After waiting seemingly forever for dahlia and zinnia blooms, I now have several of each blooming at the same time in my cutting garden, all demanding attention. With our weather subject to sharp changes - hot and dry for stretches at a time with cool and damp intervals in between - I'm inclined to cut them when they're looking their best rather than chancing their availability in later weeks. Next year, I'll give more thought to growing plants that combine better with one another than those I'm growing this year.
Dahlia 'Break Out' produced its first bloom last week. It was a soft cream with pale peachy-pink accents and, when examining it on Saturday, I envisioned combining it with flowers that picked up those peachy-pink tones. However, when I went to cut it on Sunday morning, it had shifted more definitively to a vibrant pink, throwing my plans out the window.
|I reused the vase I selected for Dahlia 'Loverboy' last week and some of the very same flowers as accents|
|Top view: the vase has a very narrow mouth, only about an inch wide at its center and slimmer as it tapers to each end, which limits what can be stuffed into it|
|Clockwise from the upper left: Abelia grandiflora 'Hopley's Variegated', Correa 'Wyn's Wonder', Leptospermum 'Copper Glow', Dahlia 'Break Out', and Zinnia elegans 'Queen Red Lime'|
My second arrangement this week contains neither dahlias nor zinnias. I've wanted to use the purple flowers of Plectranthus ecklonii (aka tall spur flower) for some time. I'd hoped to pair it with Dahlia 'Magic Moment' but that plant, although now in bud, is taking its sweet time about blooming so I decided to go ahead before the Plectranthus finishes its season.
|I stuck to a purple and white mix, making use of the Cosmos, which like the zinnias are in the process of succumbing to mildew|
|Stems of Vitex trifolia dress up the back view. Although this plant is obviously prone to drooping when cut, I love its two-colored leaves, dark green on top and purple underneath.|
|Clockwise from the upper left: Angelonia 'Archangel White', Cosmos bipinnatus, variegated Pelargonium 'Lady Plymouth', Plectranthus ecklonii, and Vitex trifolia purpurea|
Dahlias 'Enchantress' and 'Gitt's Crazy' were competing for a third slot. As they most definitely aren't suitable to combine and as I wasn't prepared to create four arrangements, I went with 'Enchantress'. 'Gitt's Crazy' will probably get a vase on my kitchen island within another day or two but I'll spare the reader a fourth arrangement.
|This arrangement is admittedly gaudy, verging on garish|
|Back view: the coleus (Plectranthus scutellarioides) combines the bright pink of the dahlia with the red-wine color of the zinnia|
|Clockwise from the upper left: Coleonema pulchellum 'Sunset Gold', Dahlia 'Enchantress, Plectranthus scutellarioides 'Dragon Heart', and Zinnia elegans 'Benary's Giant Wine'|
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