Monday, May 6, 2019

In a Vase on Monday: Pick me, pick me!

I could never have been a high school drama teacher.  Not only do I have none of the acting or directing skills probably required for the job but I'd also find it impossible to ignore all those eager faces hoping to be chosen for roles in the school play.  I'd be adding bit parts the play didn't call for until the play ran twice as long as was intended or the stage itself broke under the weight of the players.  At this time of year I have a similar problem when I walk into the garden to pick flowers for "In a Vase on Monday," the popular meme hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.  Unlike late summer when searching for suitable plant material is akin to a scavenger hunt, there's no shortage of prospects in Spring, when one flower after another waves in the wind beckoning me closer.

I initially focused on two of my more unusual flowering plants, Salvia lanceolata and Aeonium haworthii 'Kiwi Verde', both of which produce flowers in rust-toned shades.  The Salvia is a South African native and the Aeonium is a succulent that's produced an unexpectedly large crop of flowers this year.  Before I was done, they were joined by some unlikely companions.

Fading stems of Helleborus 'Phoebe, ' and the delicate blooms of Alstroemeria 'Claire' grabbed center stage from the Salvia and Aeonium

Aeonium 'Kiwi Verde' took over the rear of the arrangement.  Unlike the variegated Aeonium 'Kiwi' which generally produces only a flower here and there, a third or more of the 'Kiwi Verde' I planted over the past 2 years are blooming this Spring.

Top view

Clockwise from the upper left: Helleborus 'Phoebe', Aeonium haworthii 'Kiwi Verde', Agonis flexuosa 'Nana', Alstroemeria 'Claire' noID self-planted Cotoneaster, and Salvia lanceolata


The pleated vase I used for the first arrangement has a relatively small throat that couldn't swallow all the stems I'd cut so I popped some of the Aeonium's slenderer stems into a small vase.

The waxy succulent flowers seem to fit this cactus-shaped vase


Frothy pink blooms currently fill two areas in my garden so I felt the time was right to use some of those before our temperatures rise and put an end to them.  We've enjoyed an amazingly cool and comfortable Spring thus far but prior experience suggests that we could get hit with a blast of hot weather at any time.  However, weather pundits are currently suggesting that we may continue to benefit from the "Great Puny El Niño of 2018-19" throughout the summer and possibly into the fall.  We actually got drizzle last Monday and little more last night.  That's remarkable for May here.

While Leptospermum 'Pink Pearl' grounds the arrangement, Centranthus ruber in 3 colors plays the starring role

The 2 large shrubs of  Leptospermum in my garden peaked a week or 2 ago and are already beginning to fade, although I can usually expect a second flush of bloom in the fall

The pink variety of Centranthus is by far the most common in my garden but I usually get some red blooms too.  I've been actively encouraging the spread of the white form for a few years now.

Clockwise from the upper left: pink, white and red Centranthus ruber, Dorycnium hirsutum (aka hairy Canary clover), Orlaya grandiflora (aka Minoan lace), variegated Pelargonium hybrid 'Lady Plymouth' and, in the center, Leptospermum scoparium 'Pink Pearl'


And who can ignore sweet peas?  Even though the plants in one raised planter are still stubbornly refusing to bloom, those I sowed in a half-barrel in the cutting garden are pumping out blooms faster than I can cut them.

Most of the flowers in this Lathyrus odoratus 'Pastel Sunset' mix are shades of pink but there are some cream and lavender-blue blooms too.  According to the seller's on-line information, the mix contains seeds of 'Sylvia More', 'Jilly' and 'Chatsworth'.


Visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden to discover what she and other IAVOM contributors have picked this week.



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

30 comments:

  1. Your pleated vase arrangement is one of my favorites, it's so cohesive (maybe not the best word, but the only one I could think of). The leftover bits in the cactus vase are perfect too!

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    1. I was pleased with how the colors came together in that first arrangement too, Loree, although I think it might have had more impact if I hadn't stuffed it so tight. I can't seem to help myself there.

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  2. Another knockout trio of vases Kris! Beautiful colours and a fabulous range of textures. Just lovely - as always! Mine is a simple soul - but is smells good! Amanda
    https://therunningwave.blogspot.com/2019/05/a-fragrant-vase-on-monday.html

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  3. The blend of pastel rust and warm pink with cream and acid green in the first vase is one of your triumphs. If you did find yourself as a school director, my guess is you'd solve the problem of selection as you do here -- with additional productions, including a few one-act plays! Glad that spring is turning out to be prolonged.

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    1. Ah, but would the school administration have supported the increased number of productions? ;)

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  4. Ooh, armloads of blooms! Isn't it nice to have lots to choose from? I'm impressed with your sweet peas (mine finally germinated, phew), so I can only hope to have blossoms as nice as yours. I like the soft, mauve-pink color theme in the first vase and really love the fluffy pink abundance of the second. Leptospermum is such a gorgeous bush.

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    1. I didn't do a good job at all in training my sweet peas up the supports I provided this year, Eliza. I need to solicit instruction from my neighbor whose plants both got off to an earlier start and grew straight and tall. She's a relatively short person, though, so I don't know how she picks any when they're way above her head.

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  5. I see why you couldn't leave out anyone. The cactus vase looks to be a blooming cactus. Sweet.

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    1. I found that little cactus vase at the Huntington Garden's gift shop. It was a great buy in all respects.

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  6. Yes, it is hard this time of year to pick favorites--for vases or for posts. But your picks are lovely. I know I'll always find beauty when I visit your blog!

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  7. As always, your floral arrangements are striking. They make me want to go out and explore your garden! The first bouquet is rather unusual, and I really like it. It looks great in the pleated vase.

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    1. You're welcome to come explore any time your travels bring you to my area of the country, Deb.

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  8. I love all your May flowers, what fun to have so many to choose some. I always enjoy all your coral flowers and what a pretty addition the Aeonium is.I love the cactus vase. Does the leptospermum last well in a vase? I wish I could grow it, even in a pot I kill it. And what a lovely sweet pea mixture.

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    1. If the Leptospermum stems are picked early in their bloom period, the flowers have a decent (one week) vase life, Chloris. Those I cut this week were already past their prime but, while the flowers diminish in size as the petals dry out, they remain in place awhile. The Centranthus flowers will fall apart before the Leptospermum blooms do.

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  9. As ever you demonstrate not only your very green fingers, but you eye for arrangements. Lovely collection of vases as ever.

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  10. Much as I love bold colors, the first arrangement with it's muted tones appeals to me very much. So glad you're still getting a bit of light rain. Summer seems to have arrived here all of a sudden this week.

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    1. Every little bit of rain counts, Peter. I understand that some areas of SoCal got downpours and even hail yesterday. We got just 0.03/inch of rain but there's a forecast for more possible Thursday and Friday.

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  11. Beautiful - I really love the different feel of each arrangement. And the two tone pink and green of the Aeonium is just glorious! I would never have guessed the large flower to be a Salvia - so unusual, perhaps due to it's tropical origin?

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    1. The common name for the Salvia is Rocky Mountain Sage but as I understand its native to the sandy rock regions of the Cape region of South Africa, I think it wants a Mediterranean climate rather than a tropical one. The plant has low water requirements, which makes it just the ticket for my garden!

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  12. I imagine that all the flowers in your garden were pleading to be picked Kris! That out of the ordinary for you May drizzle must have been a delight.

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    1. It wasn't much rain but it's always appreciated for scrubbing the air of pollutants. If we continue to get a spot here and there through the summer, that'll be spectacular!

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  13. Amazing bounty! love it. My Aeonium (Desert Rose) is flowering here. Love the rust tones in the mix and alone. Hope you are still enjoying a long soothing spring.

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    1. It's actually chilly and cloudy this morning and there's rain in the forecast for the end of the week. It's weird and just a little wonderful, Amelia.

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  14. Isn't it good to be spoilt for choice now, though? Your cactus vase is great and perfect for the succulents. I wouldn't think of cutting them. I'm drawn to the peachy alstroemeria and the Orlaya (buds on mine!) and of course the sweet peas. I'm sure i'd be the same as you and be snipping here, there and everywhere.

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    1. The Orlaya took it's time getting its bloom on here, Alison, but it's in its glory now. I hope yours wows you too.

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  15. Lovely, lovely vases with each week prettier than the last. I can see why you have trouble picking which ones to use. The succulents in the cactus are a perfect combo!!!

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    1. With the number of succulent flowers I have this year, I'm ruing the decision to buy the small cactus vase instead of the bigger version, Cindy.

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