the rites of spring…in a vase

This heavy cast glass vase is thin when viewed from the side. Viewed head-on, it is broader, making it a good choice for holding stems in place. I neglected to photograph it from that angle so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

The Rhododendron ‘Ilia Cerise’ and its bold foliage dominate here, with a color echo from the Ribes and the light touch of a few stems of Narcissus ‘Thalia’.

If we zoom in, we can appreciate a stem of bleeding heart and one of Brunnera.

I have to point the camera right at the delicate Epimedium blooms to see them in a photo. Our eyes are much better at picking up these details in real life. Every Monday, you can check out vase art from around the blogosphere by visiting Cathy at Rambling in the Garden. I wouldn’t miss it, even when I fail to join in the fun.

got the blues…

…and lovin every minute of it.

In the garden, a mix of Pulmonarias, all from blog swaps and I’ve lost track of which ones they are.

A few Muscari latifolium, which I keep expecting to multiply…some day.

In the meantime, I can spare a few for a vase. Even after the flowers fade, the spotted foliage of the Pulmonaria makes a nice groundcover at the woodland’s edge.

To see what others are singling out for vase duty this Monday, visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.

monday vases gettingeasier

Little vases get a workout about now, when the pickins are still slim.

The leaves of a variegated Fatshedra and Arum italicum are a showy background for snowdrops and a couple of sprigs of Sarcacocca. The snowdrops have been muddied by rain and beaten up by hail. All the more reason to bring them indoors, where their delicacy can be truly appreciated.

At Joy Creek, making bouquets is a snap. Hellebores are scattered here and there around the gardens. Here, I’ve paired them with a stem of Osmanthus ‘Goshiki’ in a simple little bud vase that holds them upright to compensate for their nodding tendencies.

Pieris japonica ‘Prelude’ seemed to be begging for a star turn in a vase.

I was only too happy to oblige. See what others are finding for IaVoM (short for In a Vase on Monday) by visiting Cathy at Rambling in the Garden. It has become a Monday ritual for many.

called the witch doctor for iavom

Hamamelis ‘Diane’

Jumping the gun a little bit here. The blossoms on ‘Diane’ will elongate and become more of a presence┬ábutI was desperate for a bit of color, even if it is still doing the red and green thing.

Interestingly, there were some broken branches that were flowering as much as the branches left intact. The shiny leaves of Magnolia grandiflora are from downed branches too, as are a couple of cherry branches with lots of buds (we can hope). I don’t usually do props but the Witch Hazel suggested a theme and I did have a Witch Doctor’s rattle (Shaman) and a witchy candle holder on hand so they’re in there.

It’s always fun to see what people find to put in a vase during what is essentially most gardens’ down time. You can do that by visiting Cathy at Rambling in the Garden, where she hosts In a Vase on Monday every week without fail.

greens in a vase

Might as well put some of those downed limbs to work, so into the cut glass rose bowl went some of the ‘Thunderhead” pine, giant sequoia, Ozothamnus and Cotoneaster with a few red berries. The Euonymous fared pretty well but I added a branch of it to lighten things up a bit.

As you can see, the back side is pretty dark but I like the way the “candles” of the pine and the silvery Ozothamnus pick up the silvery tones of reflected light off the vase.

I’ll be glad when the spring ephemerals start showing up and I can move away from this red and green theme but for the dead of winter, this is not half bad. See what’s finding its way into other vases this week by visiting Cathy at Rambling in the Garden…spring seems a lot closer in some parts of the world.

a vase, a fave & a happy new year!

I have to go off subject a little bit to share something with you. Richard tends to be a creative speller (a source of some good belly laughs from time to time). He also leaves little notes. The day after the election, I found this one on the kitchen counter: “Keep clam and carry on.” It has become our anthem with every new preposterous event.

Picea o. 'Barnes'

Now back to the business at hand. I shared this little cutie last month here, as part of Danger Garden’s last Friday of the month party. I bought it with the intention of using it as our Christmas tree and here it is, all dressed up to help us celebrate the season.

I didn’t want to overburden it with baubles so only the red ornaments (most of them tiny) and lightweight tin icicles made the cut, with the addition of a few clip-on red birds. It is planted in a favorite big red pot, where it shall remain for a couple of years, at least. It would have been moved back outside by now but I fear the shock of the coming cold snap might do it in. We keep our house pretty cool so I think it will be OK inside for another week. Anyhow…consider this our belated Merry Christmas to you.

Our house has a split personality at present. While the Christmas tree remains, over on the dining table Monday’s vase strikes an entirely different mood. Cathy, at Rambling in the Garden keeps us on our toes by inviting us to forage for something to put in a vase every Monday all year long. The idea, of course, is to find material in our own gardens but when a lunch guest showed up bearing these lovelies, I knew I had to share them with you. At first, I plonked them in a tall cylindrical vase. It didn’t come close to doing them justice but I didn’t want to interrupt the flow of lunchtime chatter.

Roses, Stargazer lilies and Eryngium are more like something we would put together from our gardens than coming from Safeway.

Richard came to the rescue, arranging them in this big glass bubble with room to breathe. Brook, I do hope you see this and know that your spectacular flowers finally got the treatment they deserve.

And with that, I would like to wish you a very Happy New Year and to remind you, when things get rough, to “Keep clam and carry on”.

christmas in a vase on monday

Back when I was designing gift wrap, I got so sick of red and green (we pretty much worked on Christmas designs year-round) that it was banned from our house. That was years ago and I’m over it. So when R came home from a shopping trip bearing the Poinsettia on the left, I greeted it with genuine enthusiasm. It even fit snugly into that antique green cache pot. A few days later, friends arrived for dinner with the one on the right and the die was set.

It, too, found a green pot to call its own. On a trip to JoAnn, the wrapping paper of green boughs turned up and everything started to come together.

Welcome back, red & green. You sure do make it feel like Christmas. Be sure to check out Rambling in the Garden to see what Cathy has up her sleeve this Monday.

iavom on t

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Surprise! A Rhody blooming in December. This one is R loderi ‘King George’. A couple of stems of Camelia sasanqua ‘Kanjiro’ echo the touch of pink in the mostly white Rhody. Some Rainbow Leucanthoe and a sprig of Dusty Miller (I know, many things go by that name but who knows which one this is) provide filler. I photographed it on the ledge so that I could get the whole thing in the picture frame, including the bird sculpture by local artist Babette Harvey.

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Its final destination was the dining table, where the Leucanthoe echoes the color of the plum tablecloth.

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Now won’t you click through to Rambling in the Garden, where Cathy comes up with a beautiful vase every week of the year, regardless of the weather, and challenges us to do the same.

iavom

Mahonia 'Arthur Menzies'

Mahonia ‘Arthur Menzies’

In celebration of our mild November, Arthur finally put on a show.

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I snuck around the back, where no one goes, and found a truss to cut. While it looks great on the plant, the way the stems of leaves stick out at right angles to the stem is impossible to work with in a vase.

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Enter my slate slab vase, shown here from the side so you can see the part that contains water. It has a pin frog integrated into it. When using this vase, it is imperative to keep an eye on the water level, topping it off almost daily. After using, I usually fill it with bleach for at least an hour because it is difficult to remove all plant detritus.

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After cutting all of the leaves away from the flower stem, I trimmed them down and slipped them in at an angle to cover the opening.

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The flower stem is stocky, making it perfect for pushing onto the pins of the frog. Woody stems like to be cut into vertically, as shown, in order to take up more water.

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My spot for displaying is an ancient wood trunk that came across the plains in a covered wagon. My point being that this would be a one-sided bouquet. I wanted to create a dark background, the better to show off the yellow flower trusses so I trimmed a few more leaf stems and arranged them behind.

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The fetching stone bird is an early birthday gift from a friend (lucky me)…

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as is the fanciful feeder, making a stop as part of this vignette before fulfilling its destiny.

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Now be sure to visit Rambling in the Garden for more vases this Monday.

iavom, thanksgiving style

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As Thanksgiving approaches, a harvest theme seemed appropriate. The Cornus kousa ‘China Girl’ is the last of the trees to put on an Autumn cloak of many colors so I cut a couple of branches and collected a handful of its colorful fruits.

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Couldn’t let the Euphorbia wulfenii and E. ‘Ascot Rainbow’ trimmings go to waste. Besides, they camouflage the awkward bare stems of the Callicarpa ‘Profusion’, whose luminous purple berries are a favorite this time of year. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, however you choose to mark it. Be sure to visit Rambling in the Garden to see what Cathy has up her sleeve this week.