2 foliage posts in one

Tetrapanex papiferus ‘Steroidal Giant’

Finally, after two failed attempts, I have my own Rice Paper plant taking hold and adding some big-leaf drama to Delusional Drive.

Kirengeshoma palmata

Though the common name, Waxy Bells, comes from the flowers, it’s the foliage that does it for me.

Even when it comes to pots for the entryway, I opt for a collection of interesting foliage…

…though when it comes to Coleus, a collection can be every bit as colorful as a floral display.

Thanks go to Pam at Digging for providing a forum where we foliage afficiandos can strut our stuff. Officially, it’s the 16th of each month but Pam is easygoing when it comes to strict enforcement. Another venue falls on the 22nd of each month, ‘Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day’, hosted by Christina of Creating My Own Garden of the Hesperides. Her blog is a joy and well worth a gander any day of the month.

monday vase catch-up

I had so much fun on Saturday, making bouquets for our Twilight in the Garden party at Joy Creek.

This big, dramatic one is placed by the cash register, where there is a lot of visual clutter that the eye ignores in real life. Oh, well…The inspiration was the dark leaves and pineapple flowers of Eucomis ‘Oakhurst’. Finding color echoes was pretty easy: Eupatorium (does Joe Pye go by another name now?) makes a nice, fluffy filler, along with the leaves of a dark Heuchera. Pinot grapes dangle over the vase and a few stems of Leycesteria formosa complete the picture. The wind blows through the barn in the afternoons at such a rate that we need to secure the vase with rocks. I quite like the effect.

We had tables set up in the gardens to hold refreshments so we had need of several more arrangements.

The leaves of Pulmonaria and Hosta, a sprig of Lamium, Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ still in bud and a single stem of Gladiola in a blue glass cylinder added up to a simple color scheme.

I can’t identify all of the elements in this one but I wanted to show it to you anyway.

An assortment of Heuchera leaves forms a little nest into which are inserted an assortment of Sedums, again in bud form.

Here you can see it set off by the metallic green of its vase.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch (Delusional Drive, that is) I’ve been keeping it simple, while still feeding the craving that Cathy’s In a Vase on Monday has instilled in so many of us. To sample her (and others’) latest creations, hop right on over to Rambling in the Garden for a peek.

a happy accident

Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Atropurpurium' with NOID Clematis

Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Atropurpurium’ with NOID Clematis

I’ve become a foster parent to many plants that have lost their tags or have passed the point where they are attractive enough to attract buyers. One such is this Clematis. I had no idea what to expect when I planted it at the base of the Pittospermum acquired from Loree at the spring bloggers’ plant swap. Imagine my delight when it crept through the branches of the small tree and produced a bloom that could hardly be a better color to contrast with the elegant dark foliage.


It began unfolding its vivid, pale lavender petals to reveal a purple center…


..growing ever paler with each passing day, while the tight knot of stamens opened into a fluffy pom pom with dark tips and insects nibbled notches around the edges. What a happy surprise was the entire process. Eventually, that bit of Ajuga ‘Black Scallop’ that you can see in the first photo will form a tight ground cover with yet another color echo.

a vase & a new foliage fave


I seem to be into muted colors lately..a visual cool down for these super-hot summer days.


I planted Viburnum ‘Blue Muffin’ for the berries. This is the first year that I got to them before the birds made off with them.


The little Sputnik pods are from Carex greyi.

Echinops banaticus 'Blue Glow'

Echinops banaticus ‘Blue Glow’

I had to fight the bees for this one.

Lysimachia 'Alexander'

Lysimachia ‘Alexander’

There are only a few stems in my big patch of ‘Alexander’ that retain the white margins. Most have reverted to all green. Some NOID Hosta leaves carry out the theme.


Now lets see…what else is in there? Several stems of Sedum ‘Jade Frost’ and some Amsonia foliage…all assembled in a cut glass rose bowl which has, so far, never been used for roses. I’m playing catch-up, but you can still click over to Rambling in the Garden for In a Vase on Monday.

Camaecyparis pis. 'Snow Reversion'

Camaecyparis pis. ‘Snow Reversion’

Now here’s my latest purchase…


and the inspiration for that purchase growing in the gardens of Joy Creek.


Here’s a close-up of that humungous specimen. It occasionally sends out green shoots that are immediately lopped off to maintain the integrity of the snowy mass. I’ll never see mine reach these proportions, but it’s all about the journey, right? Just ask Pam, over at Digging when you click through to see her Foliage Follow-Up.

in a vase

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A trip to the Goodwill Store yielded a couple of small vases perfect for this time of year, when the pickins are slim. I cut a few stems of Hebe ‘Quicksilver’ and one of Senecio greyii to pick up the blue tones of the stoneware vase.


Small hips shading from red to deep plum are from Rosa ‘Dortmund’ while the large orange hips are from a NOID red rose.

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There was a spot of sunshine in the back yard so I took a chair out there to showcase my little bouquet.


This last photo is to show you what a difference lighting can make. Here, it was coming from behind. My eye sees the color as somewhere between that shown in the two settings. For me, this is one of the major frustrations of photography. Oh, well…like gardening, it is one of those things that I will continue to enjoy but never master. Could that actually be part of its appeal? Cathy (Rambling in the Garden) provides a portal to a wide range of vases from clever bloggers, many of whom even found flowers for their posies in the dead of winter.

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.

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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.