Monday, December 17, 2018

In a Vase On Monday: Purples and Pinks

This week's vases aren't particularly Christmas-y but I'm holding back the flowers in more seasonal colors for an upcoming holiday celebration.  Once again, I walked into my garden thinking I didn't have much that would be useful to create an arrangement only to be surprised at just what I found.

The jumping off point for my first, purple-themed vase was an unusual Abelia I recently rediscovered on my back slope.  I planted it in 2012 but I've got no photographic record of its blooms in any year since.

While down on the back slope to cut the Abelia, I was surprised to find several stems of noID paperwhite Narcissus in bloom so I cut those too.  I didn't plant these bulbs and they don't get anything other than rainwater, yet they bloom most years.  The only real question is: why haven't I planted more of them?

Back view: I also cut a few stems of the Pittosporum we planted to mark the property line between us and one of our neighbors at the bottom of the slope

Top view: The oddest element in this arrangement may be the unripe berries of the asparagus fern I added.  These plants, which came with the garden, spread with abandon despite my best effort to contain them; however, the glossy berries mutate from celadon green to bluish white to greenish-purple before turning red.  I've thought about using the green ones in an arrangement before but never got around to doing so until now.

Clockwise from the upper left: Abelia 'Chiapas'Asparagus densiflorus berries, noID Narcissus, Osteospermum 'Berry White'Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Silver Magic', and Polygala myrtifolia 'Mariposa'


The blooms of my pink Camellia sasanquas are still plentiful but they're showing signs of wear so I decided to cut a few stems for a second vase while I still could.

I tried combining the Camellias with stems from 2 colorful coleus varieties but the Camellias cried out for more refined foliage

Back view: The silver vase is a nod to the upcoming holidays

Top view

Clockwise from the left: noID Camellia sasanqua, Pseuderanthemum 'Texas Tri-star', and Westringia fruticosa 'Morning Light'


The orchid and Leucadendron arrangement I created 2 weeks ago is still in good shape and currently sitting on a side table in the living room.

The front entry table is occupied by a faux Christmas tree and decorations I've had for a decade or more

The first of this week's new arrangements sits on the dining table and the second sits on the stone structure next to it, along with a silvery raccoon a friend gave me a couple of years ago as a nod to my ongoing struggle with those furry pests


For more IAVOM arrangements, visit our host, Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.  Best wishes to all this holiday season!


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

26 comments:

  1. It is intriguing to read about plants that jsut do their thing without any input from you and then take you by surprise. Your first vase is especially pretty and the osteospermum make such a grand statement within it, amongst the green. I have ordered my bedding plant plugs for next year but did not include the osteospermum this time round - here they were such pretty flowers but very late to start flowering. Thanks for sharing, Kris

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    1. When anything grows on my back slope, it's a major cause for celebration, Cathy. I'm surprised I even recognized that Abelia as I couldn't find a single photo of its blooms in my photo collection. Lucky for us, Osteospermums are perennial here, although the specialty, breeder-created varieties seem to revert to their parental forms over time. They're persnickety about blooming, though - here, they usually stop flowering in summer, waiting for cooler temperatures to return.

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  2. A purple-flowered abelia? No way! I didn't know the plant breeders were messing around with abelia. Boy, do they have your number, Kris! Beautiful flowers.

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    1. The purple Abelia was found growing naturally in Chiapas, Mexico, Denise! I got mine back in January 2012 from Annie's, which no longer offers it. Annie's apparently got it from Strybing's curator. I can't find it for sale anywhere now so I'm going to try propagating it.

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  3. All your flowers are gorgeous Kris! I particularly love the paper white narcissus! They are a very Christmassy thing to have in the UK. I always aspire to plant them in the hope they will be flowering on Christmas Day, but never managed it yet! Your vases this week are packing in the colour, unlike mine! Amanda https://therunningwave.blogspot.com/2018/12/a-vase-on-monday-looking-ahead.html

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    1. The paperwhites must have been popular with some prior owner of our property, Amanda, as I find them popping up here and there. Anything that can grow under our current drought conditions without regular irrigation is to be valued, giving me renewed respect for these bulbs.

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  4. The Abelia is absolutely stunning, Kris, just made a note, must look out for it. I see you're in a festive mood already, all your arrangements look pretty. Wishing you a merry christmas, see you in 2019, Annette

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    1. Best wishes to you too, Annette! If you find the Abelia, please let us know. It apparently hails from Mexico and the one grower I know of no longer offers it.

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  5. Beautiful as always, Kris! What a pleasure to have so much in bloom in December! Hooray, the tree is in the entry - Must be Christmas.

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    1. And there's a wreath outside and a full size live tree in the living room. I'm as ready as I'm going to get this year.

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  6. You may not think you have much to pick from, but your vases are a delight to my eyes. Absolutely lovely Kris!

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  7. I have never seen that Abelia. Fabulous. Been using Rose Creek in Atlanta.I have Asparagus Fern like you do --haven't seen berries, I love them and think they make that arrangement. I am always miffed by your Camellias - beautiful I couldn't hope to grow them in my garden.

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    1. Well, I've yet to find those luscious purple Callicarpa berries here, Amelia, so I had to get creative in the berry department if I wanted something other than red. I was a little afraid the unripe Asparagus berries would drop all over the place but so far, so good.

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  8. Each week I find myself looking up at least one of the plants you choose for your vases. You have a wonderful collection and your vases bring together the best your garden has to offer each week. Of course we can't necessarily grow or even buy them here, however they are non the less well worth studying. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I'm glad to expand your botanic knowledge as those of you in UK and Europe expand mine, Noelle.

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  9. Again I've forgotten to get any paperwhites so you have more than me. I like them with the green and purples. The Abelia is certainly stunning and the berries are interesting and add another dimension. We've taken the Christmas box out of the loft but that is as far as we got with the decorations. Plenty of time.

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    1. My eyes tend to shift right by the bins of paperwhites that show up in our local garden centers each year too, Alison, but next year I'm going to pay attention!

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  10. Where I live, people plant paperwhites in pots indoors for winter blooms. The idea of having these just show up as volunteers has me a Christmasy green with envy.

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    1. Most of the paperwhites grown here are in pots too, Jean. I was surprised when they popped up in this garden during our rainy season. The same is true of Calla lilies. Short on irrigation, my back slope isn't an especially plant-friendly area so it's admittedly a delight that both the paperwhites and the callas bloom most years. Last year, with an annual rain total of less than 4 inches, was an exception. The early paperwhite blooms are a good omen that this year may be better.

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  11. So impressive, Kris--all of it, but particularly the Abelia and the Osteospermum. And that Camellia...gorgeous! Thanks for sharing this beauty.

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    1. I just wish the Camellias lasted better in a vase, Beth. The first stems I cut a few weeks ago fared better than this batch of flowers, which are already falling apart.

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  12. Both lovely. I love the Abelia, I have never seen one like that before. And your Camellia arrangement is gorgeous too.

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    1. The Abelia appears to be rare, or at least it's been labeled as such. It was discovered in Chiapas, Mexico by the curator of the Strybing Arboretum in San Francisco and a plant was handed off to a retail/mail-order nursery in the Bay area, which is where I got my plant. Unfortunately, that nursery no longer offers it and I haven't found it anywhere else.

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  13. Lovely flowers you have for December vases! The Camellias and foliage in your second vase are so pretty. :)

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    1. Thanks Cathy. If only the Camellias lasted longer in a vase!

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