iavom on t


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.


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


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.


Mahonia 'Arthur Menzies'

Mahonia ‘Arthur Menzies’

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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

iavom, thanksgiving style


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.


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.

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.