Monday, August 1, 2016

In a Vase on Monday: Fuzzy Touches

I'm a little in love with my first vase this week.  I finally broke down and cut a stem of the green Eustoma grandiflorum (Lisianthus) growing in the backyard.  Of the 6 plugs of the green variety I obtained by mail order this spring only one plant has produced green flowers thus far.  The blooms fade as they age, looking more pale yellow than mint green in the strong outdoor sunlight.

The Lisianthus flower buds look greener than the fully opened blooms

The back view flaunts the foliage elements

Top view


I considered a number of possible companions for the pale blooms of the green Lisianthus but, to avoid eclipsing their delicate color, I stuck mainly to plants with equally soft colors.

Clockwise from the upper left, the vase contains: unnamed green Eustoma grandiflorum, Achillea 'Moondust', Bouteloua gracilis 'Blonde Ambition (shown with Leucadendron salignum 'Chief), Coprosma 'Evening Glow', Phylica pubescens (aka Featherhead), and Xylosma congestum.  The vase itself is a decorative teapot that once belonged to my mother-in-law.


Thrilled as I am with the green Lisianthus, the fuzzy Featherhead and the 'Blonde Ambition'  ornamental grass may steal the show.  I've coveted the latter since I saw it at Tongva Park in Santa Monica back in 2013.  (Click here if you'd like to view my post on Tongva Park, which was designed by James Corner, the landscape architect responsible for the High Line in New York City.)  For unknown reasons, the plants haven't been available locally but I recently obtained 5 from a mail order nursery.  (Once again I broke my own rule against planting during the summer months  - but the plants were on sale and they're drought tolerant!).

I still have some pink Eustoma grandiflorum so of course I again have a second vase containing that flower.  The blooms are gradually fading and they don't last as long in the vase as they did when the stems were fresher but even I'm surprised at the value I've gotten from these plants.  The double pink-flowered Lisianthus may well be the Energizer Bunny of summer blooms.  Maybe it's no coincidence they're both pink.

Front view

A very similar back view, highlighting the fuzzy beauty of the ornamental grass's purple tassels

Top view

Clockwise from the left, the vase contains: Eustoma grandiflorum ('Echo Pink' cultivar I think), Coprosma 'Plum Hussey', burgundy Pelargonium peltatum, dark pink Pelargonium, Pennisetum 'Fireworks', and dry seedpods of Phlomis fruticosa


Last week's vases met a premature end.  No, Pipig played no role in their demise (this time).  Our air conditioning system conked out.  The earliest date we could get a repairman in was Wednesday of this week so, despite slightly cooler temperatures, we steam-cooked inside over the next few days as the humidity rose.  (Southern California's heat has traditionally been called a "dry heat" but it's seemed a lot less dry this year.)  While we waited out the arrival of the repairman, my husband rush-ordered an inexpensive replacement part on the chance that it'd do the trick.  The great news is that it did so the AC is back on and we hope to string our system out through the remainder of the summer, planning to replace it in the fall when the prices of AC units should fall to more palatable levels.  Hopefully, with cooler indoor temperatures, this week's vases will last a bit longer than the last ones.

The first arrangement sits on the dining room table

The second arrangement sits in the front entry


Visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden, our "IaVoM" host, to see what she and other gardeners are featuring in their vases this week.


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

29 comments:

  1. Your first "green" arrangement looks very at home on the dining table. Oh and I LOVE that you used Phlomis fruticosa seed pods in the second. Those are a fav of mine and have almost grown the plant just for the left overs, so to speak.

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    1. The seedpods of Leonotis leonurus are even more dramatic - and the flowers are orange - so that one might be a better one for you to grow ;) I was kicking myself for having cut off and tossed out the Leonotis pods just days before.

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  2. Your arrangements always have such panache, Kris. Love your teapot! I think the pink eustoma, dark geranium and grass fronds are a beautiful combination, a favorite combo with me.

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    1. I'm running out of ideas for pairings with those pink Eustoma, Eliza...

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  3. Omigosh! your AC conked out? What next? What a cruel summer this is turning out to be and it's hardly half over for us. On first sight, I ooed and awed over the white flowered vase. Delightful.

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    1. This AC outage lasted days instead of hours but at least my husband was able to fix it himself, at next to no cost too, even if it took awhile to get the required part. The system has been been in questionable shape since we moved in and we pushed our luck a bit too far - that's on us. The fact that the days have been hot enough since June to require running the thing daily, well that's outside our control.

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  4. Once again, I'm amazed at how well eustoma does in your garden. And I'm so glad you mentioned Tongva Park -- I've been meaning to visit. I've seen the eyebrow grass available in gallons locally but it doesn't seem to "show" well in pots at nurseries -- maybe why it's scarce. Wonderful vases!

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    1. Tongva's landscape isn't nearly as varied as High Line's but it's definitely worth a visit, Denise. The only trouble is the traffic and the parking - the usual woes of life in the greater LA area.

      My Bouteloua came from Annie's in 4-inch pots and were definitely unimpressive upon delivery but I was surprised just how fast those characteristic eyebrow-shaped flowers appeared.

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  5. Fancy having a grass that matches the colour of your flowers.
    Great mosaic. Nudge, nudge:-)

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    1. I don't know that any of my photo collages live up to your mosaic challenge, Joanna, but I'll see if I can come up with something. I've played with some of the free collage effects but my skill level is pretty low.

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  6. The 'green' bloom seems almost surreal (and I hope you get more blooms from this batch!) and the greenery helps to bring out iits greenness, but the pink eustoma combined the pretty grass in the second vase is a sure fire winner!

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    1. I hope I get more of those green blooms too, Cathy. I planted 18 plugs in the same general area, 6 of which were supposed to be the green variety, but several have simply disappeared. I know a couple were incinerated in our June heatwave but I don't remember removing 5 of them...

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  7. Beautiful selection as usual! And glad to hear your AC got sorted, otherwise more cooked arrangements!

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    1. Not to speak of my husband and I being cooked as well!

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  8. Love the green Lisianthus! and the grass with the pink ones was an inspired addition. We spent one summer with partial room air conditioning for the same reason.

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    1. I don't think I could have survived the rest of the summer without AC! The repair company offered us an earlier "emergency" visit for a $300 surcharge on top of their usual fee but we thought we could limp through a few extra days without AC as the daytime highs had come down a bit. Ha! We're just lucky my husband's fix worked.

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  9. Beautiful, as always! I always struggle with cutting flowers for the house when I only have a few of them in the garden. It seems easier to cut flowers when removing them doesn't leave a gap in the garden. -Jean

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    1. I've become freer about cutting flowers from my garden over the past year or so but I still prefer to cut what's plentiful for the most far. However, as summer's heat can put a quick end to blooms here (especially given our water restrictions), cutting flowers can seem the best way to ensure some time to enjoy them.

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  10. Kris, your vases are fresh and lovely. The foliage surrounding that green Lisianthus is a great idea. Love the varied soft textures. The second vase is beautiful as well. Glad you husband worked his magic with the A/C. Hope it's smooth sailing for you for the rest of the summer.

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    1. We lived in a local beach city for many years before moving here, where it was a good 10 degrees cooler on average. We still haven't adapted to the increased temperatures and rely on AC to see us through the summer months. We're both grateful for the quick(ish) fix to the AC.

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  11. Oh, I am so jealous of your Lisanthus flowers! I tried growing them from seed this year, I bought expensive seeds in pellets and did everything as described. None of them germinated. So disappointing. I think I will need a heated propagator and plant lights to do it correctly. Over here no one sell plug plants of them so I think I will have to continue enjoying them on your photos :-)
    Your vases are absolutely lovely as always, just the kind of colours I love!
    Isn’t it just Sod’s law that the AC packs up during the height of the summer? Just as the boiler for the central heating here in Britain always breaks down during February, the coldest months of the year :-)

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    1. The Eustoma/Lisianthus seeds are notoriously hard to germinate, Helene. I tried them myself a couple of years ago and failed. Coincidentally, as I was clearing out some old copies of a garden magazine this week, I found an article on Lisianthus (from 2006!). It said to start it from seed "if you like a challenge and have plenty of patience," going on to state that it can take 5-6 months to produce blooms. I'm sticking to starting with plugs, which fortunately are readily available here.

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    2. Well I am not adverse to challenges and I like to think I have plenty of patience – after all I grow lilies and cyclamens from seed, which takes respectively 8 and 10 years to flower! But I have not much space indoors, and all that faffing with grow lights and heated propagators and so one…I just don’t think it is for me. I turn the heating down in the house at night to save money, so to provide a constant temperature of 23 degrees for the seeds would require a good quality propagator. Nope, I don’t think I will attempt this again, let’s hope someone start to sell them as plugs over here too :-)

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    3. I haven't got anything like the energy you've demonstrated in growing and propagating plants, Helene. I keep saying that, when I've got a larger percentage of my garden filled in, I can give more time and attention to propagation but, in that case, I probably won't focus on Lisianthus either!

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  12. The first arrangement is quite lovely Kris - subtle and cooling with just gentle shades. We have air-con in two rooms for emergencies, as we get such humidity living right next to the woods. We only switch it on a few days a year, but it is such a relief when we do, so quite understand why the vases (and you too, no doubt) were wilting! ;-)

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    1. I wish we needed our AC only a few days a year, Cathy. Unfortunately, summers seem to be getting tougher here.

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  13. No wonder you were in love with that first arrangement! The textures are wonderful, and I think you hit the perfect balance to show off the green Eustoma. I also really like the combination of flowers, foliage and seedpods in your second arrangement :) So glad you've gotten your AC limping along again. It's always good to have a guy with good fix-it ideas on hand!

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    1. I didn't pick him out with that in mind but I'm glad the fix-it skills came with the package!

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