gbbd & ffu in a vase

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This dark and gloomy day made photographing this week’s vase challenging. Oh, well…must soldier on. Gathering tax records led to a swamping out of areas where all sorts of things had been gathering dust. Hence the tall vase, which I had completely forgotten about.

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The bright red leaves are from the sourwood tree, or Oxydendrum arboretum. Dark leaves come from Weigelia ‘Wine and Roses’. The dark red snapdragons are the last flowers to keep going strong and have earned a repeat and increased numbers for next year (I hardly expected such productivity from a humble six-pack). The last hot pink Zinnia is hiding in there somewhere too.


One branch of Cornus kousa ‘China Girl’ completes the picture.


That girl from China has been putting on a show, what with one thing after another, since early spring. She deserves a rest after this last glorious aria. This 3-in-one post links to (May Dreams Gardens) for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, (Rambling in the Garden) for In a Vase on Monday, and (Digging) for Foliage Follow Up.

birds flying into windows?

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Let’s see if we can’t fix that! When we first heard that sickening thump and found a dead bird beneath the window, I rushed to make a cut paper owl to put in the window.


Here’s that owl, hand cut from heavy black paper and stuck to the window with double-stick tape. It seemed to work. Several friends asked for some and they seemed to work for them too. Cutting them out by hand with an Xacto knife was giving me cramps and calusses. We went in search of a less labor-intensive production method.


After much research and experimentation, we have a superior product that employs static-cling vinyl. These guys can be repositioned or removed entirely and stored for future use.


Simply peel the silhouette from the backing sheet and apply it to the inside of the window, smoothing out air bubbles with your hand.

One of the problems cited for window decals has been that the birds soon catch on that the birds in flight are not moving. Our birds are at rest, ready to swoop down on prey. We have no scientific proof, but that may be why they seem to be effective. Want to try some on your own killer windows? Go to my Etsy Shop to place an order.

in a vase


I had never heard of a rose bowl (other than the crowning glory of the football season) until a cousin gifted us with this one. It’s been sitting on a shelf gathering dust…what a shame.


A quick trip through sudsy water and it was ready to receive a collection of the flowers that continue to defy torrential rains and cooler nights. They are: Dahlias, snapdragons, nasturtiums and a single pepper.

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When I moved it from the little orange stool to the dining room table, what a difference. The backlighting from surrounding windows lit up the sparkling cut glass and made the whole thing more dramatic…just another of the surprises in store for anyone who joins Cathy (Rambling in the Garden) for her weekly meme. Try it…you’ll like it.

a Cistus vignette

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A quick trip to Cistus: in and out without the usual tarrying, but I couldn’t pass by without snapping a few pix of this tree.

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It’s a beauty in every way, but it was the pods on bare branches that got to me.


Guess it must be a horse chestnut?


As pods go, these are pretty impressive too. They look like Datura to me. Anna (Flutter and Hum) hosts the Wednesday Vignette, which prompts us to look at our surroundings in new ways. Her entry this week is a doozy.

In a Vase on Monday


It’s a race against time to use the things that still look good in the garden before the weather closes in. For this, I started with a branch of plump beauty berries (seems like they would have tempted the birds by now, but who am I to complain).


A branch of Coleus plays backup, while one of Nicotiana langsdorfii introduces a little hit of acid green. The pot is an early Frank Boyden, a famous potter/sculptor in local circles. I should have taken a photo of it empty, to show the detail of the opening (I always think of these things too late).


Some of the annuals have succumbed to the intermittent downpours we’ve been experiencing, while others keep chugging along on borrowed time. Soon we will need to be more creative in our search for things to put in a vase, but, inspired by Cathy (Rambling in the Garden), we will soldier on to meet the challenge year-round.

in a vase…well, sort of


Well, deary me: this didn’t turn out nearly as cute as it was in my imagination.


Loree (Danger Garden) challenged us to do something with ornamental Kale. I thought a pumpkin totem with black mondo grass leading up to the topknot of kale would be terrific.


Oh, well…best laid plans, and all that.


We’ll just call it more of a trick than a treat, shall we? Cathy (Rambling in the Garden) can put you in touch with much better efforts as she challenges us to find something to put in a vase every Monday of the year.

bloom day vignette

Euonymous europeans

Euonymous europeans

There was a long wait for my spindle tree to produce these cunning fruits, so my judgement may be colored. That said, it’s my idea of a vignette. Be sure to check with Anna (Flutter and Hum) for hers and others’ vignettes.



I can’t bring myself to post more than three times a week, so I’m getting a jump on Bloom Day, sponsored by Carol (May Dreams Gardens). The Angel’s Trumpet is having a second blush of blooms. They always remind me of a Georgia O’Keefe painting.



These shy flowers would be lost in the shuffle earlier, but they are smart enough to save themselves for a time when they can shine.

Pennisetum a. 'Red Head'

And oh, the grasses! ‘Red Head’ is a new one, so it will get the star treatment and stand in for the growing number of grasses around here.

Symphytotrichum 'Monte Casino White'

Symphytotrichum ‘Monte Casino White’

Asters by any other name keep the show going. I’m partial to the frothy white of this one.

Symphytotrichum novae angliae 'Purple Dome'

This one comes in a close second.

Dahlia 'Groovy'

The dahlias were disappointing this year, but ‘Groovy’ put on a pretty good show. This is what it looks like as it first opens…


and here it is fully opened.

Nicotiana langsdorfii

Nicotiana langsdorfii

Annuals keep putting out right up to first frost. The ones I started indoors are going to seed but the ones that came up outside on their own are looking pretty fresh.


Deadheading is the secret to keeping flowers coming. I’m letting a few things go to seed now.


I planted just a few nasturtium seeds at the edge of the raised beds. I love the way they filled in and spill over the edge into the grass. Who knows what November will bring. For now, the garden feels bounteous.

monday vase


I think it was Christina (Creating my own Garden of the Hesperides) who first planted the idea of using Fuchsias with Dahlias. I finally got around to it.

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The matte black vase was given to me by my DIN (hah! my son’s name is Din…ain’t that a gas!), Nancy. It is tall: 14″…


and narrow (that’s it from the side) so it can easily hold just a few stems upright.


The two big Dahlias have followed me around namelessly. I usually refer to this one as ‘The Lion’ because it reminds me of his mane. The small Dahlia in the lower left is ‘Groovy’. Backing up the Dahlias is a single leafy stem of the tree peony ‘Gold Sovereign’ just beginning to take on an Autumnal blush.


Probably the most prolific bloomer in the garden is Fuchsia ‘Golden Gate’. I love the way the blossoms dangle. They need a tall bouquet to be able to show off that feature.


Once again, I am joining Cathy (Rambling in the Garden) for ‘In a Vase on Monday’. Yes it’s true: one can find something to put in a vase every week of the year.

friday grab bag


We had our semi-annual bloggers’ plant swap last Sunday and this is my haul. There is also a fabulous grass ‘Sky Racer’ from Scott that didn’t make it into the photo.


These gatherings have grown into full-blown parties. Ann (Amateur Bot-Ann-ist) was kind enough to host this time (that’s her husband, John, sharing a laugh with Kate. They epitomize the spirit of the event, so I’ll stick with this one photo. I took more people pictures but it seems every time I pressed the shutter the subject turned serious, making these good-looking people seem sort of glum (nothing could be further from the truth).


The harvest is winding down. I think that little thing front and center had visions of becoming a cantaloupe.

Euphorbia wulfenii

Euphorbia wulfenii

After years of putting on a spectacular show, Euphorbia wulfenii finally exhausted itself.


As did the Lavender growing next to it.


Out they came, leaving behind some seedlings that will take a while to graduate from understudy status.

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I widened that border by laying down thick layers of newspaper held down with a layer of gravel. I’ll pile compost on top of that and use it as a cutting bed to feed my ‘In a Vase’ habit.
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This is the little patio out the door to my studio on the back (south) side of the house. The Euphorbia on the other side of the door has fared better, so will remain for now.

Kalanchloe orgyatum

Kalanchloe orgyatum

I have taken many cuttings from Kalanchloe orgyatum aka Copper Spoons, so I know how easy it is to propagate. Still, this surprised me: a broken leaf that remains on the plant has given birth! Guess that’s what happens when you indulge in an orgy.

Last Friday I asked about Your views on high-end stores like New Seasons. Looks like plant people have similar thinking about other things. I always fantasized about a European-type lifestyle, complete with shopping at charming little specialty shops on a daily basis and pedaling home with a baguette and a bordeaux in my basket. Portland now has those shops so technically that would be a possibility…highly unlikely. We all lead busy lives, where the convenience of one-stop-shopping keeps us sane and leaves us with time to garden. In Portland, the appearance of Whole Foods pushed the Fred Meyer chain to upgrade its merchandise as well as its ambience. It still lags behind the New Seasons experience, but not by all that much. So I’ll shop at NS from time to time, just for fun or to pick up something special…fill the pantry with goodies from the garden…shop the natural foods section of the Scappoose FM and hope that the magic will happen in the kitchen. Thank you all for sharing your opinions and convincing me, yet again, that I truly have found my tribe.

vignette and more from Cistus

vignette and more from Cistus


I’ll not even try to identify the plants in these photos from an August visit to Cistus. A few more things were in flower back then and I was attracted to the peachy little flowers peeking through the spikes. I offer it up as this week’s Wednesday Vignette, hosted by Anna (Flutter and Hum).

Caesalpinia gilliesii (thanks, Linda & Christina)

Caesalpinia gilliesii (thanks, Linda & Christina)

One can always find treasures in the display gardens surrounding the nursery.


They are always tweaking and rearranging to keep things fresh. These bottles had migrated from the branches of a tree snag to a rusty armature planted in the midst of a mix of bright flowers.


A few flower stalks had already become ghosts of their former selves, haunting in their wraithlike beauty.


The indoor areas are worth visiting regardless of the weather or the season.


Artfully displayed…no shortage of vignettes here.


After getting revved up on plants at our swap last Sunday, I had to swing by Cistus on the way home to check out their Tough Love Sale. The first day was Saturday and I have it on good authority that the place was a madhouse peopled by plant nuts.


I’m sure things had been picked over but just look at those two marvy trees that came home with me. Sure, they’re a little root-bound, but I’ve had a pretty good success rate with things from this sale in the past even though I’m still trying to track down what some of them are. These happened to come complete with tags: on the left, Magnolia stellata ‘Royal Star’, on the right, Quercis phellos (think…a scratch on the tag made it hard to tell if one of those l’s might be an i). There were still plenty of trees and perennials there hoping to be adopted late Sunday…just sayin’.