Monday, May 24, 2021

In a Vase on Monday: Garden Gems

At this time of year, it's uncommon for me to step into the garden on a Sunday morning without some notion of what I'm going to cut for "In a Vase on Monday," the weekly challenge posed by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden to uncover something in one's garden to use in a flower and/or foliage arrangement.  However, yesterday I had nothing in mind, other than a desire not to repeat myself.  When I scanned my back border for plants I haven't featured in a vase this year, I immediately lighted on two suitable prospects.

The first was Penstemon digitalis 'Onyx & Pearls'.  I put in three plants last July after purchasing them on a whim.  I usually avoid planting anything other than succulents during the summer months as doing otherwise is generally a self-defeating exercise.  To make matters worse, last July I was still engaged in an ongoing battle with gophers.  But the label on the Penstemon claimed that it required only occasional water, which differentiated it from most other Penstemons I've tried to grow here.  The foliage color was also unusual so I threw caution to the wind and went ahead.  I did plant all three with their roots inside gopher cages, though!

I took this photo about ten days ago when the plant was just starting to bloom but, as the "onyx" color of the foliage is mostly hidden in my arrangement I wanted you to see it.  Not only is the foliage a dark blackish-purple in color, it feels leathery to the touch.

The Penstemons were flowering heavily on tall stems on Sunday so I cut three and went in search of appropriate companions.

I've used the purple foxglove before but there were two new spikes begging to be cut in my cutting garden.  The flower front and center is the first of the seed-sown Daucus carota 'Dara' to open fully.

Back view: Salvia canariensis and the sweet peas are making return appearances

Top view: I used one of my tallest crystal vases for this arrangement and had to stand on a chair to photograph it overhead

Top view: Abelia x grandiflora 'Hopley's Variegated', Consolida ajacis 'Splish Splash', and Daucus carota 'Dara'
Middle row: Digitalis purpurea, Lathyrus odoratus 'Sir Jimmy Shand' (with 'High Scent'), and Nigella papillosa 'African Bride'
Bottom row: Penstemon digitalis 'Onyx & Pearls' and Salvia canariensis var candidissima

The second plant that caught my eye on the initial scan of my back border was a coral gladiola.  It stuck out in part because its color is completely out of keeping with the surrounding plants.  According to my records, I planted a dozen Gladiolus nanus 'Nymph' bulbs on May 2018.  The flowers were supposed to be white with pink markings but those that survived to bloom in 2019 and 2020 are coral-pink with hot-pink markings.

It was surprisingly difficult to find flowers to complement the unusual color mix in the gladiola

Back view: I used some of the remaining snapdragons with rust-encrusted foliage.  I think I'll be pulling all the remaining snapdragons this week.

Top view

Top view: Aeonium haworthii 'Kiwi', Agonis flexuosa 'Nana', and noID Antirrhinum majus
Middle row: Clarkia 'Salmon Princess'* and Gladiolus nanus 'Nymph' (or a relative)
Bottom row: Melinus nerviglumis and Rosa 'Pink Meidiland'
*The Clarkia was sold as C. unguiculata but it looks to be C. amoena

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



All material © 2012-2021 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

28 comments:

  1. So many wonderful goodies throughout your lovely vases Kris - as always! I do love Dara! I grew some wild carrot in my last garden and the flower is very similar. Love an umbel! Amanda https://therunningwave290580645.wordpress.com/2021/05/24/heaven-in-a-vase-on-monday/

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    1. There's a great deal of confusion (at least on my part) as to whether there's any meaningful difference between Ammi majus 'Dara' and Daucus carota 'Dara'. One seed seller I contacted told me that she could see no difference at all. The genera names seem to be used interchangeably. My seed packet showed both names on the packet.

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    2. Any which way, it's a really lovely flower! Very pretty indeed and looks very happy in your vase! A

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  2. That penstemon is really striking - I wonder if it is available here? - and the foxgloves work so well with it. I really like that first vase but you have managed to pull the difficult colours together in the second one with the help of the foliage

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    1. The leaves of that Penstemon are succulent-like, Cathy. It's a very interesting cultivar. I don't know how common it is - last summer was the one and only time I've seen it for sale.

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  3. That you say the penstemon's leaves are leathery makes this one intriguing as a tough plant for dryish gardens. And it seems a lot darker than 'Husker's Red.' The first vase is my fav, love the daucus!

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    1. I tried to grow Penstemon 'Husker Red' and it didn't last long. 'Onyx & Pearls' seems much tougher. The flowers of Daucus 'Dara' look just like those of the Ammi majus 'Dara' I grew from plugs last year but the plants are taller and more robust. Whether that's because they were grown in place from seed or because there's a material difference between them, I can't say.

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  4. I can't think of anyone else who will ever come close to your ability to create large arrangements within a color theme... amazing! Also amazing is the fact I really liked the pinker of the two! Pink is not usually my thing.

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    1. Thanks Loree. While I like those glads in a vase, I can't say I was happy seeing them in the border, where they stood out (in a bad way) from the surrounding plants.

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  5. Beautiful as always Kris. I have seen penstemon 'Husker's Red' in the flesh but your 'Onyx & Pearls' has the wow factor.

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    1. 'Onyx & Pearls' is the first penstemon to do really well here, Anna. I'm pleased, although I've no idea how long it may prosper.

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  6. It would be unfair to ask me to chose which of the vases I like best. Your Daucus carota 'Dara' would even have the vote if it was just a few stems of that on their own! Each bloom you have chosen is perfect.

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    1. 'Dara' was actually a last-minute addition to that first arrangement, Noelle. I've been watching the plant get taller and taller for weeks until its central flower finally looked mature enough to cut.

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  7. Gasp-worthy, Kris! You really outdid yourself this week. So beautiful!

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    1. Thanks Eliza. What's available to cut is more a matter of serendipity than any planning on my part.

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    2. You are far too humble, my dear!

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  8. You're always so creative with your vases, Kris, and they always look great no matter what you do. You're a professional. :)

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    1. I periodically wonder how much happier I might have been if I'd elected to forego more conventional professional pursuits in my 20s and become a florist, Beth ;)

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  9. I've been seeing Onyx and Pearls online recently, and now I'm even more impressed. Looks like a real winner in both garden and vase, and it certainly blends beautifully with the rest of the flowers you've used. And I think you made quite a successful job of finding companions for your rogue Nymph glad! ;-) Lovely arrangements as always!

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    1. Thanks Amy. I hope 'Onyx & Pearls' becomes more commonly available - it's a terrific plant.

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  10. Your vases are always a joy to behold but that Penstemon and "Dara" really jump out this time. Does she come up true to type when you collect the seeds? I had "Black Knight" which varies quite a bit. Thank you for sharing your story about your childhood garden memory - I have this picture of a toddler falling in love with pansies in my head now :)

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    1. I haven't collected seed from 'Dara' so I can't comment on its reliability, Annette. The Ammi majus 'Dara' I previously grew from plugs didn't self-seed but Daucus 'Dara' has the look of a tougher customer.

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  11. Your overhead shots show all the shapes of the flowers and petals so well. I love that Daucus carota. Beautiful arrangements Kris.

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  12. Both are lovely Kris. You are an absolute wizard at putting colours together to create a magical effect.I haven't seen the lovely penstemon before but I shall certainly look out for it. I loved the carrot, I am growing it for the first time this year. I loved the idea about you being engaged in an ongoing battle with gophers. Other countries' pests sound exotic and quite funny to our ears. Gophers and groundhogs make me think of cartoons. But badgers snuffling around digging up bulbs and plants is not funny at all. But I have solved my problem by installing a camera so that I could watch them. They must be camera shy, I haven't seen them since.

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    1. Ha! We do have cameras but, installed for security purposes, they aren't positioned to capture the gopher's hole. However, the cameras have been very useful in capturing video of raccoons, coyotes (including one running off with our newspaper!), and even the occasional rabbit.

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  13. I love both vase arrangements. I especially covet Penstemon digitalis 'Onyx & Pearls' but I also love the coral colored Gladiolus nanus and Clarkia 'Salmon Princess’!

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    1. The only annoying bit with the Clarkia is that, once again, it doesn't appear to be the species I ordered.

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