Monday, June 8, 2020

In a Vase on Monday: Simpler is better (at least this week)

After several weeks of dodging the top-heavy hanging branches of the Leucadenron 'Pisa' growing next to our backyard patio, I decided it was time to get out my pruning shears.  I took off more than I'd anticipated when I started and, on a whim, decided to put out the most presentable pruned stems for neighbors with a note that they make a nice addition to flower arrangements.  I didn't expect many people to pick them up and was honestly surprised the next morning to find just one stem left in the water-filled bucket I'd left on the curb.  The bucket had contained two dozen or more stems.  I held back several stems for use in my own vases too of course.

I didn't take a "before" photo of the Leucadendron but this is the "after" shot


The Leucadendron's cones are silver with a purplish blush surrounded by chartreuse bracts so I looked for companion materials to play off those colors.  As usual, I went overboard.

This was what I put together after cruising through my garden on Sunday morning


After staring at the arrangement for awhile, I decided it looked too busy.  I removed the chartreuse kangaroo paws (Anigozanthos) and many of the asters, deciding for once that a simpler combination would be better.

This is version #2, featuring the first lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum) my garden has produced this season

Back view: I tucked a few of the remaining asters (Symphyotrichum chilennse) here with blue throatwort (Trachelium caeruleum)

Top view

Clockwise from the upper left: Eustoma grandiflorum, Leucadendron 'Pisa', Trachelium caeruleum, Nigella papillosa, and Symphyotrichum chilense (aka California aster)


Even with the changes to my first arrangement, I prefer my second one this week.

This arrangement is simpler still, consisting of just four elements and two floral colors

Back view

Top view

Clockwise from the top: Leucanthemum x superbum, Centaurea 'Silver Feather', Polygala fruticosa, and Prostanthera ovalifolia 'Variegata'


The leftover elements went into a small arrangement for our kitchen island.

More Leucadendron 'Pisa', noID Anigozanthos, and Symphyotricum chilense

The first vase sits on the dining room table and the second one in the front entry


After a turbulent start and still more infuriating actions on the part of the occupant of our White House last week, the protests in the US have continued spread throughout the country, drawing large numbers of diverse participants.  The vast majority have been peaceful.  I continue to worry about their impact in spreading the coronavirus but I admire those who've joined the cause, which I also support.  That what's happened in the US has struck a chord all over the world, spurring marches based on the same concerns, carries a powerful message that we share something other than a virus.  It creates hope that we will come out of the challenges we currently face as better people.

For more IAVOM creations, visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.


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

25 comments:

  1. Good job with pruning the Leucadendron Kris! I wouldn't know where to start, I am a hopeless pruner. I have just been out in the garden trying to tie back the Gentle Hermione rose which appears in my vase this week. It is the most enormous plant, proof of my uselessness with the secateurs! Your vases, as always are delightful. Lots of beautiful things and I have to say there is something very endearing about your final vase, which is so simple and pretty and I can just sense it sitting there in your kitchen, all these thousands of miles away! Thank you! Amanda https://therunningwave.blogspot.com/2020/06/a-rosy-glow-in-vase-on-monday.html

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    1. I used to be a very wary pruner, Amanda, but I'm becoming for ruthless with practice. And I haven't actually killed anything by means of excessive pruning yet!

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  2. Your vases are cheerful as always Kris. Just what we need to life our spirits during these dark days. Your contributions are always a delight for the eye and an education in how many varieties of flowers you can grow that I've never heard of.

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    1. Thanks Cindy. I actually dream of woodland plants in woodland gardens but, having lived in one area or another of Southern California all my life, I've had to adapt!

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  3. 'Pisa' is a beauty in a vase and in the garden. The fringe-y Leucanthemum as well.

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    1. 'Pisa' is a wonderful plant, HB, but she does get very top heavy with all those cones. I wish I had a cultivar name for the fringed Leucanthemum but, rather than try to find another in nurseries, I should probably just try propagating using what I have.

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  4. Good to know your neighbours must be creating their own vases too - but the Leucadendron's cones are really pretty so it's not surprising they were snapped up. Good to see your eustoma again, and the nigella is so pretty - love all those blues. But the leucanthemum and the centaurea of your second vase are absolute stars! Thanks for sharing them all

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    1. The Eustoma have been sadly missed here this year. The plants are sold here as an annual but, with care, they're actually short-lived perennials in this climate but most of those I had last year were neglected or trampled during our home remodel. I'd hoped to buy small plants from local garden centers in early spring but fate interfered there. This first lisianthus is from one of two 6-packs I managed to score just after local garden centers reopened.

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  5. Lovely combinations per usual, Kris! Leucadendron is such a long-lasting cut flower it is no wonder that your neighbors snatched them up. I thought the kangaroo paws looked well with it, but one way or the other, your creations are always fine. I like how the starburst shape of the Leucanthemum echoes that of the vase.
    I truly hope some lasting change for the better results from all this turmoil. We are long past the need for a healthy renewal. May it be so.

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    1. I'm mot sure how many of my neighbors are familiar with Leucadendrons as I can't recall seeing any gardens (or front gardens anyway) with plants in that genus but, they are attractive stems so, absent knowledge of the plant, perhaps that was enough. I'm thinking maybe I should open up my own free floral stand with a little of this and a little of that each week.

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    2. Great idea– Spread the love! :)

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  6. Kris, your Leucadendron has a lovely shape after pruning. Well done. Love it with the Eustoma in that first vase. The second vase has a great overall design. I've never been able to get Centaurea to like my garden. Hope all is well. I tried last week several times to comment on your blog. Wish wordpress and blogger were more compatible. Anyway, know I'm reading!

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    1. This is the only Centaurea I've succeeded in growing thus far, Susie, and I've tried several plants in that genus. This one is almost too happy!

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  7. Pisa is so robust for you in a "no big deal, look how ginormous I grow for Kris" way. I think the pruning job looks excellent. I babied one in a pot for a short time and can't get over what a tree-like beauty it is in your garden.

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    1. Leucadendrons in general seem to like it here. My 'Pisa' was in a pot for a short time (less than a year) before we tore out more lawn and put it in its current location. It routinely exceeds the 8 foot height projected for it by several feet but that's also been true of other Leucadendrons here. They all need regular pruning but, with the heavy cones this one develops, a healthy chop is essential, especially when the winds toss the plant to and fro.

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  8. You always manage to use your materials at hand so beautifully Kris. Lovely arrangements, and I am amazed you have asters flowering... is that normal for you in June? Ours will start late summer. The Leucadendron tree is beautiful and I like the pale green foliage and cones next to the mauves and purples. Nice to see Eustoma again too! :-)

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    1. No, it's definitely not normal for the aster to be blooming in June. I can only guess that the two blistering heatwaves we received well ahead of schedule in late April and again in early May confused the plant. This particular aster, a California native, is also spreading uncontrollably in one bed, apparently a response to the higher level of rain we've had the last 2 years during our short rainy season.

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  9. I like all of your vases. I was surprised to see an aster in a vase already. It must be an early bloomer. I always think of asters as late summer or fall bloomers here. I am a lazy pruner. I like most things blousey. When I get the nerve up to prune I get it done and luckily I haven't killed anything. It usually looks better too.

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    1. The aster is supposed to bloom from August through October so it's off to a very early start, Lisa. It's rampant spread means I'll be yanking as much of it as I can this fall (if not earlier) but I suspect it'll be with me forever as it seems to be a sneaky plant.

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  10. Leucadenron 'Pisa' is very handsome after your treatment, I love it when the form of the branches are in view. Purple and Chartreuse makes a great combo in the vase. Nigella papilloma blows my socks off!

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    1. I love this Nigella too and can no longer imagine spring without it.

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  11. You did a fabulous job of pruning and how generous to share the cuttings. I wish I were your neighbor.

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    1. When I put the stems in a bucket on the curb, I thought "Well Loree would snap these up but will anyone here do so? ;) It turns out the answer was "yes!"

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  12. I always admire your leucadendrons, how wonderful to have so much you can give it away. Lovely vases and gorgeous flowers as usual.

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    1. The Leucadendrons need to be pruned regularly to prevent them from taking the garden over. I've never thought of giving stems away before but I will next time!

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