Monday, October 15, 2018

Another Bloom Day/In a Vase on Monday Mash-up

Two great memes, Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and In a Vase on Monday, coincide once again this month so rather than creating two separate posts I've combined them.  But first the most exciting news: we got rain this weekend!  After a prior rain forecast touted as a virtual certainty failed to materialize, most people I know turned a deaf ear to talk of a slight chance of rain on Friday.  When rain started to fall early Friday evening, my husband chided me for thinking it'd amount to anything.  However, once it got started, it came down steadily well into Saturday morning, accompanied by the best lightning show I can remember - it went on for hours!  All told, we got a little over half an inch of rain, which is very good for us.  It was our first real rain since late March and just about everyone here is giddy about it.

However, the rain came too late to give us a Bloom Day boost.  My traditional fall bloomers have been slow to develop.  The bush violet, Barleria obtusa, has a few tiny blooms but it's far from ready for prime time exposure.  Even my beloved Plectranthus ciliatus 'Zulu Wonder' has been light on blooms thus far.

While the clump of 'Zulu Wonder' I have in the back garden has more flowers, this one in a relatively shady area of the front garden has experienced less insect damage so it's more presentable


Senna bicapsularis (aka Winter Cassia) opened its first flowers this week.

I didn't cut the Senna back as hard as I should have after last year's bloom.  Not only is the plant very leggy this year but the  flowers are largely out of reach. 


As the Senna flowers were hard to see in the photo above, I cut 2 stems to make up an arrangement for In a Vase on Monday to show them off.

This photo shows the arrangement from both the front and the back.  In addition to Senna bicapsularis, it includes white Eustoma grandiflorum, Gaillardia 'Fanfare Citronella', Lantana 'Samantha', Leucanthemum x superbum, and Zinnia elegans.


The Japanese anemones (Anemone hupehensis var. japonica) surprised me by producing a smattering of blooms this fall despite our very dry year.

Both noID cultivars came with the garden


The ornamental grasses still look great of course and a few other plants are putting on a pretty good show.

Pennisetum advena 'Rubrum' is on the left and Pennisetum 'Sky Rocket' is on the right

All 4 of my Arbutus 'Marina' are loaded with flowers this month, although mature fruit is also forming

The Erigeron glaucus 'Wayne Roderick' I planted in the front garden in early September are already blooming.  The older plants in the back garden are lagging behind a bit.

I picked up 3 Celosia argentea 'Intenz' several weeks ago to provide a blast of color in the backyard border

I was thrilled to find this Helichrysum argyrophyllum groundcover I planted in early March blooming in a sunny corner behind my lath (shade) house.  The silver foliage is accented with papery yellow flowers.

Feathery Phylica pubescens makes the most of the light in the back garden


A few plants rebounded as the temperatures cooled to produce a second season of bloom.

Lotus jacobaeus dropped all its flowers when the horrible heatwave hit in early July.  Those tiny, deep burgundy, almost black, flowers are back this month.

The Pentas are making the most of our cooler temperatures too (Pentas 'Kaleidoscope Appleblossom, left, and P. lanceolata 'Nova, right)

I cut Wahlenbergia 'Blue Cloud' back following the worst of the summer heatwaves but they're back in bloom in one of the driest areas of my garden.  The plants are slowly spreading themselves around but they're very well-mannered about it.


Much of what was blooming last month is still blooming, albeit in lesser quantities.

The dahlia blooms are getting smaller but narrowing stems still can't hold up their heavy heads, especially after a good rainstorm.  Clockwise from the upper left, we have 'Terracotta', 'Punkin Spice', 'Loverboy', and 'Otto's Thrill'.  The pink and white flower in the last photo is a mutant form of 'Otto's Thrill'.


The dahlias didn't look great following our rainstorm but I still managed to cut enough blooms for 2 more arrangements on Sunday morning.

This arrangement was designed around Dahlia 'Terracotta'.  In addition to the dahlia, the vase contains Coprosma 'Plum Hussey' (foliage), Correa 'Wyn's Wonder' (aka Australian fuchsia), and Grevillea 'Superb'.

Despite all the flowers I cut last week, Dahlia 'Punkin Spice' had more to offer this week.  In addition to the dahlia, the vase contains Agonis flexuosa 'Nana' (foliage), Auranticarpa rhombifolium (berries), Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder' (foliage), Pennisetum 'Rubrum' (feathery plumes), and red-orange Zinnia elegans.


The large-flowered Grevilleas bloom year-round here.  Grevillea 'Superb' (left) is the most floriferous.  On the right, top to bottom are close-ups of 'Superb', 'Peaches & Cream', and 'Ned Kelly'.

The Lantanas are also long-blooming, although they need to be cut back regularly to prevent them from getting twiggy.  Clockwise from the upper left are 'Samantha', 'Lucky White', a noID pink-orange variety', 'Irene', and another noID pink variety.

This is the third Bloom Day in a row featuring Zephyranthes candida!

The Zinnias are starting to mildew and the raccoons got an early start in pulling them out last week.  I expect to yank the rest of them and dig up the dahlia tubers by the end of the month to make way for winter-blooming plants in my cutting garden.


I'll end my Bloom Day report as I usually do with collages showing the best of the remaining bits and pieces flowering in various areas of the garden.

Top row: Duranta 'Sapphire Skies', Lavandula multifida, and Leucophyllum laevigatum
Middle row: Melaleuca thymifolia, Polygala myrtifolia 'Mariposa', and Rosmarinus 'Gold Dust'
Bottom row: Symphyotrichum chilense, Tibouchina urvilleana, and Trichostema 'Midnight Magic'

Top: Artemisia ludoviciana
Bottom row: Osteospermum '4D Silver', Leucanthemum x superbum, and Eustoma grandiflorum (aka lisianthus)

Top row: Achillea 'Moonshine' (back for round 2), Aloe 'Johnson's Hybrid', and Brugmansia 'Charles Grimaldi' (at last)
Middle row: Cuphea 'Vermillionaire', Euryops 'Sonnenschien', and Hunnemannia fumariifolia
Bottom row: Leonotis leonurus, Oncostele 'Wildcat', and Wilsonara 'Wildcat Harmony'

Top row: Correa 'Wyn's Wonder' and Cuphea 'Starfire Pink'
Middle row: Gomphrena 'Itsy Bitsy', G. 'Pinball Snowtip Lavender', and Leptospermum scoparium 'Pink Pearl'
Bottom row: flower-like Leucadendron "Safari Sunset' and burgundy-flowered Pelargonium peltatum


For more Bloom Day posts, visit Carol at May Dream Gardens, and for more arrangements made from materials at hand in the garden, visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.

This week's vases in their final places


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

46 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. I can't help myself from picking up whatever grabs my attention, Phillip!

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  2. My goodness, Kris! You keep outdoing yourself again and again. As always, everything you create is interesting and unique, yet tastefully done. Brava!

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    1. Thanks Lady! Every week when it comes time to cut flowers for IAVOM, I think I've exhausted my options but then I surprise myself. Cut flowers will be in shorter supply when the dahlias and zinnias are gone, though.

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  3. What a mass of colour you have Kris. Gorgeous vases as always!

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  4. Just a few blooms...! Have you ever tried Lotus jacobaeus in a vase? I've probably asked you that before. It's an annual here but I adore it.

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    1. I've used the Lotus once or twice in a vase. The flowers are so small, they're easily overshadowed by other plant material. Maybe I'll try them with Dahlia 'Loverboy' before he's gone for the season.

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  5. You must have been so excited about the rain Kris and I am conjuring up images of all the giddiness it invoked! It was good to see a Blooms Day/IAVOM mash-up, as we were better able to visualise the source of all your lovely vases, so thanks for that. I particularly liked the freshness of your first vase today, and am going to look up celosia as the kind you see (well, that I am aware of) in the UK is nothing like as attractive as this

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    1. I get absolutely crazy when it rains, Cathy. You'd think I was a 5 year-old on Christmas morning. I was outside filling plastic trugs with water collected via a rain chain until after 11pm Friday night...

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  6. For such a hot dry area where you garden you have a tremendous amount of blooms. Your vases reflect this every Monday. Wonder Full. Seeing your Senna reminds me that I have one in the garden this year. I forgot to picture it. It isn't long for my garden though. It is a tropical plant called 'popcorn'. It surprised me by shooting up to its current height of 6' and has lots of yellow blooms. Happy GBBD & IAVOM.

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    1. The blooms are brought to you courtesy of our irrigation system, Lisa. I've been able to turn it off this week but I expect it'll be back on soon as we don't have much more in the forecast until December. I'm hoping for that El Nino NOAA's predicted...

      I'm familiar with that popcorn Senna. There's one growing across the street. It's supposed to survive with low water but I've never tried it.

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  7. Did you go out and dance in the rain. I'm sure your plants did. You've got such a lot of interesting plants, despite the lack of rain. You must work very hard on it. Beautiful colour co-ordinated vases and photo collections.

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    1. If I could carry a tune, I'd have been out singing in the rain, Alison. As it was, I dash about trying to collect every drop I can. I've got 3 rain barrels that catch much of what falls on the house and garage roofs but they don't get it all.

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  8. So glad you received rain, Kris. I know what that feels like! I bet you couldn’t stop looking at it-that’s what happens to me when it rains here. You still have so many flowers in your garden despite everything, which is what amazes me about you-I don’t know how you manage it. I love your yellow and white vase, it’s quite unusual.

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    1. We have an irrigation system and unless or until the water service cuts us off, I use it. The water service projects a "budget" for us but, since removing all the thirsty lawn and installing drought tolerant plants, I've managed to use only about 60% of what we're allotted each month. Someday, if current trends continue, I fear that budget will be cut further than I can handle, however.

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  9. Glad you had rainfall and enjoyed the lightning storm as well. From your vantage point I imagine watching the storm would be quite impressive. Love seeing your blooms around the garden. The center vase with Punkin Spice is just lovely.

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    1. We did have a fantastic view of the lightning, Susie. I have to learn more about the camera settings necessary to catch the lightning. Despite its frequency Friday night, I didn't manage to get one decent photo.

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  10. Great photos and I'm so glad you got some measurable rain. We went from being so dry to having one of the wettest Septembers ever. October isn't shaping up to be any drier. Hope you get some more rain soon.

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    1. I've been very envious of you Texans, Rebecca! There's very little rain in the extended forecast here until December but I'm hoping that the "weak El Nino" NOAA has predicted will come to pass in January through March. Of course, I also hope it won't wreak havoc, causing mudslides. One always has to be careful about what one wishes for...

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  11. Rain! Yay!!
    Love that Lotus. Very different from the one sold here, as an annual of course.

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    1. I killed that Lotus the first time I tried growing it but this one has been going strong in a large pot for close to 2 years now. We don't get freezes as you do, though.

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  12. Your amazing photos are doubly amazing considering the lack of rain and I LOVE the Dahlia and Grass combo in the vase; although I am mystified by your Dahlia growing skills with so little rain. Well done. Just put in my first Senna, though I am not crazy about them.

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    1. I confine the dahlias to the raised planters in my cutting garden, where I hand water them, Amelia. That area gets more water than any other spot in my garden. When I tried growing dahlias in my borders, they croaked.

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  13. I IG'd that senna seen on a walk yesterday, a ball of yellow blooms, so obviously cut back hard, right? Years ago I grew Artemisia ludoviciana 'Valerie Finnis' and it looked nothing like yours -- how strange. That Helichyrs. argyr. has held on all summer but I haven't seen blooms cuz it became buried under summer growth, but it does look promising!

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    1. I saw what appears to be the very same Senna at the local botanic garden today, grown as a tree. It was very attractive and had me wondering where else I could try it. The Artemisia here is a bona fide weed - it blew in from a neighborhood garden and was identified for me by another blogger. 'Valerie' looks more refined.

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  14. Your garden must be HUGE! So many beautiful varieties of plants. I like the Arbutus 'Marina' - that is new to me, and I love the celosias. A neighbor planted some by their mailbox and I love walking by them on my daily dog walks. Beautiful arrangements as well!

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    1. My garden is just over half an acre, Shelly, big by the standards of Los Angeles County perhaps but not by other locales. I inherited Arbutus 'Marina' with the garden - they're great trees for Southern California. The Celosia is an annual and relatively short-lived here based on my prior experience but that color is incredible, isn't it?!

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  15. The array of blooms is as impressive as your fabulous arrangements! Glad you finally got some rain and hope you get more!

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    1. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could dial up rain, Peter? Or if you could send your excess down this way!

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  16. Always so much to enjoy in your garden. I have never seen a plectranthus like that and what an unusual lotus. The arbutus is different too. And what a fabulous collection of grevillea.
    Lovely arrangements of course. And rain at last,I am glad for you..

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    1. Unfortunately, the Santa Ana winds returned yesterday, drying us up again but the garden still looks a lot fresher than it did before the rain. And I have some rainwater stockpiled in my tanks too!

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  17. So glad you got a good day of rain Kris! You have so much blooming and I'm sure the plants were as thankful as you are for the refreshment. I always love a good rainy day, but I can't imagine not having one since March. It may be hot and humid in the East, but at least it rains pretty consistently and keeps things well watered.
    I especially love your yellow vases. The pop of white in them is the perfect touch!

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    1. Our last rain year, which ran from October 1, 2017 through September 30, 2018, was especially dismal. I racked up only 3.84 inches of rain for the entire year! My rain barrels have been empty for months. We're a classic Mediterranean climate so the bulk of our rain always comes in winter but, when you have a bad winter, the rest of the year is tough as well. The irrigation system is the garden's lifeline.

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  18. So much loveliness! I would think you would go about with a song on your lips all the time. :) Glad you got some good rain. I expect we'll see an enormous response from your garden in the next few weeks.

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    1. As the Santa Ana winds are now blowing,we're going to dry out quickly but at least I can leave the irrigation system off for a week - and I've got some rain stored away. That should be our motto in SoCal: store rain for a dry day!

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  19. Hi Kris, I am glad you finally got some good rain! Hopefully it will continue in good supply through fall and winter. After several weeks with no measurable rain here, we are very dry. Hurricane Michael dumped tremendous quantities of rain and destroyed areas south and east of us but left us alone. We got a bit of mist and some strong breezes but that was all. Fall temps seem to have finally arrived. Seeing all the color in your garden gives me incentive to add more color to my own garden, a challenge because of my shade but can be done. I am still working on my new pollinator garden and hope that area at least will provide some bright blooms.

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    1. It would be so wonderful for all of us if Mother Nature did a better job at calibrating her delivery schedule!

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  20. You have so many interesting plants, Kris, and your arrangements are so professional! Always--every day, month, season, you have amazing things blooming. I'm jealous. I do like a little break from gardening, so I'm secretly looking forward to December and January. But then in February I really start to get the garden "itch" again. Thanks for keeping the flowers coming year-round. :)

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    1. More than a few times, I've commented that I actually envy gardeners in colder climates their down time, Beth. Year-round gardening can be exhausting. However, if I had more sense I'd take time off during the height of summer when work in the garden is foolish at best - all we can hope for then is to prevent mass die-offs during our major heatwaves.

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  21. Replies
    1. Thanks HB. You may not believe me but I'm honestly surprised at how much there is in bloom each month, especially at summer's end.

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  22. Beautiful flower arrangements in vases ,lovely collage of lantanas,zinnias and many more .
    Have a great week ahead.

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  23. Fabulous garden colors! I tend to pick up 'interesting' plants, too, and just hope that they like my garden.

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    1. I think many or us gardeners suffer from the same collector syndrome, Betty ;)

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