Monday, May 27, 2019

In a Vase on Monday: Warm & Cool

While the Midwestern US has been turned upside down by a plague of tornadoes and the Southeastern US has been hit with a major heatwave, coastal Southern California has continued to be pleasantly cool and comfortable with temperatures in the mid-to-upper 60sF (17-20C).  We even got another light touch of rain on Sunday, while the mountain areas got snow.  We know we're really, really lucky.

Saturday was mostly sunny but Sunday was cloudy and damp.  Near 6pm, we got a sudden downpour that pushed the day's rain total to 0.15/inch and brought our annual total to date to 19.45 inches, which is stellar.


Under threat of rain Sunday morning, I decided to cut a couple of my warm orange 'Medallion' roses, which started blooming last week.  I thought of combining them with Leucospermum or Grevillea flowers but I quickly took another track with the addition of a few Calendula blooms.

I wouldn't normally have thought of mixing the peach colored rose with red but there was just enough orange in the Calendula and the foliage of the dwarf peppermint willow to make it work

Back view: I can't remember the foliage of the peppermint willow ever turning this red

Top view: This particular foxglove stem had a cream-colored cast and the red dots echoed the reds in other elements

Clockwise from the upper left: Agonis flexuosa 'Nana' (aka dwarf peppermint willow), Alstroemeria 'Claire', Calendula 'Zeolights', Digitalis purpurea 'Dalmation White', Ozothamnus diosmifolius (aka rice flower plant), and Rosa 'Medallion'


My Renga lilies (Arthropodium cirratum) just began blooming too.  Although I love these plants, I've found them difficult to combine with other flowers in a vase, which doesn't mean I didn't take a stab at it.

A stronger foliage back-drop may have helped the sprays of the Renga lily stand out more

I dressed up the back view with the addition of white Agrostemma 

Higgledy-piggledy top view

Clockwise from the upper left: Arthropodium cirratum (aka Renga lily), Agrostemma 'Ocean Pearls', Polygala fruticosa 'Petite Butterfly', Centaurea "Silver Feather', and foliage of Cercis occidentalis (aka Western redbud)


For more Monday vases, visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.  To those of you in the US, best wishes for a wonderful Memorial Day!

This could be the last time you see flowers in these positions for several months.  We've already started packing up the half of the house that'll be impacted by our remodel.


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

38 comments:

  1. Kris, the calendula and rose color combination is terrific together. The dwarf peppermint willow is a great choice with them. The Renga lily is a star. Love the Agrostemma 'Ocean Pearls' and Polygala fruticosa 'Petite Butterfly' with it. They're all new to me. Hope the renovation will not be too distressing.

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    1. Living in half the house will be a challenge, Susie, especially as my husband's dietary restrictions means we can't eat dinners out or bring in take-out meals but I imagine we'll adapt. I expect to be spending a lot of time hiding out in my garden - at least until summer's heat makes that difficult.

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  2. So lovely - as always! I always look forward to visiting your garden on Mondays Kris! You have beautiful flowers which are familiar to me and so many that are not! It's a weekly revelation! None of the flowers in my jam jar vase come from the garden today. All wild!
    Have a good week, and not too soggy I hope! Amanda https://therunningwave.blogspot.com/2019/05/a-wild-vase-on-monday.html

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    1. We seldom get really soggy, Amanda. Yesterday's rain was relatively light and there's no further precipitation in the forecast for the foreseeable future. Summer rain is generally a freak event for us but El Nino is throwing a wrench in the usual weather patterns so we may get more surprises yet.

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  3. Nicely done, love the warm vase - you think about color a lot more than I do! Wishing for the roses to appear at my house in a vase. Does the Renga Lily look like a big Dianella or is it me imagining things?

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    1. The foliage of the Renga lily is somewhat similar to that of Dianella and, like the latter, Arthropodium is evergreen. It makes an attractive foliage plant when not in bloom.

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  4. What a striking contrast between your vases today, Kris, warm and cool, and both lovely - and the foliage on th first vase is such a good foil for the blooms. Its so interesting to read about your rain. Here, our amateur weather monitor tells us we have had about 7" so far, which is nothing really for a 5 month period

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    1. Our rain year is measured from October 1st of one calendar year through September 30th of the next so my count covers almost 8 full months. During the prior rain year we got a paltry 3.88 inches in my location over the entire 12-month period, which is the worst I can remember. This year the weather phenomenon known as El Nino is stirring things up. While that event means reduced rainfall in some areas of the world, it generally means a boost in rainfall for Southern California. Generally, all our rain is concentrated between November and March but this year we're hearing that we could get rain periodically this summer and into fall.

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  5. As always Kris, your vases are stellar, full of varieties I've never seen or heard of before. I love the color of the peppermint willow. It's so unique and adds so much to the vase.
    So glad you're still getting rain and some mild temps. Those are exactly the temps I love for gardening and working outside. Alas, Ohio is either in the 50's or 80's with very little in between. When we do get that perfect day temperature wise, I always say, "we're having a San Diego day". Not nearly enough of those here.

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    1. We're usually significantly warmer than we are at present during this time of year, Cindy. Another SoCal blogger described our current weather conditions as like those we usually experience in November, which is right on point in my view. We keep hearing that warmer temperatures are coming but, so far, they haven't. I'm not complaining - it's been great! Still, I live in fear that "summer is coming" and we could see our temperatures soar well above 100F again.

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  6. Both glorious! You never disappoint!

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  7. I had to look up Renga Lily. Oh my, it is so pretty. Your photo is superb. It looks great in an arrangement. Such wish I could grow it. I really need a greenhouse. One of my dreams. A lot of your plants are dreamy for me. :)

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    1. Renga lily is a great plant for dry shade, Lisa. Native to New Zealand, it does well in SoCal's Mediterranean climate.

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  8. You flower arrangements are beautiful and creative, as always. Best wishes on your home remodel!

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    1. Thanks Deb. We need all the good wishes we can get. A long tedious haul is in store for us I think, despite all the advance planning my husband's been doing.

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  9. Both arrangements are lovely, and wow, more rain! Your plants are gonna get spoiled.

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    1. El Nino got a late start this year - I'm hoping that means it'll delay its departure.

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  10. Hi Kris, so glad you've got some rain and your garden certainly looks lush and wonderful. It must be a delight after the long drought. Your vases are gorgeous as always and I keep discovering plants I didn't know. Have a lovely summer, Annette

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    1. Thanks Annette. It's been a great spring and I'm holding out hope that summer will offer some pleasant surprises too (rather than another scorching 110F heatwave).

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  11. Beautiful arrangements - I'm such a sucker for peach roses. You are SO lucky! I have a sweet spot when it comes to temperatures and you are right there in the middle of it.

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    1. The weather HAS been absolutely lovely, which isn't something I say often. We'd usually be complaining about the heat well before the end of May.

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  12. Lovely combinations, Kris. I didn't know there was a white Agrostemma, a great cut flower and an under-utilized annual, IMO. The rose and renga lilies make beautiful main attractions.
    So glad you had more rain, almost 20 inches is amazing!

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    1. While there's no more rain in the long-term projections for us, weather forecasters have already been surprised a few times by late-season spring storms. NOAA has said there's a chance the effects of the "Great Puny El Nino of 2018-19" will extend into the summer and possibly fall! I'm not banking on that but I'm certainly hoping it comes true.

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  13. Wow, so much rain! We measure it in litres per square metre here, and I have no idea how to convert, but I wouldn't be surprised if you have had more than us recently. ;-) I really love those colours you have used in the first vase. They make me think of peaches, which are just coming into our supermarkets for the summer. :) And the renga lilies are beautiful too. Enjoy your rainy season while it lasts Kris!

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    1. Your comment made me curious, Cathy. One inch equals 25.4mm and, as Europe generally speaks in terms of liters over a one square meter of land, assuming rainfall is even, one inch of rain would be equivalent to 25.4 liters by your standard. Our 19.45 inches would then translate into about 494 liters. Possibly confusing things further, our "rain year" is measured according to a hydrology standard used by the US Geological Survey from October 1st through September 30th of the following calendar year. My 19.45 inches has fallen over a period of almost 8 months, as opposed to 5 months specific to the 2019 calendar year. And, unbeknownst to me until today, until 2015, California calculated its rain year from July in one year to the end of June in the next, which would seem to make comparisons all the more difficult. Are your eyes crossing yet? Mine are!

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  14. Your arrangements are beautiful Kris. Wow...you have had a lot or rain! Hope the weather patterns get more on track for you.

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    1. The "normal" rain for Los Angeles is just under 15 inches for the year so the 19.45 inches we've received during this "rain year" (calculated from October 1st 2018) is already comfortably above our average, Lee - and certainly better than the lousy 3.88 inches we got last year. And, even if rain in summer is unusual here, there's still a chance of more before the end of September!

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  15. Your weather sounds like ours--we've been just north of the severe weather recently, so 60s and damp days have been the norm. Actually, I'm looking forward to the 80s, but that's when we get our threat of storms. Anyway, another set of amazing arrangements, Kris. Good luck with your house remodel!

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  16. So happy with this rain ! But I expect it's over now-though I would be happy to be proved wrong.I did a vase this week but I was so intent on getting some projects completed in the garden I never took photos. I'm voting for the orangey arrangement this week.Looks like your kitchen is still intact ?

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    1. Yes, we've had one delay after another, after another. The city is requiring sign-off by the AQMD (!) even though the scope of the work isn't encompassed by their regulations. However, we've started clearing the affected rooms and the temporary kitchen is ready to go as soon as we move the fridge in.

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  17. Lovely. Especially like the "cool" vase with the blue painting in the background.

    AQMD approval? Like they think all the power tools run on coal? That may be going a bit far. Yet everyone can have a gas-powered leaf blower?

    Again, best luck to you with the remodel. I discovered it takes a while after they are done to start to really enjoy the finished product. Recovery time, I guess.

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    1. Ha! That painting used to be more orange and red than blue - that light streaming through all those windows has a cost.

      My husband looked up the AQMD regs and, although those state that the agency's sign-off is NOT required on a project of our scope, the city's still insisting on it. The contractor has had some difficulty with the process, as it seems it's not the norm...

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  18. Oh what glorious vases, Kris. Particuarly liked the foliage of the dwarf peppermint willow. You'd have to travel a long way to find foliage as stunning as that. Interesting the chat above about the rainfall, and glad you are finally getting your fair share (as I am too - and loving it!) Best wishes for the renovation that I gather you are facing as well. I know from experience that it's not for the faint-hearted. Lots of tears at my end, but 2 years on am just GLAD.

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    1. I planted that dwarf peppermint several years ago, Cathy, but I've never seen the foliage turn as red as it has this year. I inherited several full-size peppermint willows with the garden and today noticed that even their spring foliage is redder than usual.

      As to the remodel, I already feel as though I've been banging my head against a wall...

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  19. So pretty! Must go out and see if the Renga lilies I planted last summer made it through the winter. It's hard to tell as there's so much ripening Scilla foliage all around.

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    1. I hope they did, Peter. They've proven hardy here, even surviving on my tough back slope for a year before I showed mercy on them and moved them to a more hospitable area. I don't know how they feel about snow, though.

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