Monday, November 4, 2019

In a Vase on Monday: The zinnias keep going and going...

Are zinnias the Energizer Bunnies of the garden?  I think they might be.  I dug out the last of the dahlia tubers last week but I haven't had the heart to pull out the remaining zinnias even though I need their space in the cutting garden for my cool-season floral crop.  As flowers in my garden are getting harder to come by, the zinnias also came in handy when it came to making up arrangements for In a Vase on Monday, the popular meme hosted by Cathy of Rambling in the Garden.

The zinnias were joined by other flowers that just keeping on giving, two of the large-flowered Grevilleas that literally bloom year-round

I used berries of Auranticarpa rhombifolium to dress up the back of the vase.  These berries look like tiny pumpkins to me.

Top view

Clockwise from the upper left: Grevillea 'Peaches & Cream', Agonis flexuosa 'Nana', berries of Auranticarpa rhombifolium, Grevillea 'Superb', Coleonema pulchellum 'Sunset Gold', and Zinnia elegans (a combination of 'Queen Lime Orange' and 'Benary's Giant Salmon Rose')


The bush violets (Barleria obtusa) have burst into bloom right on schedule.  They always appear in late October/early November.  Their bright blue color looks out of step with traditional autumnal colors but the flowers are welcome nonetheless.

Beautiful as they are, the bush violets often look a little ungainly in a vase

The violets might look better by themselves but I usually can't leave well enough alone

Top view

Clockwise from the top: Barleria obtusa. Abelia grandiflora 'Hopley's Variegated', Lavandula multifida, and Plectranthus ciliatus 'Zulu Wonder'


As I cut too much to stuff into my first vase (again), I ended up with some leftovers so, despite my relative flower shortage, I have three vases this week.

I grabbed a few neon-pink zinnia blooms to embellish the leftover stems

The bright pink zinnias were late arrivals but their centers play well off the color of the Leucadendron bracts

From left to right: Agonis flexuosa 'Nana', Leucadendron salignum 'Summer Red', and Zinnia elegans (possibly part of the 'Benary's Giant Wine' mix)


We hit yet another roadblock with our remodel last week and had to order more wood to complete our new floor.

The living, dining and kitchen area floors are done but the front entry and hallway are not.  The shortage has to do with the fact that the flooring subcontractor didn't use all the small pieces throughout when he established the layout pattern.


Hopefully, the extra wood order will be in at the end of the week or, worst case, the following week and we'll still finish by Thanksgiving.  Fingers crossed.

Visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for more IAVOM creations.



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

34 comments:

  1. That first vase seems to be just so typical of YOUR vases, Kris - it's the colours and the content that makes me think so, although I am not suggesting you do the same vases over and over again! And you frequently manage a blue vase as well, so it is a joy to see the bush violets in your second one, a plant I have not come across before. Your extension is looking good and I am so pleased it is nearing completion - it looks a vast space to fill, but I am guessing houses in the US are generally larger than those in the UK

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    1. I do have a lot of orange tones in my garden, Cathy. House size is all relative I guess. I periodically watch House Hunters International on HGTV and always hear that Americans expect larger spaces. Our house, even with a 70 square foot addition to the kitchen, is among the smallest in our current neighborhood, nominally larger than the house I grew up in but still smaller than that of many of my friends. It does look bigger now that it's more "open concept" and still devoid of furniture, though!

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  2. Your vases are gorgeous Kris. I especially like the colour combo of the first one. Screams Fall. I sympathize with your delays. Our basement reno is now in it's 15th month. Everything seems to take so long from ordering to installation (8 weeks for a new window). However, what you have so far alludes to how great if will look when finished.

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    1. Fifteen months, Elaine! I'd be a crazy person. Five months has made me pretty crazy as it is.

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  3. I love the corals and peaches of these Zinnias. I had to pull mine out as they had mildew. To be honest they had not done that well, I don't seem to have the knack with them. I always envy your Grevillea. The blues are beautiful, especially with the silver. You don't seem to be short of flowers! Fingers crossed for the remodel.

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    1. My zinnias are usually felled by mildew as well, Alison. Mildew took out my Cosmos early but the zinnias were unaffected - and it's been exceptionally dry here for the past month. Even our marine layer has been absent. We had 2 solid weeks with humidity levels in the single digits.

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    2. Do you think it's dryness which causes the mildew? I need to research how to grow them. People say they are easy. Hoping you get some rain soon. Sincerely wish I could send some, we have far too much.

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    3. I'm no expert but, according to what I've read, mildew on plant foliage is most common in hot, dry environments where the plant is exposed to high humidity. The dry and humid bit is confusing but it does describe conditions here when the morning marine layer brings in heavy moisture for a short time in an otherwise dry period. Packing plants in close together (i.e. providing insufficient air circulation) and overhead watering have also been identified as possible culprits.

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    4. Thanks. I am guilty of planting too close together. It's all about getting conditions just right!

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    5. We all do that, Alison! I'm sure that contributed to the early demise of my Cosmos.

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  4. What a fabulous new living space Kris! It really does look fantastic, and just think how wonderful it will be to be filling it with all the amazing flowers from your incredible garden! I am sure by Thanksgiving you will indeed be giving thanks! Three more delightful vases! A
    https://therunningwave.blogspot.com/2019/11/falling-apart-in-vase-on-monday.html

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    1. I'll be happy if we can just cook ourselves a Thanksgiving dinner in our new kitchen, Amanda. Having a dishwasher and a disposal unit will be a major boon too!

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  5. Lovely arrangements, per usual, Kris. :) My favorite is the first because I simply love zinnias and grevillea! Bush violets are so pretty, but I see how they might be hard to manage in a vase.
    So since the contractor messed up, is he eating the extra cost? Somehow I doubt that is how it works these days. Sigh. I must say the floor is looking gorgeous. Soon, soon it'll be done and you'll have your place to yourselves once again, hallelujah!

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    1. Ha! No the additional cost is of course ours, Eliza. We "elected" not to accept a layout with the small pieces of wood crowded all about the edges. The fact that my husband had offered a sample layout in advance was immaterial.

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  6. These are all beautiful. I love the colors of your zinnias and the companions you chose blend perfectly. The floor is lovely. I know you must be ready for your home project to wrap up. Looks like it will be worth the inconvenience. What a nice space.

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    1. I'm so looking forward to having the whole house again, Susie, and, although most of the construction crew has been great, it'll be nice not to have to work around someone else's schedule every day.

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  7. So you actually dig up your Dahlias Kris ? I never have dug mine unless I want to discard them . My Zinnias are a different matter-they looked like crap by Oct so I pulled them . I'm impressed by yours. Hope your floor woes all work out !

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    1. I plant the dahlia tubers in the raised planters in my cutting garden as it's the only part of my garden where I'm relatively lavish with water - the dahlias I'd previously planted in garden beds failed. Because I reuse the raised planters for cool-season flowers, I need the space the dahlias occupy and I'm wary of rotting the tubers while watering sweet pea, larkspur, Nigella and other seedlings.

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  8. Especially love the first arrangement today Kris - lovely warm pinky oranges make it a real Autumn vase. Your new floor looks fabulous. I do hope it all gets finished before Thanksgiving - it will be such a relief for you when the turmoil is over!

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    1. Thanks Cathy! Given that it took us almost a year before demo started just to get approval from the city to push out a small section of the exterior wall 5 feet, we're more than ready to get this project behind us.

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  9. You are right zinnias are fabulous for colourful vases. Next year I am going to grow more different ones. I love that grevillea, such a wonderful colour. The blues are lovely too. My dahlias are still blooming even though we have had the odd frost. Bon chance for a speedy finish to your upheavals. What bliss it will be to get your house back.

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    1. Given almost 2 weeks of extremely dry conditions (humidity levels in the single digits during the daytime hours), several rounds of high winds, and dirty air that still has be coughing, I guess I shouldn't be surprised that my dahlias called it quits sooner than I'd hoped. I was disappointed, though.

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  10. I love zinnias! To me, they are the "happy campers" of the garden that just keep on giving and giving. And you have the prettiest flowers to compliment them and add to their glory. Do they live all winter in your climate?

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    1. Happy campers! That's a great image for the zinnias, Cindy. They're true annuals (even here!) so they'll collapse eventually. I usually pull them due to the mildew that accompanies our marine layer but, with conditions so dry here in late October and early November, they've hung on in better-than-expected condition. I need room in my cutting garden for the next season's plants, however, so they're going to have to go sometime within the next 2 weeks, ready or not.

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  11. All hail the Zinnias, especially that intense orange. Mine were duds last year so I didn't try again.

    Wowza your remodel looks great!

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    1. Although zinnias can take the heat, they want more water than I'd previously expected to do well here. Those I planted in my garden beds last year were also duds by comparison to those in my well-watered cutting garden.

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  12. I love the zinnia and grevillea arrangement, so pretty! And wow, the remodeled space is fabulous! Of course I have no idea what it looked like before. How will the fireplace be finished? I love the look of the raw concrete but imagine there's something else coming...

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    1. The fireplace was originally covered in stone but the removal of the adjoining indoor BBQ unit (also covered in stone) left one side with a concrete face. Replacing the stone proved to be a challenge so a uniform concrete jacket was laid over remaining fireplace. The whole thing will be covered in Venetian plaster with stone tiles surrounding the fireplace opening. My husband's going to build a wood mantle for it but that design is still under discussion.

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  13. I am all about that ungainly look. I think your vases are fine. I even like the leftovers. Have a good week.

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  14. Renovation looks great! Subcontractors not so much. I love those Grevillias with both Zinnias. My Zinnias were trampled by a huge downpour am hoping they rebound. I see Barleria here and there and keep meaning to try it.

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    1. I'm only familiar with 2 species of Barleria, the B. obtusa (bush violet) I grow and B. cristata (aka Philippine violet), which some Texas bloggers have described. Both seem to be vigorous and active self-seeders. My seedlings aren't hard to pull out but they are sneaky about where they plant themselves.

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  15. I think you're right about the Zinnias. They're so rewarding to grow from seed, and then they just keep blooming and blooming (here, until the first hard frost). Plus, they're beautiful and all the pollinators love them. I absolutely love that first arrangement! All of them are fabulous, but the first one really makes me miss my orange Zinnias--I can't wait until March when I can start planting the seeds in pots for next year's garden. ;-)

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    1. I really hate to pull the zinnias but they'll have to go soon so I can get my cool-season bloomers started. Not that it's all that cool here yet! It's not hot but it's much warmer than it should be for November.

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