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.

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.

gbbd and a favorite

Callistemon pityoides

Callistemon pityoides

Must lead off with something that has me very excited because it is blooming for the very first time. I’m going to call this my favorite plant in the garden right now and link to Danger Garden.

Cuphea 'Strybling Sunset'

Cuphea ‘Strybling Sunset’

Brand new plants are pretty exciting too. The Cigar Flower came from HPSO’s Plant Fest last weekend by way of Dancing Oaks Nursery. Also from that source: Kniphofia thomsonii and Epilobium (Zauschneria) canum.

Chasmanthum latiformium

Chasmanthum latiformium

Northern Sea Oats has begun to take on a burnished look that will only get better as time goes on.

Bouteloua gracilis

Bouteloua gracilis

‘Blonde Ambition’ is batting her eyelashes in my garden for the first time this year.

Persicaria 'Lance Corporal'

Persicaria Lance Corporal was invited into the woodland to show off his chevrons. A bonus came along with him in the form of long stems of teensy red flowers that pop when they catch the light.

Solidago 'Fireworks'

Solidago ‘Fireworks’

Speaking of popping, the goldenrod is earning its name. I always look forward to these late season fireworks.

Nicotiana lansdorfii

I have a soft spot for things grown successfully from seed. Plus, I’ve never seen this particular Nicotiana for sale in a nursery.


Nothing unique about the Cosmos, but growing these from seed means that I can have lots of them.

I’ll stop there, even though there’s plenty more going on. If you’re wanting more floral fun, you will find it at (May Dreams Gardens), where Carol hosts bloom Day on the 15th of each month. Thanks, Carol.

belated bloom day ending in a vase

Datura from seed

Datura from seed

Still enjoying the results from seeds generously provided by Botanical Interests at the Portland Fling. I sowed Datura seed in several pots. Each bloom is short-lived, starting out like this early in the day.


By early afternoon, it will have fully opened. Pam (Digging) has some mysterious evening shots you won’t want to miss. She mentions the scent, which I failed to notice. The next blossom to open is definitely getting the sniff test.

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The seed pods are nearly as interesting as the flowers. I am allowing them to go to seed. They are very easy to grow from seed, and I will obviously have enough to share. If you want some, just let me know.

Anemone 'Honorine de Jobeert'

Anemone ‘Honorine de Jobeert’

I look forward all year to the late appearance of Anemone ‘Honorine de Jobert’.

Anemone 'Honorine de Jobert'

Anemone ‘Honorine de Jobert’

She towers regally above her shady companions and the buds (little balls) are as interesting as the full blown flowers.

Kirengeshoma palmata

Kirengeshoma palmata

New to me this year is Kirengeshoma palmata. Some things are well worth the hunt.

Dahlia 'Sunshine'

Dahlia ‘Sunshine’

Because I lost Dahlias to gophers last year, I put new ones in pots. They are less showy than they would be in a border, but you do what you have to do.

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Same story with the lilies. I was so impressed with the lilies at the Portland Fling that I just HAD to have some. Out of several that I planted, this was the only one to produce a flower, and it was not the deep, rich orange I was after…one of the dangers of growing from bulbs or seed.

Dianthus gratiannopolitanus

Dianthus gratiannopolitanus

One of the truly xeric plants is Dianthus, so I’ve been adding them here and there in the hope that they will survive no matter what the weather gods throw at us. The thing is, they have a heavenly scent…so I put a few of them in this planter near the front steps to seduce visitors (and me) with their clove-like aroma.

Abutilon megapotamicum

Abutilon megapotamicum

Nearby is an Abutilon megapotamicum that has vining tendencies, unlike the more upright versions.

Bat-faced cuphe

Bat-faced cuphea

How cute is this? Bat-faced cuphea.

Crocosmia "Emily McKenzie'

Crocosmia “Emily McKenzie’

You can see by the sunburned foliage in the background that the Crocosmia have not fared so well in this hotter than usual summer, but ‘Emily McKenzie is blooming after skipping last year…so what are we to make of that?

Phygelius 'Moonraker'

Phygelius ‘Moonraker’

How subtle is this? Phygelius ‘Moonraker’ is one of those quiet presences so easy to overlook.

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Now let’s look at a posy of field daisies that makes a nice centerpiece for a luncheon out under the trees.

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They won’t last long, but placed into the square red vases, they make a statement about nature’s contribution to a luncheon “en Pleine air”.

This is what happens when writing a post after a long day and a couple of glasses of wine. I forgot to add links to Carol (May Dreams Gardens) for Bloom Day and Cathy (Rambling in the Garden) for In a Vase on Monday.

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?)

the flowers…that bloom in May

Nectorosecordum siculum

I’ll stick to a few favorites because, well…you know how it is in May…and I know you have many blogs to visit before you sleep. Is it still an Allium? Who can keep up? Nectoroscordum siculum should get you there, if you want to order some.

Buddleja globosa

Buddleja globosa

Iris 'Immortality'

Iris ‘Immortality’

Iris 'Beverly Sills'

Iris ‘Beverly Sills’

Cornus canadensis

Cornus canadensis groundcover

Cornus kousa variegata

variegated Cornus kousa

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is sponsored on the 15th of each month by May Dreams Gardens.

gbbd in a vase on monday


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.


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.


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.

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.

gbbd, short & sweet

Hamamelis 'Early Bright'

I bought Hamamelis ‘Early Bright’ last year about this time as a fairly small specimen. I’m surprised and delighted to see it blooming. It is Early and it is Bright. I was told it had fragrance, but have yet to detect any. I suppose if it was brought into the house I might smell it, but it needs to put on more growth before I’ll be comfortable cutting even a snippet.


Winter Jasmine does have fragrance…

Jasminum nudiflorum

But though the plant is sizable, the flowers are sparse. There are many buds, but they tend to open slowly over a long period of time.


I have complained frequently about the frostbite on Mahonia ‘Arthur Menzies’. It was easy to put mittens on the tight buds prior to our first cold snap, but they had bloomed out sufficiently to make it impossible the second time around. You may be able to see the blackened tips on the outermost blossoms. Those that were more protected, growing more toward the center of the plant, fared better. Arthur, I fear, will never be as show-offy as his cousin ‘Charity’.

Cryptomeria japonica 'Sekkan Sugi'

Once you start wondering about something, the answer is sure to reveal itself in other blogs, even if you don’t take the trouble to put the word out. The little bud-like doohickeys on the tips of Cryptomeria japonica ‘Sekkan Sugi’ are flowers. Pretty cute, if you ask me.

Aloe 'Carmine'

Coming indoors, you can see proof that my Aloes bloom reliably, sometimes more than once a year. They are pretty puny, nothing like the magnificent blooms you will see if you follow the blog Piece of Eden. Still, they make me happy, and I’ll take what I can get without moving to a climate at odds with my webfoot ways.

Don’t forget to check in with May Dreams Gardens to see January’s blooms world-wide.

bloom day in a vase on monday


I set out expecting to fill a vase with evergreens, but was surprised to find Viburnum tinus ‘Robustum’ sporting buds and even a random opened blossom or three.


Often, I will go on a foraging expedition and let the materials I find dictate the container. This time I had this little glass pitcher in mind all along. It prompted me to cut just a few short stems.


The intention was to feature the stiff bristly cuttings of Thunderhead pine, but the surprise Viburnum, with its waxy leaves, changed all that. Two sprigs became the focus, with the pine taking a supporting role. One cutting of cedar provides an additional texture and a horizontal element.


When working with a vase like this, I like to consider the stems as much as what happens topside. Here, the part of the cedar cutting below the water line is an important element. Before you hop over to Rambling in the Garden to see what Cathy and friends have found to put in their vases, let me show you a few more things for Bloom Day, sponsored by Carol.


Tis the Season, after all, so I indulged in this poinsettia found at the one-stop shopping center. Poinsettias have a habit of hanging around for a very long time, so I’m thinking this peachy colored one will feel less like leftovers as yuletide segues into springtime. R simply can NOT say goodbye to any plant that still has a breath of life in it.

Panicum ;Heavy Metal'

Panicum ‘Heavy Metal’ is another contender for the gold medal for endurance. The way the droplets of rain collect on its fading inflorescences gives it a holiday costume.


Let’s not forget the blooms of the future. It almost seems like the new buds on the Ribes pushed the leaves out of the way so they could get started.


Same story with the Forsythia. As soon as all the holiday hubbub is over, branches of these early spring bloomers will be cut and forced into bloom indoors. We’re such an impatient lot, aren’t we?