Monday, June 1, 2020

In a Vase on Monday: Gifts from the garden - and others

The last couple of months have been surreal.  The US reached the grim milestone of 100,000 COVID-19 deaths last week even as restrictions on the population's movements and activities are being loosened.  Los Angeles County will allow restaurants, hair salons and barbershops to open this week provided they meet specific criteria, despite the fact that the County recorded its largest one-day total of COVID-19  cases on Saturday.  On top of evidence that many people are still not taking the recommendations to manage the threat seriously, as evidenced by people swamping beaches and hiking trails without maintaining distance from others or wearing masks to protect those around them, the country experienced one of the most egregious cases of brutality in the guise of police enforcement we've ever seen last week, deepening the depression of the population.  People are understandably fed up with broken promises to correct the racial inequities in our justice system, as well as those in our public health system made more evident during this pandemic, and now they've taken to the streets en masse to protest.   Most protesters are peacefully expressing their outrage but opportunists are using the protests as covers for looting and destruction.  The large congregations of people may also exacerbate the spread of the virus.

Some mornings it's difficult to get up and face the day.  Yesterday was one of those days.  Still, my garden offers comfort, as does the support and generosity of friends and family.   I pulled myself together and created an arrangement combining warm and cool-season blooms.

This vase got started with two stems of an unusual Salvia native to the Canary Islands

Back view: I also used the last of the "gray" larkspur, the rest of which I intend to pull out today

Top view: I used some of the last of the white-flowered Nigella too

Clockwise from the upper left: Salvia canariensis var candidissima, Ammi majus 'Dara', Centaurea 'Silver Feather', white Consolida ajacis, Consolida ajacis 'Earl Grey', Nigella papillosa 'African Bride', and Vitex trifolia


In a departure from my usual practice, that's the only vase I created yesterday.  However, a close friend visited on Friday to celebrate my birthday and, in addition to the gift of her companionship (observed with masks and proper social distancing), she brought a bouquet of peonies, which I used to create a vase on Saturday.

For a short period each year, a couple of area markets offer peonies.  I hadn't gotten out to pick up any as I usually do so I was thrilled when my friend brought me some.

Back view: I added embellishments picked from my own garden and used the vase another friend sent me earlier in the month, also as a birthday gift

Top view: the peony blooms were mostly open when I photographed them yesterday

Left to right: Hebe 'Wiri Blush', noID peonies, and Orlaya grandiflora


I miss seeing my friends in person and I long to go someplace other than the grocery store but I expect to take things slowly in adding to what has become my usual routine during our lockdown.  My first hurdle is to visit my local pharmacist to get a booster shot that's already more than a month overdue.  The dentist and my hairdresser may be next, as long as their precautions are reassuring and the second wave of coronavirus cases feared by many doesn't show signs of materializing.

I hope you're adapting to your new normal as it unfolds.  For a look at this week's IAVOM creations, visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.



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

31 comments:

  1. I do hope your blooms provide some sort of a solace for you, Kris, and that your garden will always be worth getting up for. Thanks for sharing your beautiful vases with us when other serious matters are weighing heavy on your shoulders. I especially like the shape and vintage colours of your first vase, but of course a vase of peonies will always be beautiful! Take care

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    1. Thanks for your kind comment, Cathy. It never ceases to amaze me how the garden has a calming influence on me almost as soon as I walk into it. It demands that you immerse yourself in the moment to focus on the its beauty - and even its challenges like the gopher that's still popping up here and there - while putting off the surrounding chaos, if only for a time.

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  2. If it's any reassurance, I went to get my hair done last week: I was their first client inside the newly redone space. It was all VERY well done. I think the hair washing is the trickiest thing: not necessary with just a cut but I had color. However, I felt like a new woman as I left!!! We are so so so careful here as daughter and husband both had virus in England. Very scary stuff indeed. But so glad you got some gorgeous peonies!

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    1. I hope your daughter and husband are both doing well now, Libby! One of my nephews also had the virus but recovered after a miserable couple of weeks.

      Hair salons are scheduled to open here this week if they can meet the state's new requirements. My hairdresser has already reached out to welcome me to return but I need to talk to her before I do anything. I'd told my husband I wanted him to cut my hair this week but, hearing that the salon is reopening, he's encouraged me to see her at least for the haircut. He clearly doesn't want to be responsible for butchering my hair!

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  3. Happy Belated Birthday! Your friend is the best to bring you peonies. What a treat! I just staked mine in prep for flowering. There are lots of fat buds... can't wait!
    Your own vase is lovely, the Salvia is very cool and I'll be sad to see the last of the Nigella, I really liked that one and must look for seed. Where did you get yours? Are you saving any seed from these? I have to get out and thin the regular ones that self sow every year.
    It has been a pretty bad scene around the country and now, the world, as the pot of anger building has boiled over. I'm glad we have our gardens to escape to. Seems the only peace I find these days.

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    1. As you've previously said, Eliza, thank goodness for our gardens! I've thought about saving seeds from the white Nigella but I'm in a hurry to recover the space occupied by the plants so I probably won't hold onto them long enough for the seedpods to mature. I got the seeds by mail from Floret Flowers as part of their 'Starry Skies' mix. However, I believe the white form is 'African Bride' which I should be able to buy in a packet if necessary.

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  4. Very similar circumstances here in my part of the country, Kris. And I had trouble facing the day on Saturday and Sunday, too. It's surreal because the beauty outdoors is incredible. So, I'm facing the sadness and anger and sickness, but I'm also focusing as much as possible on the beauty outside my door. Your arrangements are gorgeous, too!

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    1. Despite my apprehensions about the spread of the virus, I felt pulled to join the protests but then the violence associated with some of them held me off. There was a peaceable demonstration near me outside a golf course/club names after a certain occupant of the White House but I learned of it late, and then there was still the problem of being part of a crowd.

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  5. Kris, the vase you created has so many interesting items and the colors are wonderful. But I'm so delighted your friend brought peonies! They're beautiful. Happy Birthday to you! There is much sadness but it is good to find solace in your garden. Stay safe. Peace.

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    1. I'm very happy to have some peonies, even when they don't come from my own garden, Susie. Best wishes to you too.

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  6. Dear Kris, firstly a belatedly Happy Birthday! I hope you enjoyed a peaceful day with happiness spent in your lovely home and surrounded by your astonishingly beautiful garden. There is solace to be found in the beauty of our flowers and the plants we have been nurturing and cherishing. It is true, there is so much to be in despair about going on our world. As just ordinary individuals we do have a huge amount to deal with in respect of those that would govern and the bizarre things they say and do, let alone the pandemic as well. There doesn't seem to be a lot of wisdom involved in the decisions our respective governments are taking about coming out of lockdown. I understand the need to get the economy back on track, but we have all been through so much to reach this point that to accelerate things back to a new normal seems crazy to me. A second spike will not serve any of us well. Our First Minister in Scotland is a much more measured and resolute person and I think she is taking the right approach. Perhaps that's because she is a woman!! Stay well and happy in your garden, and your arrangements are lovely, as always ...... and those peonies! Beautiful. Very best wishes to you Kris. Amanda

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    1. Thanks Amanda! A friend and I were just recently talking about how much better many female leaders are doing on behalf of their constituents in coping with the pandemic. Your First Minister is impressive. The occupant of our White House lacks basic human decency, much less empathy as he showed, once again, yesterday. I'm embarrassed for my country.

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  7. Lovely arrangements Kris and a sweet gift from your friend, just as you needed it. Our gardens are indeed a solace in these disturbing times, and it is a peaceful place we can go. So many others do not have that comfort.
    Fortunately we are working from home indefinitely as the rioting has reached just outside our office building. It's always a rude awakening when it reaches your own doorstep. My garden is a comfort, but my only real hope comes from the Lord.

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    1. Violence is always frightening and I'm glad you're able to keep your distance from it, Cindy. My sympathies are with the peaceful protesters but I've nothing but contempt for those who loot or commit acts of violence.

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  8. Birthday peonies are a great treat and both of your creations show of their contents wonderfully.

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    1. I'll take peonies any way I can get them, Loree, although I admit that I'd still like to see them growing in my own garden. I still haven't given up on that goal.

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  9. Beautiful flowers, certainly worth getting up for. :)

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    1. The garden and its needs will always pull me outside, Nikki - and out of my doldrums.

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  10. I could absolutely take a bite out of those peonies. They look so lushious. Yummmm
    I have been a little down about all that is going on right now too. It is a joy to come here and see your beautiful flowers no matter how you present them. Big hugs.

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  11. Sometimes a person just needs some Peonies ! The restorative quality of gardens can't be overstated. If only everyone had one.

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    1. Yes! If only everyone had one, I've no doubt the world would be a better, as well as happier, place.

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  12. Belated birthday wishes Kris and I am so glad you got some peonies! I know how much you love them. I am also glad you managed to put a vase together, despite all that is happening right now. I have fortunately passed the stage of despair and have calmed down a little, but I also had some terrible days where I could hardly bear it all. It will get better, and we can be so grateful for our gardens as solace and as safe havens. All the best Kris. xx

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    1. Thanks Cathy! It's good to know my concerns are shared. It's still a bumpy road here - as it should be if we're to make progress - so my emotions continue to go up and down.

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  13. Oh belated birthday greetings to you dear Kris! What a fine celebratory bouquet from your friend. It's interesting to read that that swamping beaches and other beauty spots is not just confined to our shores. Fortunately our weather has been cool, wet and windy this weekend which should dampen enthusiasm for outdoor activities. Sad days indeed for your country although heartening to see so much support and empathy across the world.

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    1. Thanks Anna! Re beach traffic, there are foolish people the world over it seems. I worry about the risks of virus exposure people are taking in participating in the mass marches and other protests here but I appreciate one and all for their heartfelt commitment to the cause.

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  14. Waking up with nightmares, then waking up to it IS a nightmare.
    We still have 'the peak' in front of us.

    But I have been lost in a good book, the fire is blazing, there are good bits in between.

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    1. My local friends and I've all reported a plethora of vivid anxiety-laden dreams since the pandemic started, Diana. The hideous societal issues that have confronted us, on top of the deep political concerns have increased the tension we all feel ten-fold.

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