Monday, February 3, 2020

In a Vase on Monday: Sending you some sunshine!

I know many of you in the Northern Hemisphere have colder temperatures and gloomier skies this time of year than we have in Southern California.  As we enjoyed a stretch of warm weather and blue skies all last week, I thought I'd send you a little sunshine.  The temperature in downtown Los Angeles reached 86F (30C) on Saturday.  It wasn't quite that warm in my location but it was certainly shirtsleeve weather.  Our temperature dropped suddenly Sunday afternoon as a storm front moved through the area to the east of us but it remained sunny here and, as I pondered what to put in a vase this week, I noticed that the Leucadendron 'Safari Goldstrike' in my front garden was glowing.  This particular shrub develops luminous yellow bracts in February every year so it was a natural choice for inclusion in a vase this week.

Last year, I used stems of this Leucadendron to simulate tulips.  This year, the flower-like bracts had already lost their tulip-like shape by the time I noticed them, presumably in response to our unseasonably warm temperatures.

The same noID Narcissus I paired with the Leucadendron last year also made an appearance this week

The feathery foliage and dainty flowers of Euryops virgineus provided the perfect filler

Top view

Clockwise from the upper left: Leucadendron 'Safari Goldstrike', Abelia grandiflora 'Kaleidoscope', noID small-cupped Narcissus, Euryops virgineus 'Tali', and Prunus laurocerasus


After a week of warmer-than-average weather, the Leucadendron wasn't the only plant putting on a show.  After weeks of flaunting promising buds, Echium handiense 'Pride of Fuerteventura' finally flowered, seemingly overnight.

This is the first of the 3 species of Echium to bloom in my garden each year.  Endangered in its native habitat in the Canary Islands, it's also relatively uncommon here.  I got my plant from my local botanic garden, the only place I've ever seen it offered for sale.

The stem of pink Lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum) was a last minute addition to the arrangement.  I have some misgivings about including it as it competes with other elements in the vase I find more interesting.

I used stems of Ceanothus arboreus 'Cliff Schmidt' to dress up the back of the arrangement.  After nearly 5 years on my back slope, this plant is finally assuming tree-like proportions.


Top view: I added the pink flowers of Grevillea sericea  to play off the pink color of the Echium's buds

Clockwise from the upper left: Echium handiense 'Pride of Fuerteventura', Ceanothus arboreus 'Cliff Schmidt', Eustoma grandiflorum, Grevillea sericea, and Westringia 'Morning Light'


While the vase I created using Camellia 'Taylor's Perfection' last week fell apart within 2 days, the vase featuring Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder' is still going strong.

Over the course of last week, the cones at the center of the Leucadendron's bracts turned brown, echoing the color of the Leptospermum 'Copper Glow' foliage.  I think I like it better now than I did last week.


The two new vases took pride of place in the front entry and on the dining table.



For more IAVOM creations, visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden to see what she and other gardeners have put together this week.


All material © 2012-2020 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

24 comments:

  1. I remember your pseudo tulips from last year! As before, the Leucadendron really works will with the narcissi. The speed of flowering of the echium is amazing - a variety of it grows in the SW extremities of the UK. I am puzzled about the appearance of eustoma again - will this be from the same plants as summer last year or do you have to keep growing more? It really adds something to the blues of your second vase, elevating it to a different level somehow.

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    1. Eustoma (Lisianthus) is a short-lived perennial here, Cathy, although it's usually sold as an annual, probably because it gets scruffy at intervals. The plants that produced these pink blooms were plunked in my cutting garden back in early October. The flowers were supposed to be red, which these definitely aren't. There are some other varieties planted within the past 2 years scattered about my garden that haven't shown any signs of blooming yet this year.

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  2. Such pretty new vases Kris, both of them. Just delightful and I love the colours in both. I mentioned in a comment to you on Instagram that your Echium handiense reminded me of our wild flower, viper's bugloss. Just looked it up and they are the same family, same as borage! Such a beautiful blue and so gorgeous with the pink lisianthus! Thank you. Amanda

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    1. I'd forgotten that Echium is in the Borage family, Amanda. I can totally see the connection.

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  3. I love the concertina-look vase. I know I've seen it before and it must look good with all sorts of contents. The green and yellow look is bright and fresh looking but I like the pink and blue too. Great to see some colour. There is an awful lot of mud and greyness here.

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    1. I'd put up with some gray skies and mud in exchange for a bit of rain, Alison, although I think the amount of both you get would wear on me too. Our December rainfall was great but we haven't seen much of any since, which doesn't bode well for our annual rain total this season.

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  4. That concertina vase, with top half similar to glaucous leaves, truly makes the yellows sing out.

    I see Echium and think of our invasive Paterson's Curse - but the flowers, are beautiful, that changeant pink and blue <3

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    1. You taught me a new word, Diana! "Changeant" is a term I'd never heard before. It's so appropriate to these flowers too. There's an Echium that self-seeds like crazy here too, possibly the same one you mention; however, thankfully none of those I currently grow (E. handiense, candicans nor webii) have demonstrated that proclivity.

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  5. I always enjoy your vases especially now with it so dark and dreary. I do have some narcissus leaves pushing up out of the ground. Can't hardly wait to see them after seeing your pretty ones here.

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    1. I'm not at all sure where that particular Narcissus came from, Lisa. I don't remember seeing it until last year but I also don't recall adding to those that came with the garden. It's a mystery, or perhaps just indicative of gaps in my memory! I hope yours make an appearance soon.

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  6. Love your arrangements, per usual, Kris. The second with the Lisianthus (so rose-like) is esp. lovely with the blue and pink. Last week's Leucadendron look like Rudbeckia!
    Is that G. 'Peaches and Cream' in the first photo next to the L. Safari Goldstrike?' Such a stunning plant. <3

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    1. Yes, Grevillea 'Peaches & Cream' is prone to photobombing!

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  7. Wonderful arrangements Kris. I like you Echium handiense 'Pride of Fuerteventura' so much I searched for a source but don't see it available. What a wonderful plant. Of course, I loved all the other materials in your vases as well. Have a happy week. Are you going to Fling? I can't make it this year again and am so bummed.

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    1. The only place I've ever found that Echium is my local botanic garden. I've never seen it in any SoCal garden center. I can try saving you some seed, although I'm not sure how easy it would be to propagate that way. It doesn't self-seed.

      Regrettably, I don't think I'm going to make it to the Madison Fling either due to other commitments but I'm determined to get to the Puget Sound (WA) Fling in 2021 "come hell or high water" (as my mother would've said).

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  8. I think I would have to fill an entire vase with Leucadendron 'Safari Goldstrike' and Euryops virgineus, I love the way they look together!

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    1. They're both impressive plants, Loree. The cones on 'Goldstike' are also fantastic but oddly placed for use as vase ingredients.

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  9. Although yellow is not my favorite color in a garden, there is no better after surviving winter. Your yellow arrangement is everything early spring is here in Ohio - the first hope that winter will end.
    And your pink and blue arrangement is every color I love in a vase. Perfection!

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    1. Cindy, I'm no longer able to comment on your blog. This was never an issue before but now it says I must "log in" to comment. I've tried everything I could think of short of creating a Wordpress blog for myself but I was unable to gain access.

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  10. The yellow-tipped Leucadendrons are like sunshine themselves.

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    1. Yes! There's a moment every year when 'Goldstrike' is absolutely impossible to miss.

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  11. Thank you for the sunshine! I love the Leucadendrons and the Echiums. I'd rather be in SoCal right now, although our winter hasn't been too bad this year.

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    1. I don't expect I could handle even your "not too bad" winters, Beth. While last week's 80F temperatures were a bit higher than I'd like for the season, the temperatures in the 40s and 50s this week have felt brutal. We Californians are a picky lot!

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  12. Oh thanks for the sunshine Kris which has warmed me up 😃 Sunshine here today but the maximum temperature was about 8 degrees celsius with frost predicted for tonight. Beautiful vases as always. I have a soft spot for the first one and really like the shape and colours of your chosen vase. A prefect companion for the flowers.

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    1. Our temperatures dropped dramatically this week but not that low! You'd probably have laughed if you'd heard my friends and I complaining at lunch about how cold we all are right now.

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