Monday, February 18, 2019

In a Vase on Monday: Tulips, my way

I regularly complain about my inability to grow tulips.  It's not for lack of trying.  I've purchased tulip bulbs several times, pre-chilling them before planting, only to have large-scale failures on each occasion.  Pre-sprouted tulips have become available here in recent years and I've tried those too but with only nominally better results.  Warm Santa Ana wind conditions are the chief problem; however, those winds don't bother most of my plants.  Looking at my Leucadendron 'Safari Goldstrike' this week, it occurred to me that, with the stems stripped of most of their green foliage, the colorful bracts might create a half-decent facsimile of a tulip.

What do you think?

I filled in with other flowers and foliage in chartreuse tones

Top view

This is what Leucadendron 'Goldstrike' looks like in my garden

I used stems of this mutant Aeonium bloom in the arrangement.  Aeoniums normally produce cone-shaped bloom spikes.

Clockwise from the upper left: Abelia 'Kaleidoscope', Aeonium arboreum, Euphorbia rigida, noID Narcissus, Prunus laurocerasus (aka English Laurel), Tanacetum parthenium (aka Feverfew) and, in the middle, Leucadendron 'Safari Goldstrike'


I created a second vase as usual.  I'd originally intended to put it together for Valentine's Day but as it was sopping wet outside for two solid days I didn't get to it until Saturday morning.  As Sunday was my wedding anniversary, it still seemed appropriate.

The centerpiece is Calliandra haematocephala (aka Pink Powder Puff)

but I think the real star is the pink and white-flowered Grevillea 'Penola'

I added some white Dianthus for contrast

Clockwise from the top: Calliandra haematocephala flower, buds of the same plant, Dianthus caryophyllus, and Grevillea lavandulacea 'Penola'.  The Calliandra flowers don't last long but I'm hoping, perhaps unrealistically, that the buds may open as the full-blown flower fades.


The house is flower-filled at the moment.  In addition to the two new vases, I have two tiny vases containing cast-offs from one of this week's vases and remnants of one of last week's vases, plus an orchid I received from my husband and another pot of orchids received from a lovely family that visited my garden on Saturday.

The two new vases landed in the usual spots on the dining and front-entry tables

Leftover stems from the first vase ended up in my tiny cactus-shaped vase.  I popped the stem of Globularia x indubia (aka Globe Daisy) from last week's arrangement into a tiny blue vase because I couldn't bear to throw it into the trash after so many of the tight buds had opened.

My husband bought me a Phalaenopsis to mark our anniversary.  The other pot was a gift from my visitors.  Both pots will join the other orchids in my lath house once the flowers are spent and temperatures warm.


I hope you find some color to brighten your week too.  Visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden to see what she and her merry band of IAVOM contributors have to share this week.


All material © 2012-2019 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

44 comments:

  1. Lovely fresh spring colour alongside your 'tulips' Kris! Works really well and why not!! Your garden has so many different colours and textures! Always good to see from week to week! Thank you. A very simple contribution from me this week! Amanda https://therunningwave.blogspot.com/2019/02/a-single-bloom-in-my-vase-on-monday.html

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    1. I'm glad to know you didn't think I was deluded in seeing the shape of tulips in the Leucadendron, Amanda!

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  2. I can't imagine wishing for tulips over Leucadendron, especially Leucadendron as lovely as yours. We always want what we don't have...

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    1. Yes, sadly, these seems to be a common malady among gardeners, Loree ;)

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  3. Your Goldstrikes do in a pinch as pseudo-tulips - good thinking!

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  4. Happy anniversary -- with so many in the garden, how hard it must be to buy flowers for you!

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    1. I think I've now got my husband trained to buy me plants instead of cut flowers for our anniversary, Denise. As the anniversary follows Valentine's Day by a few days, I used to get rather sorry bunches of leftover VD flowers. Orchids are a vast improvement.

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  5. I love the fake tulips, I think they work very well, although perhaps the red of 'Safari Sunset' might be even better. How nice to get a gift from your visitors, I hope everyone had an enjoyable time.

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    1. 'Safari Sunset' opens more broadly, making it look more like a coneflower to me but I've also used it a number of times already so that's why I didn't think about it. The visit went well.

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  6. Tulips are such brief visitors in gardens and your leucodendron version lasts much longer. Like Loree said, we always wish for what we can't have. Oh, that Pink Powder Puff is swell... Happy anniversary!

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    1. I wish the Pink Powder Puff last longer - as flowers go, it's in the wimp category.

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  7. I feel your frustration but I like the faux tulips. The colours in that vase are soft and restful. Very springlike. I suppose we all want to grow things we can't. I like the globe daisy very much.

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    1. I was somewhat reluctant to cut the globe daisy last week as most of the flowers were still in bud. I was thrilled that they opened even after the stem was cut.

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  8. By golly I think you have struck GOLD! They do look like tulips. I think you powder puffs are perfect for your Anniversary. I hope you had a happy day to celebrate. These orchids looks good. If I didn't have to bring them in during winter I could really get into growing orchids. They are so easy. At least the phalaenopsis are easy. Have a great week.

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    1. I was a little alarmed to see that the tags on the new orchids recommended that the plants be kept in temperatures higher than those currently offered in lath house, which is where I keep most of my orchids. If the current trend to daytime temperatures in the low 50sF continues, I may actually have to winter some plants inside myself!

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  9. That is so effective to remove excess green and display the flower.

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  10. Super springlike; wonderful!

    It struck me a few years ago that tulips evoke spring so powerfully not only because of their bloom time, but also due to their resemblance to eggs, those potent symbols of the season. 'Goldstrike' stays cupped enough to convey the subliminal idea. The inherent early-spring freshness of yellow-green finishes the job.

    I'm sure the second arrangement is lovely and worthy of a closer look, but right now I just want to bask in the sunshine given off by your headliner. Else's in the forecast...

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    1. The first arrangement does sing of spring, Nell! We're usually feeling the shift of seasons already by mid-February but this year we're stuck with temperatures in the low to mid 50sF. That's not extreme by your standards I know but it's somewhat weird by ours.

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  11. Danged auotocorrect! _Sleet's_ in the forecast.

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  12. Happy Anniversary, Kris! Flowers are a perfect gift for you. ;)
    I think your yellow 'tulips' are very convincing and look lovely with the narcissi and succulent blooms – a taste of spring. The Grevillea in the second vase is pretty with the silvery foliage. I've always loved Calliandra when I've seen them on trips to the tropics.

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    1. Calliandra produces a heavy crop of beautiful blooms when the plant is allowed to grow outward as it wants to do. However, in this garden, it was used by prior owners as hedge material grown flat against walls. The gardeners who maintain my hedges relentlessly shear the plants to keep them from blocking paths so I don't get nearly as many flowers as I'd like.

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  13. How interesting. I can't grow tulips either, but it's for a different reason...rabbits. I gave up on them long ago. Fortunately, the rabbits don't eat the daffodils, so I've planted tons of those. It's wonderful to see your vases full of some of my favorite warm-climate plants. :)

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    1. I sympathize, Beth. I learned first-hand last year how hard rabbits can be on a garden.

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  14. That was such a clever though, Kris, using the Leucadendron in lieu of tulips - it works really well and I love the chartreuse colour scheme of the first vase (and the leftovers in your gorgeous cactus vase!). I saw some fluffy calliandra in the glasshouses at Cambridge Botanical Gardens on Sunday and was explaiming over them - they are so striking. Thanks for sharing - and sorry to hear about the 'low' temperatures you are experiencing!!

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    1. I know our version of "cold" is different than yours, Cathy, but we're thin-skinned here!

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  15. You always have such a beautiful array of flowers in your bouquets and they are not only beautiful, inspiring, and cheerful!

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  16. Lovely, Happy Anniversary and Valentine's Day. Pink Powderpuff and Dianthus are flowering here. I think you should love your 'California' tulips, I do. I have to look into Abelia here, it must be very drought tolerant for you.

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    1. I have a LOT of Abelias and my collection includes a number of different varieties, Amelia. They can get a little spindly but they respond well to pruning and, yes, they handle our drought well.

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  17. I love your take on tulips - perfect. They also look a little like the shape of the flowers from the Tulip tree. The vase shouts spring in a very tradition way which I love. I know that you have more success with Narcissus than tulips whereas mine flower very late indeed, their foliage isn't even out of the ground yet while many of the tulips are poking their shoots above ground.

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    1. Only the small-cupped Narcissus have flowered this far, Christina, but the foliage is up for the varieties with larger flowers. I must remember to plant more of the early blooming types next fall as they do provide a nice prelude to spring.

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    2. Do you know what variety the Narcissus in your arrangement is? I agree that the early end of the season is by far the most thrilling. (The excitement being amped up here in z6-7 by the gamble of getting through bloom without being cut short by a freeze...)

      My other guideline would be to try to stick with the shorter/smaller kinds, to minimize the impact and duration of the ugly aftermath. There's no way to avoid the yellow-to-brown process euphemistically known as "ripening" if daffodils are to be the rewarding, undemanding perennials they can be. Distraction by other plants peaking in another spot is the best antidote, and you've got bunches of those!

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    3. I've no idea which Narcissus this is, Nell. Like the paperwhites that bloomed earlier, this variety came with the garden. I'm afraid I'm inclined to break the rules about ripening bulb foliage. I've been known to both plait the stems and cut them by half or more in the interest of tidying up. Even if that's cost me some blooms, it hasn't entirely eliminated them.

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  18. All that color is a sight for my eyes which are very tired of white! I think you have found the perfect substitute for Tulips. Those look like the big bloowzy varieties that are open and dramatic. Good job!

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    1. I'm pleased that the IAVOM group are able to see the Leucadendron "flowers" as I do, Linda.

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  19. The Leucadendron petals are very close to a tulip - lovely match for the spring narcissi. I really couldn't say which vase I like best this week - both are so full of colour and beautifully arranged as always!

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  20. I definitely share your frustration over tulips! I love them but they are an impossible dream here (just like peonies) but I must say that your faux tulips do the trick, chapeau!!

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    1. I planted a few of the pre-sprouted tulips available at my local garden center earlier this month. As we're unusually cold - and wet - this year, I thought we might actually have a chance of flowers. We shall see...

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  21. Happy anniversary Kris. Love your use of Leucadendron 'Safari Goldstrike' --really inspired. I can't get to Denver this year. Sad to miss it. Are you going?

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    1. No, I'm going to miss the Fling this year as well. We expect to begin demolition for our remodel sometime in April. Even the planning for it is already eating into my garden time. Maybe we'll meet up in Madison?!

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