Monday, April 27, 2020

In a Vase on Monday: Something a little different

Last week, we fast-forwarded into summer without any kind of transition.  On Friday, our temperature peaked at 95F (35C).  All the tender new foliage and recent spring blooms struggled, and some collapsed.  Saturday and Sunday were a little better as temperatures here dropped back into the mid-to-upper 80s.  Fog in the area may have provided natural air conditioning of a sort as it periodically does during our hot summer months.  Although it was clear at our elevation, fog hugged the harbor throughout the weekend.

This is what I saw when I looked at the harbor from our back door on Saturday morning

The fog below us never entirely cleared.  By late afternoon, you could see the shipping cranes again but fog lingered around their footings and the cruise ships (which I can assure you are still sitting out the pandemic there in the bay) remained invisible. 


For my vases this week, I focused on plants I'm afraid may throw in the towel early in response to the heat.  The backbone of my first vase, stems of Leucadendron 'Pisa', is a tough plant but the other two ingredients may be more sensitive to temperature extremes.

Alstroemeria 'Claire' took a starring role, backed up by the luminescent Leucadendron with its silver cones

Back view: I filled in with Nigella 'Transformer', which just began blooming late last week

Top view

Clockwise from the top: Alstroemeria 'Claire', Leucadendron 'Pisa', and Nigella orientalis 'Transformer'


I set myself a challenge with my second vase when I cut several stems of Salvia lanceolata, a South African native.  The colors in the Salvia's flowers is what presented the challenge.

The flowers combine colors I can only describe as a mix of yellowish-green and peachy-mauve


Like the Leucadendron, the Salvia can handle heat but foxgloves and Centranthus are less tolerant.

The peach foxgloves were already singed blown in spots

Back view: The Centranthus looks fine at the moment but I'm concerned about the effects of an extended heatwave

Top view

Clockwise from the upper left: Aeonium haworthii 'Kiwi Verde', noID Alstroemeria, white and pink Centranthus ruber. Pelargonium 'White Lady', Leptospermum 'Copper Glow', Digitalis 'Dalmatian Peach' and, in the center, Salvia lanceolata


The ingredients in the third arrangement cried out for rescue from the heat.   I kicked this arrangement off with the larkspur (Consolida ajacis), which only just began blooming as the heatwave hit.  I planted the larkspur from seed in November and was beginning to wonder if it was ever going to bloom.

The grayish-purple larkspur was a bit disappointing.  It's outshone here by the purple foxgloves. Like the peach foxgloves, the sweet peas were singed.

As it turned out, I liked this side of the arrangement better

Top view

Clockwise from the upper left: Digitalis purpurea, Consolida ajacis 'Earl Grey', Orlaya grandiflora, a mix of Lathyrus odoratus, Pelargonium 'Lady Plymouth, and Oxalis triangularis


So that's this week's collection.  This morning, the fog's enveloped the entire house so it may be cooler today; however, we're expecting another temperature spike mid-week.  My Anemones and Dutch Iris have already bit the dust but I hope the sweet peas, foxgloves, and Nigella can tough it out awhile.  We shall see.  For other IAVOM creations, visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.



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

22 comments:

  1. Spring bloomers are far too fleeting. Love the purples together. We are having strong dry winds which are wreaking havoc on the early spring bulbs. Have to go out each morning to take pictures as they are usually toast by the afternoon.

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    1. That's true, Elaine, although this shift from spring to summer was particularly abrupt. Even a few of our trees are struggling.

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  2. I love that first vase with Nigella 'Transformer' -- got to hunt up seeds for this one. We've woken to fog horns the past two mornings and were convinced some ship had a malfunctioning horn because it blasted all.day.long -- even when it appeared the sun had burned the fog off in the afternoon. I love living near the harbor! Glad it's part of your backdrop too.

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    1. I got the Nigella 'Transformer' seeds from Floret Flowers, Denise. Interestingly, I noticed some have reseeded themselves in the bed I sowed them in last year too.

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  3. That leucadendron is fabulous, I don't remember seeing that particular one on your blog before. And the peachy colours are gorgeous. That is an unusual salvia and I love your blue swirly vase. Summer seems to have arrived with a vengeance in your part of the world.

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    1. Yes, a heatwave in April isn't normal, even here. That particular Leucadendron has a tree-like presence in my garden. Although I try to prune it at least once a year, my guess is that it's currently over 10 feet tall.

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  4. Oooo, I do love those foxgloves! They are just fabulous! All your material is lovely, beautiful soft colours and all sorts of textures - but those foxgloves are very special! Thank you! Amanda https://therunningwave.blogspot.com/2020/04/in-colourful-vase-on-monday.html

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    1. The white foxgloves are going strong too, Amanda, although I'm not sure how they'll all manage if the heat continues this week.

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    2. I meant to say that we have five cruise ships sitting in the Firth of Forth, just down the coast from Edinburgh towards the North Sea. They are a strange sight really. One has the virus on board. Not sure how that happened!! There's a just small crew, keeping things ticking over I suppose. I hope your temperatures drop significantly. It's much too early in the for you to have all that heat and it's a very long time until autumn!

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    3. At last count there were 8 cruise ships sitting in our bay, Amanda. So tough on those crews that can't disembark and get home to join their families!

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  5. Lovely arrangements, as always, Kris! I just love that Nigella - very cool looking. And the foxgloves are beautiful, esp. the peach. I hope the heat backs off. It seems so sudden! We're still chilly here, stuck in the 40s, it seems, but I prefer it to extreme heat. ;) It hit 60 on Saturday and a few voracious black flies hatched, horrid blood-suckers! So, cool temps are fine with me!

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    1. Blood-sucking flies! That sounds like a horror movie. Cool temperatures would be fine with me too, Eliza. Some summer flowers are already appearing, as if they're late to the garden party (!), but I think the garden and I'd have been happier with a smoother transition.

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  6. Gorgeous as always. The Salvia lanceolata is amazing and you did it justice with your combinations. I think the peach foxglove looks great with it. I love the Leucadendron 'Pisa' in your first vase too with the silvery cones serving as a great accent.

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    1. I felt I had to cut those peach foxgloves, Susie - the heat was frying them. For some reason, the white and purple foxgloves seemed to handle the heat better even though they're all just feet from one another.

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  7. You always work wonders with the flowers you choose Kris. :-) Centranthus stands up well to the dry heat of our summers, but perhaps it is the cold winters that make it tougher than yours? The Leucadendron Pisa is gorgeous.

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    1. The problem for Centranthus here isn't so much the dry heat as the dry soil conditions, Cathy. I don't give my back slope, where most of the Centranthus grow, much in the way of supplemental water and our short rainy season has almost definitely come to an end so the flowers are going to struggle The butterflies love the flowers so I did break down and and water a bit down there on Monday.

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  8. Your first picture makes it look like you live in the clouds. That must be a kind of fun feeling.
    I am sorry the heat is zapping your spring flowers. That can often happen here when it hits just the 70's or 80's, but we've never come close to that this spring. Our spring plants are getting zapped by the opposite extreme temps. Either way, it is very disappointing to wait a year for those blooms, only to have them wilt and wither away. A week of rain is what we're having and everyone here would trade that for even 60's and sun. Hopefully your're not going to have a hot and searing summer.
    I think I like your green and white arrangement the best this week. It is unusual, but stunning in it's own simple and unique way.

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    1. Mother Nature certainly isn't even-handed when it comes to metering out warmth - or rain! Our rain is almost certainly over for the season and we probably can't expect any more until late October. I'm miserly with the irrigation except in my cutting garden and, even there, I've limited it thus far. SoCal isn't considered in drought yet this year but I understand that the snowpack up north, where a lot of LA's water comes from, isn't great this year.

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  9. Oh my, that was a fast switch to summer. Too bad all that juicy fog didn't rise up to your place. I have a dwarf larkspur in the garden right now it is a spring ephemeral, 95 would cook it. I am looking forward to our predicted 70degree day today. Love all your flowers. They look good in the vases. I can't wait to get some annuals into the ground for cutting. Happy IAVOM.

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    1. The fog's managed to reach up to our elevation (800 some odd feet above sea level) overnight for the last 2 days but it burns off quickly, usually before 9am. Hopefully, we'll get the "May Gray" and "June Gloom" we're famous for soon as that should help modulate our peak temperatures.

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  10. Those chartreuse stems of Leucadendron 'Pisa' stole the show until I focused on Nigella orientalis 'Transformer'...what the? Those flowers are insane! I must find seeds to grow them next year...

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    1. 'Transformer' is a neat plant, Loree. I got my seeds by mail order from Floret Flowers.

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