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…


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.

in a vase: violets are…purple

Viola odora

When the violets really get going, they can scent a whole area. I love that smell…reminds me of Yardley’s violet scent, which I wore as a girl.


They are itty bitty little things, so it was necessary to find a small container to show them off. The thimble in the above photo will give you an idea of scale.


This hand painted pitcher fits the bill perfectly and, ironically, the painting is of violets.


My Great Grandmother’s hands were never idle. She was always crocheting or quilting. I have quite a few pieces of her handiwork. Carrying out the theme of old fashioned flowers in an old fashioned container seemed to call for using one of them as a doily to complete the picture (I think this one was meant to be an antimacassar – now there’s a word I bet you haven’t seen lately, if ever) Antimacassars were used on the backs of chairs to protect the upholstery from the hair goop used by men back in the day. The goop was called Macassar. In my book, the doily’s value far outstrips that of any old upholstery.


I’m enjoying the powerful aroma being pumped out by these babies right now. But where did some folk poet ever get the idea that “violets are blue”? More posies await each Monday. Click HERE to open the door and enjoy.

gbbd early spring


I salute the pioneers. Eventually, this bed will be awash in ‘Georgia Blue’ Veronica peduncularis, but right now this brave, lone blossom is scouting the territory.


Always the first of the daffys to bloom, this Narcissus ‘Tete a Tete’ is in the vanguard.


The same can be said for a common little woodland violet.


The slugs are merciless when it comes to the primrose blooms.


Means had primroses and pansies for 99cents. I’m thinking maybe these, on longer stems, will be less susceptible to the slime brigade.


Huckleberry flowers are tiny little things, as are the berries that follow…but OH, that wild taste.

Bloom Day’s host, CAROL is waiting for your visit.

in a vase: small gleanings


Here’s what I’m working with this week: a small white porcelain vase with a deco-like bas relief around its base and petal-like flared rim; moss to fill the vase and stabilize the stems; a skewer to poke holes in the moss; two small stems of Helleborus (stems dunked in boiling water to prolong life); three leaves each of Pulmonaria and Heuchera.


The Helebore is still in bud. It will be a greenish white when it blooms out but at this stage the maroon markings on the undersides of the petals are still visible, reinforced by the maroon of the Heuchera leaves. The sword shape and different patterning of the Pulmonaria leaves provide contrast and echo the shape of the leaves on the vase. All of these things were planted before I started keeping records, so that’s the best I can do with ID.


I kept it sparse to leave room for the buds to open and reveal their pretty inner workings.


Finally, I added a small votive in a frosted glass container and some match boxes covered with marbleized paper that echoes the colors of my little spring posy (well, winter, technically, but let’s pretend, shall we?)

Mondays are vase days, here and HERE, where Cathy hosts any and all would-be flower arrangers to adopt this habit forming meme. No pressure: drop in when it suits you, or take up the challenge to fill a vase with something from your garden every week, year-round.


I got questions. You got answers? The garden is rife with puzzles. It has been my experience that throwing a question into the blogosphere never fails to produce answers. So how about this? Let’s use the first week of each month to pose one (or two, or more) of those questions that have been nagging us and see what comes back to us. No chain letter type threats: “if you don’t do this Flora will cast a withering spell on your precious plants”, just a friendly Garden Bloggers’ Q&A. I’ll kick things off:


You may recall my non-traditional Christmas tree. If not, you will find it HERE. After a little over a week adorned with angels and such, it was beginning to leaf out and even form buds. A freeze was coming. I feared that it would turn up its toes if I moved it outside into those conditions, so I just moved it into a corner of the living room. We keep the temperature at about 65 degrees. I now have a fully leafed out, blooming Cornus sericea  ‘Cardinal’. I’m wondering if I did the right thing and when would be the best time to put it in the ground. Help me if you can.

You know how these things work. If you have a question of your own, write about it and leave a link to your post here. A link back to this post on yours will keep the ball rolling. I’m thinking we could aim for any time during the first week of the month, but loose rules are the best rules, so bend them to your own best use.

in a vase on monday: the yellow season


I picked up a couple of these little vases for a song (well, cheap…you wouldn’t want to hear me sing).


The little raised polka dots show up better against dark stems and water.


Some nice weather led to time outside cutting things back. Skeletal remains of Joe Pye Weed were so lacy they nearly disappear in the vase, but if you look closely you can see little dots at the ends of each filament-like branch (gotta keep that polka dot theme going). As I was hacking back the 8′ stalks of Joe, an over-the-fence conversation yielded this question: “what do you use that for?” Um…to look at(?)


I had cut some Forsythia branches weeks ago to force into bloom. A smattering of yellow blossoms graced the arching twigs but the effect was underwhelming. Winter Jasmine was blooming more profusely on stiff, kind of awkward branches. The flowers are nearly identical. I got the look I was after by using a combination of the two.


I like my yellow in small doses, so the sparseness of the flowers strikes me as just right. I added a glass bowl of Lemonhead lemon drops and an actual lemon as props.


These winter bouquets last on and on and…on. I’m running out of places to put them as they are retired from center stage. This one is in the bathroom.


Remember this one? A gift exchange brought me the striped candles in colors that work perfectly, especially after adding a branch of Witch Hazel.


And this one is still going strong, with only a few petals having dropped from the Poinsettia. I think it lasts longer as a cut flower than it would have on the plant. I’ve passed a couple of past bouquets on to friends, one of whom passes on to me every vase that comes her way. The word is out, I guess, that I have become a flower cutting fool ever since joining Cathy in making a posy from the garden’s gleanings every Monday.

in a vase on monday: good things in small packages


This little pot, a favorite from a local potter who has since moved on to more colorful and less subtle creations, usually sits on a windowsill holding post-its. It measures roughly 3″ in every direction.


I found it perfect for the dainty cuttings of winter: three snowdrops, a sprig of Sarcacocca, some lacy evergreen fern (Polystichum setiferum I think), one dainty stem of Epimedium foliage and a small branch of Hamamelis ‘Diane’.


I took the cuttings and put them in the vase late yesterday…even took some photos but never got around to posting. The one advantage to tardiness is that by this morning the snowdrops had opened further, to reveal the markings. I added the small silver watering can (a gift intended as a key ring charm, but I feared misplacing it by going the way of all keys eventually) and took advantage of better light to take a few more photos.


Having these on the dining room table puts them right at eye level, where the graphic design wrought by nature can be fully appreciated.

If you have been following along, you already know that this is part of a habit-forming meme originated by Cathy. Click on the link for a world of floral fun.

triple play: ffu, gbfd and garden favorite

foggy foliage

Our days have been starting out cloaked in fog. Looking out from the front deck, the scene is framed by gnarly cherry tree branches on the right and red branches of Stachyrus praecox on the left, giving perspective to the cedar trees disappearing gradually into the fog.


The view out back has deciduous trees forming the scrim in front of the ghostly forms of conifers farther down the trail into the woods.


There was moss left over after using some at the base of our “Christmas Tree”. It was left in a wire basket on the outdoor table and up popped these cute little fungi for a natural fairy garden look.

Mahonia 'Arthur Menzes'

Mahonia ‘Arthur Menzies’ finally came across with some flowers this year, but it is here as a foliage plant. It’s stiff, holly-like leaves are evergreen and textural for year-round interest.

Cryptomeria japonica spiralis 'Grannies Ringlets'

And to complete the triple play of the title, here’s my favorite plant of the week: Cryptomeria japonica spiralis ‘Granny’s Ringlets’. That Arcostaphylos in the background currently obscures it from the entry drive, but from the back side of the bed its curlique habit stands out from its more serious neighbors. It will eventually gain enough height to make its presence known from any angle. Loree of Danger Garden fame hosts the favorite plant meme and will have a roundup on the last Friday of the month. I have long participated in Pam’s Foliage Follow-Up meme at Digging. Recently I discovered a similar meme, Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day, at Creating My Own Garden of the Hesperides, hosted by Christina. I may be cheating a bit by hitting all three with one post, but you know how it is when the weather turns nice enough to get out there to start weeding and pruning, so I trust you will forgive me.

A comment from Anna brought to my attention that I did not include any info about Granny. You can find it HERE.

in a vase on monday…on tuesday

Ranunculus asiaticus

A visit to Garden Fever turned up 4″ pots of Ranunculus asiaticus in the color of orange sherbet. I had the silver pots (vases) from the table decorations for a summer wedding. The nursery pots slip right into them, deeply enough to hide the plastic.


We were having friends to lunch, and Susan (one of our guests) had given me the 3 silver candle holders that echo the color and shape of the pots. Sherbet and cookies for desert carried the theme even a step further.  I guess this is cheating a little bit, because the flowers didn’t come from my garden, but they will be headed there now that they have served their purpose as table decorations. Cathy, at Rambling in the Garden is very forgiving of stretching the definition of ‘In a Vase on Monday’, so don’t hesitate to join in, or at least check it out.