Monday, May 29, 2017

In a Vase on Monday: Artichokes on my mind

Thankfully, the weather did turn cooler last week so the foxgloves got a stay of execution; however, the winds have been persistent so, when it came time to select flowers for "In a Vase on Monday," the meme hosted by Cathy of Rambling in the Garden, I was still focused on using the flowers I thought might soon be gone, including the foxgloves and Renga Lilies.  This week I chose to combine the two and used Centaurea 'Silver Feather' to bring out the pinkish-lavender colors in both.

Front view with freshly cut artichokes

Back view

Top view

Clockwise from the left, the vase contains: Centaurea 'Silver Feather';  Achillea 'Moonshine'; last week's mystery plant, tentatively identified by 2 Texas bloggers as Artemisia ludoviciana; Arthropodium cirratum (aka Renga Lily); Digitalis purpurea; Polygala myrtifolia 'Mariposa'; and Tanacetum niveum


So what's with the reference to artichokes?  The buds of 'Silver Feather' made me think of artichokes as they break into flower, which in turn sent me on a foray down the back slope to see if there were more artichokes to cut for dinner.  We've already eaten several.  I cut two more, immediately dropping them a bucket of soapy water.  (Horrid things crawl out of the chokes when they're cut but soapy water puts a quick end to them.)

I allowed the largest artichoke on the plant growing along the back slope to flower this year, as shown on the left.  The artichoke-like buds of the Centaurea can be seen on the right.


As today is Memorial Day in the US, a red, white and blue combination was also called for but I didn't have any suitable red flowers on hand so I went with orange, white and blue.

Front view: the parade of Agapanthus has begun!

Back view: the Leonotis looks like it's going to put on a good show this year

Top view

Clockwise from the left, the vase contains: noID Agapanthus, Abelia x grandiflora 'Hopley's Variegated', Cuphea 'Vermillionaire', Leonotis leonurus, Leucanthemum x superbum, Salvia clevelandii 'Winnifred Gilman', and Zinnia 'Whirligig' with Ornithogalum dubium


Best wishes to all enjoying a long holiday weekend in the US, UK and whichever other countries are observing a holiday at the end of May.  Visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden to find more vases cobbled together from floral and foliage materials close at hand.

My vases in their places



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

38 comments:

  1. Artichokes in bloom are gorgeous so we've yet to eat a single artichoke from the one plant in my garden. Your arrangements are, as always, delightful and illustrate the bounty of your garden in all seasons. Your Arthropodium cirratum continues to intrigue me and Annie's says that it's hardy in my zone and is perfectly content in dry shade of which I have plenty. Thanks for the weekly dose of beauty from the sunshine state!

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    1. The Arthropodium has been a good investment for me, Peter. The plants beef up relatively quickly and are easily divided - once you have it, you'll always have it.

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  2. Opening your posts are a good way for me to work on quelling my envy - haha! Artichokes from your own garden -waa! ;)
    Perfect pairing of vase to flowers in #1 - foxglove, centaurea and renga lilies, light and airy with the lines in the vase bring the eye down to anchor them.
    #2 Love the agapanthus and leonotis - with all the buds yet to come I'd find it hard to cut them, but its a good way to practice abundance. ;) Lovely set as always, Kris!

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    1. I usually hesitate to cut my Leonotis, Eliza, but the 2 plants I have seem to be producing an abundance of flower spikes this year. It's probably another byproduct of our wonderful winter rains. And there's never a shortage of Agapanthus here - there was a plentiful supply of flowers even at the height of the drought.

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  3. That's a really pretty centaurea, Kris - and that's a valid comparison with the artichoke! The silvery foliage in the first vase sets the other colours off perfectly, and your memorial vase looks the part even with the orange leonotis. Thnaks for sharing

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    1. I'd just about given up on getting any blooms on the Centaurea as there were none in either 2015 or 2016. I bought the plants for the foliage but the flowers are a welcome bonus.

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  4. Love the orange, white and blue arrangement! Perfect complement of colors. I've grown artichokes, but I've never eaten a freshly picked and cooked one, I just let mine flower. Sounds like they are as buggy as Brussels sprouts, whose aphid-covered buds put me off ever growing them again.

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    1. I've never grown brussels sprouts but artichokes are the worst I've seen in terms of bugs. The soapy bucket of water works well, though - I don't even see the bugs before they drown now.

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  5. As always, your flower arrangements are lovely! Lucky you to grow artichokes; great veggie, and I had no idea it produced such an attractive bloom.

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    1. I've always cut the artichokes before they bloom myself but I decided to let the far central choke go this time so I could see the bloom. I'm glad I did. Now I'm wondering what the plant would look like if I'd let them all bloom.

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  6. Lovely vases, both. Your comment "Horrid things crawl out of the chokes when they're cut" gave me the creeps! Glad you've come up with a way to get them out. It looks like my Leonotis didn't make it through our cold winter. I'm bummed as I loved those flowers. Still haven't found a replacement plant.

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    1. I think ants were the problem the first time I grew artichokes but those aren't half as bad as the earwigs that came streaming out of the first chokes I cut this year. I've taken a bucket of soapy water with me on each subsequent trip - earwigs are disgusting!

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  7. The Agapanthus looks great with orange, and the 'Winifred Gilman' must supply a chaparral scent. The blue vase adds a lot as it matches the Agapanthus.

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    1. I was surprised at how intense the smell of just 3 small stems of 'Winnifred Gilman' were in that vase, HB. The color is so much more satisfying than that of 'Allen Chickering'.

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  8. Pretty delicate colours, I like the silver and lilac. Your patriotic vase is explosive with colour. These really work together, don't they though you might not think of them at first. I always meet new plants here which is fun.

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    1. I usually think of pairing yellow with orange but I like it with blue so much more.

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  9. Isn't the artichoke flower just fabulous Kris? I hope that you enjoyed your feast. Two jam packed vases of flowers again. I don't know how you do it each week. I especially like the orange and blue combination and the blue vase. I didn't realise that today was a holiday in the U.S. too. I hope that you are enjoying the day.

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    1. I love artichokes and that plant on my dry back slope has been amazingly productive this year, Anna. It's probably the result of our heavier-than-usual winter rains but it has me wondering where I can put more artichoke plants. They need a LOT of room.

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  10. Thanks for the artichoke lesson. The flower is amazing. Both vases are great. I love the blue of Agapanthus with that orange in the second one.

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    1. I'm pleased I found something new to combine with Agapanthus flowers this year, Susie.

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  11. Great bouquets as always. But that was very surprising info about the artichokes. Learn something new every day!

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    1. Frankly, I'd forgotten how buggy artichockes can be when I cut the first 2 chokes from the plant earlier this month. Then the earwigs came out and started crawling up my arm as I headed back up the slope. I won't forget again...

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  12. You always do creative arrangements. I fancy the lavender and yellow but the red white and blue one is not only pretty but endearing.

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    1. Thanks Patsi! I try to keep from repeating myself but I admit it gets difficult sometimes.

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  13. I love the airiness of your first vase, especially from above. Hope you had a good day yesterday; we have a holiday here on Friday, it's Republic day I think.

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    1. I hope you enjoy a nice long weekend then, Cristina. And that the weather is good!

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  14. Lovely flower arrangements. I'm intrigued by the image of horrid things crawling out of the chokes - potential protein?

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    1. Protein for something perhaps but not me! The bugs in question are earwigs. Your comment did prompt me to look them up on Wikipedia. They're unusual among non-social insects in demonstrating maternal care for their young. Birds and lizards will prey on them but there was no mention of humans eating them. My large population of lizards need to get to work!

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  15. Wow, fresh artichokes from your own garden! I love that Centaurea - quite different to mine but oh so very pretty. The second vase is gorgeous - the Agapanthus get a big thumbs up from me!

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    1. Sadly, Cathy, Agapanthus are viewed as rather ordinary here, where they're used everywhere from foundation plantings to street medians. I inherited a LOT of these with the garden and I've come to appreciate their vigor, resilience and beauty.

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  16. Lovely combinations, colour rhapsody as always! Hope your long weekend was a good one!

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    1. It was very pleasant. Even the weather was good for a change - not too hot or too cold.

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  17. Great combo and photos, really nice. Greetings!

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  18. Both vases are beautiful, and I love the Centaurea/artichoke match! (Also I'm unlikely to forget even your description of the earwigs running up your arm - yikes!!) I'm intrigued by your ID of the Artemisia, as A. ludoviciana is said to be native here.
    Okay, this is the last comment I'll leave today for fear of spamming you, but it's been so nice to finally be able to go back through your posts...!

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    1. I always appreciate your comments, Amy! Yes, should you grow artichokes, come prepared with a bucket of soapy water when you plan to cut some.

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