Monday, October 8, 2018

In a Vase on Monday: Floppy Dahlias

The dahlias are still blooming like gangbusters but lots of the newer blooms are on side buds with weaker stems and, as the flowers develop, the stems flop over with their weight.  It hasn't helped that, after a good start at the beginning of the season, I neglected to tie the stems to their supports as the plants grew larger.

My first vase features Dahlia 'Punkin Spice', the flashiest variety in this year's dahlia crop.

I left one of the side bud flowers dangling from a central flower's stronger stem to illustrate the floppiness of these flowers

Back view

Top view, showing something of the color variations among the 'Punkin Spice' flowers

Clockwise from the upper left:  Dahlia 'Punkin Spice', Agonis flexuosa 'Nana', Cuphea 'Vermillionaire', variegated Lantana 'Samantha', Leucadendron 'Jester', and Phylica pubescens (aka featherhead)


I ignored rambunctious Dahlia 'Terracotta' even though it's sporting a ridiculous number of blooms in favor of 'Loverboy' for my second arrangement.  I looked far and wide throughout my garden to find companions for 'Loverboy' I hadn't used before but I was only nominally successful.  However, my search provided evidence that the raccoons, who I'd thought were focused on tearing up the fountain and the drip irrigation system surrounding it, are now wandering further afield.  I discovered that there were few areas they'd left untouched in their relentless nighttime pursuit of grubs.  I spent a good deal of time filling in the holes they dug.  The only positive was that no plants seem to have been destroyed as a result of their extensive activity (this time).

I used the dark burgundy flowers of one of my ivy geraniums to pick up the dark center of  'Loverboy's' blooms and pristine white lisianthus flowers for contrast

Back view, showing off the red-toned foliage I used as filler material.  Also, Abelia 'Edward Goucher' once again helped pull everything together.

Top view

Clockwise from the upper left: Dahlia 'Loverboy', Abelia x grandiflora 'Edward Goucher', Eustoma grandiflorum (aka lisianthus), noID Pelargonium peltatum (aka ivy geranium), Leptospermum 'Copper Glow', Alternanthera 'Little Ruby', and noID Zinnia elegans


My vases found their usual places.  This week I even found a "new" prop to accompany the first arrangement.


While I've often used a mouse flying on a butterfly's wings as a prop, I'd all but forgotten about these little fellows, apparently charged with painting green leaves orange to celebrate fall.  In coastal Southern California, this would be pretty much the only way we'd get fall color at this time of year.


For more "In a Vase on Monday' arrangements, visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.


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


32 comments:

  1. Both arrangements are beautiful but the "pumpkin spice" Dahlias speak to me. I love the floppy flower and think it's wonderful that you left it.

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    1. Of course the 'Punkin Spice' dahlias speak to you - they're orange! I love them because the flowers bloom in a subtle range of colors, while all the other varieties I'm growing this year are more consistent (although 'Otto's Thrill' threw out one mutant bloom).

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  2. Your vases are beautiful as always, but I am totally smitten with that deep, dark Geranium flower. Absolutely stunning and a great pairing with the Dahlias.

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    1. That's become my favorite ivy geranium too. I'm hoping to find some more in the coming year, although I guess I could just try propagating using what I have.

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    2. they grow so easily from cuttings - and then you would know you have THAT colour, which is outstanding.

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    3. Although I've propagated other Pelargoniums, for some reason I've never tried taking cutting of P. peltatum. I must correct that omission!

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  3. Such happy vases and charming props.

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  4. Hehe, your little fellows are very cute. Fabulous dahlias especially with the red toned foliage. Rich and lovely. How do you stake them? I've used horizontal mesh this year but will probably use stakes and string next year.

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    1. Well, being short of time when I finally got around to planting my dahlia tubers this year, I stuck tomato cages I had on hand around each one and then tied the stems to the cages as they developed. It worked fine for awhile but all mine are tall varieties and they eventually outgrew the cages. I'm not sure what I could have done with 'Terracotta' as that plant is REALLY tall. I think it would've helped if I'd cut off all of the side buds to restrict flowers to the stockier stems but I'm torn on that as I like the abundance of flowers, even though those produced on the side buds are generally smaller.

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  5. Yes, my staking leaves a lot to be desired too! As always, your foliage choice complements your blooms, especially in the second vase

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    1. Staking and tying are such mundane activities but worth the effort (probably).

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  6. Lovely vases as always, Kris. I am reminded that I bought Lisianthus seeds and haven’t planted them. I’d better get on and do it, as they take a long time to germinate, I believe. I also like the NoID pelargniom for its dark good looks. Your little mice are very sweet and perfect for your season, even if it doesn’t feel autumnal yet.

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    1. I understand that lisianthus seeds need a lot of support to germinate, Jane. I'm lucky that I can get plugs from local garden centers as my track record with seeds is poor.

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  7. Kris, your dahlias are exceptional this year. I enjoy your arrangements as you always find such interesting textures and colors to support the main flowers. I like that dark Pelargonium peltatum quite a bit too. Take care.

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    1. Thanks Susie. I wish I had your artistic touch - I rely on shoving as much as possible into a vase.

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  8. Your flowers are pretty but I love those little mice.

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    1. As I recall, a friend gave me the mouse riding a butterfly as a Christmas ornament and, when I came across a set of 3 similar mice vignettes featuring a variety of garden-related poses, I couldn't pass them up. Maybe I'll drag out the other 2 as future props.

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  9. You always have such beautiful vases. They are so lovely.

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  10. LOL, I think I need some of those leaf painting mice! Love the geraniums with Loverboy, tapestry colors! Armadillos are making holes in my yard and driving my dog crazy - think of Scooby Doo sneaking up on a Armadillo...

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    1. First, I'd have to imagine an armadillo - I'm not sure I've even seen one even in a zoo. People have recommended that I get a dog to scare off the raccoons but, as the coyotes are traveling in packs and reportedly attacking even large dogs now (they killed one of my next door neighbor's little Pomeranians), I don't think I'd be comfortable leaving a dog outside overnight.

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  11. 'Punkin Spice' is really special! My late dinnerplate Dahlias are floppy, too, but I think it's partly because of all the rain we've had and not enough sun. Lovely arrangements!

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  12. I think the floppy stems make for a wonderful roccoco arrangement! Your color combinations are elegant as always... love the deep tones that the pelargonium adds to Loverboy!
    Your leaf-painting mice are a lot of fun - I need them to get busy here too as any leaf color (from crape myrtle and Hamelia) is a long way off!

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    1. As soon as the mice are done here, I'll send them your way, Amy ;)

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  13. Beautiful vases again this week, Kris. I like how the leucadendron picks up the colors in 'Pumpkin Spice' and love the deep reds in the second arrangement and the way the lines on the white vase are echoed in the leptospermum above. The mice are cute, too!

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    1. I love that Leucadendron and don't generally cut it (it's been a slow grower) but I finally had some tall stems that were out of proportion with the rest of the plant so bingo!

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  14. Both arrangements are fab as always and I love your new prop. In a frost free climate, do dahlias just stop blooming after a while? Here the frost usually takes them out while they're still blooming their heads off.

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    1. The dahlia blooms taper off after a bit but I usually pull up the tubers up before they stop producing entirely so I can't definitively say how long their bloom season could be. The tubers don't have to be pulled in my climate but I need the planting space and wouldn't want to rot the tubers by continuing to water the raised planters to support other plants anyway.

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  15. Both vases are a real celebration of your dahlias, but I especially like the first one - Punkin Spice. The mingling of peachy orange and red is lovely and the foliage makes it stand out so well. :)

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    1. I'm very fond of 'Punkin Spice' this year too, Cathy.

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