Monday, December 4, 2017

In a Vase on Monday: Springfire!

Once summer finally loosens its grip on us (which it was slow to do this year), the cooler temperatures deliver a spring-like rebirth to Southern California gardens.  As I was making my rounds of the garden on Saturday, I caught sight of an unexpected flash of coral color and literally gasped when I realized that the Metrosideros 'Springfire' I'd planted in February had blooms.

Although planted from a 3-gallon pot, the shrub is still only 2 feet tall.  At maturity, it should reach 12 feet (or even taller) and offer many more blooms!


There are lots of unopened buds on the Metrosideros so I went ahead and cut 2 stems with flowers as the starting points for this week's first vase.  There was no problem finding companions for those flowers, although I admit I went more than a little matchy-matchy.

I had in mind to add white or pink flowers with a coral bent to the arrangement but gave up those ideas when I realized I couldn't stuff anything more into the vase

Back view: There are actually 2 Grevillea cultivars in this arrangement but my photos don't emphasize their tonal differences

Top view

Top row: Metrosideros collina 'Springfire' flower and leaf.  Most leaves are a medium green but a few show beautiful variegation.
Middle row: Agonis flexuosa 'Nana', Corokia x virgata 'Sunsplash' (reused from last week), and Grevillea 'Ned Kelly'
Bottom row: Grevillea 'Superb' and Nandina domestica foliage and berries


I didn't give much thought to my second vase at all, other than thinking it would be nice to use some of the lavender colored blooms in my garden.  After clipping a little of this and a little of that and dropping it all into the water-filled jar I carried with me, I was so disillusioned about my ability to turn the contents into something that I seriously considered dropping everything in the compost bin and starting all over with Camellias.  But, as I still feel contrite about every flower I remove from the garden, I couldn't bring myself to do that.

In the end, I was glad I persevered as the arrangement turned out better than I'd expected

Back view, highlighting Hypoestes aristata (aka ribbon bush), Polygala myrtifolia (aka sweet pea bush), and the Pyrethropsis hosmariense (aka Moroccan daisy)

The Osteospermum, added to my jar at the last minute after I noticed it was also enjoying our second spring, pulled this arrangement together.  Planted years ago, I wasn't sure whether or not this was 'Berry White' as the petals aren't white so I surfed Google Images and found one photo that looked like a match, only to realize when I pulled up the detail that it was my very own photo from a 2016 post.

Clockwise from the upper left, the vase contains: Alternanthera 'Little Ruby', Gomphrena decumbens 'Itsy Bitsy', Lobularia maritima (Alyssum), Pyrethropsis hosmariense, Polygala myrtifolia 'Mariposa', Hypoestes aristata, and, in the middle, Osteospermum 'Berry White'


The vases found their places in the usual spots.



I retained one of last week's vases, albeit with some edits.

Last week's vase with Tagetes lemmonii had to come inside after the wind knocked it over on the patio table (thankfully not breaking the vase).  I kept it in my office most of the week but the strong scent of the yellow daisies in close proximity with the windows closed even got to me.  I eventually tossed the daisies and moved the vase to the bedroom.


Visit Cathy, our "In a Vase on Monday" host at Rambling in the Garden, to find more vases.


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


28 comments:

  1. I love the lavender arrangement! I don't think I've ever seen that Osteospermum for sale around here, with the fluffy center. I like it a lot. I've got such plans for my cutting garden in the spring. I hope I have room for a few Osteospermum.

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    1. The Osteospermum growers keep coming out with new varieties. 'Berry White' was one of the '3D' series, I think. They're now selling '4D' varieties but I can't tell much of a difference. The flowers of both '3D' and '4D' offer the advantage of remaining open in low light, unlike the earlier varieties of O. ecklonis.

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  2. Oh matcy matchy works well for both vases - your impromptu fiery first vase had some perfect companions but I actually gasped when I saw the second one. What a surprise, and what a contrast! The gomphrena and osteospermum are wonderful - what a great colour for a vase in early December. Thanks so much for sharing it, Kris

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    1. I was pleased to find another match for Gomphrena 'Itsy Bitsy', Cathy. She does get around the garden ;)

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  3. Two lovely vases, with some interesting plants and flowers, always interesting to see what you produce, and whilst it is cool, dark and with very little in the garden here, your vases bring me joy. Thanks.

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    1. I'm glad I can offer some cheerful color, Noelle! Southern California does offer some advantages.

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  4. I love the purples, it's so soft and pleasing and I'm still enjoying the Gomphrena. I must see if I can grow some. Thee coral/reds are stunning too. I do the same and pick handfuls of similar coloured things when, in fact, a contrast is often good. These colours look fantastic with the green though and I think they do all stand out.

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    1. That Gomphrena is an over-achiever in the right place, Alison. The 2 in one of my front borders bloom continuously and have to be hacked back periodically to maintain some semblance of order. In contrast, 3 other plants, one of which is mere feet away from the over-achievers on the other side of our front path, don't do much of anything except survive.

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  5. Kris, all are very nice, the purple combination of color and texture is just beautiful. The ginkgo vase reminds me of here fall berries with tropical flowers - zone 10 mind bender?

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    1. Zone 10 does have it's advantages, Amelia! Unfortunately, in my particular area that doesn't include rain so true tropicals aren't happy here, at least not at present.

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  6. I love both (no surprise there). 'Itsy-Bitsy' adds a dotted Swiss look to the purple arrangement, which I'm glad you worked through as it is lovely. Always a pleasure to see your Grevillea. If your new 'Springfire' gets to 12' won't that be a problem to the plants around it?

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    1. 'Springfire' is a tree-like shrub so I hope she'll share her space with the mostly lower-growing succulents and grasses surrounding her but, if space becomes a problem, some of her companions can be moved. My biggest concern is avoiding complaints if she does indeed grow taller than 12 feet, as at least one grower claims she can. I placed her in a spot to minimize the risk of the kind of complaints I used to get from my former tree-hating neighbor. None of my current neighbors seem inclined to make a fuss but I don't want to court problems.

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  7. That 'Springfire' flower and leaf are both so nice. WOuldn't you love it if all the leaves had such color range? Glad you stayed with the second project and kept focus. Turned out just lovely.

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    1. I'm glad you see you're able to post comments again, Susie -
      I guess Wordpress and Blogspot worked out whatever caused the latest glitch! Yes, I'd love it if those leaves showed more variegation but it seems to be the exception rather than the rule.

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  8. Matchy-matchy for the win! Plus it’s very Christmasy, although I don’t know how you SoCal folks manage to work up much of a Christmas spirit.

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    1. No white Christmases for us! But, when you grow up without snow and other winter wonderland conventions, you see the season differently. However, the wildfires that erupted overnight certainly don't fit anyone's image of a happy holiday season :(

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  9. The first vase looks like a really festive arrangement with the berries, and the second one is so very pretty and fresh. I love seeing your Osteospermum. I had a pink one in a pot all summer, but they cannot be overwintered here.

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    1. The Osteospermums are short-lived perennials here - and they self-seed, although the fancy hybrids revert to more basic forms.

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  10. The matchy-matchy first vase works really well I think and it's perfect for the season. What a treasure Metrosideros 'Springfire' is! The lavender arrangement is a lovely and calming welcome in your entry!

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    1. I'm very happy to finally have 'Springfire' in my garden, Peter!

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  11. You are very clever with colour - I love your idea of having a red vase and a purple vase and you are so creative with the different shades and shapes of flowers you have used. Inspirational!

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    1. My color schemes are entirely dependent on what the garden chooses to provide in any given week, C&C!

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  12. I love your matchy-matchy as it really brings out all those luscious textures! And the upbeat, relaxed feel of the second vase is delightful! :)

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    1. The second vase seems to be a winner with commentators this week, Amy - and to think I seriously considering tossing that whole lot of flowers into the trash!

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  13. Amazing what turns up in bloom in December in your garden -- that 'Springfire' just might be my next shrub-in-a-container experiment. What a beauty it is.

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    1. I fell it love with 'Springfire' the very first time I saw it, Denise, but held off on buying one because I feared its mature size might provide yet another basis for complaint on the part of my now former neighbor.

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  14. I missed this last week as I was in bed with a virus for much of the week and I haven't worked out an easy way to comment on your posts from my iPad. I'm so glad I saw it today as I think these might be two of my favourite vases! My new order of seeds has just arrived with 2 more varieties of Gomphrena; I still haven't sourced 'Itsy Bitsy' but hopefully I will one day!

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    1. I've seen that Gomphrena decumbens sold in the US as 'Little Grapes' and 'Airy Bachelors Buttons' so perhaps you can search under those names too.

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