a week & a day late, but 3 vases it is


What’s this about being late? Well, last week was the third anniversary of In a Vase on Monday, where Cathy invites us to find material to plonk in a vase by cruising our environs no matter the weather or the season. Yes, that’s every Monday, year round. Our intrepid leader has managed to accomplish this feat for three years running so, late or not, I simply must contribute my threesome to salute and celebrate her and the growing army of converts to this consciousness-raising enterprise.


The three little vintage wine glasses are perfect for the task. Nasturtiums are one of the very few flowers still rollicking along despite the changing weather. I purposely used them sparingly so that the stems in water become as much a part of the arrangement as the vivid flowers and the round leaves.


I must confess to being a bit in love with the simplicity of this, so I can’t stop taking pictures.


But here’s another threesome: I found the pots in a thrift store…especially charmed by the little round feet.


Another angle shows you the succulents living in the pots: Gasteria on the left, Cryptanthus on the right and who knows what in the middle. Sorry, but I’ve lost track of further identification.

last of the roses


This is a little bit of a cheat. I was propagating roses on my last day of work for the season. In the process, I wound up with several stems to plonk in a vase. I especially like the single roses. One reason is that you can cut them as tight buds and they will bloom out fully, lasting a long time. Do that with the many-petaled varieties and they will invariably droop from their very weight.

Rosa 'Rachel Bowes Lyon'

Rosa ‘Rachel Bowes Lyon’

Rachel blushes charmingly

Rosa 'Golden Wings'

Rosa ‘Golden Wings’

I may have to plant ‘Golden Wings’ next year (so much for my claim not to be a rose person). I took these photos with back lighting because the shadows were so elegant.

Rosa 'Altissimo'

Rosa ‘Altissimo’

Altissimo is one of the most popular roses, and for good reason.


So that’s it for my cheater vase this week. I just hopped over to Rambling in the Garden to pick up Cathy’s link and discovered that this marks the third anniversary of IAVOM, where we all scurry around to find something vase-worthy in our gardens every Monday (as you can see, I am cheating on both counts). Can you believe it? Cathy comes up with a beautiful arrangement every single week and is much to be celebrated for the inspiration. I had already made this post, so I’ll wait for next week to pick up on the theme of threes to commemorate this landmark.

late season, late vase


My Dahlias had to go into pots to avoid gopher attacks so there weren’t a great many of them. With storms threatening, it seemed like the right time to harvest them for indoor duty. ‘Akita’ is huge and showy but the stems are weak, making them candidates for low bouquets where the rim of the vase can support their weight.


I made loops of Yucca filamentosa, securing them with toothpicks.

Salix babylonica 'Crispa'

Salix babylonica ‘Crispa’

Curly leaves of Salix and the round seed heads of ‘Honorine de Jobert’ reinforce the loopy look.

Anemone 'Honorine De Jobert'

Anemone ‘Honorine De Jobert’

Here’s a peek at that Anemone in better days.


and a better look at the willow.


The magenta Dahlias are called ‘Blue Boy’…don’t ask me why.


But they teamed up nicely with some Coleus, a couple of ‘Love-Lies-Bleeding’, Verbena bonariensis and Crape Myrtle foliage for a second bouquet. It’s never too late, say I, to join Cathy for In a Vase on Monday.

another simple vase this week

Euphorbia 'Fire Charm'

Euphorbia ‘Fire Charm’

I came home from work to find this single stem of ‘Firecharm’ sitting on the table on our front deck. Richard had found it broken off and simply stuck it in a vase. I couldn’t think of any way to improve on its simple elegance.

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The mask box is from Indonesia. It has slits in the eyes and nostrils, making it a perfect receptacle for potpourrie and a nice foil for the blazing leaves of the Euphorbia.

Euphorbia 'Fire Charm'

Euphorbia ‘Fire Charm’

A close-up reveals complexity not apparent at first glance.


The single stem is a dramatic departure from the jumble of a mixed bouquet. If you click through to Rambling in the Garden, you will see a very different approach and links to many celebrations of the connection between garden and vase.

in a vase…2 approaches

Rosa moysoii geranium hips & Chasmanthium latifolium

Rosa moysoii geranium hips & Chasmanthium latifolium

Some critter, romping around our yard, broke off a branch of the rose featured in the last post. I wanted to feature it rather than let it play a supporting role in a mixed bouquet. I’m sure Cathy, who hosts In a Vase on Monday, could make something clever of the fact that the vases chosen once held oil (the larger of the two) and vinegar. Her titles are often plays on words, which she then enlarges upon with appropriate props.


I just liked their compatibility and the way they held a few stems upright. Most of the rose’s foliage had already frazzled when I discovered the broken stem, but one sprig of decidedly un-rose-like leaves remained. I added a few stems of Northern Sea Oats and called it good.


At work, the wealth of material would not be denied, so I went in the opposite direction.


The Eucomis¬†demanded to be the star of the show, but every diva needs a supporting cast. A few dark Canna leaves provide background, with Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ that is just beginning to blush bulking up the chorus. Cameo appearances go to the seedheads of Verbena hastata, Yucca filamentosa and the berries of a Hypericum whose name escapes me (wouldn’t that bit player have it in for me?).

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.

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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.

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‘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.

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.

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.