Monday, January 9, 2017

In a Vase on Monday: Cleaning Up

I took advantage of a warm, dry spell to do some clean-up in the garden this weekend.  My chores started with cutting back the tall, lanky stems of Melianthus major to make way for the new growth that had already sprouted at the plant's base.  I pulled the snapdragons that were covered in rust in the cutting garden, preserving just a few of the less blemished stems.  I cut the Narcissus flowers that got plastered in our last rain storm to save them the indignity of a repeat performance when rain arrived again Sunday night.  And I cut back the floppy stems of the Copper Canyon daisies (Tagetes lemmonii), the Moroccan daisies (Rhodanthemum hosmariense) that had their faces in the dirt, and some lanky stems of stock (Matthiola incana).  All these elements were retained for use in this week's vase, or rather vases.  While the Melianthus foliage complemented everything well enough, the flowers fought with one another and had to be separated.

I'd wanted to use purple and blues this week; however, there weren't enough blooms in those colors to make a splash.  In contrast, the pink flowers in the garden screamed for attention.

Pink flowers were used as the focal point in this vase with purple and blue serving as accents

Most of the purple and blues were relegated to the back of the vase

The large leaves of the Melianthus made it difficult to get decent views of the vases from the top

Clockwise from the upper left, this vase contains: Camellia x williamsii 'Taylor's Perfection', noID Dianthus, Lavandula multifida, Limonium perezii, Melianthus major, Rhodanthemum hosmariense, Globularia indubia, and Matthiola incana


The last few stems of the snapdragons set the color scheme for the second vase.

I tried to give the arrangement some panache with the first Calla Lily of the season

The back is all about the Melianthus foliage

Clockwise from the left, the vase contains: Zantedeschia aethiopica, Antirrhinum majus, noID Narcissus, Melianthus major, and Tagetes lemmonii


I threw the leftover stems of Melianthus and Narcissus into a third vase because I didn't have the heart to toss them in the trash.



Both the Narcissus and the Tagetes have scents my husband doesn't particularly like but he hasn't complained (yet).

The pink and purple vase sits in the entry; the second vase is on the dining room table; and the third is in my office


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


All material © 2012-2017 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

34 comments:

  1. I really love the vase that the pink blooms are in, both sides of it - I think you have showed it before, haven't you? The dianthus and the camellia are such beautiful shades and the melianthus leaves form the perfect backdrop to show them off, just as they do for the narcissus. Thank you for sharing with us.

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    1. My mother bought the white vase for me from a trip to Finland many, many years ago. I like it too but I don't use it quite as much as I'd like as it needs taller stemmed flowers than I generally have on hand.

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  2. It's so lovely to see all your colour. It really lifts the spirits. Scents are a very particular thing to individuals, aren't they? I did a tiny amount of tidying up outside but it's much more tempting to stay in.

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    1. I like the smell of the Tagetes lemmonii but my husband detests it and I've heard from others that feel the same. Narcissus seems to be too sweet for some people. Luckily, noses seem to be "blind" with exposure.

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  3. Lovely as always. All three are gorgeous but something about the third afterthough vase is appealing. So simple and sweet. Love the way melianthus looks in a vase!

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    1. It was tempting to construct a vase only with Melianthus, especially as I had so much of it!

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  4. Melianthus has a funky smell too. They call it peanut butter plant, which is odd, since it is poisonous. I cut the stems slowly as the flowers turn to seed and fade.

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    1. My Melianthus has yet to flower, which probably means I'm cutting it back too soon, but, after cutting out the dead pieces it looks sad with the remaining long, lanky stems. I've heard that its smell bothers some people but I'm unable to detect any scent at all from the leaves, although the cold I appear to have developed possibly accounts for that.

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  5. Fun to see the Melianthus leaves in three very different arrangements. I think the Calla lily provided the panache you were after!

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    1. Calla Lily plants are popping up all over, especially along our back slope of all places. I may have dozens of flowers this year given all the rain we've been getting.

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  6. Wow, I love that Melianthus! The vases all look great, the first one is my favorite.

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    1. I wish the Camellias lasted longer in a vase. I thought I was saving them by cutting stems and bringing them inside as the rain seems to knock them off in short order but it appears that they're not overly fond of the warm,dry air inside either. Finicky things!

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  7. What fun to watch the Melianthus foliage pop up across all three vases. Oh and "cleaning up" is a great way to fill some vases, nice work!

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    1. It's too bad I can't think of anything to do with the pruned rose canes - that might get me out to tackle the job.

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  8. Your use of Melianthus leaves makes me pleased I, at last, grew some last year. Mine are looking a bit sad after the cold weather but I hope they'll recover. As usual it is difficult to pick a favourite from your lovely vases. Do the Paperwhites grow in your garden, here they are considered an indoor plant and never re-flower in a second year. Do they reflower in your garden?

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    1. I inherited all the paperwhites with the house and, yes, they're all growing outside in spots ranging from the border along the living room windows, to under an orange tree, and, of all places, the back slope! Like the Calla Lilies, they come back each winter, although they appear much more floriferous this year.

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  9. All this colour on a gloomy January day is a sight for sore eyes. I love all three and how casual that the third was saved from the garbage. And here we are rooting around for bits of twigs and leaves.

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    1. I shouldn't be so cavalier about my remnants this time of year!

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  10. Never has a clean up looked more beautiful, Kris, and your vases are certainly a far cry from my icy one! It's raining today so I shall have to keep the new vase in the freezer for a while. Have a fab week :)

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    1. We're expecting another rainstorm here today too. It's good for us in SoCal but Northern California, getting the brunt of all this rain, is taking a beating.

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  11. Those little narcissus flowers are pretty - love that second arrangement especially, and the third one with the leftover narcissus. That's the problem with some flowers isn't it - they just smell a little too overpowering. I can cope with peonies indoors, and my cyclamen too, but that's about it!

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    1. We have to go easy with the Freesia blooms here - a single flower can perfume a whole room. How I'd love to have peonies to bring indoors! Maybe the heavier rain will actually prompt my Itoh peony to bloom this year.

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  12. The combination of colours in the fist vase is my favourite, but the others are also beautiful!

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  13. Kris, these are amazing. Ironic the rain is now messing up your narcissus. The foliage of Melianthus along with Narcissus makes a great statement. The other vases work well also and it's fun to see the dianthus, which I love.

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    1. It's the placement of this particular clump of Narcissus that makes it prone to flattening, I think. I haven't planted Dianthus in years but a vacancy left by the removal of a dead plum tree opened up space for something different in the border in my vegetable, now cutting, garden.

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  14. The Melianthus foliage really grabs the eye--so dramatic!

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    1. It's a little of a drama queen too, I've discovered. In my garden at least, it wants a little bit of shade during the hottest time of day and some protection from the wind.

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  15. I love everything about the lines of the first arrangement (including the lines on the vase) - motion and flow. The Melianthus leaves are quite something to behold and the camellia is so lovely!

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    1. Now that I know how well Melianthus holds up in a vase, I may use it more often. I haven't detected any of the unpleasant odor people often attribute to it either.

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  16. What a fantastic foliage filler that Melianthus is - I have tried to grow it here but it never makes it through the winter. You still have so many flowers!! I love your camellia - mine are full of buds but will not flower for a couple of months yet - thank you for sharing yours!

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    1. Our winters are so mild that they pose no threat to the Melianthus or other tender plants, Julie - it's our summers that present the biggest challenge to survival.

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  17. I love the combination of camellias and dianthus - delightfully unexpected :) And I always enjoy seeing Tagetes lemmonii in your vases, I will have to grow it to find out about the scent, I suppose, but I usually enjoy Tagetes scents... Also love the drama of your narcissus/melianthus arrangement! BTW, my Limonium perezii is just opening its first flowers - I'm thrilled! I wouldn't have known to get it if it hadn't been for your garden :)

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    1. Limonium makes a great cut flower, Amy. They work well in dried flower arrangements too.

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