Monday, March 23, 2020

In a Vase on Monday: Finding peace in arranging flowers

Officially, Californians (and residents of New York and a few other states) have been under orders to shelter at home since Friday but, from a practical standpoint, our movements came to an abrupt halt a week ago as group events and activities were cancelled right and left in response to new guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.  Under the current order governing California residents and a second order governing Los Angeles County residents, "non-essential businesses" have been shut down and those of us not performing "essential services" (health care services, grocery and pharmacy operations, delivery services, garbage pick-up, and the like) have been asked to remain at home except to shop for groceries, obtain medical care, and perform functions in a similar vein.  It feels weird but at a time like this having a garden to work in is a very real sanity-saver.

It was a special pleasure to putter about my garden yesterday, selecting flowers and foliage to fill my vases, because the rhythm of that activity felt so normal.  You probably won't be at all surprised to see I've created more than one vase this week.

A rose was meant to occupy the front of this vase but it somehow got jockeyed to the side

Back view: Instead of cutting new Leucospermums to fill this vase as I'd intended to do, I chose to recycle the one I cut last week to serve a second term

Top view: I think the calla lilies (Zantedeschia aethiopica) ended up stealing center stage in this vase

Clockwise from the upper left: Alstroemeria 'Indian Summer', Freesia, Leucospermum 'Goldie', Grevillea 'Peaches & Cream', Rosa 'Joseph's Coat', Xylosma congestum, Grevillea 'Superb' and, in the middle, Zantedeschia aethiopica


My second vase was constructed around the Hippeastrum papilio (aka Butterfly Amaryllis) I discovered mostly by accident.  I grew 3 of these bulbs in a basket 2 years ago, then planted them in a bed outside our living room window in the hope they'd naturalize.  They didn't bloom last year and I wasn't expecting them to do anything this year when one bulb produced a single short stalk with a flower this past week.

Once again, I had less trouble than I'd anticipated finding suitable companions for the floral centerpiece

Back view: I reused 2 stems of Euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow' (as well as 2 freshly cut stems of the same plant), an Alstroemeria I'd entirely forgotten I'd planted years ago and some humble clover flowers as accents

Top view: There's a stem of Corokia in there too and, if you look closely, you'll see it has a scattering of tiny yellow daisies

Clockwise from the upper left: Hippeastrum papilio, Alstroemeria 'Inca Husky', Coprosma repens 'Plum Hussey', Trifolium repens (white clover), Corokia x virgata 'Sunsplash', and Euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow'


My third vase is a variation on the one I created last week using Dutch Irises as a centerpiece.

I selected different companions for the Irises this week, including 3 stems of Narcissus 'White Lion' and 2 stems of flowering Dianella I tripped across during my spin around the garden

Back view: I used Limonium perezii (sea lavender) as a filler

Top view

Clockwise from the upper left: Iris hollandica 'Sapphire Beauty', Dianella tasmanica 'Tasred', yellow Freesia, blue Freesia with Campanula portenschlagiana, Limonium perezii, and Narcissus 'White Lion'


I count myself very lucky that my husband and I are in reasonably good shape to manage through the challenges that face us with COVID-19, at least for now.  Wherever you are, I hope you're taking care of yourself and your loved ones as best you can during this trying time in world history.

For more pretty diversions, visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden, our "In a Vase on Monday" host.


I had some leftover daisies (Argyranthemum 'Everest') that ended up in my small cactus vase behind the kitchen sink


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

25 comments:

  1. Must be a joy to wander and have so many flower choices to choose from. All very pretty but my favourite remains those stunning blue iris. The vase really high lights the blue.

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    1. I love that Iris too, Elaine, which is a good thing as I planted more this past fall. The new ones haven't bloomed yet but the foliage is up so hopefully when those currently in bloom fade, I'll have a second crop.

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  2. Thank goodness for flowers and our gardens as diversions. Thanks for sharing these beauties. That Hippeastrum is a real wow and what a lovely surprise for you. The fiery colours in the first vase are wonderful. I've just planted some Freesia bulbs so fingers crossed I can look after them properly this year. I am staying at home apart from essential shopping. It's only a matter of time here before lockdown is enforced. Many people are not observing precautions and carrying on as normal. More shops and businesses are closing by the day.

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    1. There are a lot of people here too who just haven't taken the implications of the fast spread of the virus and its likely impacts on our healthcare system (not to speak of their relatives and friends) seriously. Social shaming is working into a fury, though, and I suspect real enforcement actions may be taken soon.

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    2. We are now told not to go out and it's to be enforced if necessary. Much confusion and discussion.

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    3. Although California leaders were quite clear about shelter-at-home requirements, there was still a lot of confusion here (real or manufactured), Alison. It didn't help that people in the White House were sending mixed messages. But, based on my past experience managing communications with employees in corporate settings, communicating often and in different ways from different perspectives is necessary, especially when the change is substantial - and I can't think of a bigger change than that we're faced with now!

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  3. Lovely vases, as always Kris. I love to see the little white clovers in your second vase, sitting alongside such a glamorous amaryllis! Such different flowers but they look like good buddies! Keep safe and well. Amanda https://therunningwave.blogspot.com/2020/03/in-vase-on-monday.html

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    1. When I saw those clover flowers, I realized they'd make perfect accents, Amanda. Cutting them may help slow down their relentless self-seeding too!

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  4. All three, so different, yet equally lovely. You have such a great palette of flowers from which to choose. The Hippeastrum is striking, love the Grevilleas as always, and am intrigued by the new-to-me Dianella, it reminds me of Campanula. Always a pleasure! Take care. x

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    1. I planted that Dianella 3 or 4 years ago and I'm not sure I've ever seen it bloom before but then it's a shade plant that grows underneath a huge Echium so I may have just missed those fragile flower stems.

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  5. From tonight we have similar restrictions.Strange times, but our gardens and our blooms can help to maintain some normality. It is so thrilling to see 2 or 3 vases from you every week, each so different, and with such a wide range of blooms. Surprisingly, I rather like the subdued shades of the second one best, which sits perfectly in that rounded vase. Thanks for sharing, Kris

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    1. I was thrilled to find that Hippeastrum bloom, Cathy, although I may still move all 3 bulbs to a less shady spot in the hope that they'll naturalize more rapidly. The Amaryllis I planted in my former garden were very vigorous bloomers and spreaders.

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  6. Beautiful selection this week Kris ! Glad to hear you and spouse are feeling well. We are lucky to have our gardens to occupy us during this time.

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    1. My husband's having some health issues, Kathy, but fortunately they've nothing to do with a virus of any kind. My only issue is periodic bouts of anxiety (which appears to be quite common) but I suppose we'll all adapt to the current situation at some point.

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  7. If I was your neighbor I would ask for permission to come stroll through your beautiful garden. I love those calla lilies. They are so perfect they don't look real. The irises make me so anxious to see my own that are popping up all around. Your vases are all so pretty. I am glad you gained some solace from making your beautiful creations. I so enjoyed seeing them.

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    1. The calla lilies came with the garden, Lisa. It would've never occurred to me that they could grow well here but the come up reliably every Spring with the rain - and disappear every summer with the heat.

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  8. So many beautiful flowers. The Callas are stunning, and the Iris, and 'Spider', on and on. Peace, found.

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    1. The unknown rose might be 'Heirloom'.

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    2. That's the best guess as to the identity of that pink-lilac rose I've had. Thanks HB!

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  9. Fabulous vases, Kris! They lift my spirits just looking at the pictures. Your vase with Hippeastrum papilio reminds me how much I have wanted to grow that one - or more accurately, how much I have wanted to see it bloom as it grew blind for me for years with never a flower. Probably it is much happier outdoors for you than it could be indoors when I tried it.
    Glad to hear everything is okay for you thus far. We are already sheltering in place here though it's not required yet in our rural location. I would estimate we are about a week or two behind CA and NY, and there seems to still be plenty of confusion about what should or should not be done at this stage. Thankfully the local governments do seem to be taking it more seriously by the day.
    P.S. The link for my name will lead to the old smallsunnygarden, but Blogger isn't letting me leave a comment any other way... sigh...

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    1. A few days ago I heard the US Surgeon General say something to the effect that everyone who hasn't been tested (and cleared) should assume they've got COVID-19, whether they feel sick or not so, if circumstances permit, sheltering at home and taking suitable precautions when it's absolutely necessary to go out seems smart to me! Take care of yourself Amy!

      Re your current blog address, I have it in the blogroll in my sidebar for reference!

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  10. Hi Kris, I think California did the right thing. Here they let spring break go on and now the kids took it home and are testing positive in New York. Stupid. I am at home watering. I love all your vases! Every time I see the Luecospermum I think of Protea. I think Peaches n Cream is my favorite plant in your garden...

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    1. Both the Leucospermums and Grevilleas (as well as Leucadendrons) are in the Proteaceae family, Amelia, so your impressions aren't at all off-base.

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  11. Lovely vases all around! I must admit I hope your Leucospermum is the only thing able to serve a second term.... (attempt at political humor).

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    1. Ha! I'm just wondering how many problems the Covidiots in DC will cause before they're booted.

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