Meditation Circle At MidNovember

Meditation Circle In MidNovember

Meditation Circle In MidNovember, 2014

The meditation circle was used for walking meditations this spring and summer, but I never got around to planting anything new until fall. During the first week of October I added red Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon) and blue Viola (Johnny-Jump Up). Both are blooming right through the unusually cold, record-setting weather we have had for the past week.

A few violas also volunteered from last year but not in their designated spot.  The planting areas are supposed to form the “wall” between the pavers that form the path.  Instead the violas and actually, quite a few Penstemon Digitalis (Beardtongue) ‘Huskers Red,’ have spread themselves around in-between the pavers. I left most of them for now even though they have not followed the rules.

Early next spring I want to add back some Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft).  This image from  a couple of years ago shows one of my favorite plantings in the circle (of course, it was May). Not much is left of it today except the very reliable Husker Red.

Meditation Circle May 3, 2012 Foreground: Penstemon  mexicali 'Pike's Peak Purple' (Beardtongue)  Center: Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft) Upper Right and center: Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' (Beardtongue) Upper Right: Angelonia

Meditation Circle May 3, 2012
Foreground: Penstemon mexicali ‘Pike’s Peak Purple’ (Beardtongue)
Center: Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft)
Upper Right and center: Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)
Upper Right: Angelonia

When the labyrinth was first conceived I had imagined planting it one time with perfectly chosen plants and reaping the pleasure for years to come, but instead I guess I will reap the pleasure of devising and experimenting with new planting schemes. I had not taken into account at the time such outside forces as drought, standing water or voles.

Several garden visitors have remarked at how the meditation circle has grown in and become more integrated into the rest of the garden. It is true, but in some ways I prefer the more spare and stark look it had when it was first built.

This year the various thymes thickened and crept toward the pavers. I thought I would like that effect but now I am tempted to trim them back to be more tidy. It looks drab now but Thymus serpyllum ‘Pink Chintz’ (Pink chintz thyme) in the center of the circle bloomed from the first of July until the end of October. All the thymes should remain evergreen through the winter.

Detail of thymes creeping over the path.

Detail of thymes creeping over the path.

Magnolia Leaves

Today’s monthly garden club meeting featured Jihye Schumann, a designer who began studying floral design 14 years ago in Korea. She demonstrated making arrangements for the home with fruits, vegetables and flowers. Unfortunately I did not have a chance to get pictures of her more elaborate creations, but I did win one of the small ones in a raffle.

Jihye showed how to create a simple and inexpensive display to decorate a tea table by filling three inexpensive glass cups with chrysanthemums from a grocery store and found magnolia leaves.  My photograph does not do this justice. Since I could bring home only one of the cups I cannot show the full effect, but the display of three looked quite nice. She suggested adding candles and a teapot to the three cups of flowers and everyone nodded, envisioning how lovely that grouping might look.

Garden Club Raffle Prize

Garden Club Raffle Prize

The interesting part was how Jihye manipulated the fresh magnolia leaves. First she stacked and aligned about a dozen leaves so they were all pointing the same direction, then she cut them in half with scissors.

Next she restacked the leaves tightly, such that the cut sides all faced down. She inserted the stack into the container with the cut side down. She repeated the process two more times so there were three groups of leaves and then she just added a few stems of flowers for color. Simple, but unusual.

Magnolia leaves, stacked and cut in half provide the foliage.

Magnolia leaves, stacked and cut in half provide the foliage.

In A Vase On Monday—Cold Survivors

Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’

Today I am joining Cathy’s weekly challenge In A Vase On Monday that encourages garden bloggers to create fresh arrangements each Monday using materials found in our gardens.

The weekend weather in central North Carolina dropped 15 degrees below normal temperatures for November, reaching down into the mid-20s F. I knew it was coming but I do not think I have ever been so pained to see the garden succumb to freezing. Preparing a vase to share each week will become much harder for many Mondays to come.

My youngest sister surprised me this week with another perfect gift, a sage green glazed ceramic container that I hoped to use today. It is a shallow dish with a leaf shaped top. Three holes in the top are designed to hold short stemmed flowers, such as camellias.

New leaf-shaped ceramic vase holds Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’

 

Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’ has been blooming for a few weeks, even before the department stores could fill the aisles with Christmas baubles, but the cold turned its blossoms to mush. Fortunately by sneaking deep inside the heart of the Yuletide shrub I was able to rescue three blossoms that survived the recent blast of cold weather.

When I first entered the garden I noticed the deep red Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon) in the meditation circle were largely unaffectedly by the severe shift in temperature. I discovered one snapdragon that had opened to reveal decidedly pink flowers, not red.

An unexpected pink Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon)

I had plucked a few side shoots from half a dozen plants to use just in case it was impossible to locate some usable camellias. Then once inside with the camellias in place, it seemed a shame not to use the snapdragons. I combined them with three sprigs of chartreuse sedum and placed them into a turquoise vase.

Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon) and Sedum

Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon) and Sedum

I used a bright red wooden tray to frame the two arrangements of flowers.

In A Vase On Monday-5

Thanks again 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.

Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon) and Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide'

Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon) and Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’

Narcissus For The Neighborhood

Narcissus

Narcissus

One thousand daffodil bulbs sit in my garage awaiting planting this weekend. Happily I am not responsible for the actual planting. Who knew how heavy bulbs can be?

The grounds committee for my neighborhood, of which I am a member, ordered 500 Ice Follies and 500 King Alfred to be distributed among our central common areas and around our eight cul-de-sacs.

Ice Follies and King Alfred

Ice Follies and King Alfred

I pushed for one large river of daffodils, but am satisfied these bulbs will make a nice welcome in spring.

Narcissus bulbs will brighten the neighborhood in spring.

In A Vase On Monday—Four Seasons

 

In A Vase On Monday - Four Seasons

In A Vase On Monday – Four Seasons

Today’s “Four Seasons” refers to the annual cycle in the garden as this week marks the first year anniversary for Cathy’s weekly challenge called In A Vase On Monday. During the past year Cathy has inspired quite a few fellow garden bloggers to create fresh arrangements each Monday using materials found in our gardens.

I first joined Cathy’s Monday vase project on January 27, 2014, and since then I have been looking forward to seeing everyone’s creations each week. The vases have been delightful and the resulting sense of sharing and community has been gratifying. Thanks to Cathy for hosting and congratulations.

Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle) and Daphne odora 'Aureomarginata' (Winter daphne) Foliage

Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle) and Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ (Winter daphne) Foliage

Winter:  Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ (Winter daphne) was featured last winter in my first Monday vase. Today I used some of the green foliage for concealer leaves.

Spring:  Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ is a spring favorite and has rebloomed for the past month.

Summer:  Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) and Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower) are mainstays of my summer garden.

Fall:  Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle) has compelling orange fall foliage color.

Flowers and foliage representing four seasons of gardening

Materials

Flowers
Achillea filipendulina (Fern-leaf Yarrow)
Clematis ‘Jackmanii’
Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)
Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)
Lavender
Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage)
Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

Foliage
Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ (Winter daphne)
Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)

Mechanics
3 Round Ikebana Kenzan Flower (Frog) Pin Holders
Large round black plastic dish

 

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

Thanks again 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.

Finding Connections

Seed pod of Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Seed pod of Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Needed to spend time in the garden this morning, just wanted the connection to the natural world.

Several asclepias tubersosa were reintroduced to the garden last year. The seed pods of this one are showier than the flowers were earlier this year and I got lost studying them for a good long while.

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)-6

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)-9

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)-4

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)-7

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)-3

 

Eventually I moved on toward the front yard. For the past week the pair of crape myrtles at the end of the walkway have been shifting from green to rich orange and golden hues.

Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)

Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)

I do not have the right equipment for taking good bird photographs but this pair caught my attention. Northern red cardinals are generally very patient at the feeder and seem content to share. The small bird is, I think, a Carolina wren.

Northern Cardinal and Carolina Wren

Northern Cardinal and Carolina Wren

Behind the feeder is a passalong Spiraea prunifolia (bridal wreath spiraea) which lost its leaves a month or more ago for some reason. It usually has nice autumn color. Instead of leaves, random white blossoms brave the season at the tip top of the shrub.

Spiraea prunifolia (bridal wreath spiraea)

Spiraea prunifolia (bridal wreath spiraea)

Later in the morning, yoga class was overflowing so our mats were closely placed. During our practice we breathed in and out together, sharing our space and our energy, and connecting with ourselves and with each other.

These connections and the ones found in the garden in the early morning light carried me through the day.

In A Vase On Monday—A Trio Of Rescues

 

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.

The temperature fell slightly below freezing overnight for the first time this fall. The garden seems fine this mooring, but yesterday with weather warnings in mind I rescued flowers for today’s vase and ended up with three informal arrangements.

Most of the 16 red snapdragons purchased on sale for $.25 apiece October 3, 2014 are flowering in one small section of the meditation path. It will be interesting to see how well they do over the winter. With luck they should bloom again in early spring.

Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon) In Meditation Circle

Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon) In Meditation Circle

Bought at the same time as the snapdragons, a red dahlia hybrid with no name is full of buds. This one flower managed to open so far, making it worth the $1.00 I paid for the plant.

Dahlia x hybrida and Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon)

Dahlia x hybrida and Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon)

 

I am fairly new to growing dahlias so am not sure how the cold will affect them this week, but the temperatures will be much warmer the next few days and I hope they continue to bloom a while longer. Last week a friend Libby passed along some heirloom tubers from another red dahlia her mother used to grow. I am so looking forward to seeing it bloom next year (thanks Libby!).

The snapdragons and dahlia went into the spherical turquoise vase my sisters gave me last spring.

Turquoise vase of Dahlia x hybrida and Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon)

Turquoise vase of Dahlia x hybrida and Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon)

The flowers on my passalong Chrysanthemum starting showing color mid-October and are now in full-bloom. They are a rich yellow in bud, but the outer petals become nearly white as they open. I try pinching the stems back to make the plant behave better, but each fall this plants ends up sprawling in its own lovely way.

I used a small blue matte-glazed vase to hold the chrysanthemums. A stem of Lathyrus latifolius (Perennial Sweet Pea) foliage lifts the arrangement vertically, while a single Pelargonium leaf anchors the design.

Chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemums

A few sprigs of dark purple salvia provide contrast to the yellow blossoms.

Chrysanthemums and May Night Salvia

There were enough Chrysanthemums left over to easily fill another vase.

Chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemums

Materials
Flowers
Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon)
Chrysanthemum
Dahlia x hybrida
Salvia × sylvestris ‘May Night’ (Meadow sage)

Foliage and Pods
Lathyrus latifolius (Perennial Sweet Pea)
‘Carolina Sapphire’ Arizona Cypress
Pelargonium (Geranium)

In A Vase On Monday - A Trio Of Rescues

In A Vase On Monday – A Trio Of Rescues

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.

Procrastination Payoff

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Typical of my gardening efforts this year I missed my deadline to cut down the towering, passalong Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower) that lives in the western border.

Not wishing to encourage this native plant to spread any further I usually clean it up early, but it really has a nice autumn display.

Seedheads of Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Seedheads of Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

 

Deep burgundy foliage of Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Deep burgundy foliage of Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)