Wednesday Vignette

I am extremely fond of snow so we have tons of snow shots. This one made the grade as a vignette because of the way the new shoots on the fruit tree acted like little bowls, holding the snow. If you check in with Anna at Flutter and Hum on Wednesdays, you will get some very astute social commentary to go with her vignettes, plus links to others who participate in Wednesday Vignettes.

a vase, a fave & a happy new year!

I have to go off subject a little bit to share something with you. Richard tends to be a creative speller (a source of some good belly laughs from time to time). He also leaves little notes. The day after the election, I found this one on the kitchen counter: “Keep clam and carry on.” It has become our anthem with every new preposterous event.

Picea o. 'Barnes'

Now back to the business at hand. I shared this little cutie last month here, as part of Danger Garden’s last Friday of the month party. I bought it with the intention of using it as our Christmas tree and here it is, all dressed up to help us celebrate the season.

I didn’t want to overburden it with baubles so only the red ornaments (most of them tiny) and lightweight tin icicles made the cut, with the addition of a few clip-on red birds. It is planted in a favorite big red pot, where it shall remain for a couple of years, at least. It would have been moved back outside by now but I fear the shock of the coming cold snap might do it in. We keep our house pretty cool so I think it will be OK inside for another week. Anyhow…consider this our belated Merry Christmas to you.

Our house has a split personality at present. While the Christmas tree remains, over on the dining table Monday’s vase strikes an entirely different mood. Cathy, at Rambling in the Garden keeps us on our toes by inviting us to forage for something to put in a vase every Monday all year long. The idea, of course, is to find material in our own gardens but when a lunch guest showed up bearing these lovelies, I knew I had to share them with you. At first, I plonked them in a tall cylindrical vase. It didn’t come close to doing them justice but I didn’t want to interrupt the flow of lunchtime chatter.

Roses, Stargazer lilies and Eryngium are more like something we would put together from our gardens than coming from Safeway.

Richard came to the rescue, arranging them in this big glass bubble with room to breathe. Brook, I do hope you see this and know that your spectacular flowers finally got the treatment they deserve.

And with that, I would like to wish you a very Happy New Year and to remind you, when things get rough, to “Keep clam and carry on”.

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.