in a vase on monday


With all of the autumnal, burnished tones cropping up out there, I’m kind of going against the grain with this bouquet. The Anemone ‘Honorine De Jobert’ has been blooming for quite a while and I didn’t want to miss out on featuring it in a vase. After cutting a few stems of that, I decided to add a few white Cosmos to fill in. Some are the straight singles and others are the seashell form. The striped blades of Miscanthus ?, a few stems of Chasmanthium latifolium, Lonicera nitida ‘Lemon Beauty’ and Bouteloua gracilis ‘Blonde Ambition’ are held in place in an oval clear glass vase by river rocks.

DSC_0002 (1)

One of my favorite features of the anemone is the little balls that are left behind as the petals fall.


I needed a plain background to set off the delicacy of this arrangement, making it difficult to get far enough away to include the whole thing in the picture frame. This was the best I could do. Once again, I am joining Cathy at (Rambling in the Garden) for her weekly In a Vase on Monday meme. Why not join in and let your inner floral designer shine?

friday grab bag


First up, a look at what’s been happening around the neighborhood. Our neighbor, Jim, with whom we share a fence, hosted a wedding in August. His grandson, the bride-to-be and an army of friends worked all summer on sprucing up the place (which was already pretty pristine).


They did almost everything themselves, down to charming bouquets of home-grown flowers in canning jars on all the tables. We loaned them some of my banners for the occasion.


Across the road, Virgil planted a virtual hedge of Zinnias outside his fence. What a happy gift to all passers-by.


I’m experiencing some serious Zinnia envy. Plotting where to do something similar next summer seems like the best cure.


Zinnias are pretty upright, but wires run across the front, just in case.


One last shot, at the risk of boring you with my Zinnia fetish.

Helenium maximillianii

Helenium maximillianii

Back on my side of the fence, the late bloomers are putting in an appearance. I think I need to thin out the Helianthum maximilianii. They aren’t as tall as in prior years, perhaps because of crowding.


Asters ask very little to continue bulking up a little more each year.


How would you like to have dinner guests every evening? The herd has increased to about six, as far as we can tell. They drop by to feast on fallen apples and pears.


Here’s a little oddity that might work to the advantage of serious flower arrangers. A vase that was moved outside got blown over in the night. By morning the Kniphofia stems were already bending upward. I can imagine using this tendency to engineer the perfect configuration to fulfill a vision.


Zeroing in on the railing in the last photo reveals another visitor. It’s like a wildlife hotel around here. And with that, I will bid you adieu, with best wishes for a most pleasant weekend.

in a vase on monday


Last year I had one Calla Lily (Zantendenschia) bloom. This year there are six. I always remember the scene from the movie ‘Frances’ where Jessica Lange comes home with an armload of these (one of the ONLY uplifting scenes in a decidedly downbeat film). It may be a long wait for my garden to produce Callas in such abundance, but the pristine elegance of the blooms seems to me to ask for the simplicity of a single bloom in a vase, shown here flanked by two of Richard’s pillar candlesticks and sitting on  a new Ikat table runner.


Here is my expanding clump at the woodland’s edge. I first transplanted a shovelful from my mom’s place to my first garden, then brought some with me when we moved here.


You can easily see how this flower has inspired artists, from Georgia O’Keefe to Robert Maplethorpe. No chance of my amateurish photos nipping into that league. To see, or even participate in, the ‘In A Vase’ meme, click through to Rambling in the Garden to see what Cathy and friends have on offer this week.

vases and a visit



I kept it simple today, with two arrangements that started with pruned branches. Here, they’re from the Weigelia ‘Wine and Roses’. The flowers on the dark-leaved sprigs are nearly gone, but one little cluster remains. A red rose grows in an unfortunate spot close to the house. Perhaps I should instead deem it fortunate, because the deer will not come that close to nip off every bud before it has a chance to develop. Anyway, this one perfect red rose smells divine.


So here’s your view, as you stoop to bury your nose and drift on the memories the scent evokes.


Artemisia ‘Valerie Finnis’ was threatening to bloom, so I gave her the “Chelsea chop”. I don’t know why silvery plants insist on yellow flowers, but if you catch Valerie while hers are still tight little buds they can be quite pretty in a vase. Digitalis blooms in colors ranging from white through purple. I chose this one in order to keep things subtle and added a single chive blossom just for fun.


Mondays are made special by Cathy (Rambling in the Garden), who encourages us to find something in our gardens to put in a vase every week, regardless of the weather. Offerings range from simple to simply over-the-top. Don’t miss it.


Saturday, we worked all day in the garden, so Sunday had “Road Trip” written all over it. A drive through the country down Canby way took us first to Secret Garden Growers Nursery. A long border showcases many of the plants they offer.


Like this stunning Peony.


Other display beds are newer, promising an even richer experience in years to come.


When you will be coming back to buy plants from the nice women who will serve you popcorn and lemonade under the shade of the stately honey locust tree. I found Kirengeshoma palmata. When I admired this plant during the Fling, I was told that it is nearly impossible to find. Imagine my excitement.


Down the road a piece is Miller’s Manor Gardens. Their display gardens are well established. I picked up lots of ideas for mixing perennials with conifers and deciduous ornamentals.


This alleyway formed by weeping blue atlas cedars might have been the highlight of the trip.


This is what it feels like to walk through that alley.


Paths meander through the property, some flanked by Irises, all clearly labeled. We were told that the Iris Society had visited the day before, 600 strong.


Fall in love with an Iris here, and you will have no trouble tracking it down by name. That held true for other plants as well.

Cornus kousa 'Wolf Eyes'

Cornus kousa ‘Wolf Eyes’

Cornus kousa 'Gold Cup'

Cornus kousa ‘Gold Cup’

Quercis robur 'Concordia'

Quercis robur ‘Concordia’

Clematis 'Empress'

Clematis ‘Empress’


Shade gardeners are not short-changed here. There’s an extensive collection under those trees.


R had a long talk with the conifer guy while I wandered around. He had something pretty specific in mind and finally Nathan just gave him a little pine tree to try out. That’s garden people for you. I came away with some Digitalis obscura because the one I put in last year came through like a champ.

The Canby area is just south of Oregon City on Hwy 99. These stops were listed with HPSO, but you could find plenty of places to scratch your gardener’s itch if you were to meander around those country roads any time.

gbbd: april edition

Rhododendron oreotrephes

It’s Rhododendron time. This is R. oreotrephes, a dainty, small-leaved variety with pale lavender flowers.

R. 'Misty Moonlight'

I like to show the Rhodies in bud and in flower, because the color is usually more intense in the bud form. This one is called ‘Misty Moonlight’.

R. 'Markeeta's Prize'

Having said that, ‘Markeeta’s Prize’ is red from start to finish. I haven’t had the best of luck with red Rhodies, but this one seems to be bucking that trend. There are some excellent gardens where you can see Rhododendrons in all their glory. Two that come to mind are the Cecil & Molly Smith Garden in St Paul OR and the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden in Milwaukie OR. Both are great sources of inspiration for companion plantings.


Always the first of the Irises to bloom is this short, deep purple one. You can see the full chorus of these little guys waiting in the wings.

Epimedium 'Lilafree'

The flowers on Epimedium ‘Lilafree’ are so dainty that they almost disappear. Worth the trouble to get down there for a frog’s eye view, though.


Weed? Wildflower? It’s a beauty, whatever it is. Any ideas?


Here’s another little weed that I prefer to think of as a groundcover. It rambles everywhere, so why fight it?

Ajuga 'Black Scallop'

Speaking of ground covers, Ajuga ‘Black Scallop’ is one of the more satisfying ones. It is currently a sea of blue, but just as attractive when not in bloom.


I could easily go on and on, but instead I’ll leave you with the blooming redbud and pass you on to May Dreams Gardens, where Carol hosts Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day on the 15th of each month. Happy Spring!

in a vase: violets are…purple

Viola odora

When the violets really get going, they can scent a whole area. I love that smell…reminds me of Yardley’s violet scent, which I wore as a girl.


They are itty bitty little things, so it was necessary to find a small container to show them off. The thimble in the above photo will give you an idea of scale.


This hand painted pitcher fits the bill perfectly and, ironically, the painting is of violets.


My Great Grandmother’s hands were never idle. She was always crocheting or quilting. I have quite a few pieces of her handiwork. Carrying out the theme of old fashioned flowers in an old fashioned container seemed to call for using one of them as a doily to complete the picture (I think this one was meant to be an antimacassar – now there’s a word I bet you haven’t seen lately, if ever) Antimacassars were used on the backs of chairs to protect the upholstery from the hair goop used by men back in the day. The goop was called Macassar. In my book, the doily’s value far outstrips that of any old upholstery.


I’m enjoying the powerful aroma being pumped out by these babies right now. But where did some folk poet ever get the idea that “violets are blue”? More posies await each Monday. Click HERE to open the door and enjoy.

another monday, another vase


Unlike the bright red one we had last year, this year’s poinsettia was already beginning to look ragged. I can’t say I’m sorry. I felt not a twinge of guilt as I had at it to add to today’s vase.


Two Fatsia japonica leaves are put into service: one as background for the bouquet, the other wound (underside out, the better to showcase the veins) around the inside of the vase. The stems here are best hidden because they’re not all that attractive.


I love the fresh little catkins on the hazels, so I cut three branches of them for a vertical element.


The seedheads of ‘Autumn Joy’ Sedum are showing lovely russet tones. In they go.


I’m not sure which heather this is, but it picks up some of the russet, transitioning towards peach, while the Euonymous ‘Emerald and Gold’ has some of the poinsettia’s peach and some of the yellow of the Nandina berries. I headed out with low expectations today, but am quite happy with what I managed to ferret out. This meme is so much fun (and even more so as it gets more challenging in winter). It’s open to all, so head over HERE to join in.

in a vase on Monday


Praise be to the birds for all the planting they do around here. The hedgerow along the front fence is populated by many of these Cotoneasters. By the looks of the bumper crop of berries this year, they’ll soon be popping up in even more places.


A little closer look reveals how bright orange and shiny the berries are in natural light.


Out came this shiny black vase. I didn’t quite get it together for Halloween, but the season obviously was influencing my choices here.


Often, when using this vase, I will form a pice of chicken wire into a frog substitute to hold things in place. These branches were stiff and full enough to stay where I put them, unaided.


By inserting them at a low angle, they formed a grid that is able to support the stems of the last two red peppers from the veggie garden.


It went on the table amidst the small white pumpkins that will stay throughout the harvest season, some cast iron bird napkin rings and a few candles.


Losing power is not such a bad thing when plenty of candles are on hand and a stack of wood is ready for the fireplace.

Do visit Cathy to see what she scared up to put in a vase this week.

in a vase on monday


Gladiolas are kind of awkward in a border, but I do love them in a vase. I thought I planted some deep purple and some red ones in an out of the way spot but only red appeared (admittedly, two slightly different shades of red…can you tell?)


It was such an out-of-the-way place that I forgot to stake them. Three of them flopped over and became twisted as they reached for the light. I thought it would make them impossible to work with, but in fact I think it makes the arrangement more interesting the way they curl up on the right side.

Casa Blanca lily

I used the stiff, sword-like leaves of the glads themselves to hold them in place. One lonely stem of Casa Blanca lilies was more or less buried in a back border, which made it easier for me to sacrifice it to the bouquet gods. When you buy lilies from the florist, all of their wonderful anthers have been snipped off. I understand why they do this, because they are loaded with pollen that stains what it touches. I’m careful when handling them and make sure not to set them on a cloth, but these wouldn’t work half as well without those furry anthers relating to the bright red of the glads. The only other thing I added was a single leaf of Hosta ‘Guacamole’. The character of this arrangement will change almost daily, as lower blooms fade and those that are now tight buds unfurl. I’ll have to keep rearranging, but that’s the price we pay for these big, bold statements.

Visit Cathy to see a very different posy and an invitation to join in and/or explore what’s there for the pickin’.