Monday, May 22, 2017

In a Vase on Monday: The heat is on!

Our temperatures soared above 90F (32+C) this past weekend and the Santa Ana winds returned, stressing both the garden and the gardener.  Unlike our earlier bout with heat a few weeks ago, it didn't cool down significantly at night and the marine layer characteristic of this time of year, known locally as "May Gray," was a no-show.  So, instead of an open-ended journey of discovery, this week's Sunday foray into the garden in search of plant material for "In a Vase on Monday" was more of a search and rescue operation.

My biggest concern was the foxgloves (Digitalis purpurea) in my cutting garden.  I've already pulled out my sweet peas and Iceland poppies to make room for sunflowers, zinnias, and dahlias.  The sweet peas and poppies began blooming in February so they had a decent run before the earlier heat spell withered them in place.  On the other hand, the foxgloves didn't begin blooming until the latter part of April so I've been reluctant to pull them out, even if they're no longer looking their best.  I chose the stems least marred by the heat for my vase.

The foxglove stems aren't as tall or voluminous as those I cut for earlier vases

The back view is much the same as the front

Top view

Clockwise from the left, the vase contains: Digitalis purpurea, Ocimum hybrid (aka African blue basil), the last of the Matthiola incana (aka stock), and Ozothamnus diosmifolius (aka rice flower)


I had more fun with the second vase, which utilized summer blooms.  The Renga Lilies (Arthropodium cirratum) are all in full bloom now and I had longer stems to play with this week.  My Shasta daisies are also making their first appearance this year, joined by an unexpected flush of flowers I hadn't expected to see until much later.

The blooms on Aster chilensis 'Purple Haze', now classified as Symphyotrichum chilensis, were utterly unexpected  

The gray foliage plant, shown here in the back view of the vase, is a bit of a mystery. Seedlings of what looked like lamb's ear appeared in various spots in my garden in late winter and, although the leaves are narrower than the Stachys byzantina I've grown elsewhere, I concluded that it must be that.  I transferred the seedlings to the cutting garden.  Now I'm not so sure.

Getting a top view of this arrangement was tough.  I had to stand on a chair to get this photo and still wasn't tall enough.

Clockwise from the upper left, the vase contains: Arthropodium cirratum, Symphyotrichum chilensis 'Purple Haze', Globularia x indubia, Leucanthemum x superbum, the plant that may or may not be Stachys byzantina, and Tanacetum niveum

Here's a look at the purported lamb's ear in my cutting garden.  If you have any other guesses as to what it might be, please pass them along.  I don't think its a sage - it has no scent.  It feels like lamb's ear but the leaves have remained narrow.  It's also grown quite tall without developing any sign of flowers.


Our heatwave is expected to last another couple of days but the marine layer is back full-force this morning, which should at least moderate our temperature along the coast.  I can almost hear the garden sigh with relief - or maybe that was just me.

Visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden, our "In a Vase on Monday" host, to see what other gardeners have used in their vases this week.

The finished vases in their places




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

28 comments:

  1. Lovely arrangements as always, and hopefully the heatwave won't cause any damage!

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    1. The onset of the heat usually signals the end for the more more tender spring blooming plants but it shouldn't harm the summer bloomers unless the temperature heads into the triple digits for days on end. Today was a bit cooler and tomorrow should be cooler still.

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  2. I can see why you were happy to rescue those blooms from the Santa Annas. Especially the foxgloves. I'm sure they don't care for those temperatures. Beautiful arrangements as always. Is it possible that your mystery plant is a type of artemisia? I have one that loos just like that and is incredibly invasive, spreading by underground runners.

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    1. I actually threw out half the foxglove stems I cut because they were already showing what I assume were burn marks. I think you and Shirley are right about the identity of my mystery plant. I was a little afraid I was transplanting a weed...

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  3. We were supposed to have two days in the mid 90's, today and tomorrow, but they've backed off a bit on tomorrow's forecast, only taking it up to the low 80's. I'm relieved as it's quite the temperature jump for our plants to endure. Hopefully your garden won't be too stressed by your heat! Love the Arthropodium cirratum, and Annie's says it's hardy to 15F. Hmmm....

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    1. Arthropodium cirratum is my go-to plant for dry shade, Loree. It even held up - and bloomed - on my tough back slope, although I eventually moved the plants to more hospitable areas. Given time (and water), it develops into a dense clump but it's easily divided. My original plants came from Annie's - it's the only nursery I've ever seen offer it.

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  4. Purty! I remember admirig Arthropodium cirratum in an arrangement of yours last year and like it even more this year. Maybe I'll need to make another order from Annie's. How unusual to have the flower formerly known as aster blooming at this time of year. Thanks for sharing your heat with us up this way!

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    1. The Aster/Symphyotrichum chilensis, purchased locally, bloomed in fall last year, Peter. Annie's also says it's a late summer/fall bloomer so I don't know what's up. I have 2 plants and the second is preparing to bloom also.

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  5. It's a constant battle in one way or another! Still I suppose it might be boring if it was too predictable? The silver invader is a mystery, I can't offer any ideas but it looks pretty and useful in a vase. I'm looking forward to my shasta daisies now I've seen yours. The Arthropodium makes a lovely airy vase.

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    1. If Mother Nature wants to mess with us, Alison, I'd be happier if she sent us unusually cool weather - or maybe spring/summer rain!

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  6. Sorry to hear about the heat - such anxiety for the garden. Love the Anthropodium - so elegant. Your arrangements are always so well put together and the colors compliment... it is amazing the variety you have and no repeats!
    Could your plant be some type of desert seedling? (I'm out of my climate zone here!) Maybe it will flower and give you a clue. Perhaps it's a hybrid-cross. :)

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    1. I Googled everything I could think of trying to identify that fuzzy silver plant without success, Eliza. I think Jenny (Rock Rose) and Shirley have probably got it right but the flowers should nail it if/when they appear.

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  7. Oh that sounds hot Kris and not much fun for either humans or plants. It may top 90F in some parts of the UK this weekend but thankfully not in this neck of the woods. You were most considerate rescuing those foxgloves in the nick of time and your other vase looks so fresh and cool. I've not gown Lamb's Ears for a long time but recollect the leaves as being much broader than those in your photo. Hope that somebody can put a name to them.

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    1. The fuzzy silver seedlings appeared first in the gravel surrounding the raised planters in my vegetable turned cutting garden. I thought maybe the difficult conditions might have stunted the leaves but, when the leaves didn't evolve to look more like lamb's ear after transplanting, I suspected I'd guess incorrectly. The Artemisia ID seems likely.

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  8. It's so hard on the garden when the heat shows up. You've done a beautiful job saving your spring flowers in a pretty vase arrangement.

    I agree with Jenny and think your mystery silver plant is Artemisia ludoviciana, a native artemisia also known as Estafiate in Spanish. It's commonly grown for medicinal uses and spreads aggressively so that may be how it turned up in your yard from hitchhiking in on another plant or seed. It's totally drought tolerant, I never watered it in my yard even during our drought and I love the silvery foliage as a backdrop for other plants.

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    1. Thanks Shirley! I think you and Jenny are probably right on the mark as to my mystery plant ID. If it develops yellow flowers, that will clinch it.

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  9. Both vases are simply lovely, Kris! The foxgloves look fabulous in that vase and I love the other complementary colors, not to mention the fun vase. The shasta daisies look so fresh in the summer flower arrangement — I lost mine this winter in our two days at 21 degrees. Luckily my neighbor has some in too much shade that she’s going to share with me, because I’m really missing them in the garden.

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    1. My Shasta daisies did NOT do well during the last couple of years of our drought, Diana, but this winter's rains seem to have given them a major boost. They do add a freshness to any bouquet.

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  10. The foxgloves still look lovely Kris, and your photos really show off their gorgeous markings. :) The second vase is fun and summery. I also thought of Artemisia for your mystery plant. Whatever it is, it's a wonderful silvery leaf for a vase filler. ;-)

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    1. I am happy with the Artemisia, Cathy, at least for the moment. However, if it gets as big as described by on-line sources or is as invasive as some commentators described, I may yet live to regret moving it into my cutting garden.

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  11. Beautiful.
    I loved meeting you.
    Janicce.

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    1. Thanks for visiting my blog, Janicce!

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  12. Beautiful foxgloves Kris. Hope you get a confirmation for the lamb's ears. Does look similar but those narrow leaves are quite different from mine. Often I get mine confused with rose campion when they're just beginning to emerge.

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    1. I have real lamb's ears elsewhere so the possibility that these were seedlings of those seemed likely when the plants were tiny but, as they grew, that ID became less likely. I suspect Jenny and Shirley have accurately identified the plants but I still don't know how they arrived here - in several locations yet.

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  13. Cool how your purple-range bouquet goes so well with the painting on the wall. I love those real fringe-y Shastas.

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    1. I love the shaggy daisies too. Like so much else, they seem to be doing exceptionally well this year.

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  14. So pretty! I wish a had a big enough garden to grow a lot of cut flowers.
    But I have to say that today I created a tiny bouquet of aquilegias and freesias :)

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    1. That sounds wonderful, Aga! My own freesias are already long gone.

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