Monday, June 20, 2016

In a Vase on Monday: Summer Rescue Operation

I went outside to cut flowers for "In a Vase on Monday," the meme hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden, at 8am on Sunday.  The thermometer already read 87F (30C) so it wasn't the optimal situation in which to cut flowers but I knew things were only going to get worse.  The heat is expected to climb to record levels throughout the US Southwest on Monday so I cut a lot of flowers.

Cutting lots of flowers means I have 3 vases to share this week.  The first was constructed to show off my Eustoma grandiflorum (aka Lisianthus).  The pink-flowered varieties planted last year have the largest number of buds but I didn't want to lose a lot of unopened flowers so I turned to another group I planted as plugs in April.  Their color wasn't what I'd anticipated when I submitted my mail order.

Front view featuring Eustoma planted from plugs in April

The back view is very different but I like it too

Top view


If you look very, very closely at the Eustoma, you'll notice faint pink highlights in what otherwise seems to be pale yellow bloom.  The variety is called 'Pink Champagne' but even I didn't see the pink in the flower until it was inches from my face.  At first, I thought maybe I'd mixed up the plugs but I checked my records against the grower's listing and I'm certain now that 'Pink Champagne' isn't as pink as the catalog photo led me to expect.  Maybe the pink will deepen, as has been the case with other of the solid pink selections, but I didn't count on that when I selected its companions for my vase.

Clockwise from the upper left, the vase contains: Eustoma grandiflorum 'Pink Champagne', Achillea 'Moonshine', noID Anigozanthos, Hebe 'Purple Shamrock', Phylica pubescens, and Tanacetum niveum with Santolina pinnata.  Aren't the purple edges and stems of the Hebe wonderful?  I also like the way the variegation in the Phylica echoes that of the Hebe.  I was able to bring myself to cut one stem of the Phylica as it was sticking up above the plant like a feather-duster (and it helps that I now have 3 of these plants in my garden).


I selected sweet peas as the starting point for my second vase.  They were already on the decline and I fully expect that the current heatwave will be the end of them.  Last week I paired blue/purple sweet peas with stems of Lupinus proquinuus in a bouquet for a friend but the lupines were mostly toast already so I looked further afield for companions this week.

Blue and white Agapanthus filled in for the missing lupines

The back looks similar to the front

Top view


I stuck to a blue and white palette.

Clockwise from the left, the vase contains: white and blue forms of Agapanthus, Catananche caerulea, Lathyrus odoratus, Leucanthemum x superbum (ruffled form), Solanum xanti, and Tanacetum niveum.  (Also included, but not highlighted were: Lavandula angustifolia and Salvia 'Mystic Spires'.)


As the heat worsened, I made a last minute decision to cut flowers for a third vase before ducking inside to get out of the heat and the almost unbreathable air tied to the Sherpa fire 100 miles away.  I cut just two stems of pink Eustoma as a starting point.

Front view showing pink Eustoma front and center

From the back, the foliage of Acacia cognata 'Cousin Itt' makes me think of a dress with a long train (not that I've ever owned or worn one of those)

Top view


This vase balanced floral and foliage elements to a greater extent than the other two.

Clockwise from the upper left, the vase contains: Eustoma grandiflorum, Acacia cognata 'Cousin Itt', Origanium 'Monterey Bay', Pelargonium peltatum, Persicaria capitata, and Pseuderanthemum 'Texas Tri-star'


As soon as I went into the house, the birds made a bee-line for the fountain.  The critters have as much trouble with our heatwaves as we do.

This Spotted Towhee enjoyed a refreshing bath once the coast was clear


Sitting at my desk late Sunday afternoon, I could literally see plants withering through my office window.  The Shasta daisies, which looked great Sunday morning, have already shriveled.  I wish now that I'd cut all of them.  Despite a good soaking on Saturday, I fear that some plants may not make it through the first official day of summer.

But my blue and white vase gives a sense of pleasant coolness to the dining room table.



The vase with the 'Champagne' Eustoma adds cheer to the front entry.



And the vase containing the "true" pink Eustoma found a place on the bedroom mantle.



Pipig gets to relax in the air-conditioned comfort of the house as the heat intensifies today.  I have to head off into the heat for jury service, leaving my garden to its own devices.




Visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden to find more vases.


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

34 comments:

  1. Three different, yet very beautiful creations, Kris! I love the color themes you have such a great eye for. I guess summer has started for you with a vengeance. I noted yesterday that most of the US was having sunny weather - so unusual. Good time for a satellite shot. ;) Pipig is so sweet, I could smush him/her up! Good luck with jury duty.

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    1. The summer solstice sent the temperature into the stratosphere here today, Eliza. The sweet peas and the Leucanthemum are all toast and, unfortunately, they aren't alone.

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  2. You've made great use of the "rescues," a label that they've outshone. Especially love the reds in the last vase. Hope the heat and smoke abate Kris for your enjoyment and safety.

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    1. We hit 105F here this afternoon. Off-hand, I can't remember going that high in the 5 years we've been here. Hopefully, the temperature will decline as expected beginning tomorrow.

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  3. Heat is hard on all of us and our gardens...117 in PHX where my family lives....too much. Been in the 90s here a few days. And a few plants are struggling.

    I love looking forward to your vases Kris...3 exceptional ones....blue and white Agapanthus were a surprise but it is all the unusual foliage that i love....you really challenge me to find great foliage for my vases!

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    1. I can't even imagine a temperature at 117F but we reached 105F here today. Needless to say, it polished off a lot of plants, although some, like the Agapanthus, show no signs of stress.

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  4. All your 3 vases are simply beautiful, Kris!

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  5. I just did an emergency watering and we also put out some water -filled Tupperware for the birds. I noticed even a couple of lizards decided it's best to hang out at water overflow on the patio. Current temp., 110.6º. Beautiful vases as always. Meow to Pipig.

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    1. Ugh, 110+! We maxed out at 105F today but the garden is seriously stressed and a lot of plants look like goners. I did more emergency watering this evening after being released from jury service but it looks like too little too late.

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  6. Love the three different colour palettes of each arrangement, all lovely!

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    1. Thanks guys! I'd like to say I envisioned a rainbow of vases but it was really more a matter of selecting what should I cut before I lose it. Unfortunately, I didn't cut enough and lost a lot to today's scorching heat.

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  7. Hi Kris, I like all three bouquets! I wonder if the normally pink tints in Champagne' Eustoma faded due to the heat. Many pink and yellow blooms fade to white in our summer heat. Temps here are into mid and upper 90s, though today is only up to 88, with 38% humidity. Almost pleasant! I feel for those people with temps well into 3 digits!

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    1. The heat really didn't hit here until Friday, Deb - we've been unusually cool in May and early June. I've noticed that the petals of the pink Eustoma do deepen in color as they age so it's possible I should have just left them in place longer.

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  8. I'm watching the Dog Head fire, as my niece lives nearby.

    The last vase with the contrast of light and dark is lovely.

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    1. New Mexico is having a lot of problems with fire. I hope your niece and her family remain safe. It's looking as though it's going to be a difficult summer and I hope people don't make things worse with illegal fireworks here to celebrate our Independence Day.

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  9. Did I tell you I tried unsuccessfully to grow eustoma from seed? :( I have always enjoyed seeing yours but the 'proper' pink is far prettier than its 'white' counterpart in my view, although the foliage brings out the green centres of the eustoma in the first vase. Love the blue & whites too, but what a shame your plants are going to lose out in the hote temoeratures, although of course you will be used to it. Thanks for sharing

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    1. I've read that Eustoma seeds are notoriously difficult to germinate, Cathy - I tried them too before resorting to plugs. After the heat spike today, I may be back to creating vases using succulent cuttings all too soon.

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  10. SPECTACULAR POST

    I'm running out of adjectives here - the entire house full of flowers in one day. Time for a party I should think.

    Sad that your climate stops you from going outside as much as you would wish. But it is certainly perfect for growing flowers. Such abundance.
    I'm going for a second look through the pictures.

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    1. If we could just avoid our periodic heatwaves this would be a very good climate for growing flowers, Joanna, but the summers seem to be getting more extreme with each passing year and of course our ongoing drought makes our plants less resilient too.

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  11. Oh Kris I admire your energy getting out there to rescue those beautiful flowers from what sounds like stiffing heat. That bird has the right idea as does your beautiful cat.

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    1. The poor critters really suffer during periods like this, Anna. (I'm not including Pipig in that category as she's one spoiled cat.) Right now, I'm even feeling sorry for the raccoons and the squirrels.

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  12. "Pink Champagne" may not be very pink, but it's gorgeous! I would be curious to know whether the color does intensify eventually. All your arrangements are lovely and refreshing - as usual ;-) Hope the weather conditions improve... We've even had fire issues locally, which is much less common; but with everything so hot and dry, it's not too surprising. Hope your jury duty went well; Pipig looks set to make a good day in spite of everything - intelligent cat :)

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    1. I noticed that 'Pink Champagne' IS slightly pinker this evening than it was yesterday, Amy, so maybe the blooms will eventually develop the color shown in the grower's catalog.

      I got sprung from jury duty. Three of the 4 cases on today's docket were settled without a trial and my number didn't come up for the one remaining panel selection. I'm free for at least another year!

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  13. Congrats on getting out of jury duty! We had a similar heat wave the last time I was called for service - I blame it for a couple of plants I lost. Good on you for making the most of your flower riches though, I'm sure they're responding well to the A/C.

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    1. In retrospect, I wish I'd gotten up at 4:30am to do hand-watering before I had to leave for jury duty - even with the watering I did the night before, I know the garden needed more yesterday morning even if I didn't expect the heat we got. Lesson learned, I guess.

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  14. While I was rescuing my blooms from the threatened downpours you were doing the same thing for the heat. The rain was in fact much less than forecast as is often the way. Whereas from your replies to comments I read that your plants are really suffering. I love all the beautifully colour themed vases but if I had to pick a favourite it would be the blue and white; that's a particular favourite colour combination for me.

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    1. Although the June gloom is back this morning and the irrigation system ran during the early morning hours, the damage is widespread. It's discouraging, especially as this kind of intense heat usually doesn't arrive until August.

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  15. Once again three, count 'em three, beautiful arrangements. Your garden is like a fabulous florist shop and you create terrific combinations with the treasures you grow.

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    1. If I'd had any sense, I'd have cut all my sweet peas and Shasta daisies - and maybe positioned every umbrella we own to provide temporary shade. While I lost lots of flowers, I'm also impressed that some - like the Agapanthus and the Eustoma - stood up to that horrible heat.

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  16. I love them all Kris, but I do have a favourite - that first vase with the delicious creamy Eustoma is for me the perfect example of a summer vase from California! The foliage is lovely too. Phylica is something else new to me, which I will now go and look up! :) Hope your temperatures drop a little.

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    1. If the start of summer is any indication, Cathy, the perfect example of a California summer vase this year may be one filled with cactus! Our top temperature dropped 30 degrees Fahrenheit between yesterday (105F) and today (75F). It's pleasant now but the heatwave cost me a lot of flowers and probably more than a few plants.

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  17. The Eustoma is dazzling. I remember how wonderful they were on your blog last year. Almost bought some at Roger's to try, almost. Beautiful arrangements as always...wow you dared to trim you Phylica?!?

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    1. I probably wouldn't have cut that Phylica stem if it hadn't been sticking up well above the rest of the plant. It really did look like a feather duster. The heat took a toll on the 2 Phylica I planted in the ground but I hope they'll be okay. The plant in the pot took the heat in stride.

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