Monday, May 20, 2019

In a Vase on Monday: The Blues Have It

Sunday morning was beautiful but wet.  We got rain for the second time within a week.  In mid-May!  I already had in mind what I wanted to cut for "In a Vase On Monday" so I quickly got to it.  There are a lot of new blooms in my garden and it would have been easy to get distracted by this or that but the rain and the cold temperature kept me reasonably focused.

I hadn't even noticed the Delphiniums were blooming until last week, when the top-heavy cilantro/coriander plants in the same raised beds toppled over following the storm that moved through Wednesday night into Thursday morning.  The seed-sown larkspurs (Consolida ambigua) have been slowly unfolding for the last couple of weeks.

I couldn't decide which side of the vase should represent the front and which the back.  This side features a blue and white Aquilegia (aka columbine).

This side features seed-grown Nigella (aka love-in-the-mist)

Top view

Clockwise from the upper left: Aquilegia 'Orgami Blue & White', Campanula portenschlagiana, Consolida ambigua 'Summer Skies Mix', Delphinium 'Pacific Giants', Salvia 'Mystic Spires', Prunus ilicifolia, noID Penstemon, Orlaya grandiflora, Lagurus ovata (aka bunny tail grass) and, in the middle, Nigella papillosa 'Starry Night Mix'


The heavy bloom stalks of Aeonium haworthii have been flopping over into paths for weeks now and the rain had exacerbated the problem so I went ahead and cut some of those too.

The stone vase was the only one I had heavy enough to hold the succulent stems without tipping over.  Unfortunately, the stone sweats so I inserted the stems into few water-filled floral tubes.  My experience is that the succulent flowers don't need much supplemental water but we'll see how this works.

Most of the stems were cut from Aeonium haworthii 'Kiwi Verde' (right) but I also found a couple of flowering stems among the variegated 'Kiwi' plants.  There's a noticable difference between the flower and stem colors of the 2 plants, at least at this stage.

This is the small vase I created 4 weeks ago using small 'Kiwi Verde' stems.  The flowers still look good but their color has faded dramatically over the weeks.


Sunday afternoon brought bright blue skies and warmer temperatures near the mid-60sF.  My garden now has the fresh, clean appearance that only rain can bring.  The smog that normally blankets the harbor view cleared out with the storm and both the sky and the water were a beautiful blue.

View from the back garden looking at the entrance to the Los Angeles harbor, known as Angel's Gate


While I was snapping photos of the harbor, I heard a familiar buzz and caught sight of a hummingbird sipping nectar.  As soon as he rose above the foliage I pushed the button on my camera, hoping for the best, and for a change I got lucky.

Anna's hummingbirds (Calypte anna) are year-round residents here and, although they zip by constantly when I'm in the garden, I seldom get a decent photo.  As soon as this fellow heard the click of the camera, he was off!


All in all, Sunday was a great day.

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




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

24 comments:

  1. Blue and white is such a winning combination. I love your delphiniums, I don't think I could bring myself to cut mine. I didn't realise succulents had such pretty flowers, they look lovely in those stone vases, are they onyx?

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    1. Some succulents have prettier flowers than others, Chloris. In my view, those of Aenoium haworthii and Graptoveria 'Fred Ives' are the the most attractive among the smaller succulents. There are also some great Aloe flowers. Re the stone vases, I think they're onyx, although I no longer remember where I got them. My recollection is that they were inexpensive but then I probably bought them without knowing they don't hold water well.

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  2. The 'Kiwi Verde' vase is still a delight; the fading of the flowers really brings out the green calyces.

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    1. I like the faded 'Kiwi Verde' flowers even better than the fresh blooms myself, Nell.

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  3. I love blue and white in a vase and what a lovely selection you have put together - but just how sweet is that simple second vase?!

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    1. I've got so many of those Aeonium stems in bloom I could probably open up a pop-up florist's stand in my driveway, Cathy!

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  4. Gorgeous - all of it! I love delphiniums and I particularly love your Orlaya grandiflora. I didn't know the name of it although the flower is so familiar and not unlike our wild cow parsley. It's World Bee Day today and the bees in your garden must be very happy indeed! Lovely lovely vases Kris. Thank you. Amanda https://therunningwave.blogspot.com/2019/05/a-vase-or-three-on-monday.html

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    1. I do my best by the bees here, Amanda! They're fairly plentiful, although the population does seem a bit lower than last year. Of course, it's also been far cooler than "normal" this spring thus far.

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  5. I love the way the stone vase picks up the colors in the Aeonium flowers. The blue vase is lovely as well with its strong vertical accents and lovely columbine in the center. I keep wishing I could establish larkspur to self sow here, but the bunnies love the seedlings too much. :(
    Amazing that you've had rain this far into May!

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    1. The rain was a delightful surprise, Eliza. After last year's experience, I was worried about bunny intrusions here but we've had only three sightings of them thus far. I've seen hawks much more frequently, though, so there may be a connection there...

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  6. Those stone vases are perfect for the succulent blooms. The colors really mesh. I love the blues. Such a lively vase Happy IAVOM.

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    1. I love those stone vases, Lisa. I just wish they actually held water.

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  7. Gorgeous,love both vases, I have a special fondness for blue and the stone vases remind me of my father, the geology professor! Delphinium has always been geographically out of my reach - amazing to me you can grow them. I really love the Orlaya and may order some seed to try this fall. Hope the fair weather continues for you.

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    1. I'd always steered clear of Delphiniums, also believing them outside my reach, Amelia. I even remember telling friends not to waste their money on the plants. However, I tried them on the fly here last year in my cutting garden and they did just fine. It helps that the raised planters in the cutting garden get extra water and that I treat the Delphiniums as spring annuals - the plants can't handle our summer temperatures.

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  8. As a rule I do not care for Aeonium flowers, but you’ve made them look quite fetching!

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    1. The flowers are nice. What they do to the shape of the plants, isn't so nice.

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  9. The aeoniums in stone vases make me smile with those wonderful color blends. :) And I envy your delphiniums and larkspur - so much beautiful blue... I've always assumed delphiniums wouldn't last through hot summers even here in the midwest, but I know you have had some scorching weather in recent summers so perhaps I'm mistaken?

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    1. The Delphiniums won't last the summer here either, Amy. They're strictly spring annuals for us. Planted early enough, we get a decent show from them but, when summer arrives full force, they're toast.

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  10. Hail to the great gardener and arranger of choice blooms. Two superb arrangements however: the special item this week is the picture of the hummingbird.

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    1. I was thrilled with that hummingbird snap too, Noelle. I didn't have time to focus the camera properly but it was still fairly decent.

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  11. Two lovely vases again Kris. The aeonium flowers are so pretty. I hope mine will flower one day! The first vase is beautiful from all angles and I especially like the larkspurs. How strange that you have had even more rain adn such cool temperatures still. But great for the garden!

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    1. All that rain is making for a long and especially bountiful spring. It's been wonderful!

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  12. I'm not sure why, but I would not have thought of using succulent flowers in a vase - brilliant! I can't believe how long the Kiwi Verde has lasted - that's phenomenal - and I really like the pale flowers tinged with pinkish purple.

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    1. Aeonium flowers seem to be particularly long-lasting, even by comparison to other succulent flowers. The only down side is that the Aeonium branches producing the flowers die back. Usually, many side stems are left but 'Kiwi Verde' is such a prolific flower-producer the plants tend to lose their formerly rounded shape.

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