Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – October 2014

It is Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD) and well into autumn, the garden overall remains fairly green. Suddenly this week a few maples around town became brilliantly red. Today is the first time this season the morning seemed really cold when I went out to explore the garden. There was a chilly wind and the garden was still in shade.

Several people commented on the use of Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear) in my latest Monday vase. There are many clumps in my garden. This one seems newly regenerated and shows off its silvery, gray-green hue and thick, richly textured leaves.

Stachys byzantina (Lamb's Ear)

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)

Lavender is another silvery-leaved plant I find useful in flower arrangements and it is always lovely in the garden as well.

Lavender

Lavender

Standing in early morning shadows, the Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood) still holds all of its leaves, but most of the berries are gone. This dogwood from the Arbor Day Foundation has always seemed odd to me. Unlike the trees at my former garden, this one is rather short and its leaves seem smaller and more elongated than normal. Maybe it is my imagination.

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood) In Early Morning Shade

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood) In Early Morning Shade

Next to the dogwood the American beautyberry is still covered with purple berries, although upon close inspection it is clear the birds have been feasting on them.

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) in front of 'Carolina Sapphire' Arizona Cypress

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) in front of ‘Carolina Sapphire’ Arizona Cypress

One flower I remember being fascinated with as a child is Lycoris radiata (Spider Lily), which grew in a mossy area of my grandparents’s front yard near a large blue spruce tree. After longing for some for many years, finally this fall I planted six bulbs courtesy of some special friends who gave me a nice gift card from White Flower Farm.

The foliage appeared almost immediately. Unfortunately this means I cannot expect to see the spidery red flowers this year as the foliage emerges only after the flowers have bloomed. The leaves should overwinter, then disappear in early spring. Next fall seems like a long time away.

Lycoris radiata (Spider Lily)

Lycoris radiata (Spider Lily)

Recently I toured Plant Delights Nursery at Juniper Level Botanic Garden with a group from my garden club.  It was my first visit and I should have brought along a better camera. One plant I was interested to see growing was Ruscus (Butcher’s Broom). Our garden guide said Italy grows tons of this for the florist industry to use as foliage in arrangements.

Sure enough, in a floral design workshop yesterday, we began our project using ruscus foliage to define the line of the design. I cannot be sure ours was true ruscus, or Poet’s laurel, which is apparently often sold as Italian ruscus.

Ruscus - Plant Delights

Ruscus – Plant Delights

Hedera (Ivy) Vine -climbing juvenile ivy form - Plant Delights

Hedera (Ivy) Vine -climbing juvenile ivy form – Plant Delights

Where I live in North Carolina most people recognize two invasive plants, Kudzu and Ivy, so it was surprising to see vines of Hedera (Ivy),  roaming freely up a large tree at Plant Delights.

Our guide explained Hedera (Ivy) is a vine in its juvenile form, but after many years and 30-40 feet later it matures into an adult. The gardeners at Plant Delights allow the ivy vine to run up this one tree so they eventually can have seeds from the adult form.

Hedera (Ivy) runner with variegated leaves. Juvenile form - Plant Delights

Hedera (Ivy) runner with variegated leaves. Juvenile form – Plant Delights

In its adult stage Hedera changes its form from vine to shrub. Its leaf form changes as well and it apparently settles down and becomes well-behaved.

Below, our garden guide is reaching toward the shrub form.

Hedera (Ivy) Shrub -adult (mature) form - Plant Delights

Hedera (Ivy) Shrub -adult (mature) form – Plant Delights

Here are a few more scenes of foliage in the shaded garden at this nursery.

Hosta - Plant Delights

Hosta – Plant Delights

View at Plant Delights

View at Plant Delights

View at Plant Delights

View at Plant Delights

One last interesting plant we saw during this garden visit looked at first like eucalyptus.  In fact it is Baptisia arachnifera, a plant native not to my state of North Carolina but rather to another southern state, coastal Georgia. Because of rules surrounding its classification as a federally endangered plant, the nursery can sell it but cannot ship it outside of North Carolina.

Baptisia arachnifera (Wooly Wild Indigo) - Plant Delights

Baptisia arachnifera (Wooly Wild Indigo) – Plant Delights

Thanks to Christina for hosting GBFD on the 22nd of each month. Visit her at Garden of the Hesperides to discover what foliage displays she and other garden bloggers are featuring today.

In A Vase On Monday—Foliage, Color and Pods

In A Vase On Monday

Each Monday brings an opportunity to join in Cathy’s weekly challenge called In A Vase On Monday. The goal is to fill a vase using materials collected from the garden.

Early this morning I was out gathering foliage and flowers for today’s vase, but it has been a busy day. Finally I have a just few minutes to share what I collected before running off to a meeting tonight.

The other day I had spotted a large seed pod from one of the still blooming Irises that I thought might be attractive in a vase so I started with it.
Iris Seedpod

Many foliage plants looked fresh and interesting today. Also there were lots of Dahlias this week (I definitely plan to plant more Dahlias next year) and I found one of the newly planted red snapdragons blooming.

Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon)

Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon)

I put together stems of roughly the same height and stored them in some glassware (even one of last night’s wine glasses) to allow them to condition until I could find time to make an arrangement. Everything seemed so fresh I would have been satisfied to enjoy these flowers all week without further tweaking.

Conditioning The Materials Gathered In Early Morning

Conditioning The Materials Gathered In Early Morning

Eventually I did get around to making a design. I selected for today’s container a lovely blue and green glazed ceramic pot created by my daughter during a high school art class.

Handthrown Ceramic Vase

Handthrown Ceramic Vase

Here are some views of the final arrangement. These two are looking down from the top. I liked the Iris seedpod, and also the contrasting Rudbeckia seed heads. I used Iris , lupine and lamb’s ear foliage to add texture.In A Vase On Monday-3

In A Vase On Monday-2

A few sprigs of Meadow Sage ‘May Night’  add a nice color change from the red dahlias and snapdragons.

Meadow Sage ‘May Night’

Meadow Sage ‘May Night’

 

Seed Heads of Rudbeckia hirta 'Irish Eyes' contrast with the Meadow Sage ‘May Night’

Seed Heads of Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’ contrast with the Meadow Sage ‘May Night’

Materials
Flowers
Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon)
Dahlia ‘Blue Bell’
Meadow Sage ‘May Night’

Foliage and Pods
Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)
Lupinus ‘Woodfield Hybrids’ (Lupine)
Iris germanica (Bearded iris)
Brunnera macrophylla ‘Silver Heart’ (False Forget-Me-Not)
Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy)
Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)
Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting. Discover what delightful things she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday. Perhaps you will be inspired to share your own vase.

Surprises Along The Southern Side Path

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

I have not shown the garden along the southern side of the house in a long time. The Southern Side Path is a narrow border with a winding stone walkway, that provides access from the driveway down to the main garden in the back yard. If you walk down the path, turn around and look back up toward the street, this is the view you will see.

Clematis 'Jackmanii' In Southern Side Garden

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ In Southern Side Garden

(Be careful not to turn your head to the right or you’ll see the neighbors’ house looming large.)

Standing in the distance near the street and not really part of the border, a Betula nigra (River Birch) is visible. This tree began losing lots of its leaves several weeks ago, but after some heavy rains came it decided to hold on to the rest of its foliage a while longer.

In the foreground, Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ usually has a few flowers this time of year, but the weather has been especially encouraging to it this autumn. Behind and underneath the clematis is Muhlenbergia capillaris (Pink Muhly Grass). In front (not visible) are planted Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris).

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

In between the clematis and the river birch are a host of odds and ends. A few are:

Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)
Lavender
Iris germanica (Bearded iris)
Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’
Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)
Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)
Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion)
Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)
Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)
Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)
Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Amazingly, these and other plants that grow here are all ignored by the deer which make their way between the two houses quite often.

Sitting along the path just in front of the dark green Wintergreen boxwood shrub, (Buxus microphylla var koreana ‘Wintergreen’), is the current star of the Southern Side Garden. It is the fragrant Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily) .

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

Last winter was exceedingly cold so when spring arrived I was concerned whether the Ginger lily had even survived. Fortunately by mid-May a few stalks had emerged. Through summer it never grew as full nor tall as it had during the previous two years, but finally today a flower opened.

I had been eagerly watching this tender perennial for quite a few weeks, hoping it would bloom before a frost could wilt it back to the ground. I was curious when it bloomed last year. In checking my photo records I noticed the set of dates when I took pictures of the flowering ginger lily. An unscientific but interesting observation is that for the previous two years the ginger lily had flowered much earlier than usual and for an extended period of time.

Dates Of Photographing Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily) Blooms In My Garden
October 18, 2008
September 24, 2009 – October 25, 2009
2010 – ?
October 13, 2011
September 2 – November 2, 2012
August 10 – November 7, 2013
October 17, 2014

Leaving the Southern Side Path, turn around and come inside the main garden. Here yesterday, I again attempted to capture the elusive monarchs. This time a couple of the butterflies were nectaring on the Zinnias, which made it easier for me to get close and get a picture from the back with the wings open.

Monarch Nectaring On Zinnia

Monarch Nectaring On Zinnia

I particularly liked this image which not only captured the eyes clearly, but recorded pink reflections cast from the flower onto the underside of the wing and thorax of the butterfly.

Pink Reflections On Monarch Wings

Pink Reflections On Monarch Wings

In A Vase On Monday—Red Pitcher

 

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

Each Monday brings an opportunity to join in Cathy’s weekly challenge called In A Vase On Monday. The goal is to fill a vase using materials collected from the garden.

Today’s offering is a simple collection of Zinnias in hues ranging from orange, apricot, coral, and pale yellow. Three sprigs of Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’ contribute foliage in dark shades of purple and red. A burgundy dahlia and an umbel-shaped floret of Autumn Joy sedum,  now aged to a rich burnt sienna color, complete the arrangement.

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday-4

The flowers are held in a bright red Waechtersbach pitcher accented with white hearts, a gift from my mother-in-law many years ago.

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

Materials

Dahlia ‘Blue Bell’
Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’ (Spurge)
Hylotelephium telephium ‘Herbstfreude’ (Autumn Joy)
Zinnia Cut and Come Again Mix

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting. Discover what delightful things she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday. Perhaps you will be inspired to share your own vase.

Patterns In Orange And Black

Lantana and Monarch (detail)

Lantana and Monarch (detail)

A handful of monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) arrived to the garden a week ago. Most often I have observed them dancing between the swamp sunflower and butterfly bush where it is difficult for me to get close.

This afternoon I set out to photograph three monarchs as they fed on Lantana camara (Common lantana) in the southern border.

Lantana and Monarch

They stayed put until I tried to move in, then each flew up high, away and settled again a few feet further, often on the opposite side of the fence where the lantana peeks through. When I switched to video the one in my viewfinder sat perfectly still until it sensed I had turned off the camera. I had to laugh.

I chose a few of the photographs and cropped them to reveal some of the detail.

Lantana and Monarch – 1

Lantana and Monarch – 1 detail

Lantana and Monarch – 2

Lantana and Monarch – 2 detail

Lantana and Monarch -3

Lantana and Monarch – 3 detail

In A Vase On Monday—Traditional Marble

In A Vase On Monday-Marble and Red

Each Monday brings an opportunity to join in Cathy’s weekly challenge called In A Vase On Monday. The goal is to fill a vase using materials collected from the garden.

The temperature dropped more than 25 degrees F. Saturday night delivering a fresh, autumnal crispness to the air. In response the Dahlia ‘Blue Bell’ (that turned out to be red) is finally blooming with more intensity. I was able to cut three fully open specimens this morning to include in today’s vase.

Dahlias Covered In Morning Dew

Dahlias Covered In Morning Dew

One Iceberg rose was in prime condition this morning and I brought it inside to serve as a focal point for today’s arrangement and to add contrast in texture and color.

Rosa 'Iceberg'

Rosa ‘Iceberg’

Freshly formed palmate leaves of lupine radiate outward and provide an interesting background for the white rose. (Thanks to Cathy at Words and Herbs for the suggestion to use lupine foliage in a vase.)

Palmate lupine leaves provide background for Rosa 'Iceberg'

Palmate lupine leaves provide background for Rosa ‘Iceberg’

For a container I selected a marble, urn-shaped mortar that is substantial enough to offset the mass of the heavy, richly-colored dahlia flowers.  The shape of the mortar together with the old-fashioned quality of the dahlias inspired this week’s rather traditional design.

Marble mortar anchors the arrangement.

Marble mortar anchors the arrangement.

Silvery sprigs of lavender echo the gray marble in the base while adding lightness to the design. Hovering above the dahlias a few Verbena bonariensis flowers complete the arrangement.

Verbena bonariensis and lavender sprigs are used as fillers.

Verbena bonariensis and lavender sprigs are used as fillers.

Verbena bonariensis and lavender with Dahlias

Verbena bonariensis and lavender with Dahlias

Materials

Dahlia ‘Blue Bell’- 3 stems
Rosa ‘Iceberg’- 1 stem
Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)- 7 stems
Lupinus ‘Woodfield Hybrids’ (Lupine)- 3 stems
Lavandula x intermedia ‘Dutch’ (Dutch Lavender)- 5 stems
1 Florist’s Frog
1 Marble Mortar

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting. Discover what delightful things she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday. Perhaps you will be inspired to share your own vase.