In A Vase On Monday—In Search Of The Blues

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

Monday brings the chance to practice flower arranging by joining in Cathy’s weekly challenge In A Vase On Monday, where the goal is simply to fill a vase using materials gathered in one’s own garden.

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

I last wrote about using Angelonia in the meditation circle and it was still on my mind when I began planning a vase for this week. The rich colors seemed to be a good starting point for an arrangement.

Angelonia 'Alonia Big Indigo'

Angelonia ‘Alonia Big Indigo’

As an afterthought I also brought in some gladiolas from a bulb collection planted this spring, misleadingly named Gladiolus ‘Blue Shades Mix.’ Do pink and magenta really qualify as blue shades? No, but these flowers are lovely.

Pink Gladiolus

Pink Gladiolus

Magenta Gladiolus

Magenta Gladiolus

This is the first purple from this “blue collection.” I like it a lot. Somehow Gladiolus became the focal flower for today, with the Angelonia taking on a supporting role.

Purple Gladiolus from Blue Shades Collection

Purple Gladiolus from Blue Shades Collection

In spring I planted a small Aucuba japonica ‘Variegata’ (Gold Dust Aucuba) for the express purpose of exploiting its foliage for flower design. That shrub is doing well enough to contribute  a few dark, shiny leaves today.

Foliage of Aucuba japonica 'Variegata' (Gold Dust Aucuba) and Gladiolus Flower

Foliage of Aucuba japonica ‘Variegata’ (Gold Dust Aucuba) and Gladiolus Flower

A pair of glass vases that belonged to my maternal grandmother were the appropriate size. I inserted a rolled Aucuba leaf into each vase to hide the flower stems.

Glass vases are lined with Aucuba japonica 'Variegata' (Gold Dust Aucuba)

Glass vases are lined with Aucuba japonica ‘Variegata’ (Gold Dust Aucuba)

 

Materials
Aucuba japonica ‘Variegata’ (Gold Dust Aucuba)
Angelonia ‘Serena White,’ ‘Alonia Big Indigo,’ ‘Serenita Raspberry’ and ‘Rose’
Gladiolus ‘Blue Shades Mix’
Matching scalloped glass vases

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

Still searching for blue, here is a look from up above.

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting. Discover what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday.

Finding Color Along The Labyrinth

Meditation Circle

Looking Toward Meditation Circle Entrance

In these last days of July the meditation circle has finally come into its own. Originally, when this was a new feature in the garden, I attempted to use only evergreens or semi-evergreens here, but, since I could never find a perfect combination, I have been much happier just supplementing with low-maintenance annuals.

Entrance To The Labyrinth

Entrance To The Labyrinth Is Between Two Rows Of Dark Purple Angelonia ‘Alonia Big Indigo’

A beautiful but tough annual that never needs deadheading, Angelonia angustifolia (summer snapdragon), is providing plenty of color and interest. I know I have mentioned Angelonia before, but it is finally well-established and caught my eye a couple of days ago after a brief morning shower.  It does not mind the heat and scarcity of rain. Its size is a good fit for the narrow space between the paths of the labyrinth, keeping the paths open for easy passage without needing much trimming.

Angelonia ‘Serenita Raspberry’ and 'Purple'

Angelonia ‘Serenita Raspberry’ and ‘Purple’ (Purple turned out to be pink.)

I had planned to use a limited color scheme of white and blue this year, but blue Angelonia were hard to find this year at the time I needed them. Unable to locate enough white plants to use for the entire circle either, I ended up having to settle for a mix of mostly pinks and a few purples (Angelonia ‘Serena White’, ‘Alonia Big Indigo’, ‘Serenita Raspberry’, ‘Purple’ , and ‘Rose’). The ‘Purple’ turned out to be pink also. Though not my first color choices, I have enjoyed them immensely.

Angelonia 'Alonia Big Indigo'

Angelonia ‘Alonia Big Indigo’

Angelonia 'Serena White'

Angelonia ‘Serena White’

Angelonia ‘Serenita Raspberry’, 'Purple' and 'Alonia Big Indigo'

Angelonia ‘Serenita Raspberry’, ‘Purple’ and ‘Alonia Big Indigo’

I need to fill in where the original thyme was planted to define part of the wall. It has spread out from the center, but left patchy gaps in the middle. With that one exception the various thymes are doing well and have been blooming for a few weeks, attracting many pollinators. The goal of the labyrinth (or center of the circle) is planted in Thymus serpyllum ‘Pink Chintz’ (Pink chintz thyme).

Angelonia 'Serena White' and Thymus serpyllum 'Pink Chintz' (Pink chintz thyme)

Angelonia ‘Serena White’ and Thymus serpyllum ‘Pink Chintz’ (Pink chintz thyme)

Thymus serpyllum 'Pink Chintz' (Pink chintz thyme)

Thymus serpyllum ‘Pink Chintz’ (Pink chintz thyme)

Here is the second Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia) I have seen this summer enjoying the thyme.

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

There still are a few Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue) left from the original planting a few years ago. They have self-seeded and I have left a few, moved some to other parts of the garden and given many away.

Thymus serpyllum 'Pink Chintz' (Pink chintz thyme) and Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' (Beardtongue)

Thymus serpyllum ‘Pink Chintz’ (Pink chintz thyme) and Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

Another penstemon original to the labyrinth is Penstemon mexicali ‘Pike’s Peak Purple’ (Beardtongue). Of the dozen or so only one survives. I think it likes this summer’s dry weather.

Penstemon  mexicali 'Pike's Peak Purple' (Beardtongue)

Penstemon mexicali ‘Pike’s Peak Purple’ (Beardtongue)

Penstemon  mexicali 'Pike's Peak Purple' (Beardtongue)

Penstemon mexicali ‘Pike’s Peak Purple’ (Beardtongue)

All in all I love the how the circle has enhanced the garden and I enjoy the peacefulness of the walking meditation.

Meditation Circle

Meditation Circle

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – July 2015

Aegopodium podagraria (bishop's weed) with Eastern Black Swallowtail (Papilo polyxenes) caterpillar

Aegopodium podagraria (bishop’s weed) with Eastern Black Swallowtail (Papilo polyxenes) caterpillar

I am joining Christina at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides for Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD, today. Usually by this point in the summer everything is brown and crisped by the hot July sun. The days have been intensely hot and oftentimes storms have passed us by without providing any nourishing rain, but by watering selectively I have managed to keep the perennials and annuals from dying back this summer.

Years after accepting and planting a friend’s offering of Aegopodium podagraria (bishop’s weed), I discovered it is invasive, so when visitors admire it I have gently refused their requests to share. Yesterday I found a colorful Eastern Black Swallowtail caterpillar among its leaves.

I plan every year to tackle eradicating it but other areas of the garden get my attention instead. The variegated version that I have is supposed to be less problematic, and honestly, except for the guilt, it has made a wonderful ground cover along the narrow northern side of my house.

Aegopodium podagraria (bishop's weed) with Eastern Black Swallowtail (Papilo polyxenes) caterpillar

Aegopodium podagraria (bishop’s weed) with Eastern Black Swallowtail (Papilo polyxenes) caterpillar

Aegopodium podagraria (bishop's weed) with Eastern Black Swallowtail (Papilo polyxenes) caterpillar

Aegopodium podagraria (bishop’s weed) with Eastern Black Swallowtail (Papilo polyxenes) caterpillar

Note: This summer I have enjoyed seeing and trying to identify butterflies. I have photographed quite a few yellow and black Eastern Tiger Swallowtails (Papilio glaucus) this month. When I looked up this caterpillar and discovered it to be a swallowtail I thought it was the Eastern Tiger that I had been seeing so often; however, when captioning my images into WordPress I finally realized I had two different swallowtails. The caterpillar is Eastern Black Swallowtail (Papilo polyxenes).

The elephant ears in the blue planter have recovered since the last time I showed them, although they still scorch from the hot sun and they stay thirsty. They are uncooperative when I photograph them but they look nice against the Juniperus chinensis ‘Blue Point’ (Blue Point Juniper) hedge.

Colocasia Royal Hawaiian ‘Black Coral’  (Black Coral Elephant Ear)

Colocasia Royal Hawaiian ‘Black Coral’ (Black Coral Elephant Ear)

Colocasia Royal Hawaiian ‘Black Coral’  (Black Coral Elephant Ear)

Colocasia Royal Hawaiian ‘Black Coral’ (Black Coral Elephant Ear)

Another ground cover I like, Isotoma fluviatilis (Blue Star Creeper) has lived up to its name and has spread across a path into a well-behaved section of Sedum.

Isotoma fluviatilis (Blue Star Creeper) creeping into Sedum

Isotoma fluviatilis (Blue Star Creeper) creeping into Sedum

Planted in March this Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’ (Ascot Rainbow Spurge) tends to be lost among the running perennial Dusty Miller. The Dusty Miller needs to be reined in and sheared back. In spring this bed was full of columbine and the rainbow effect of the Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’ foliage stood out better.

Euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow' (Ascot Rainbow Spurge), perennial Dusty Miller

Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’ (Ascot Rainbow Spurge), perennial Dusty Miller

There still is plenty of Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) spreading itself around. Its leaves look fresh and green.

Liriope muscari, perennial Dusty Miller, Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Liriope muscari, perennial Dusty Miller, Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

perennial Dusty Miller, Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

perennial Dusty Miller, Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Another Euphorbia  purchased this spring has lovely color. It is called ‘Shorty’ (Shorty Spurge).

Euphorbia 'Shorty' (Shorty Spurge) with Iris leaf

Euphorbia ‘Shorty’ (Shorty Spurge) with Iris leaf

Euphorbia 'Shorty' (Shorty Spurge) with Iris leaf

Euphorbia ‘Shorty’ (Shorty Spurge) with Iris leaf

Many insects like this dragonfly seem to gravitate to the flowers that are spent or the foliage that is brown, at least when I am trying to photograph them. This is a female (males have the white tails) Common whitetail or long-tailed skimmer (Plathemis lydia) perching atop an iris leaf. In the background is airy foliage of Achillea filipendulina (Fern-leaf Yarrow).

Common whitetail or long-tailed skimmer (Plathemis lydia)

Common whitetail or long-tailed skimmer (Plathemis lydia)

Thanks to Christina for hosting. Be sure to visit her to see her featured foliage and find links to other foliage highlights of other GBFD bloggers.

In A Vase On Monday—Keep Calm And Garden On

In A Vase On Monday - Keep Calm And Garden On

In A Vase On Monday – Keep Calm And Garden On

Monday morning is time to join Cathy for In A Vase On Monday, a weekly invitation to fill and share a vase using materials gathered from one’s garden.

In A Vase On Monday - Keep Calm And Garden On

In A Vase On Monday – Keep Calm And Garden On

My two younger sisters helped me celebrate my birthday last week with some special garden-themed gifts, several of which I incorporated into the setting for today’s vase. One is a refashioned and repurposed silver spoon stamped with the words, “Keep Calm And Garden On,” guidance I appreciate and shall try to follow.

In A Vase On Monday - Keep Calm And Garden On

In A Vase On Monday – Keep Calm And Garden On

The arrangement sits atop a beautiful batik table runner made by my quilter sister. The colors in the fabric echo those of the today’s flowers as do those in the pretty kitchen towel with diminutive pots of herbs. I had not planned the vase around these items but they make nice companions.

In A Vase On Monday - Keep Calm And Garden On

In A Vase On Monday – Keep Calm And Garden On

The flowers themselves are a simple summer bouquet of Shasta daisies paired with dark orange and deep pink Zinnias. Multi-branched stems of Lantana camara provide foliage as well as complementary floral accents in pink, orange and gold.

Shasta Daisy, Zinnia and Lantana

Shasta Daisy, Zinnia and Lantana

Materials

Lantana camara (Common lantana)
Leucanthemum superbum ‘Alaska’ (Shasta Daisy)
Zinnia

Zinnias

Zinnias

Thank you to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for welcoming everyone to join her in this opportunity to share a vase each week. Please visit her to see what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday.

Wordless Wednesday—Evening Dining

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

Not completely wordless this Wednesday, last evening I spotted a butterfly enjoying newly opened flowers of Lantana camara (Common lantana). The striking pattern and distinct coloring made it easy to identify this as Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta).

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

The light was low and the Red Admiral jumped around out of range as I approached so it was hard to get a good photograph, but in several images I was excited to see reflections in the fence post.

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) on Lantana camara (Common lantana)

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) on Lantana camara (Common lantana)

 

In A Vase On Monday—Summer Spectrum

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

Monday morning is time to join Cathy for In A Vase On Monday, a weekly invitation to fill and share a vase using materials gathered from one’s garden.

After watering the garden Sunday morning I gathered flowers for a vase.  Choosing as many Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ as I could find, I clustered them together in the center of my grandmother’s glass floral frog as the starting point for an arrangement. The container is a hand-thrown ceramic glazed picece, about 9 inches in diameter and 1.5 inches tall.

Cluster stems of Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue' in center of glass frog

Cluster stems of Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ in center of glass frog

I added a few stems of Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) to help define the outer edges of design.

Add Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) to help define outer edge of design

Add Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) to help define outer edge of design

For filler flowers I used a stem of Alstroemeria and different colors of Angelonia.

Add Angelonia to fill in design toward outer edge

Add Angelonia to fill in design toward outer edge

Next I deconstructed a gladiolus to use the individual blooms around the base of the arrangement.

Descontruct Gladiolus. Use to add color and hide mechanics.

Descontruct Gladiolus. Use to add color and hide mechanics.

A single Dahlia ‘Firepot’ and  an Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly weed) were used as focal flowers.

Dahlia ‘Firepot’, Gladiolus

Dahlia ‘Firepot’, Gladiolus

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly weed), Gladiolus

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly weed), Gladiolus

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

I can quibble with the design proportions—the materials need to be extended out wider and the shape is uneven. As I rotate the vase I realize the arrangement looks very different from front to back and from overhead it is askew.

In A Vase On Monday. View From Above

In A Vase On Monday. View From Above

And yet, I love this vase of flowers. The flowers are fresh, the textures are interesting together.

The rich vibrant hues in this assortment speak to me of summer itself. At first the colors contrast and shock, then they blend and meld.

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

Dahlia ‘Firepot’, Gladiolus

Dahlia ‘Firepot’, Gladiolus

Materials

Alstroemeria x ‘Tesmach’ (Inticancha® Machu Peruvian Lily)
Angelonia ‘Alonia Big Indigo’
Angelonia ‘Raspberry’
Angelonia ’Serena White’
Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly weed)
Dahlia ‘Firepot’
Gladiolus sp.
Gomphrena globosa (Globe amaranth)
Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage)
Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue' and Gladiolus

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ and Gladiolus

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly weed)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly weed)

Angelonia ’Serena White’

Angelonia ’Serena White’

Angelonia ‘Raspberry’

Angelonia ‘Raspberry’

Gomphrena, Angelonia ‘Raspberry’, Gladiolus

Gomphrena, Angelonia ‘Raspberry’, Gladiolus

Thank you to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for welcoming everyone to join her in this opportunity to share a vase each week. Please visit her to see what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday.