too. That Leucadendron is a lovely plant from leaf to stem.

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  3. I now i have said it before but I'm going to say it again. You have the most amazing variety of flowers and you mix and match them so beautifully. It must be a joy to be both outside and inside your house in every room.

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    1. My garden does have flower power, Jenny. Now, if I could only make it shine as a landscape too...

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  4. Nice to see your fine creations again Kris!

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    1. It's great to have the two of you surface again too!

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  5. I like them all, but the blue one is gorgeous!

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    1. Thanks Anca! The blue vase was a last minute composition but it seems to be popular.

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  6. Beautiful trio, Kris. They are each so different. I love the muted colors of the first -- so elegant. The blue-violet of the third and the delicate beauty of the Renga lilies…all lovely!

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    1. I wish I could have managed better close-ups of the Aeonium flowers in the first vase, Eliza. There are subtle color variations in the buds and open flowers that make them very interesting.

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  7. Really lovely Kris; I couldn't pick a favourite even if I had to. Sorry about the lack of rain; I was listening to a gardening programme that described Los Angeles as desert so I suppose you get the rain that justifies that! Your blue flowers are amazing, so unusual for blues to be so good.

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    1. Palm Springs is desert but that wasn't true of Los Angeles, although the drought makes it seem we're moving that way. Hopefully, the drought is temporary and not a move in the direction North Africa took millennia ago.

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  8. Beautiful arrangements Kris, all three. I love the unifying colors of the first arrangement. The Limonium is a gorgeous blue. The lack of rain must be unsettling. My daughter in LA (Mar Vista) mentioned they'd had rain Friday night and early Sat. morning. They went to an antique car show Sat. in Culver City and thought the rains must have kept away some of the very oldest cars.

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    1. The rain associated with the last storm seems to have been very scattered, Susie. The communities surrounding the San Gabriel Mountains to the east got heavy downpours at times and some Orange County bloggers reported good rain totals but the South Bay - or at least my portion of it - basically got spit on.

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  9. I'm trying to imagine all the cute aeoniums in bloom, that must be a sight. That arrangement is very business-like to me with the dark tidy foliage. The second is a very springy froth of flowers with some delicate pink shades. But the last one is a real heart-wrencher, Kris, so much gorgeous purple sea lavender. I'm tempted to add it to my must-grow list. The purple lathyrus and borage flower add more color, and I like your 2-sided vase arrangement. The shiny blue vase is so pretty with it, like a jewel.

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    1. That blue vase is one I picked up during my college years and one of my favorites. The sea lavender is a tough evergreen perennial here, although it can get ratty over time. The plants are frequently sold in 6-packs here so it's inexpensive to replace when necessary.

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  10. Wow, more neat plants! I love those succulents, and the blue vase. It looks like you had a lot of cilantro, mine is never that attractive, but I usually eat it as microgreens! I have also been suffering from dry weather and mulching, Bah!

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    1. My husband isn't fond of the taste of cilantro, which is why it always seems to go to seed before it's used. The dried seed pods are also useful as a spice but I've grown fond of using the flowers in arrangements so the seed isn't collected.

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  11. I'm sorry to read that you did not get as much of the wet stuff as you would have liked Kris. I didn't realise that coriander produced such an attractive flower. I may now have to grow some even though I can't abide the taste of it. All three are most attractive vases but the blue is my favourite.

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    1. We've had pitifully little rain in Southern California this year, despite of, or according to some pundits, because of the strong El Nino, which pushed the rain north. Still, that benefited California's snow pack, if not my garden. (I have to keep reminding myself that that's a good thing.)

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  12. One sea lavender died just after I planted it, the other has just the one flower.
    I look forward to being able to pick such beauties.

    The renga lily looks happy in a frothy mixture.

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    1. I'd have thought that sea lavender would be as happy there as it is here, Diana. The plugs here do take awhile to develop size, though. The plants I'm cutting from are in their second or third year in the garden.

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  13. I love the vibrant color of the sea lavender. I am not familiar with it. I think it must not grow well here - my loss!

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    1. It's a Canary Islands native I believe. You probably get too much rain for it!

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  14. All beautiful but the first vase with the Aeonium 'Kiwi' flowers is really unusual! Fantastic job as always, Kris!

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    1. The Aeonium flower buds are opening slowly - it'll be interesting to see how long the arrangement lasts.

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  15. The first vase is fascinating - such intriguing blooms, and the blue of the sea lavender is gorgeous! Thanks for sharing

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    1. Sea lavender is so common here we tend to dismiss it but it really is a wonderful, long-lasting plant with a flower that's equally pretty in water or a dry arrangement.

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  16. I'm sorry you didn't get more rain this spring. I know your area really needed it.

    I love your third bouquet. Limonium and borage make a beautiful combination, both in color and form.

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    1. The bulk of our rain comes during winter but, contrary to expectations, El Nino pushed most of winter's rain to the north. Some experts said SoCal might get rain as El Nino weakened in the spring but that hasn't happened either. The good news is that subsequent predictions that we'd also be denied the marine layer that keeps us relatively cool in May and June also seems to be incorrect, at least so far.

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  17. The flowers are all beautiful, but it was particularly interesting for me to see the arrangement with succulent flowers in it as it is so different from anything I have seen before. We are not blessed with many succulent blooms here!

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    1. My succulent collection has exploded since we moved 15 miles further south 5 years ago, where it's 10 degrees (Fahrenheit) warmer on average than our former location. With the drought still in high gear, I've gained a great appreciation for succulents.

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  18. You've such a great hand at flower arranging, Kris, all vases are delightful and what I like most is the fact that you use such exotic bits -to me anyway!- and thus I can get to now new plants. The drought must be such a challenge and worry. I'm reading Heidi Gildemeister's book on mediterranean gardening also because our climate is a bit like that and I think it's very inspirational. It shows how easy it is to make gorgeous gardens that don't need any irrigation. Best wishes from Annette and thanks for leaving such a lovely comment about Treetops :)

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    1. I've been studying Mediterranean gardens of late too, Annette. My favorite book on the subject is by Olivier Filippi ("The Dry Gardening Handbook"), from which I've learned a lot. However, more and more of my plants come from the Mediterranean climates in the southern hemisphere, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Those plants are exotic to my eyes too but generally do well here.

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  19. Ah, those Renga lilies again, I love them. And what a pretty and unusual arrangement with the the sedums.
    I hope you got some rain. What a beautiful sky over your lovely view.

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    1. We got some out-of-season rain on a few occasions last year and I'm hoping that happens again but I'm trying not to count on it. The (unreliable) extended forecasts suggest prospects of rain on a couple of occasions in late May, which would be unusual. Historically, our rain is confined to the winter months but weather patterns do seem to be changing...

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  20. Oh my goodness, I have never seen an aeonium flower before! :) :) I have had one as an indoor plant for years, and it just gets taller and wobblier as it is now top heavy! I love the heart-shaped vase and the blue one too, and as always you have put together some wonderful arrangements. I actually recognized one flower I grow too - borage. It usually seeds itself around, but sometimes I have to scatter new seed too. Have a great weekend Kris!

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    1. My larger Aeoniums flower sporadically but Aeonium 'Kiwi' has rarely, if ever, done so. I don't know what happened this year but I'd estimate that almost 2 dozen of the 'Kiwi', some still small plants, are in flower. Like most Aeoniums, I suspect it's monocarpic, which means I'm going to have to replace a lot of plants this season.

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