Monday, May 1, 2017

In a Vase on Monday: Wild or just weird?


Last week I mentioned another plant I wanted to feature in a vase.  This is that plant:

Salvia lanceolata, a South African native aka Rocky Mountain Sage, recently featured in my April plant favorites post


As you can see, it has an unusual flower and, frankly, I wasn't sure what to do with it.  I cut several stems, stuck them in a jar with water, and meandered through the garden looking for suitable partners.  I thought the end result had a wild and romantic air about it but you'll be forgiven if you think it's just weird.

Front view, highlighting a wind-ravaged Rudbeckia stem, from the only one of 12 plugs planted last November that's bloomed thus far

Back view: wispy stems of Gaura have sprung into bloom in throughout the garden as our temperatures soared

Top view (views including grasses always look funky)

Clockwise from the upper left, the vase contains: Salvia lanceolata, Coprosma repens 'Plum Hussey', Dorycnium hirsutum (aka Hairy Canary Clover), Festuca californica, Gaura lindheimeri, and Rudbeckia 'Cherry Brandy'


Summer's advance becomes more evident each day.  In addition to rising temperatures, the wind here has been almost relentless for the past 2 weeks, sometimes producing gusts over 30 miles an hour.  Every time I admire a spring bloom in my garden, I fear it may be the last time for the season so, like a junkie in need of a spring floral fix,  I over-compensated this week by creating 2 more vases.  The first of these was inspired by Aquilegia 'Spring Magic', which just produced its first blooms.  I planted 3 clumps of this columbine in 2012 but, after our long drought, only one survives and its blooms generally don't last long.

Front view: the purplish-blue and white color of the columbine set the color scheme

Back view, which shows off the papery flowers of Limonium perezii and the first of the Achillea blooms

Top view, highlighting the white Centranthus

Clockwise from the upper left, the vase contains: Aquilegia 'Spring Magic', Achillea 'Moonshine', Centranthus ruber 'Albus', Lathyrus odoratus 'Big Blue', Limonium perezii, and Tanacetum niveum


The last vase was inspired by the bright orange flowers of Ornithogalum dubium.  I picked up this bulbous plant a few years ago and, lacking a good spot for it, stuck it in the corner of one of the raised planters in what is now my cutting garden.  It dies back every summer and I usually forget all about it until it returns following our winter rains.

Front view: I used my ornamental teapot for this arrangement but, in retrospect, it might have been better in a vase with a narrower neck to support the stems

Back view, dominated by the stems of Agonis flexuosa (aka peppermint willow)

Top view, showing how the stems tended to flop to the sides of the pot

Clockwise from the upper left, the vase contains: Ornithogalum dubium, Abelia 'Kaleidoscope', Agonis flexuosa 'Nana', Bulbine fruticosa 'Hallmark', Jacobaea maritima, and Rosa 'Golden Celebration'


Visit Cathy of Rambling in the Garden, our "In a Vase on Monday" host, to find more vases.  Or join in the fun and post photos of one of your own vases!

Today's vases in their places: the dining table, the coffee table in the living room, and the console table in the front entry



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

34 comments:

  1. I think you've got the rainbow green with envy. What a spectrum! Love the O. dubium, and that vase might be my fav.

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    1. We're on the cusp of summer, Denise, so I have the best of both spring and early summer to choose from - until it gets too hot, that is.

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  2. It is very easy for me to get green with envy as I look over at the flowers I bought at the grocery store this weekend. That salvia certainly has a lot of blooms all blooming together which does give its a bit of an untidy look, but your choices of companions was perfect. Love the rudbeckia. And a vase for every room too. Wonderful as usual. I wish our nurseries would offer us some more plant selections. Even for a short season I would be happy to have a few of the ones you grow.

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    1. Your garden always seems stuffed to the gills with blooms, Jenny, but I know the feeling. I always covet what I can't grow - tulips, peonies, the list goes on and on...

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  3. The rainbow and daily spectrum well-represented. Orange/lemon yellow like a sunny morning. Blue/purple with a touch afternoon sun and the dark burgundy of evening. That Salvia is funky, I like the smoky color and it goes well with the guara and rudbeckia. I love them all, of course!

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    1. I think the Salvia is probably best on it's own in the garden, Eliza, but that probably won't stop me from continuing to look around for suitable companions for it.

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  4. You do create the most swoon-worthy vases! I like your first one and do think it is wild and romantic and more open and airy than you often do. A definitely success.

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    1. Thanks Linda! I was fairly pleased with my first effort with that Salvia, although I think it could have done with more Rudbeckia. If only plants would bloom on demand!

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  5. That is a great salvia, the color is superb. Fine choice to pair it with Rudbeckia 'Cherry Brandy'. Your other two vases are beautiful in their own right Kris. I agree it feels like summer is coming on very now, but you have lots of gorgeous blooms to enjoy.

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    1. We've been toasty here for more than a week, Susie. The wind finally quit today but it's still very warm. We're hoping for a moderate cool-down as the week goes on.

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  6. kris,
    I love them all and like teapots as vases. Wonderful. I think the Rudbeckia is my favorite, though I really did not like the Big Sky hybrids.So that surprises me. I wonder if April is a windy month near the ocean, it is windy here to the point it starts driving me mad. I am glad it is May! Amy

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    1. 'Cherry Brandy' performed well for me when I grew it years ago, Amelia, blooming on and off for well over a year. I haven't had that kind of success with it this time and I've had little luck with other Rudbeckias so maybe that earlier experience was a fluke.

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  7. That salvia is such an usual colour so finding bedfellows will always be quite a challenge and what contrasting vases you have created, Kris. The third one is a real splash of sunshine :)

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    1. That Ornithogalum really is a spray of sunshine, Cathy. I need to find a better spot for it in the garden where the bulbs can spread out a bit.

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  8. I like that Salvia, unusual or not. Do the hummers go for it? Wonderful melange of flowers and vases this week.

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    1. I haven't seen hummers zooming in on the Salvia but it's on the south side of the house and not readily observable. The flowers do seem made for those fierce little creatures.

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  9. I like your weird first arrangement, it's free-flowing and airy like a wildflower meadow in bloom. The front view of the second arrangement is very appealing to me with the airy whispy thingies (new Latin term) sweeping downward. The warm tones of the third seem to be sending us a little bit of sunshine.

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    1. The Tanacetum does add a nice airy quality to the second vase, Peter. Unfortunately, I learned that it has a tangy odor I hadn't factored into the equation, which interferes with the perfume of the sweet peas.

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  10. Oooh, I love the salvia - so unusual colour, never seen this salvia before. And I love gaura but can't find a good place in my garden to plant one so I still haven't got one. And I have aqueligia envy, I bought two last autumn and the squirrels ate both when they came up in February. The were obviously tasty. I love all 3 of your vases, absolutely gorgeous.

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    1. It surprises me to learn that squirrels like Aquilegia, Helene - I blamed the drought for the loss of my other 2 plants but maybe the furry monsters had something to do with it. It appears that they do like to chomp on my Gazanias.

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  11. "wild and romantic" seems to some up your first vase perfectly. I absolutely love it!

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    1. I thought that, if anyone liked that one, it would be you, Loree!

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  12. Bounteous would be my description of your vases this week, Kris. I know how you feel about savouring ALL the flowers as they come, only to disappear in the heat later on. They are all lovely, I don't have a favourite but I do admire the blue and white vase that you bought recently.

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    1. The heat is on here, Christina! Agapanthus, Shasta daisies and Renga lilies (Arthropodium cirratum) are already making an appearance. Our spring is short, our summer long!

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  13. The fact that you may lose the spring flowers at any time makes you appreciate them more, I think. You won't take them for granted and we should never do that. I like the funky vase and particularly the 'Cherry Brandy'. The soft blues and greys and the vibrant oranges make are so very different from each other but each one is lovely.

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    1. I'm hoping more of those 'Cherry Brandy' Rudbeckia will bloom soon, Alison, although they're not showing any signs of such an intent at the moment.

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  14. Not an easy tone to work with but as usual you have worked your magic...on all of them!

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    1. Thanks guys! Where have you been? Can I expect to see another fabulous tour post from you?

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  15. Definitely love the wild and romantic look, Kris - it's a beautiful vase! Does the gaura last at all when you cut it? My own experience was disappointing, but I didn't keep trying... The blue and white works so perfectly in your second vase, and the third is delightfully cheering. I saw some Ornithogalum dubium as gift plants two days ago - now I almost wish I'd picked them up!

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    1. The Gaura is holding up better than the Rudbeckia (which was already on its last legs when I cut it for the vase) but I don't expect it'll last out the week as a cut flower. I cut fresh stems and conditioned them in near boiling water, which may have helped a little.

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  16. I love the Rudbeckia and grasses with the Gaura in your first vase Kris. The Salvia is certainly unusual but a lovely colour. I have got Aquilegias on my mind as mine are sending up nice big shoots with buds on, so lovely to see your purply ones. And the last vase is bursting with Californian sunshine! :)

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    1. I'm sure Aquilegia likes your climate better than mine, Cathy. I look forward to seeing yours in a future IaVoM post.

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  17. I find our salvias more attractive when the little flowers have fallen. The calyx stays on the plant for a long long time and remains a beautiful colour. Salvia africana-lutea has a shimmery bronze calyx.
    http://eefalsebay.blogspot.co.za/2013/08/beach-salvia-against-bleak-midwinter.html
    For sunbirds / hummers and butterflies.

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    1. I have a Salvia africana-lutea too, Diana, but it's still small. There's a very good sized specimen at the local botanic garden, which is probably the parent of my plant, since mine came from the botanic garden's propagation team's sale.

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