Monday, August 5, 2019

In a Vase on Monday: Diverted by Dahlias

I've begun to feel that I live in a war zone.  Not the traditional kind but rather one of our nation's own making.  Lacking anything that could pass for a moral compass, much less concern for the basic needs of the people they're supposed to serve, the current federal administration has repeatedly failed to act constructively to contain gun violence.  There have been 251 mass shootings in the United States this year alone.  The current occupant of our White House makes useless references to "thoughts and prayers" and continues to pander to those he believes will support him in the next election, spouting racist rhetoric every three times he opens his mouth or tweets.  And the morally bankrupt members of the so-called Grand Old Party cling to his coattails hoping to hang on to power.  I could write another 1000 words expressing how angry I am but you don't visit my blog to hear that so I'll leave the topic with just one war cry of my own: "Vote him out! Vote him out!"

Despite swampy weather conditions, I spent yesterday morning in my garden, trying to bring my blood pressure back to a normal level.  I let the dahlias in my cutting garden wrest my attention from the news feed and politics.  That diversion led to the creation of three vases this week.  If the heat hadn't started to make me melt, there might've been six.

Dahlia 'Otto's Thrill' started things off.

'Otto's Thrill' has the largest blooms of any dahlias I currently grow.  The flowers are as large as my hand span.

Unsatisfied with my other options, I resorted to using our tiny temporary kitchen to take photographs

Top view

Clockwise from the upper left: Dahlia 'Otto's Thrill', Abelia grandiflora 'Edward Goucher', Amaranthus caudatus, Amaryllis belladonna (one of only 2 species that make up the genus Amaryllis, not to be confused with Hippeastrum), and Eustoma grandiflora (aka lisianthus)


My second vase contains two different but complementary dahlias.

The first blooms of Dahlia 'Hollyhill Karen Lee' join 'Enchantress' here in a novelty vase I picked up over 2 months ago

I filled in with some of the foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) blooms still hanging on in my cutting garden

Top view, showing some of the irregular holes in the top of the vase provided to hold stems in place

Clockwise from the upper left: Dahlia 'Enchantress', 2 varieties of Digitalis purpurea ('Dalmatian' series), Dahlia 'Hollyhill Karen Lee', Gomphrena decumbens 'Itsy Bitsy', and Tanacetum parthenium (aka feverfew)


Dahlia 'Citron du Cap' was an accent rather than the impetus for the third vase.

Callistemon 'Cane's Hybrid' provided the starting point for this vase.  Larger views of the Callistemon, which suddenly sprung into bloom last week, can be found here.

Zinnia 'Benary's Giant Salmon Rose' grabs attention in the back.  I sowed these Zinnia seeds about 2 weeks before any of the others in my cutting garden and, not unexpectedly, they're the first to take off.

Top view

Clockwise from the upper left: Dahlia 'Citron de Cap', Agonis flexuousa 'Nana', Callistemon 'Cane's Hybrid', Zinnia 'Benary's Giant Salmon Rose', Grevillea 'Peaches & Cream', and Tanacetum parthenium


For more IAVOM vases, visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.

Vases in their places



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

28 comments:

  1. We gardeners are so fortunate to have a place to spend time where our troubles can be temporarily eased. Andrew had just left for a run to Lowes when I heard about the El Paso shooting. What if? Vote him out is a cry for the time, although maybe I'll tweak it to vote them out. Moscow Mitch needs to go too.

    Love your dahlias and I'm glad you're still "vasing" it on through the remodel. Speaking of melting it was 94 here yesterday, I melted a bit myself while working outside. Thankfully though we're able to run our a/c, I don't know how you're doing without!

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    1. The Divider-in-Chief did a piss-poor job of his public address this morning even though someone wrote him flowery expressions of regret to parrot. I'm on the anti-McConnell bandwagon too. The guy has a hole where his heart should be and his opportunism eclipses any value system I can see. I'm thinking of contributing to his opponent's 2020 senatorial campaign.

      We've been lucky to have the morning marine layer hanging on. Although it clears by mid-morning, it helps a bit in keeping the heat down. I can't do much outside outside the early morning hours, though.

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  2. I look forward to Dahlia time in the garden as well. You're so lucky to have such a variety, and so many complementary blooms too, including that 'Peaches and Cream' Grevillea.

    I despair over how this country seems to be under siege by domestic terrorism too. I dream of Nigel retiring and moving back to England, but I'm not sure how practical that is. At least if I lived there I wouldn't fear getting shot just by going to the grocery store.

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    1. Best wait until you see what happens with Brexit, Alison, but I understand your feelings. It's difficult to feel safe anywhere now, even in California where gun laws are stricter. Look what happened in Gilroy.

      Dahlias make the summer garden for me. It's easier to ignore the ugly bits when I can walk into the cutting garden and see all those flowers. 'Loverboy' appears to have deserted me this year, though.

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  3. Is that a pink rather than a red amaranthus, or is it just an illusion? Lots of pinks this week, but such different shades and I am so pleased you area ble to carry on gardening and vase filling while your house )and the country) is in chaoes. Have there really been 251 mass shootings in the US this year? Have they just ceased to become 'news'?

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    1. The Amaranthus was labeled as red-flowered Loves-Lies-a-Bleeding but it looks pink to me too. I'm actually happier with that than the red as it blends better with the dahlias in my collection.

      Yes, Wikipedia (and various news outlets) list 251 mass shooting in the US this year alone, more than one per day. Some, like the 2 in Chicago this weekend, might normally be only a news footnote but that's an indication of just how common the events have become. California had one at a food festival in Gilroy just a week ago yesterday. The gunman brought in a weapon outlawed in California from Nevada. Although police moved in quickly, the gunman killed 3 people, including 2 children, and injured a dozen others, before killing himself. Why people need assault weapons for hunting and personal protection eludes me.

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  4. More than usually looking forward to the vase-on-Monday dose of beauty; thank you.

    The lolling amaranth really makes that first arrangement, a fabulous echo of the "ribbons" on the vase. You've convinced me that dahlias for cutting will be an important part of a healthy and balanced 2020 season. Admittedly, I was already well on the way to convincing myself, and have a credit at Old House Gardens to use up.

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    1. Years ago, I'd have rolled my eyes at the suggestion to grow dahlias, Nell, but they're well worth the little effort they require. And I say that even though I dig my tubers up every year in the late fall and store them until spring. That's not technically required in my climate but it frees me to use the growing space for other things during their dormant period.

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  5. Such pretty colours Kris! You are so right about the balm a garden and plants can bring to troubled hearts such as ours. We now have two blonde idiots in power - yours and ours. How ours got there God only knows. We have a system that allows for a situation where less than 1% of our voting population can pick our Prime Minister. That seems singularly whacky and wrong to me. So many things we would like to put right but I guess all we can do at the moment is head into the garden with some secateurs - makes me feel better anyway! Thank you for all your fabulous flowers - gorgeous, as always. Amanda x

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    1. Some are still in shock that our blonde won the election, Amanda. He didn't win the popular vote (although he claims some people voted illegally or he would have, but then he manufactures excuses for failures of all kinds). He won the presidency due to the outdated electoral college, which emphasizes how many states a candidate wins over individual votes. Manipulation by foreign parties didn't help things.

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  6. I have long missed your vases and those dahlias....be still my heart! I am with you on the politics but my words are such that they would offend many since I am not holding back. I really haven't in my home and if anyone asks me, which they don't any more. But our refuge is our gardens and thankfully so.

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    1. Although my own beliefs about right and wrong are solid, I've been working to understand why some people support the politicians and platforms I see as merit-less. Sometimes it's fear, sometimes it's self-interest, and sometimes it's a failure to probe below the surface to fully understand an issue. I remain hopeful that addressing fear and opening dialogue to enhance understanding can build bridges and support solutions that make a difference. But I still get angry! Especially when the people at the center of things act only in their own self-interest.

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  7. Such divine Dahlia inspiration! I love the Amaranthus in the composition and covet your Dahlias and the Amaryllis. I am in total agreement with you on guns, it is hard to swallow that the voters continue to support this,I enjoyed a CNN respite in my garden yesterday. Six inches or rain here last week!

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    1. I've had to put myself on a news diet too, Amelia. Too much coverage and I become apoplectic.

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  8. Oh gosh, how right you are about the state of things. Makes my blood boil. Thank goodness for lots of weeds - I get to take it out on them. Your vases are lovely, as always.

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    1. I was out working on the garden again this morning, Barbara. If it weren't so hot, I suspect I'd have been out there until the sun went down.

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  9. Anger is a wonderful creative force for you when it comes to flower arranging, Kris. ;) These three designs are lovely! Gorgeous dahlias, belladonna lilies, and peachy zinnias, just to mention a few that caught my eye. I'm surprised that you still have foxglove, mine flower in June. Do you get them as plugs?

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    1. Maybe I should open a shop called The Angry Florist, offering discounts to people willing to sit through philosophical and political rants ;) The foxgloves were put in as plugs last winter. They don't usually last nearly this long but we had a colder, wetter winter than usual and remained on the cool side (in our terms) until mid-July.

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  10. oh Kris, my oh my! your flowers and photo's are just gorgeous...I absolutely love Dahlia's and you have displayed yours beautifully. Thanks for visiting and commenting at Cath@Home. I appreciate your warm welcome!

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    1. Thanks Cath! I hope you enjoy IAVOM and choose to continue participating.

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  11. The dahlias are glorious and those zinnias! I'm partial to salmon coloured flowers, you know ;) My dahlias are starting to bud but they are so incredibly short - only about 18" or so. It's a head scratcher...

    And as to your war cry, all I can say is "Hear, hear!"

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    1. I've noticed that the dahlias I have in pots are much shorter than those in the half-barrels and raised planters. Maybe it has something to do with root space?

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  12. You have such a wonderful sense of colour combinations, and again matching your choice blooms to your very beautiful vases. Many thanks for sharing.

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  13. It was a dreadful week. Yet more innocents slaughtered on the holy altar of the 2nd Amendment.

    In happier thoughts, what a nifty combo is 'Citron du Cap' with Grevillea 'Peaches and Cream'. Same color range, different forms. Enjoyed all your arrangements. I've been gardening despite the heat, It is a great if draining comfort these days.

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    1. I garden in the morning until I start to melt and then try to get some time in again in the late afternoon before dinner. It helps to focus on something else for a time.

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  14. Some of my emails have been in the spam box. I wondered why I wasn't hearing about your Monday vases. They are gorgeous as usual. A lovely diversion. I hear you call to vote. You can be sure I will be voting him OUT. Him and anyone else that won't vote to at least TRY to get rid of firearms that aren't needed, like assault rifles. GEEZ.

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    1. I'm always pleased to hear from you, Lisa, but I appreciate this message tremendously. There is strength in numbers!

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