Monday, August 24, 2020

In a Vase on Monday: Bright spots within a smokey haze

California is on fire again.  The current estimate is 560 active wildfires.  Over one million acres have burned, which is already roughly four times the number of acres burned last year.  Two large fires in Los Angeles County have been burning since August 12th and 13th respectively, and although both are quite a distance away and now over 50% contained, their smoke has left us with hazy skies and poor air quality.  However, the fires in the northern part of the state, most caused by lightning strikes, are far worse.  Members of my family living up north have been dealing with the threat of evacuation since last week.  Two hundred thousand people state-wide are presently under evacuation orders. 

Under the circumstances, wandering through my garden putting together materials for floral arrangements seems almost ridiculous but there's nothing my husband and I can do from several hundred miles away but worry.  Cutting flowers is a distraction.

Dahlia 'Labyrinth' provided the centerpiece of my first arrangement.

I replaced the 'Labyrinth' tuber I used last year after I mistakenly allowed it and many other dahlia tubers to dry out.  The new tuber produced blooms more in keeping with the color the flowers are supposed to have rather than the pale blooms I had last year.

I fleshed out the arrangement with seed-grown Zinnias and sunflowers.  The blooms of the latter are small and aren't readily visible in any but my close-up photos.

Top view

Clockwise from the upper left: Dahlia 'Labyrinth', Agonis flexuosa 'Nana', Zinnia elegans 'Queen Lime Blush', Helianthus annuus 'Ruby Eclipse', and Zinnias from the 'Northern Lights Blend'


Two other dahlias provided the focus for my second arrangement.

Dahlia 'Loverboy' got pride of place at the front of the arrangement

Two stems of Dahlia 'Mr Optimist' dressed up the back of the arrangement

Top view

Clockwise from the upper left: Dahlias 'Loverboy' and 'Mr Optimist, Alstroemeria 'Claire', Clematis terniflora (aka sweet autumn clematis), Coprosma repens 'Plum Hussey', Leptospermum 'Copper Glow', and Leucanthemum x superbum


It's nominally cooler than it was last week but the gladiolas aren't going to last much longer so I cut more of those stems this week.  The arrangement is nearly identical to one I created last week.

Different vase and no lisianthus but otherwise the same as arrangement #2 last week

Back view: Still, I couldn't let those purple gladiola stems go to waste

Top view

Clockwise from the left: Cosmos bipinnatus, Abelia grandiflora 'Hopley's Variegated', Gladiolus 'Vuvuzela', and Symphyotrichum chilense


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


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


28 comments:

  1. Three lovely color schemes, Kris! Your dahlia colors are so well chosen. I love both peachy and burgundy shades and you've combined them so well with other flowers/greens.
    Thanks for the distraction, we could use it. My son lives only 45 minutes from one of the fires and air quality is pretty bad some days. I'm just glad he has multiple exits should the worst happen, and does not live on a single canyon road that could prove to be a trap. My heart goes out to all those who have been displaced and particularly those fighting the blazes. Pure hell.

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    1. The fires are very depressing, Eliza. I hope your son stays safe. I've been concerned about my own neighborhood (in a high fire risk area), which has just a single entrance/exit. If trees came down there, we'd be forced to flee on foot. Efforts to rally the neighborhood to foot the bill open a second emergency exit stalled this year as the pandemic took hold.

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  2. Gosh, I hadn't realised there were fires again, Kris - what a worry for those who live nearby and for their families. Eliza's comment puts the situation in perpective even more. Your vases will be a welcome distraction and as you often do you are sharing three very different and striking arrangements. All lovely, of course, but I do like the white and blue contrsts of the third one

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    1. One fire came within half a mile of my sister-in-law's house last week. She spent more than a day packed and ready to leave before the wind shifted and the fire was contained on the front near her. Now my niece and her partner in a nearby city are in the same situation, waiting on pins and needles.

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  3. Loving your first vase in particular Kris! I love a mix of pink and green and that pretty little zinnia pulls the whole lot together in a very delicious way! All your vases are lovely. I always feel bad preferring one over another! Amanda https://therunningwave.blogspot.com/2020/08/travelling-hopefully-in-vase-on-monday.html

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    1. Thanks Amanda. This week I'm personally torn between the first and the second arrangements - I'm happy with both.

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  4. Your dahlias are beautiful and healthy looking and make great arrangements. I love seeing the variety of flowers you're able to grow. The delicate white cosmos reminds me, oops, I forgot to plant any again. I used to grow it every year but the location needs to be heavily weeded and refurbished before anything can be planted. I hope you and your family will be able keep safe from the fires.

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    1. Thanks Susie. I hope things don't get too crazy in your state this week.

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  5. First of all, I wish your family and all those deeply impacted by the California wildfires safety and health. I remember seeing the flames of the 2018 Malibu fire from the Redondo Beach Esplanade and later that same day seeing the ashes and soot surrounding all in the neighborhood. It physically hurt to breathe.
    Once again, I love all three floral arrangements and their respective vases. I must admit, I particularly love all the specific cultivars found in vase 1.
    Thank you once again for the morning escape from heartbreaking events.

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    1. My family gets particularly unnerved about wildfires, Kay, as my parents-in-law lost their home in Malibu to one in 1993. It was their dream home, one built to their specifications, lost in that case due to a fire caused by arson.

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  6. Love that 'Loverboy'! The white Alstroemeria makes a good companion--equally eye-catching.

    Sorry to hear you are getting smoked. Uneasy about what will happen here when the Santa Anas start to blow. UC Santa Cruz was evacuated and I feared for the BG. A co-worker of Alan's is in that area and had to evacuate himself and several horses--very frightening.

    Let's keep hoping the heat will break soon.

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    1. Both the temperature and the air quality were slightly better today but humidity was very high so working outside was still unpleasant. I'm developing a better appreciation for what folks in high humidity areas of the country face during the summer months. I seem to recall reading that one of the effects of climate change here would be more tropical conditions during the summer. I'd wished for a tropical thunderstorm until I heard that lightning strikes were setting off wildfires in NorCal.

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  7. I do feel for all who live near the fires in California, and suffer through a horrible heat wave. Two hundred thousand evacuees in the time of COVID is a nightmare! I pray and hope for relief soon. Meanwhile, your vases are an excellent distraction from the misery outside, all beautiful in their own way. The hot pink and chartreuse combination in the first are excellent cool summery colors, like an ice cream sherbet.

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    1. I've heard that a lot of people under those mandatory evacuation orders aren't actually evacuating but rather staying to fight the fires, some as part of volunteer brigades. For a variety of reasons, many pandemic-related, there aren't the resources to fight all the fires currently active in the state.

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  8. I am happy to see the Lover boy arrangement. You shouldn't feel bad about doing vases full of flowers. They help all that see them. There is so much mental anguish right now about so many different things. Please keep on enjoying your garden and sharing it with us. There needs to be a spot of calm colorful beauty to ease the pain. Peace.

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    1. Yes, we do need a spot of peace right now. Thanks Lisa.

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  9. That gentle pink and yellow is a soft sigh of relief. Hope the fires are soon under control, four times the area is horrifying!

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    1. That statistic is all the more terrifying as the year's nowhere near over yet. In the past, some of California's worst fires have happened in the last quarter of the year.

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  10. I ordered Labyrinth for next spring ! In fact I ordered more Dahlias than I have room for but spots will be found.Yours are all beautiful! The smoke has certainly cut into gardening time-and I hate being cooped up in the house with the AC on. Going outside mid-day is just impossible.

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    1. I've already ordered some dahlias for next year too, Kathy. It's a positive act looking forward to the prospect of a brighter 2021. As to the heat and crappy air, I'm going a bit stir-crazy too and have found myself getting carried away working outside in the late afternoon when no sane person should be gardening.

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  11. Holding good thoughts for help from above, in whatever form, in ending the fires. It's kind of beyond belief, as are so many things this year. Thank you for growing these beautiful dahlias so I don't have to.

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    1. Thanks Barbara. It's an incredibly awful year. Some mornings it's tempting to pull the covers over my head and hide from the world. If anxiety-ridden themes weren't creeping into my dreams too, I might just do that!

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  12. You must be desperately sad the fires have raised their ugly head again Kris. There was some coverage of events on the BBC news at the weekend but nothing since. I hope that you gained some comfort from familiar activities and am glad that shared your trio of vases with us. 'Labyrinth' looks like a real showstopper. Will be thinking of you.

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    1. Thanks Anna. Wildfires are a sad fact of life here in late summer and fall but they seem to be on hyper-drive this year.

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  13. Your second vase aligns container and contents so well!

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    1. That vase is really well suited to certain flower materials, Loree. D, if you're reading this, thanks again!

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  14. I have been thinking of you while watching news of the fires. The air quality must also be nasty for you, apart from the worry. Yes, our gardens can help distract us in stressful times and you have produced some gorgeous vases again Kris. The first one is especially stunning - I don't think I have ever see Dahlias and Zinnias in a vase together and they go so well. Love the white Cosmos in the last one too!

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    1. Thanks Cathy. Our air quality has improved a little - it's no longer classified as "unhealthy for all" - but the haze is still so thick we can't see the mountains to the east at all. Things are worse in the northern part of the state. I don't understand why we face this year after year after year. At least it's not arson driving these fires but rather Mother Nature but that's small comfort.

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