Monday, June 3, 2019

In a Vase on Monday: Wild in more ways than one

Ever since the Matilija poppies (Romneya coulteri) produced their first blooms a few weeks ago, I've been thinking of cutting some for a Monday vase.  However, with so many flowers still clamoring for attention, it was easy to ignore the poppies down at the bottom of my back slope for a time.  Sunday morning, I decided their time had come and marched down there to clip a couple of stems.

The poppies are already blooming well above my head.  I knew the plant could spread but I wasn't aware it' could grow 8-10 feet tall.

I've got plenty of white and yellow elements in the garden to accent the crinkled white petals and yellow centers of the poppies

I threw in a couple of the unusual flowers of Sideritis cypria for added drama (and because they'd toppled over into a pathway)

Clockwise from the upper left: Romneya coulteri, Lonicera japonica, Orlaya grandiflora, Achillea 'Moonshine', persimmon buds, and Sideritis cypria.  A critter of some sort broke 2 large branches of one of my persimmon trees over the weekend, resulting in the loss of dozens of the budding fruits.


An unexpected bloom in my back border provided the impetus for a second vase.  I'd almost entirely forgotten about the dozen dwarf Gladioli bulbs I planted there over a year ago.  One lone bulb produced a flower this year and the color wasn't at all what I'd expected.   While pretty on its own, it looked terrible among the surrounding plants so I cut it and went looking for suitable companions.  This year, I've become more confident about my ability to find appropriate color matches somewhere within my garden but this flower's wild colors presented an exceptional challenge.

According to my records, the Gladiola's flowers were supposed to be white and pink.  The coral, pink and magenta flowers were a surprise.

Once I'd assembled my odd mix of flowers, only this vase created in the form of manicured hands seemed right to hold them

I used stems of my 'Pink Meidiland' rose to pick up the coral pink in the Gladiola and stems of a magenta-flowered Pelargonium peltatum (aka ivy geranium) to echo the bright spots in the petals.  The gray foliage of Dorycnium hirsutum (aka hairy Canary clover) brings down the voltage a bit.

Clockwise from the top: Gladiolus nanus 'Nymph', Rose 'Pink Meidiland', Pelargonium peltatum, and Dorycnium hirsutum


As you may have noticed, our kitchen (where I take most of my photos) remains intact.  We're still awaiting the sign-off from the Air Quality Management District required by our city to issue our construction permit and, even after we have that, it may take 2 weeks before the asbestos removal crew is available to start.  Meanwhile, a huge storage pod is sitting in our driveway waiting to be loaded with our living and dining room furniture.  But at least I still have spots to put flowers!



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


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

34 comments:

  1. 8-10 feet for a poppy - what sort of a monster is that?! Anyway, the green and white of the first vase is so refreshing and your second vase successfully proves to be the ideal spot for yur rogue gladiolus - 10 out of 10, Kris!

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    1. It's a native California poppy albeit unrelated to the diminutive orange poppies our state is known for, Cathy. It's sending out runners now too so controlling it may prove to be an issue. I thought it'd be easier to manage it on the dry, neglected back slope but I guess it liked the heavier winter rain as much as I did.

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  2. Oh, I love poppies, but they don't last long in vase. How long will these last? Perseverance paid off and you found some companions for your gladiolus. Sometimes it's surprising things which add the extra element to a vase. I hope the building work will get going soon and be over very quickly. A vain hope?

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    1. One of the poppy blooms has already dropped both its petals and it s pollen-laden stamens, Alison. I don't recall the details of their vase life-span from prior experience but I don't think it's more than 2-3 days on average. I'm hoping the buds with open to extend the show, however.

      The remodel is a 4-6 month project, assuming it ever kicks off...

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  3. The back slope is probably the best spot for those wild poppies, if they get that big! I love the 'fried egg' look to the Romneya. Bold and beautiful!
    That gladiolus certainly gave you a challenge, but the match is perfect and I really love that whimsical vase. Superb!

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    1. For some reason, Eliza, I thought the poppies were shorter, possibly because of the large mass of them I saw in the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, but perhaps those weren't full grown at the time of my visit. I found one on-line reference to their growing 3-5 feet but others say 8-10. Yikes!

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  4. I love the yellow and white arrangement!!! So clean and pure looking with lovely contrast between the yellow and white. Simple, and yet stunning!

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    1. I was happy with it, Cindy, although I don't know if it'll last out the week. The poppies almost definitely won't, although the Orlaya and Achillea have staying power.

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  5. I would like to see an 8' poppy. WOW. The blooms sure look pretty in the vase. I really like that hand vase too. The gladiola challenge was met.

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    1. Well, I can say that, this time of year anyway, the poppy is making a great screen between our property and that of our neighbor, Lisa!

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  6. Sad about the baby persimmons but oh, la! They look great as vase material and I bet they last a good while too.

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    1. We'll see! A large number of the buds seem to drop, even from intact branches. I guess it's self-thinning. I need to pay more attention to how the fruit develops.

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  7. I'd be interested to know the vase life on the Romneya . My vase from last week is still sitting on the table starting to drop various elements-I never got around to making a new one this past weekend I was so intent on my garden chores.Do you have any issues with the foliage on your Sideritis i.e. lambs ear-ish blobby brownish gray dieback ? My flowers look great but the plants look like crap!

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    1. I've already lost one of the Romneya blooms, Kathy, but I should note that, prior to my putting the elements together in a vase, my husband accidentally knocked the container with all my stems onto the floor so that didn't help any. Re the Sideritis, one of my plants is clearly suffering more than the other two. It may have been stepped on but it's also in an area not well covered by the irrigation system. As I recall, I cut some dead foliage back on all 3 back in late fall as they all looked ratty then.

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  8. I’m always happy to see the Sideritis cypria creep into your vases (or garden shots) and must say it makes a great accent in the vase and combines wonderfully with the poppies.

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    1. Keeping the Sideritis happy during its off (non-blooming) season is the biggest issue with the plant, which otherwise I'd be growing more of. As Kathy indicated in her comment, the foliage can get ratty looking.

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  9. I love romneya but it is a freaky monster.I dug mine up after it grew up into my library. The scary thing is that even after I dug it up, roots must still be there because it still kept appearing above the skirting board under the window and when we moved a bookcase, it was growing in the dark behind it. Weird, I don't know any other plant that can do this. Make sure you don't plant it near any building. It is pretty though. I love your pink arrangement too.

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    1. Mine's no where near a building, Chloris, but I've seen signs of runners, which I've pulled out. I suppose the plant might creep into my neighbor's property but it'll have to fight the ivy creeping over from their property if it wants to take over. I hacked it back to one foot tall last fall so, hopefully, continuing that and removing runners will keep it under control. Maybe.

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  10. The huge flowers of Romneya were one of the most memorable sights in the California native garden at Strybing Arboretum (now San Francisco Botanical Garden). I remember their scale as being between 4 and 5 feet, like sizable tree peonies. However, the region was in the middle of a multi-year drought at the time, late '80s into early '90s. The drought was broken by the '93-'94 winter, when it rained every day for two months, making spring 1994 an astounding bloomfest. I can imagine they might have gone above six feet that year. They do spread horizontally when established and happy, but I can't see how that would be anything but a plus on your back slope. Do you cut the bare stems back to 4-inch stubs in late fall, as the San Marcos site suggests? It sounds like a purely esthetic move for a garden setting, something highly optional for a less manicured area.

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    1. I cut the plant back to a foot high last year, Nell, but, based on SMG's recommendation, I'll be even more ruthless this fall. The biggest concern for me is that the Romneya sits relatively close to a nice Ceanothus arboreus, which has only just begun to reach a decent height in the past year. Also, sited between the lemon tree and 3 Pittosporum 'Silver Magic' I planted years ago to screen us from our neighbors, it could get a little too cozy down there if I'm not vigilant in controlling the runners.

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  11. I'm with Loree; the Sideritis cypria absolutely makes that first arrangement; along with the zing its shape adds, it brings out the green backs of the Orlaya and yarrow blooms.

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    1. I love the Sideritis flowers and would like more of them but the foliage can be troublesome. However, I've already put the plant back on my Annie's wish list, thinking I might try growing more on the back slope where its ugly phase would be less annoying.

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  12. I'm glad you decided to include the Poppies this time--they combine nicely with the Achillea and the other stems and blooms. The second arrangement is perfect in every way--down to that very special vase. Love it!

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  13. I love your white poppy Kris. Amazing that it grows so tall. Must have been your cool and damp spring! The Sideritis is also very striking. Such a different shape and form to plants I know. Although Chloris's story about its ambitions is rather scary!

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    1. Yes, even I'm a bit intimidated by the Matilija poppy now!

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  14. The Dorycnium hirsutum brings all the elements in your second bouquet together very well. As for the petals of the poppy they are so delicate and soft. They remind me of the crushed silk of Princess Diana's wedding dress as she emerged from the carriage for her wedding.

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  15. The colouration on the gladiolas is amazing! I'm always gobsmacked (as the Brits say) by all the unusual varieties in your garden. I'm so looking forward to seeing how the perennials in my garden behave in the coming years and am sure I'll have a few "my poppies grew 10' tall!" surprises :)

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    1. That's one thing you can count on with gardens - one way of another they're going to surprise you!

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  16. oh, lord - good luck with the asbestos. I guess you are getting a new kitchen. Wonderful, you'll love it! Southerners call those Gladiolas Byzantine Glads. Love them and your combination. I planted some Glads from Aldi - I think they will be annuals here - for $2 I would give it a try. You may be seeing non Byzantine Glads from me soon.

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    1. As I only got one bulb to grow and bloom for me out of a dozen, Amelia, I'm not sure you'll be seeing any more Glads from me, pretty as they are.

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  17. Two fine vases Kris. For me the white and yellow one is the star - such a fresh looking arrangement.

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