tea time in a vase on monday

Ribes & Myosotis

I’m told that this is actually a chocolate set. I used it to serve eggnog during the holidays, but that is the first time it has left the shelf, a shame, really. Last week’s tiny bouquets were short-lived, all but the Ribes and the foliage of the Stachyrus praecox, so those are getting an encore in the tall serving pitcher.

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There are six of the cups and saucers (one patched together with glue), each with a different hand painted floral pattern. I was thinking it would be fun for a party to have one at each place setting. The forget-me-nots are just coming on. I thought their dainty little faces filled the cup perfectly.

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Here’s a shot where you can get a better look at the lid to the pitcher. I love all the little details of this set: like how the cups transition from round at the lip to square at the base and the saucer follows suit. Gram was a “saver” while Mom was a “user”. As a result, most things from my mom are damaged in some way but she got enjoyment from them. When I pulled these from the shelf, they were caked in dust. As I washed it off to reveal the beauty beneath, I got a bit closer to the user camp. How do you come down on that issue?

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I’ll take you a little closer for one last look at the delicate china painting and the Ribes in full flower. These showy currants have been planted in several places by the birds who, in their wisdom, chose sites in varying degrees of shade. These come from the shrub that gets the most sun, but there will be a parade of blossoms as one after another strut their stuff. Cathy at Rambling in the Garden has thrown down the gauntlet, challenging us to find something in our gardens to “plonk” (her word) in a vase each Monday. Try it…you’ll like it, and you may find yourself pressing into service some treasures that have been languishing on a shelf.

friday surprise

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This popped up in a mature bed and I nearly got rid of it. Sometimes sloth pays. I have no idea what it is, but I see a few of them along the roadside. Guess it must be a native. Ideas? I’m also going to call it my favorite this week, because I love surprises.

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Now for a little of this and a little of that. Our neighbor lost this cedar tree in the last big windstorm.

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After sawing the greater part of the trunk into logs (there in the background), the rest got ground into chips and those chips got dropped onto our side of the fence (I told you Jim is a great and generous neighbor). Three guesses how I have been spending my time. That prodigious pile of chips means many trips with the wheelbarrow. I don’t think I have ever done quite such a thorough job of mulching.

Ceanothus 'Blue Jeans'

The first Ceanothus to bloom is ‘Blue Jeans’.

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Delusional Drive was planned to depend on foliage for year-round interest, but the blue flowers are a welcome seasonal extra.

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On the other side of the drive, mounds of Veronica peduncularis ‘Georgia Blue’ pick up the blue note as a background for ‘Thalia’ and a smattering of other Narcissi.

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Get a load of that blue sky. Perfect background for the early (isn’t everything?) blossoms of the pear trees.

The first of the Rhodies to bloom is always PMB. This year is no exception, but the foliage is so ratty looking that the flowers haven’t a chance to make up for it. Instead, I give you ‘Janet’, in all her beauty: from bud:

Rhododendron 'Janet

to budding,

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to full blown, all happening at the same time on the same shrub. I hope your Friday held some wonderful surprises as well. Won’t you please tell me about them?

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ode to spring in a vase on monday

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I had something quite different in mind when I went out this morning to cut flowers. There were so many dainty spring flowers that really need to come into the house to be appreciated. I remembered having eight of these little Mexican glass shot glasses, and found that I could almost cover the color wheel with my findings.

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Let’s start at the blue end of my bouquets on parade. Ceanothus ‘Blue Jeans’ is just coming into flower. I wonder if these tight buds will open. If so, these two little vases will get better as time goes by. A couple of sprigs of Stachyrus praecox new leaves set off the Muscari in the second vase.

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The color doesn’t read as well shot from the other side, but the light shining through the leaves is nice.

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Shades of purple and lilac show up in Fritillarea maleagris and Epimedium ‘Roseum’.

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Arcostaphylos densiflora ‘Harmony’ has pale pink flowers, while the native Ribes, planted here by the birds, shades from medium pink to almost red.

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My favorite of the Epimediums is E.x warleyense, with these delicate wands of orange flowers. I added a stem of Berberis replicata that has streaks of orange mixed with deep yellow.

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I thought you needed a close-up to appreciate these flowers. See why they need to come inside?

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For pure yellow, you can’t beat Forsythia, and I let one stem of the barberry migrate into this vase to add interest.

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The yellow-green Hellebores are a bit coarser than the other posies in the group, but I did want to use all eight glasses, and they met the color requirements.

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To complete the spectrum, here’s white Clematis armandii. But I couldn’t stop there…

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The rains had beaten down some of the Narcissi ‘Thalia’, giving me a good excuse to pick them. A couple of long-lasting leaves from past bouquets make a dramatic background for the pristine, lightly fragrant, flowers. So there you have it. Now do click through to Rambling in the Garden to hook up with a growing number of budding flower arrangers.

gbbd in a vase on monday

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I fell in love with a patch of Muscari macrocarpum ‘Golden Fragrance’ at Joy Creek and quickly planted my own. The fragrance is as subtle as the coloring. I was only willing to pick one, so I needed to find other things to fill in.

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These two aperetif glasses struck me as spring-like and just the right size. A few gold chocolate coins left over from Christmas stockings give an idea of scale and pick up the gold of the glasses. Both got a sprig of Stachys ‘Helen Von Stein’ and one stem of Euphorbia wulfenii. I have two kinds of Pulmonaria, both acquired at our bloggers’ swaps. The pale one went into the vase with the Muscari, while the vibrant , darker blue became the focus of the vase on the left.

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All of the usual suspects are in my spring line-up, some earlier than usual. I decided to cull my photos and show you only what made it into my vase this Monday. More vases can be found every Monday at Rambling in the Garden and plenty of blooms show up at May Dreams Gardens on the 15th of every month.

fave for a day, week, month…clematis armandii

Clematis armandii

The love/hate relationship with Clematis armandii is in the love phase right now. It’s at its prettiest as the buds are opening.

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The way it drapes over the front deck cloaks our ordinary house in an aura of romance.

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Loking out, the light catches the cascading blossoms.

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Coming into the house, the clouds of blossoms engulf you in a subtle, sweet scent.

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So what, you may be wondering, could possibly evoke the “hate” part of this relationship? Well, the detritus left behind once the show is over might be enough, but there’s also the fact that the vines get to looking pretty ratty from time to time and this heavenly show is not necessarily a predictably annual occurance. Never mind. As things stand, all is forgiven and Clematis armandii stands as the clear favorite in the garden right now.

treated like royalty at little prince nursery

I somehow clicked the wrong thing and lost all of the photos taken on our bloggers’ visit to Little Prince of Oregon nursery. Their logo is a crowned frog prince and their motto is “our plants won’t croak”. That down-to-earth friendliness and gentle humor pervades the place and its people. They welcomed us with open arms (and food and drink and complimentary caps) and turned us loose to wander and shop at will. Here’s what came home with me:

Agave lophantha 'Splendida'

Agave lophantha ‘Splendida’

Agave 'Hammer Time'

Agave ‘Hammer Time’

Agave gentryi 'Jaws'

Agave gentryi ‘Jaws’

Abutilon megapotamicum

Abutilon megapotamicum

Liriope spicata 'Silver Dragon'

Liriope spicata ‘Silver Dragon’

Geum chiloense 'Double Bloody Mary'

Geum chiloense ‘Double Bloody Mary’

sempervivums

A trio of Sempervivums that got separated from their tags. I’ve given up trying to keep track of the different names of the semps anyway, but these look like the makings of a nice combination.

Tillandsias

and a small sampling of Tillandsias, selected from a mind boggling array of these fascinating air plants.

I don’t feel so bad about losing my photos of Little Prince, because others in our group did a bang-up job of writing up our visit, complete with excellent photos. Click on Danger Garden and Mulchmaid to take Loree’s and Jane’s virtual tours. The next time you are plant shopping, look for the crowned frog prince logo. You will be getting plants raised by people who care.

gbq&a

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I was very excited to find this succulent at Thicket last summer. It is in a pot with other succulents that all seem perfectly happy, but this guy is going all spotty (and not in a good way like ‘Spotty Dotty’).

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The new growth is coming in looking like it’s covered in lint. I’m not finding visible insects. My guess is that it wants less water. If that is the case, I guess I’ll have to give it a pot of its own. That’s a shame, because it is just the textural element I want in this pot. Any ideas?

So here we are in the first week of March. If you would like to join in the question and answer game, please write about what puzzles you and link back here. My question last month can be found HERE. As I suspected, generous garden bloggers came forward with solutions from which I was able to make a plan going forward. Anna had a question about her Fargesia murilae that is about half dried out. Should she cut it back, and if so, how long do you think it would take for it to recuperate?

yg&p show in a vase

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First thing I saw, walking into the show, was this flower arrangement. I always head straight for the display gardens, but they were a disappointment this year. This being the first year that the show was not sponsored by OAN, I give it a pass for first time out. The advertising was practically non-existant and I heard from one of the presenters that info was late and sparse.

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Camera remained in the off position until I came across this booth. The exterior of these vases are glass and metal, with a plexiglass insert to hold stems in place. They come in many sizes.

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The whole display was elegant. I loved the use of materials not always thought of as the stuff of arrangements.

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The slim profile allows these asparagus spears to line up like good little soldiers.

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I was not prepared to spend upwards of $70 on the spot, but I did pick up a card for future reference. Find this Seattle company at Stems Vases.

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Seeing this astounding arrangement had me kicking myself for having missed a seminar by Riz Reyes called ‘Seasonal Floral Arrangements for Any Season’. I won’t make that mistake again if ever I get the chance.

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Just look at the unusual assembly of cascading dark hellebores, the blooms of fatsia and a silvery tillandsia, among other things.

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At the other end of the table sat a slightly more traditional bouquet, but even here there were elements of surprise.

I didn’t miss out entirely, as I was just coming from a talk on ‘Trees for Northwest Gardens’ by Sean Hogan of Cistus Nursery fame. The seminars have always been highlights of this show, along with running into gardening friends. I’m glad to say that has not changed. It is possible that my fascination with the flower arrangements at the show is a result of a new focus brought about by Cathy and her ‘In A Vase on Monday’ meme. Click on over there to see what it’s all about.

am i blue? no, just my vase on monday

Tete A Tete narcissi

Several clumps of Tete-A-Tete daffodils surround the cherry trees out front. I could steal a few from each cluster without diminishing the outdoor display. Wishing that those clumps of forget-me-nots would bloom at the same time is futile…

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so, to get that hit of blue to set off the bright yellow, I dug out this little blue and white pitcher. A few stems of privet, with its shiny, deep green leaves, hold the narcissi stems in place and a single raceme of Pieris flowers introduce another element to the mix. The runner from IKEA, with its different degrees of transparency, serves as a background that echoes the little white urn-shaped flowers.

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Wanting more blue, my eyes alit on a couple of bottles on a shelf. The tall one got a second sprig of Pieris (I think this one is ‘Winter Fire’) and a single daffy, still in bud.

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The second, smaller bottle was already home to a feather that echoes the colors of the background.

Go to Rambling in the Garden, where Cathy spins a tale with her Monday In A Vase entry and hosts anyone who would like to join in.

favorite: ‘Thunderhead’ pine and more for FFU & GBFD

So many memes, so little time…so, once again , I’m putting three related themes into one post. I’ll give you the links at the end.

'Thunderhead' pine

Starting with my favorite plant in the garden right now, Pinus thunbergiana ‘Thunderhead’. Close up in spring, it’s the “candles” that arrest the eye. Pinching them back results in a lower growing tree.

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But I love the candles, and it isn’t strictly necessary to choose between sprawling and upright. The tall part has been let go, while the shorter part has been “candled”. I think it results in an even closer resemblance to the cumulus clouds for which it was named.

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Houz did a nice write-up about this favorite. You can find it HERE.

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It took me a while to warm to the idea of introducing Yuccas into Delusional Drive. Now I couldn’t be without the textural contribution of their strong, sword-shaped leaves. This one came from Means, so I don’t have a full ID. Just Spanish Dagger and variegated.

Yucca recurvifolia

My first Yucca came from Ryan at our first bloggers’ swap: Y. recurvifolia.

Senecio greyi

This could easily occupy my “favorite” slot. It was labeled Senecio greyi, but I think Loree calls it Brachyglotis greyi. Whatever. Those silvery edges make it a winner as far as I’m concerned.

Mugho pine

R is the opposite of a plant snob. He cares not if a plant is common as dirt, so he’s always slipping in things like this Mugho pine. I must admit to loving it.

Euonymous 'Emerald N Gold'

Most of the year the variegation on Euonymous ‘Emeral ‘N’ Gold’ is yellow and green, but it blushes prettily in the cold months.

Dracunculus vulgaris

Dramatic from beginning to end, Dracunculus vulgaris is pushing up through the woodland duff, already showing the distinctive patterning of its future stems.

The Favorite Plant in the Garden meme is the brainchild of Danger Garden, where Loree will host a roundup of faves you have featured through the month on the last Friday. Pam, of Digging hosts Foliage Follow Up. It is targeted for the day after Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, but as you can tell by my late entry, the rules are loose. You are welcome to join in when you can. A similar meme from across the pond is hosted by Christina. It falls on the 22nd of each month, so why not note that on your calendar and give it a try.