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.

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.

october fave

Schefflera davidii

Schefflera davidii

My favorite plant this month is not in my own garden but in the display gardens of Joy Creek. Just get a load of that enormous Schefflera.


I couldn’t begin to get a photo that would do it justice, but believe me when I say that when the light catches the blooming stalk and dewdrops spangle the leaves, it’s enough to make one’s heart stop beating for a moment. On the last Friday of each month Loree, of Danger Garden fame, invites us to post about our favorites of the month.

the spider gallery at joy creek


One of the owners, Mike, was gifted this metal spider sculpture. Its subtle presence on the side of the barn seems just right for the season of all things scary.


Not that we find spiders scary…at all! They are friends of the garden and their artistry stood out on a foggy morning.


There were the traditionalists, some adding a little twist on the side.


While others took a more free-form approach.


Whatever the style, raiments of captured dewdrops enhanced the early morning show.

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.