in a vase on monday


I like using annuals to fill out new beds while waiting for the shrubs and perennials to fill in. It’s as close as I have come, so far, to planting a cutting bed. The snapdragons have been a disappointment (shorter and less full than expected) but they do their job in a vase. These dark red, velvety Anthirrum are augmented by a couple of stems of Hydrangea ‘Preziosa’. The color of the purple glass pitcher doesn’t show up very well here, but it bridges the deep red and the pale blue of one Hydrangea and the fading pink of the other.

Anthirrum & Lavender

Here’s the snapdragon in situ in the herb bed. I had visions of tall, elegant spires, but oh well…


My experience with Hydrangeas as cut flowers has been that as they age, they become more durable. You can see signs of aging on the lower one (it begins to take on an antique, slightly rusty look). I suspect it will last longer in the vase than the fresher one above.

Click through to see what Cathy (Rambling in the Garden) has in store this week.

kniphofia ‘percy’s pride’ is this week’s favorite

Kniphofia 'Percy's Pride'

Kniphofia ‘Percy’s Pride’

I thought I was keeping pretty good track of this, strolling by it almost daily. Starting to worry that it might fail to bloom this year, suddenly, boom…there was the first bloom, fully formed. When did that happen?


Encouraged, I checked on the one I had transplanted to Delusional Drive. See those little pokers poking through?


I was worried about it because it is being invaded by a running bamboo (the lighter, almost yellow leaves). I think I’ll have to move Percy in the fall to get him out of her clutches, but for now he seems to be holding his own. Next Friday will be the last Friday of the month, so be sure to catch Loree’s (Danger Garden) roundup of favorites for July.

gbfd wednesday vignette

Sedum 'Cherry Truffle' with Dusty Miller

Sedum ‘Cherry Truffle’ with Dusty Miller

Did you know that there was another foliage meme? This one falls on the 22nd of each month and is hosted by Christina (Creating My Own Garden of the Hesperides). It is called Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day, or GBFD. I’m happy to join in, ‘cuz foliage is my thing and Christina’s garden is a constant source of inspiration. Doubling up this time with Anna’s (Flutter and Hum) Wednesday Vignette. When I fill pots for summer interest, there are a few flowers for accent, but most of the emphasis is on foliage. Here Sedum ‘Cherry Truffle’ is combined with one of the many plants referred to as ‘Dusty Miller’ (sorry I can’t be more specific). Water droplets collect in the sedum and echo the solar light globe that shares the pot.

veggie in a vase


The star of this show is the Romesco from the veggie patch. We planted several of these and have already feasted on one, tossed with olive oil and salt and pepper and roasted. It tastes a lot like cauliflower, but with a bit more bite and a lot more texture…delicious.


I stole some Echinops banaticus ‘Blue Glow’ from the bees and tucked in a few flowering stems of Sempervivums for good measure.

Echinops banaticus 'Blue Glow'

Echinops banaticus ‘Blue Glow’

In the garden, the ‘Blue Glow’ is growing in front of and through Berberis thunbergii purpurea. Since I like that look, I added a few cuttings from the barberry.

Penstemon 'Dark Towers'

Penstemon ‘Dark Towers’ is forming shiny, dark maroon seed heads, so in they went.


And it all went into this cute glass lined basked that I received as a hostess gift last year. Here’s the link to Cathy’s (Rambling in the Garden) ‘In a Vase on Monday’ post for this week.

open garden season is here

I expected the garden of Bob Hyland and Andrew Beckman to be fabulous, but it was better than that. It was (insert superlative of choice, as long as it isn’t “awesome”…not that the garden isn’t, but, well, you know…)


Art is used sparingly, but makes a big impact. This sphere of logs is one of the first things up as you walk down the driveway.


The eye is drawn to the long view,emphasized by rows of hedges in the foreground, leading to the river, the industrial district, the foothills, and, on a clearer day, the mountains in the far distance.


I was fortunate to run into Norm and Scott, seen here with Bob, our gracious host, and proprietor of Contained Exuberance in SE Portland..


His shop sells elegant containers, some that he has already planted up in his inimitable style. I’m going to show you some of the ones strategically placed around his property (without comments, so I can squeeze in more eye candy):









Hover dishes take things aerial. I could go on…and on…but you can see from this sampling how deftly Bob matches style of pot to planting material.


So let’s move on to the garden proper, where the hillside setting lends itself to layered planting…


within which many noteworthy vignettes may be found.




Verbena hastata

Verbena hastata

Some plants went on my wish list, like the above Verbena hastata


and Gladiolus papilii, flanking the stone stairs up the hill, with Scott clicking away in the background.


Just thought you might like a closer look at that flower form.


A chocolate mimosa frames a view up the back hill, with a veggie garden in the middle distance. The cone shapes that echo the color of the mimosa are lettuces that have been allowed to bolt. I’ve pulled out bolting lettuce for the last time.


See how the floating airiness of Gaura lindenhamerii is emphasized against the dark background?


Taking leave would be terribly sad, were it not for the cheerful border along the way out.






I can’t imagine a more perfect placement of Sempervivums nestled among rocks and gravel. If you see plants in this post that you simply must have (and how could you not) a good place to begin your search would be Xera Plants. After all, it adjoins Bob’s shop and is known for its forward-looking inventory of plants.

flowers & foliage get equal billing

Thalictrum roehebrunianum

I’ve always loved the foliage of Thalictrum but wasn’t crazy about the fluffy flowers. Along came T. roehebrunianum with these dainty little flowers and resistance was futile.

Hydrangea quercifolia

Flowers are almost an afterthought on Hydrangea quercifolia as it mixes it up with Sambucus nigra ‘Eva’. In Autumn, its leaves turn shades of rust and flame.

Hydrangea 'Preziosa'Speaking of Hydrangeas, they are mostly background plants around here. ‘Preziosa’ has interesting black stems and pale flowers that show subtle coloration from rose through blue, all on the same bush.

Hydrangea 'Limelight'

‘Limelight’ has cone shaped flower heads that start out green and go through the slow transition through white to a rosy blush at the end of life.

Campsis 'Madame Galen'

I planted Campsis x tagliabuena ‘Madame Galen’ in front of five fence posts, with the idea that they would reach out to each other. The two that receive the most sun are adhering to the plan while the others languish in part shade.


The flowers, when they come, do Madame proud.


No one that I know buys Sempervivums for the flowers, but aren’t they interesting? They grow on ungainly stalks and signal the death of the plant, but the flowers themselves are rather pretty.

Coleus & Abutilon

If there was any doubt that foliage can rival any flower, Coleus would send it packing. Here’s a deep russet one shading to orange. In front of it is an Abutilon with buds that match the Coleus foliage so completely that they disappear. Down in the left corner is another Coleus with chartreuse leaves splotched with maroon.


Crocosmias have a way of turning up unexpectedly. This one chose a woodland setting, where it adds a touch of color to a tapestry of greens. I like it best in this early, budding stage.

Leycesteria formosa

I think I take this same picture every year, when the Leycesteria formosa decks herself out in dangling earrings like this.

Anthirrum & Lavender

I planted a few things just to cut for bouquets, like this deep red snapdragon amid the lavender.


Tithonia for the butterflies. They seem to be appreciative.


Sami wonders where her plants are. I neglected to plant any catnip this year but she quickly lost interest (unlike the strays). She’s not as mean as she looks, she just doesn’t like to have her picture taken.


There must be Nasturtiums every year. This is a new to me strain with the variegated leaves. There are some orange sherbet colored blossoms hiding in there somewhere.

Argentina anserina

A couple of purely foliage plants are living in pots until friendlier planting weather. First up: Argentina anserina, whose shimmering silveriness I failed to capture. Just imagine those deeply pleated, serrated leaves fashioned from tin and you get the idea.

Viburnum rhy. 'Allegheny'

More heavily textured leaves on Viburnum rhy. ‘Allegheny’. The leafy love in this post is dedicated to Pam (Digging), who invites us to strut our foliar stuff for Foliage Follow Up on the 16th of each month. Credit goes to Carol (May Dreams Gardens) for hosting Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day on the 15th.


I’ll say bye for now, with one backward glance at Platycodon, otherwise know as balloon flower (see how the buds blow up like their namesakes before opening?)

wednesday vignette

Hyland garden

Peeking through the framework of fig leaves, Mexican feather grass creates a hazy scrim with bold, upright leaves poking through (not sure what those leaves are). This magical combination is just a sneak peek at Bob Hyland’s garden. I will expand on that later in the week, so stay tuned. Meanwhile, Anna (Flutter and Hum) has a weekly vignette for you and a gateway to others. Dip into her astute design sense and I know you will want to return on a weekly basis.


Pastels are not usually my thing, but our neighbor had a garage sale where, mostly to be neighborly, I picked up this frosted blue goblet. One thing led to another, as it often does.

Lysimachia clethroides

I’m crazy about Gooseneck Loosestrife (Lysimachia clethroides) and it is at its very freshest and best right now. The leaves make a nice framework to support a few other delicate stems.

Nicotiana langsdorfii

Another favorite is the unusual annual, Nicotiana langsdorfii. Joined by a stem of dill, their acid greenness sets off the seashell Cosmos nicely.


Those chartreuse bells dangle, but when on is caught up in foliage and tips up its face, it resembles Euphorbia.


One pale pink Cosmos bridges the gap between the whites and the deeper pink. Now why not pop on over to (Rambling in the Garden), where most of Cathy’s followers are indulging in the hot colors of summer. You can always come back here if you need to cool off.

shadowy vignette


My computer just upgraded itself, resulting in a “new and improved” way to handle photos. Grrr! One good thing that came out of the struggle was discovering this shot. I can’t remember the circumstances, but as I look at it closely that seems to be a lilac. It has been maintained much more carefully than mine, reinforcing the idea of common plants with uncommon beauty. Here I join Anna (Flutter and Hum) for her Wednesday vignette. I have certainly benefitted from looking around for a little corner where everything comes together in an interesting way. It doesn’t even have to be garden-related (even hortheads occasionally look elsewhere for inspiration).

floral fireworks in a vase

floral fireworks in a vase


Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ always reminds me of fireworks. Helpfully, it always blooms right around the Fourth of July.

Crocosmia 'Lucifer'

From its earliest bud stage, right on through the formation of handsome seed heads, it proves vase-worthy.

Verbena boneriensis & Gladiolus

The first of the Gladiolus to bloom turned out purple instead of the orange I was expecting. Oh, well…a few stems of Verbena bonariensis echo its color and I happen to love purple with reds and oranges. The glad is quite fragrant, which surprises me.

Erumurus 'Cleopatra'

My Erumurus put on a disappointing show this year. They always remind me of roman candles, so one stem found its way into this vase, a simple tall cylinder. To add a little visual weight to the base of the explosive arrangement, I cut two leaves of Calla Lilies…and there you have it: my entry into Cathy’s (Rambling in the Garden) ‘In a Vase on Monday’ meme that has many of us scouting our gardens and environs for material to put in a vase any week of the year.