Monday, April 23, 2018

In a Vase on Monday: Ensemble Casts

I had ideas for 2 vases this week, each with a specific flower assuming a starring role.  However, as is often the case (at least in my universe), my vision didn't materialize as planned.  The first arrangement was constructed with Pelargonium 'Oldbury Duet' in mind as the centerpiece.

The Pelargonium's variegated foliage is its principal attraction in my view  but I enjoy the flowers too


As pretty as 'Oldbury Duet' is, it was quickly put in its place by the blooms I selected to accompany it, creating a mix that can more accurately be described as an ensemble cast.

'Oldbury Duet' set the color palette but both the snapdragons and the burgundy ivy geranium are splashier

Back view, showing off white Centranthus and the blooms of bolting cilantro, as well as some of my first sweet pea flowers

Top view

Clockwise from the upper left, the vase contains: Antirrhinum majus, Centranthus ruber 'Albus', Coriandrum sativum (aka cilantro), Helleborus 'Anna's Red', lilac and violet Lathyrus odoratus, burgundy Pelargonium peltatum (aka ivy geranium), and, in the center, Pelargonium 'Oldbury Duet'


The second arrangement was intended to feature the tall bearded Iris on the back slope.  The back slope is invisible to all but the most intrepid visitors and even my husband and I only visit the space a couple of times a week on average. 

I took this photo last Thursday, thinking one or both of the Iris stems shown here would be flowering by Sunday; however, only one very small stem (not shown) had an open flower


As the 2 taller Iris stems failed to bloom on my schedule, I ended up with another ensemble case.

Blue and purple flowers are abundant in my garden at the moment and I made liberal use of them in putting together this arrangement, adding a few white flowers for sparkle.  If I'd found more unblemished Matilija poppies on the back slope, I'd have given them the starring role.  Ditto for the silvery Dutch Iris.

Back view, featuring white breath of heaven and borage

Top view

Clockwise from the upper left, the vase contains: Borago officinalis, Bulbine frutescens, Coleonema album, Consolida ajacis (aka Delphinium ambiguum), Echium webbii, Iris hollandica 'Silvery Beauty', noID Iris germanica, Lathyrus odoratus, Osteospermum '3D Silver', Scabiosa 'Fama Blue', and, in the middle, Romneya coulteri


With the exception of the arrangement in the clasped hands vase, last week's arrangements were relegated to the compost bin.  Before I tossed the one containing the white Delphinium, though, I snapped a photo showing how that pristine white flower evolved during the course of the week.

As the week progressed, the formerly white Delphinium slowly turned a medium blue, starting at the bottom and gradually extending upwards.  Is that normal for Delphiniums?  I've had little prior experience with them.


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



All material © 2012-2018 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

44 comments:

  1. The best laid plans... or something like that. Hopefully you'll still enjoy those Iris blooms in a vase soon.

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    1. Of course, one of the 2 stems bloomed this afternoon...

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  2. Two contrasting vases, as always, and both lovely. With the huge choice you always seem to have I am not surprised you were troubled by changes in your plans! Your pelargoinium is particularly pretty with the antirrhinum and the first of yorur sweet peas. Here I have my first sweet peas too, the Winter Sunshine ones grown in the greenhouse, but too few flowers yet for a vase - although they could join something else, I suppose...

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    1. I was afraid I wasn't going to have any sweet pea blooms at all this year, Cathy. Something kept nibbling the plants down to nubs and my attempts to thwart the culprits were only partially effective. I thought birds might be responsible - until the rabbits revealed themselves. I'd 7 years with not a rabbit in sight but now they appear to be regular visitors.

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    1. I was surprised at just how many purple and blue blooms I actually have at the moment. While I threw a lot of them into that second vase, I in no way exhausted the options.

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  4. Dare I say you are spoiled for choice?! Wonderful vases.

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  5. Oh, your pink and burgundy arrangement is my favorite this week! I wish I had your abundance of blooms.

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    1. With all the plants you've started from seed, I suspect you'll more than surpass me the closer we get to summer, Alison. Early Spring is the peak bloom period here. The flowers retreat as the temperatures soar.

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  6. So many bright colors. They are just gorgeous. Love em. Happy IAVOM.

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    1. Thanks Lisa! I hope you'll be joining in soon.

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  7. I've never seen that happen with Delphinium! hmmmm. Must investigate. Your snaps are so bright and gorgeous. Mine are just.....about to flower. They made it through the winter and with lots of lovely food are doing well! One of my all time favorites and, of course, they last forever as cut flowers!!!

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    1. I've had little success raising Delphiniums in the past but planted several plugs in my well-watered cutting garden this winter and was pleased to get blooms. Why the pristine white bloom gradually turned blue as it aged is a major mystery to me.

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  8. You have so much to enjoy and so much colour. You have a great way of putting them all together though each one is a star.

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  9. I absolutely love the color of the first and those snapdragons...wow! And the second vase is a stunner too.....I don't have enough flowers ever in my garden to make these ensembles. And I have never seen a delph do that, change color. Very interesting.

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    1. The flowers had absorbed just about all the water in that vase when I tossed the contents. I wonder if the dehydration of the petals caused the change in the Delphinium's color?

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  10. The vases are lovely,Kris. You have an amazing number of blooms to choose from. The delphinium is very interesting, isn’t it? I’ve tried to grow them here, but without success, and I thought it was because too hot and I don’t have enough shade yet. Interesting that you’ve had success: perhaps I should try again!

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    1. I'd written Delphiniums off years ago, Jane, and even advised friends that the plants were a poor investment given our climate. But my brother had some success growing them in one of SoCal's inland valleys so I thought I'd try them in the raised planters in my cutting garden. That area gets a lot more supplemental water than the rest of my garden. I can't claim I'm overwhelmed with blooms but just getting a few seems a mini-miracle.

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  11. Vase 1 is amazing. Vase 2 steals the scene, I think!--Terri, https://tssoutherngarden.com

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    1. I seldom have the opportunity to create a vase containing tall flowers so the blue/purple/white composition was special for me (even without the tall bearded Iris).

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  12. Lovely vases. Astonished at the range of color among your flowers. So rich. I've never been able to grow delphinium so am curious also whether the white changing to blue is normal. I always appreciate the detailed flower chart for each vase.

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    1. I haven't been able to find anything on-line to explain the Delphinium's color change, Susie. I read about some of the plants changing from blue to white from one year to the next but even that wasn't explained. I'm wondering if one of the other flowers in that arrangement somehow altered the pH of the water? The color change occurred in the older florets and progressed along the stem as they aged bottom up so maybe dehydration was a factor?

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  13. The thought occurred to me that you have more choice of flowers than a florist! Your designs are bold and beautiful... the Romneya and Osteospermum look like eyes :) and I'm envious of your sweet peas...I just planted mine last week. I guess I'll have a wait yet. ;)

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    1. I may have a great range of different flowers but the florists have me beat when it comes to the volume of blooms, Eliza!

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  14. You really have a way with color and form, Kris! I'm glad to know that Echiums work so well in vases--I'll have to remember that when I visit family in California. Wonderful combinations and structure in your vases!

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    1. I wasn't sure how the Echiums were going to do in a vase, Beth, but so far, so good!

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  15. Two glorious vases, Kris - and although I adore that sweet little pelargonium in the first (lovely to see it in it's garden habitat as well) the blue concoction stole my heart. The echium is superb. And how interesting about the delphinium changing colour. When you get to know it better, you'll discover if that's its special 'party trick'!

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    1. The Delphinium won't last the summer here, Cathy, so unfortunately it won't have an opportunity to tell its story via a longer-term association.

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  16. Both of them are fabulous! The second vase has such a gorgeous mix of flowers Kris - your garden must be a paradise! The delphinium changing colour is interesting - I have seen this on my tulips recently.

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    1. It occurs to me that the color change gene may have been present in that Delphinium flower from the outset rather than being prompted by any external factors.

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  17. So many gorgeous flowers! Your delightful arrangements must make you smile all week as you enjoy them.

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    1. It's hard to imagine the dining table without a flower arrangement now, Peter!

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  18. Two such stunning arrangements. Pink can be insipid, but your combination of pinks is so rich and vibrant. The second arrangement is fabulous too, you have such an amazing variety of blooms to choose from. I have never known delphiniums to behave in this way, how weird.

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    1. There is a glut of blooms in spring but unfortunately summer isn't nearly as floriferous.

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  19. Bountiful is what comes to my mind while looking at your vases. Your garden must be spectacular right about now. The Delphiniums are lovely,something I always wanted to grow. The blue is weird, a new hybrid called Late to the Garden Party?

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    1. Ha! The Delphinium is an annual here so it won't have a chance to show whether the white-to-blue transition is a stable feature. I guess I could have collected seed from that plant but I didn't think of that and I don't see any more bloom spikes coming up.

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  20. Wow, both beautiful arrangements made the more so by my favorite flower (well, tied with narcissus for sure) - sweet peas! I cannot wait for mine to bloom later this summer.

    So clever of you to combine the bolted cilantro in the first arrangement. It gives the whole a pleasant airiness.

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    1. I'm counting myself lucky in getting any sweet peas this year as they'd been nibbled to the ground repeatedly by creatures unknown (although I suspect the bunnies that recently revealed themselves). I hadn't even noticed the cilantro had self-seeded in among the sweet peas until it bolted. That was lucky too as I love to use it in arrangements.

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  21. Oh the best laid plans of mice and men Kris ...... Hellebores and sweet peas flowering at the same time! I'm green with envy. Fabulous vases as always.

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    1. I think it's weird that hellebores bloom in the cold days of late winter or very early spring in colder climates like yours, Anna, while they seem to wait for the temperatures to soar a bit before they make an appearance here. We had temperatures exceed 90F (32C) here just a couple of weeks ago.

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