like the white rabbit…

…I’m late for a very important date.

…late in so many ways. I’d been eyeing the bright red new foliage of Photinia for weeks but never got around to cutting it for a vase. As it transitioned from red to green, it passed through this coppery/bronze stage. One opportunity lost, another presents itself.

It seemed like the perfect foil for my favorite of all the Alliums: A. siculum bulgaricum.

Here’s a closer look, without the background noise. See why I like it?

An oddball iris with an oddball name: ‘Alley Oops’ (who thinks of these things?) made the cut as well.

A handful of pebbles serve the dual purpose of holding the stems in place and acting as a design element. Now I’ll send you to Rambling in the Garden, to see what Cathy and friends have found to put in a vase this week. About that very important date: it’s Monday of each and every week, for the punctual among you.

a late vase or two

My vases this week are some I put together at work. They are in their second week, so I thought I would bring to your attention some things with a long vase life. The yellow flowers are Halimium. The branches held many buds, so though each blossom falls after a couple of days, new buds open, for an ever-changing composition. The Spirea ‘Goldmound’ is the only thing that needed grooming at the end of one week. It’s golden halo in the background is missed, but there is still a lot going on.

The big surprise, for me, were the dark leaves of Anthriscus sylvestris ‘Ravenswing’. I expected them to wilt quickly but here they are, still soldiering on.

Of course I had to bring one home to add to my own garden. It forms a 1′ rosette, with umbrels similar to Queen Anne’s lace shooting up to 3′. I say “Hooray!” to its habit of seeding around.

Embothrium was the IT pland a couple of years ago and I can see why.

Euphorbia ‘Fire Charm’ starts small but quickly forms a good sized clump. The foliage is nearly as fetching as the orange bracts. Even after all that goes away, bright red stems remain well into the winter months. It’s a good idea to let cut stems sit in water for a while before using in an arrangement because the milky sap clouds the water at first.

The second vase is more subdued. I don’t have ID’s for everything here but that background foliage is Buxus sempervirens ‘Variegata’.

The tall stem of pinkish flowers is Lamium orvala, another find I may have to add to my so-called cutting garden.

In the “never say never” category is Deutzia ‘Chardonnay Pearls’. Unlike the upright shrubs, which I found to get scruffy looking, this forms a low mound dotted with little, pearly buds which eventually open into starlike flowers.

My work schedule keeps me from always hitting on Mondays with my vases (sometimes skipping entirely) but you can always count on Cathy at Rambling in the Garden to show up with a vase of her own and links to other bloggers bitten by the vase bug. You may be next.

it’s lilac time, iavom

This handsome tray and silverware caddy were Festivus gifts from a dear friend who knows my taste. New acquisitions in the background are, from left to right: Arctostaphylos ‘Pacific Mist’, Globularia cordifolia and Lilium martagon ‘Nepera’ (off subject, but I figure you would want to know).

I just happen to have some water glasses that fit perfectly into those compartments so naturally it has been pressed into service as a vase.

Jason, at gardeninacity, recently posted a tutorial on keeping lilacs fresh indoors. You can see it here. I don’t know about you but some of his information was news to me. Fingers crossed that these bouquets will last more than a few hours. In addition to the lilacs, there are some forget-me-nots, Persicaria ‘Purple Shield’ (see how it matches the candle holder and the tablecloth?…happy accident) and one orange Geum that was added when the whole arrangement seemed to threaten to go all prissy on me.

The second vase is an afterthought because I had material left over. As often happens, I like it better than the one I set out to make. It is made up of the same ingredients minus the forget-me-nots and plus Euphorbia robiae and Hosta leaves, two to line the vase and one in the bouquet.

I wish I knew what resulted in this dramatic shot. Even after all this time, the inner workings of my camera remain a mystery.

I don’t have many surfaces that lend themselves to displaying vases so these are lined up on the dining room table, even though they don’t necessarily go together. The talented and imaginative Cathy at Rambling in the Garden hosts In a Vase on Monday (iavom, in case that title confused you) every Monday, without fail.

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.