percy & friends in a vase


Lots of choices out there these days, but Kniphofia ‘Percy’s Pride’ just happens to be at its very best right now, so I knew that was what I wanted to feature this week.


Once I had gathered the plant material, I knew that the stems would be a jumble so I settled on this copper container with a nice patina. I’ve had some trouble with flowers not lasting very well in metal vases, so this is something of an experiment. I’ll let you know, in next week’s post, how it goes.


This was to be a study in chartreuse, so the base is several branches of Lonicera nitida ‘Lemon Beauty”. I have lots of this, all started by layering from one small plant from Cistus, acquired in 2005. Some stems of Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ went in next. I like it best at this stage, before it starts to show pink. Now I had enough material in the vase to stabilize the three stems of Percy. I then began to add some golden bamboo to fill in here and there.

Chasmanthus latifolia

The finishing touch is Northern Sea Oats. It is just beginning to form the seed heads that give it its name. They will be changing color through fall, and will make it into many more bouquets before being slammed down by winter.

Cathy (Rambling in the Garden) invites you to forage in your garden for the makings of a bouquet every Monday of the year. Even if you don’t participate, you will be cheered, I’m sure, by the efforts of a growing group of bloggers.

these are a few of my favorite things


Things can become favorites for any number of reasons: one being that they are new, so get more attention. Those tall metal fluted containers came from our Bloggers’ Bazaar.. from Loree (Danger Garden), who, coincidentally, hosts the roundup of favorites on the last Friday of every month. I knew immediately that the shorter of the two would be the new home of a small Agave that had been suffering from sunburn in the garden proper. It has a stripe down the middle of each leaf that matches the chartreuse of the pots.

Begonia rex ??

Begonia rex ??

My next assignment was to seek out a plant for the larger pot (I know…poor me). I had some preconceived ideas about what that would be, but at Drake’s 7 Dees I happened upon this begonia with heavily textured leaves in just the right colors. Running into Tamara (Chickadee Gardens), was a delightful surprise. She showed me around and pointed out a few plants that needed to come home with me. She joins Anna (Flutter and Hum) to make your shopping experience at the Scholls Ferry shop as fun as it is tempting.


Having house guests is always one of the perks of summer, especially when they know you so well that they gift you with items like these. See that little guy in the front?


Let’s zero in on him and see if anyone can tell me what he is, besides cute as a button. There are a couple of swelling nodes there that might be developing flowers to adorn the spiky hairdo, in which case I may have to reevaluate his gender (if that is even relevant in this day and age).

Astelia nervosa 'Westland'

I wasn’t sure the begonia was to be the perfect choice for that pot. Besides, I needed an excuse to visit Xera Plants. Astelia nervosa ‘Westland’ was closer to what I had in mind. When I got it home, I decided it belonged in a corner where a collection of metal containers holds sway…the better to show off its explosion of silvery leavesTanacelum densum ssp amani.

No way could I get out of that place with just one plant. Among others, this Tanacelum, with those feathery white leaves, spoke to me.

Stachys albotomentosa

Stachys albotomentosa

This peachy Stachys refused to be left behind. I asked Paul if I should wait until fall to put things in the ground and he assured me that this is a good time to plant if you do it properly. See his blog entry (HERE) to see what that means. His observations are fascinating but if you are impatient to get to the planting part, scroll down to the last couple of paragraphs.

in a vase on monday


I like using annuals to fill out new beds while waiting for the shrubs and perennials to fill in. It’s as close as I have come, so far, to planting a cutting bed. The snapdragons have been a disappointment (shorter and less full than expected) but they do their job in a vase. These dark red, velvety Anthirrum are augmented by a couple of stems of Hydrangea ‘Preziosa’. The color of the purple glass pitcher doesn’t show up very well here, but it bridges the deep red and the pale blue of one Hydrangea and the fading pink of the other.

Anthirrum & Lavender

Here’s the snapdragon in situ in the herb bed. I had visions of tall, elegant spires, but oh well…


My experience with Hydrangeas as cut flowers has been that as they age, they become more durable. You can see signs of aging on the lower one (it begins to take on an antique, slightly rusty look). I suspect it will last longer in the vase than the fresher one above.

Click through to see what Cathy (Rambling in the Garden) has in store this week.

kniphofia ‘percy’s pride’ is this week’s favorite

Kniphofia 'Percy's Pride'

Kniphofia ‘Percy’s Pride’

I thought I was keeping pretty good track of this, strolling by it almost daily. Starting to worry that it might fail to bloom this year, suddenly, boom…there was the first bloom, fully formed. When did that happen?


Encouraged, I checked on the one I had transplanted to Delusional Drive. See those little pokers poking through?


I was worried about it because it is being invaded by a running bamboo (the lighter, almost yellow leaves). I think I’ll have to move Percy in the fall to get him out of her clutches, but for now he seems to be holding his own. Next Friday will be the last Friday of the month, so be sure to catch Loree’s (Danger Garden) roundup of favorites for July.

gbfd wednesday vignette

Sedum 'Cherry Truffle' with Dusty Miller

Sedum ‘Cherry Truffle’ with Dusty Miller

Did you know that there was another foliage meme? This one falls on the 22nd of each month and is hosted by Christina (Creating My Own Garden of the Hesperides). It is called Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day, or GBFD. I’m happy to join in, ‘cuz foliage is my thing and Christina’s garden is a constant source of inspiration. Doubling up this time with Anna’s (Flutter and Hum) Wednesday Vignette. When I fill pots for summer interest, there are a few flowers for accent, but most of the emphasis is on foliage. Here Sedum ‘Cherry Truffle’ is combined with one of the many plants referred to as ‘Dusty Miller’ (sorry I can’t be more specific). Water droplets collect in the sedum and echo the solar light globe that shares the pot.

veggie in a vase


The star of this show is the Romesco from the veggie patch. We planted several of these and have already feasted on one, tossed with olive oil and salt and pepper and roasted. It tastes a lot like cauliflower, but with a bit more bite and a lot more texture…delicious.


I stole some Echinops banaticus ‘Blue Glow’ from the bees and tucked in a few flowering stems of Sempervivums for good measure.

Echinops banaticus 'Blue Glow'

Echinops banaticus ‘Blue Glow’

In the garden, the ‘Blue Glow’ is growing in front of and through Berberis thunbergii purpurea. Since I like that look, I added a few cuttings from the barberry.

Penstemon 'Dark Towers'

Penstemon ‘Dark Towers’ is forming shiny, dark maroon seed heads, so in they went.


And it all went into this cute glass lined basked that I received as a hostess gift last year. Here’s the link to Cathy’s (Rambling in the Garden) ‘In a Vase on Monday’ post for this week.

open garden season is here

I expected the garden of Bob Hyland and Andrew Beckman to be fabulous, but it was better than that. It was (insert superlative of choice, as long as it isn’t “awesome”…not that the garden isn’t, but, well, you know…)


Art is used sparingly, but makes a big impact. This sphere of logs is one of the first things up as you walk down the driveway.


The eye is drawn to the long view,emphasized by rows of hedges in the foreground, leading to the river, the industrial district, the foothills, and, on a clearer day, the mountains in the far distance.


I was fortunate to run into Norm and Scott, seen here with Bob, our gracious host, and proprietor of Contained Exuberance in SE Portland..


His shop sells elegant containers, some that he has already planted up in his inimitable style. I’m going to show you some of the ones strategically placed around his property (without comments, so I can squeeze in more eye candy):









Hover dishes take things aerial. I could go on…and on…but you can see from this sampling how deftly Bob matches style of pot to planting material.


So let’s move on to the garden proper, where the hillside setting lends itself to layered planting…


within which many noteworthy vignettes may be found.




Verbena hastata

Verbena hastata

Some plants went on my wish list, like the above Verbena hastata


and Gladiolus papilii, flanking the stone stairs up the hill, with Scott clicking away in the background.


Just thought you might like a closer look at that flower form.


A chocolate mimosa frames a view up the back hill, with a veggie garden in the middle distance. The cone shapes that echo the color of the mimosa are lettuces that have been allowed to bolt. I’ve pulled out bolting lettuce for the last time.


See how the floating airiness of Gaura lindenhamerii is emphasized against the dark background?


Taking leave would be terribly sad, were it not for the cheerful border along the way out.






I can’t imagine a more perfect placement of Sempervivums nestled among rocks and gravel. If you see plants in this post that you simply must have (and how could you not) a good place to begin your search would be Xera Plants. After all, it adjoins Bob’s shop and is known for its forward-looking inventory of plants.

flowers & foliage get equal billing

Thalictrum roehebrunianum

I’ve always loved the foliage of Thalictrum but wasn’t crazy about the fluffy flowers. Along came T. roehebrunianum with these dainty little flowers and resistance was futile.

Hydrangea quercifolia

Flowers are almost an afterthought on Hydrangea quercifolia as it mixes it up with Sambucus nigra ‘Eva’. In Autumn, its leaves turn shades of rust and flame.

Hydrangea 'Preziosa'Speaking of Hydrangeas, they are mostly background plants around here. ‘Preziosa’ has interesting black stems and pale flowers that show subtle coloration from rose through blue, all on the same bush.

Hydrangea 'Limelight'

‘Limelight’ has cone shaped flower heads that start out green and go through the slow transition through white to a rosy blush at the end of life.

Campsis 'Madame Galen'

I planted Campsis x tagliabuena ‘Madame Galen’ in front of five fence posts, with the idea that they would reach out to each other. The two that receive the most sun are adhering to the plan while the others languish in part shade.


The flowers, when they come, do Madame proud.


No one that I know buys Sempervivums for the flowers, but aren’t they interesting? They grow on ungainly stalks and signal the death of the plant, but the flowers themselves are rather pretty.

Coleus & Abutilon

If there was any doubt that foliage can rival any flower, Coleus would send it packing. Here’s a deep russet one shading to orange. In front of it is an Abutilon with buds that match the Coleus foliage so completely that they disappear. Down in the left corner is another Coleus with chartreuse leaves splotched with maroon.


Crocosmias have a way of turning up unexpectedly. This one chose a woodland setting, where it adds a touch of color to a tapestry of greens. I like it best in this early, budding stage.

Leycesteria formosa

I think I take this same picture every year, when the Leycesteria formosa decks herself out in dangling earrings like this.

Anthirrum & Lavender

I planted a few things just to cut for bouquets, like this deep red snapdragon amid the lavender.


Tithonia for the butterflies. They seem to be appreciative.


Sami wonders where her plants are. I neglected to plant any catnip this year but she quickly lost interest (unlike the strays). She’s not as mean as she looks, she just doesn’t like to have her picture taken.


There must be Nasturtiums every year. This is a new to me strain with the variegated leaves. There are some orange sherbet colored blossoms hiding in there somewhere.

Argentina anserina

A couple of purely foliage plants are living in pots until friendlier planting weather. First up: Argentina anserina, whose shimmering silveriness I failed to capture. Just imagine those deeply pleated, serrated leaves fashioned from tin and you get the idea.

Viburnum rhy. 'Allegheny'

More heavily textured leaves on Viburnum rhy. ‘Allegheny’. The leafy love in this post is dedicated to Pam (Digging), who invites us to strut our foliar stuff for Foliage Follow Up on the 16th of each month. Credit goes to Carol (May Dreams Gardens) for hosting Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day on the 15th.


I’ll say bye for now, with one backward glance at Platycodon, otherwise know as balloon flower (see how the buds blow up like their namesakes before opening?)

wednesday vignette

Hyland garden

Peeking through the framework of fig leaves, Mexican feather grass creates a hazy scrim with bold, upright leaves poking through (not sure what those leaves are). This magical combination is just a sneak peek at Bob Hyland’s garden. I will expand on that later in the week, so stay tuned. Meanwhile, Anna (Flutter and Hum) has a weekly vignette for you and a gateway to others. Dip into her astute design sense and I know you will want to return on a weekly basis.