a vase & a new foliage fave


I seem to be into muted colors lately..a visual cool down for these super-hot summer days.


I planted Viburnum ‘Blue Muffin’ for the berries. This is the first year that I got to them before the birds made off with them.


The little Sputnik pods are from Carex greyi.

Echinops banaticus 'Blue Glow'

Echinops banaticus ‘Blue Glow’

I had to fight the bees for this one.

Lysimachia 'Alexander'

Lysimachia ‘Alexander’

There are only a few stems in my big patch of ‘Alexander’ that retain the white margins. Most have reverted to all green. Some NOID Hosta leaves carry out the theme.


Now lets see…what else is in there? Several stems of Sedum ‘Jade Frost’ and some Amsonia foliage…all assembled in a cut glass rose bowl which has, so far, never been used for roses. I’m playing catch-up, but you can still click over to Rambling in the Garden for In a Vase on Monday.

Camaecyparis pis. 'Snow Reversion'

Camaecyparis pis. ‘Snow Reversion’

Now here’s my latest purchase…


and the inspiration for that purchase growing in the gardens of Joy Creek.


Here’s a close-up of that humungous specimen. It occasionally sends out green shoots that are immediately lopped off to maintain the integrity of the snowy mass. I’ll never see mine reach these proportions, but it’s all about the journey, right? Just ask Pam, over at Digging when you click through to see her Foliage Follow-Up.

In a Vase on Mon…er, Tues…day


This is definitely cheating, but since I get to put together big, showy bouquets at work, with the four acres of display gardens at Joy Creek at my disposal, I just had to share one with you.


The yellow umbrels are Blupleurum, which I hope to enjoy in my own garden when the baby plants from our spring swap mature and start to flower. Garlic flowers from the veggie garden are beautiful and what’s more, they have staying power. Draping over the edges of the vase are a few branches of Lecesteria formosa. Some foliage from a golden Physocarpus and the upright form of a striped Miscanthus fill things out.


The little fleshy pink bells of Clematis ‘Myo Fuku’ have been attracting a lot of attention in the garden. Unfortunately, Maurice has been unable to find a source, despite a concerted effort. With a mature garden of twenty-five years, there are bound to be a few plants that are no longer available. The puffy balls are the seed-heads of that same Clematis.


And here’s the arrangement in place in the barn, where there is a lot of necessary clutter in the background. Our eyes compensate but the camera is less forgiving. Now please click through to Rambling in the Garden to see what bloggers who stick to the rules and find material in their own gardens to feature in a vase have to entice you.

in a vase on monday…well, ok… tuesday

CasaBlanca lilies

CasaBlanca lilies

I almost missed these beauties. I planted a few ‘Casa Blanca’ bulbs at the back of the house, where they thrived and even multiplied. For some reason, I got it into my head that a better siting was called for, so I moved them. Bad idea. Only this one stem, which had escaped my shovel, returned. The weight of the huge flowers had it bowing low. Had it not been for the powerful scent, it might have come and gone without attracting my attention.

DSC_0002 (1)

The last time Kathrine (SIL) visited, she brought me this vintage black pitcher.


It is just tall enough to allow Fuchsia ‘Golden Gate’ to dangle around the edges and provide a dramatic contrasting background for the tiny flowers.


Three Hosta ‘Guacamole’ leaves complete the picture.

DSC_0010 (1)

‘Golden Gate’ had just had a haircut so there was some left over.

Lysimachia clethroides

Lysimachia clethroides

This time I turned to the gooseneck loosestrife to fill out the vase and found a silk scarf with lots of hot pink stripes to use as a table runner.


Those little geese have been doing vase duty for weeks (shown here when they first started showing signs of florets emerging and paired with Acanthus spinosa.

Acanthus spinosa

Acanthus spinosa

The Acanthus is a favorite in the garden as well as in a vase. I’ve been lax about joining in on Cathy’s fab meme In a Vase on Monday, what with working and all, so I guess I’m kind of making up for lost time. One of these days I’m even going to take up that Ikebana challenge and give it a try.

revisiting a vertical planting

Back when New Seasons opened the market in Slabtown, I did a post that you can access HERE.


The most outstanding feature of the handsome building was the vertical planting. I wondered how it would fare over time. Lucky, then, that we happened by on the very day that the heavy equipment was brought in to do maintenance.

DSC_0002 (1)

I was able to talk to the guys doing the work. They told me that they were replacing any plants that were dead or dying. A drip system is built into the structure but, even so, half-yearly inventory and replacement keeps the whole thing looking fresh. I wonder how many living walls enjoy that level of commitment or the resources to make it so. And hey…even the cherry picker has that “designer” look.


Plantings around the parking areas are maturing nicely. Somebody knew what they were about when they specified the plants. Often I see a promising installation that peters out or gets choked by weeds in no time. The care taken by New Seasons makes me want to shop there.

DSC_0010 (1)

You know how grocery stores put gum, candy and toys by the checkout, making it dangerous to take kids shopping? Well, this place is dangerous for kids like me.


I need blinders to get by the attractive displays at the entries.

DSC_0008 (1)

But if I need to pick up a hostess gift or a little birthday remembrance, this is my go-to shopping destination. Gotta support those plant-centric retailers, don’t we?

it’s vase day



I love the simplicity of plain white Calla Lilies.


No, this is not my patch, but one featured on the ANLD tour. I await the day when mine will be this photogenic.


Still, my planting has grown enough to yield material for a vase without sacrificing a presence in the woodland border.


I put a narrower vase into the large white one, to hold the stems upright.


Operating on the KISS principle, I didn’t want to interfere with the graphic elegance of the leaves and flower stems by adding any other material, so there you have it: my entry into the Rambling in the Garden ‘In a Vase on Monday’ hosted by Cathy.

recent acquisitions

Eryngium 'Sapphire Blue'

Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’

I just got to thinking you might be curious about what I’ve been bringing home with me since I started working at Joy CreekEryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’ is right at home, nestled between ‘Valerie Finnis’ and ‘Helen Von Stein’.


It’s prickly presence is a nice contrast to the softness of the lambs’ ears.

Sempervivum 'El Toro'

Sempervivum ‘El Toro’

A little further along Delusional Drive, Sempervivum ‘El Toro’ compliments the bronze tones of Carex buchanii.

Salvia africana-lutea

Salvia africana-lutea

My newest bed is devoted to orange. A couple of new discoveries were this Salvia africana-lutea


and Zantedeschia ‘Flame’. I have high hopes for them filling out this bed in time.

Itea ilicifolia

Itea ilicifolia

Now here’s the most recent addition. I’m over the moon about this one.

Itea ilicifolia at Bela Madrona

Itea ilicifolia at Bela Madrona

Here’s a shot of a mature specimen taken at the Portland Fling’s visit to Bela Madrona, and a link to more info on Plant Lust.


Even as a wee bairn, as seen here, its charms are unmistakable.


I can’t seem to stop taking pictures of it. You may wonder at my restraint, but I am trying to bring home only plants that I have places in mind for planting. It’s a challenge, being surrounded by so many temptations every day that I go to work. I know exactly where to put this one…so better hop to it. See you next time.

a vase and a stroll around Joy Creek


Cheater alert: these sunflowers are not from my garden. They were a hostess gift. I usually have a hard time finding a background for photographing my vases but I loved these in front of Richard’s painting in our kitchen, so there you have it: my entry into Cathy’s ‘In A Vase on Monday’ meme.

Calycanthus 'Hartlage Wine'

Calycanthus ‘Hartlage Wine’

So now for a peek at what’s looking good at Joy Creek Nursery (well, a very narrow slice, really, of what stands out right now). Calycanthus ‘Hartlage Wine’ has a very long blooming period, with flowers that are slightly larger and redder than the browner floridus.


Flowers may rule, but foliage combinations bring their own subtle beauty to the shade gardens.

Fuchsia magellinica alba

Fuchsia magellinica alba

I’m crazy about this low-key fuchsia growing in both sun and shade at the nursery. Unfortunately we don’t have it available for sale but if enough requests come in, that could change.

Crocosmia 'Lucifer'

Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’

In full sun, ‘Lucifer’ is the first of the Crocosmias to bloom. It’s fiery presence and tendency to spread are mighty welcome in my garden.


Like artichokes on steroids, Cardoons have the stature to make a bold statement…and you can even eat the stalks if you’re willing to learn some Italian cooking techniques from the likes of Ann Amato.

Hydrangea 'Enziandom'

Hydrangea ‘Enziandom’

Some folks view Hydrangeas as old fashioned but I double dare you to come upon this stunner without gasping in admiration. In front of it is a Phormium that is blooming. I have seen them blooming at the coast or in a greenhouse but this the first one growing in an open field. Perhaps the great Phormium die-off is behind us?

Hydrangea quercifolia

Hydrangea quercifolia

We have Hydrangeas blooming in the shade, like this oakleaf form…


and in full sun, where they need more water but obviously perform beautifully.


There are lacecaps…

Hydrangea 'Preziosa'

Hydrangea ‘Preziosa’

and mopheads…


tucked into shady nooks…


or backing up a long path lined with sun lovers. So how about it? Are you a fan of Hydrangeas? And if not, did I manage to change your mind just a little bit? Allow me once final plug: the flowers take on duskier tones as the season progresses and can be dried to enjoy right through the winter months.

ANLD: new twist on ‘In a Vase on Monday’


I always admire the pots assembled by designers for the ANLD tour. It struck me that they are very much like flower arrangements, though longer lasting. I’m going to stretch the rules of the game this week and show you a few of them. The one above was in the garden designed by Lucy Hardiman.


In the garden designed by Barbara Hilty, this pot will soon be bursting with Nasturtium blossoms. I quite like the quiet simplicity of the foliage right now.


Amy Whitworth put together this symphony of foliage in a grouping of pots…


I didn’t catch the whole grouping in one shot so we’ll pan left to catch that cute little composition on the left.

I’ve heard of putting together bouquets to test the visual compatibility of plants. Container gardening is more challenging because the plants need to have similar needs to perform well over time. Pretty impressive, if you ask me. Now if you click through to Rambling in the Garden, Cathy will show you what she has found in her own garden to put in a vase this Monday.

ANLD garden tour coming up


Devised as a way to showcase the artistry of its members, this tour has it all.

DSC_0077Swoon-worthy plants shown off to best advantage in creative combinations (those fish swimming through a sea of grasses in the background are an example of the way art is incorporated into the gardens).


Often the plants can be seen playing ingeniously with elements of the built environment.


Clever ideas to swipe and make your own abound.


Some of those ideas might elicit a chuckle or two.


Blue sky is a bonus, but this blue wall can pinch hit on a grey day.


Art can be utilitarian as well as decorative and/or thought-provoking, as evidenced by this clever use of materials.


Trees are often as sculptural as any artwork.

This is just a teaser to whet your appetite. Here’s the info you need to get in on this tour: visit the ANLD website for the full scoop and to order tickets online or pick them up at Al’s in Sherwood, Cornell Farm, Garden Fever or either Portland Nursery. There are 7 gardens on the tour, each created by a professional landscape designer and chosen by a jury of his/her peers. After the tour, I will go into more detail for those of you who are out of our area. If you live in this neck of the woods, this would be a fine way to seek out design help or inspiration and spend a pleasant day doing so.

crammed in a vase

DSC_0010 (1)

I plonked a bit of everything in this big vase with the intention of arranging them into several bouquets. Instead, Richard confiscated it for his painting studio.


I’m not going to even try to identify everything in there.


A few close-ups will have to do.


If you click through to Rambling in the Garden, Cathy will have a vase worthy of the name, as well as links to the many others who participate in this popular meme.