wednesday vignette

This little pop-up scene came as a hand delivered card. I don’t know how well it would have fared had it gone through the post.

It isn’t easy to capture the intricacy of the design in a photo. I was both charmed and impressed, displaying it in a place of prominence through the holidays. I hope your holidays are progressing merrily. You can always count on Anna at Flutter and Hum to have a philosophical slant to go along with stunning imagery in┬áher weekly Wednesday Vignette.


Christina is reeling from a family loss, so will not be hosting Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day today. I hope my foggy photos (they seem ethereal to me) will ease her heartache ever so slightly. The above is the view entering our lane, with the Italian Cypresses lining the drive.

I love the way the ghostly line of tall cedars retreats into the background.

Up close, the Ceanothus ‘Blue Jeans’ forms a scrim through which to view the scene.

At which point, if you turned around to look back the way we came, this is what you would see. Be well, Christina, and we will do our best to carry on this tradition of celebrating our gardens’ foliage on the 22nd of each month while longing for your return.

christmas in a vase on monday

Back when I was designing gift wrap, I got so sick of red and green (we pretty much worked on Christmas designs year-round) that it was banned from our house. That was years ago and I’m over it. So when R came home from a shopping trip bearing the Poinsettia on the left, I greeted it with genuine enthusiasm. It even fit snugly into that antique green cache pot. A few days later, friends arrived for dinner with the one on the right and the die was set.

It, too, found a green pot to call its own. On a trip to JoAnn, the wrapping paper of green boughs turned up and everything started to come together.

Welcome back, red & green. You sure do make it feel like Christmas. Be sure to check out Rambling in the Garden to see what Cathy has up her sleeve this Monday.

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.

favoritism friday

Picea o. 'Barnes'

Picea o. ‘Barnes’

This gardener’s pets tend to come from the conifer category this time of year. Barney (above) will be pressed into service as our Christmas tree this year. I may keep it in a large pot close to the house, where its unique form and color can be truly appreciated. You may get another peek at this guy once he’s decked out in lots of bling.

Chamaecyparis 'Boulevard'

Chamaecyparis ‘Boulevard’

You wouldn’t know it now, but the above adoptee passed for dead (playing possum). Once the deadwood was trimmed away and wiggle room provided in a bigger pot, this guy got his handsome on. He wants to be BIG so I’m holding off releasing him into the ground until the right spot makes itself known.

Thujopsis dolobrata 'Variegata'

Thujopsis dolobrata ‘Variegata’

Look familiar? The only one of this trio to have been planted out is making an encore performance, cuz I love, love, love him. Danger Garden is the place to see what Loree is loving right now. Be sure to follow the comments at the end of her post to find other favorites in the month of November.

garden bloggers’ foliage day & wv

Poncirus trifoliata 'Flying Dragon'

Poncirus trifoliata ‘Flying Dragon’

I took this pic last week, as the leaves of the hardy orange were still falling, filling up the bird bath and revealing the twisted, fanged limbs of this favorite shrub. A few fruits still held on. The branches are now bare and the bath has been cleared…filled, instead, with cavorting Juncos. I’m not a regular but this shot seemed destined for Wednesday Vignette, hosted by Anna at Flutter and Hum.


I’ll also use it as an excuse to direct you to Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day, hosted by Christina, because there can never by too many opportunities to celebrate foliage in the garden.

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.

foliage follow-up


We plant for year-round interest and use lots of conifers, so winter is when it shines.

Thujopsis dolobrata 'Variegata'

Thujopsis dolobrata ‘Variegata’

This is the latest addition, said to reach 30′ x 12′. Placed against the background of a pair of already immense, dark cedars, the white variegation should show up dramatically.

Sempervivum 'Topaz'

Sempervivum ‘Topaz’

At ground level, ‘Topaz’ is a favorite of the many Hens & Chicks tucked in here and there.

Mahonia 'Arthur Menzies'

Mahonia ‘Arthur Menzies’

Which is not to say that I fail to appreciate the occasional blossom when it shows up. With the mild November we have been having, Arthur has at long last made it past the early budding phase. Once again, Pam invites us to celebrate foliage in our gardens and I am only too happy to, once again, gratefully accept.