In A Vase On Monday—February In Royal Blue

In A Vase On Monday - February In Royal Blue

In A Vase On Monday – February In Royal Blue

Each Monday brings the chance to join Cathy’s In A Vase On Monday to share an arrangement using materials gathered from the garden.

Sunday was 70°F and in the main garden sun melted away the last stubborn patch of snow from the previous weekend. Though there are bulbs springing up everywhere the garden looks exhausted.

A couple of stems of hellebore combined with arum and ilex foliage were the only potential vase materials to catch my eye during a morning inspection. Supplementing them are a fresh set of white and red blooms from indoor pots of cyclamen.

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

A royal blue goblet lends a punch of unpredictability.

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

Materials
Arum italicum
Cyclamen
Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)
Ilex crenata (Japanese holly)
Ikebana Kenzan (floral pin frog)

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

It is helpful to study the design in black and white. This is the same image as above.

Study in black and white

Study in black and white

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

Thanks to Cathy for hosting this weekly flower arranging addiction. Visit her at Rambling In The Garden to discover what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday and feel free to join in.

On Zinnias

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Zinnia - October 9, 2015

Earth Zinnia – October 9, 2015

It is nearing the end of January. While other gardeners are sharing wondrous drifts of snowdrops and crocuses, zinnias have been on my mind the past couple of weeks.

I was excited by astronaut Scott Kelly’s tweet on January 16, 2016 from the International Space Station announcing “First ever flower grown in space makes its debut!”

Zinnias are flowers from my childhood and rarely does a summer go by without a bright stand of them in my garden. Easy to grow, they come in rich colors, are long-lasting as cut flowers and attract butterflies, bees and other pollinators. I like the idea of zinnias in space.

Growing zinnias is an important milestone in NASA’s Veggie project as scientists strive to understand how plants grow in microgravity. (Tomatoes are scheduled on 2017.)

Well, oops, it turns out a sunflower had been grown in June 2012 on the shuttle, so the zinnia was not actually the first flower grown in space after all.

But no wonder Kelly was excited to see this bloom. He had been granted gardening autonomy to oversee the zinnia plants after reporting to the ground support that the plants were drying out too much.  He wanted to water them and was given permission to skip the protocol that would have had him wait several more days. [Read more: How Mold on Space Station Flowers is Helping Get Us to Mars.]

Now Kelly has shared another photo of the zinnias and a bit of gardening wisdom:  “garden proving through challenge and continuous effort comes growth.”

 

 

In A Vase On Monday—Orchid Blush

In A Vase On MondayMonday brings the chance to share cut flowers from the garden by joining in Cathy’s weekly challenge In A Vase On Monday.

Early Sunday afternoon it was too icy for me to get out to check for any Hellebores that might be flowering on the northern side of the house.  Instead I resorted to using indoor blooms, three flowers from a holiday Phalaenopsis.

A curved section of the orchid stem and a wrapped Warneckii leaf placed in a new white oval container (2.5 x 2.5 inches) made a quick arrangement.

In A Vase On Monday - Orchid Blush

In A Vase On Monday – Orchid Blush

Not really pleased with the result, I tried again. Later in the day after sun had worked its magic against the ice, I ventured out to collect a few hellebores. Many were stuck under the ice, but I did find a few to use. On the way back inside I even plucked a deep purplish-red pansy.

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

The second version made for a happier vase on Monday.

Orchid, Pansy and Hellebore

Orchid, Pansy and Hellebore

Materials
Phalaenopsis (Moth Orchid)
‘Lemon Lime’ Warneckii
Pansy
Hellebore

Thanks to Cathy for hosting this weekly flower addiction. It is always interesting and insightful to visit her at Rambling In The Garden to discover what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday and feel free to join in.

Early Sunday Morning

Sleet and frozen rain on Friday was followed by snow on Saturday and snow is an Event around these parts.

Now Sunday, the first rays of sun touched the meditation circle at 8:30 a.m. this morning. 28°F (-2°C).

Sun Returning To Garden

Sun Returning To Garden

A half-hour later sunlight found the garden’s back corner and began waking up the landscape.

Early Sun On Icy Garden

Early Sun On Icy Garden

Though it looks deserted it actually is filled with avian friends just waiting for me to close the upstairs window and let them get on with eating.

Morning Garden

Morning Garden

Morning Garden

Morning Garden

Morning Garden

Morning Garden

Eastern Bluebird, Dark-eyed Junco, Northern Cardinal and many other species are visiting the feeders this winter.

Yesterday they were desperately focused on food and were less worried about me taking their picture.

Winter Birds

Winter Birds

Notice the Eastern towhee under the left edge of the feeder with its black head and back, rufous sides and white breast. It is normal to have one or two Eastern towhee in the garden, scratching and foraging along the ground, and occasionally checking out the feeder.

This weekend I was surprised to see a much larger group of them, maybe 8-10. At every chance they abandoned their traditional rummaging and went for the easy food.

And what is a collection of towhee called, I wondered? A “tangle” or a “teapot.”

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – January 2016

Daphne odora (Winter daphne)

Daphne odora (Winter daphne)

It is time again for Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD), but everything along the East Coast except for bird feeders is shut down for the weekend, courtesy of Winter Storm Jonas.

Predictions for here in Chapel Hill were for 4-6 inches of snow, but in early afternoon we are getting freezing rain and sleet, 29°F (-1.6°C). Conditions were not bad when I went out to get the newspaper this morning and snapped several photos, but now most of the grass is white and roads are icy and dangerous.

Foliage Day Panorama 2016-01-22

Foliage Day Panorama 2016-01-22

I am using panoramas to help me study and evaluate the structural elements in the garden. So many trees and shrubs have died and I am making plans to tackle a plan for improvements. Thanks to Christina at Garden of the Hesperides for hosting. Read her foliage update and see more links to foliage perspectives from many parts of the world.

In A Vase On Monday—Wintertide Pair

 

In A Vase On Monday - Wintertide Pair

In A Vase On Monday – Wintertide Pair

Monday brings the chance to share cut flowers from the garden by joining in Cathy’s weekly challenge In A Vase On Monday. Especially in the winter season even a few blossoms brighten up the indoors.

In A Vase On Monday - Wintertide Pair

In A Vase On Monday – Wintertide Pair

Yesterday morning on our way to brunch with friends we encountered snow flurries mixed with rain. The snow melted immediately but it breathed excitement into the short commute.

Upon returning home the weather had cleared but it was cold. I foraged though the garden for today’s vase materials, quickly settling on three white Anemone coronaria. They appeared unfazed by the elements.

Anemone coronaria ‘Bride’

Anemone coronaria ‘Bride’

Again this week fragrant Daphne odora is used as filler. Three red cyclamen flowers from a house plant add a boost of color.

Cyclamen, Daphne, Anemone coronaria ‘Bride’

Cyclamen, Daphne, Anemone coronaria ‘Bride’

It was a difficult task finding a container for this odd mix, and I finally settled on a pair of small glass vases, painted black with a gold Asian floral motif. I believe these belonged to my grandmother.

In A Vase On Monday - Wintertide Pair

In A Vase On Monday – Wintertide Pair

The shape of the gold flowers is repeated in the anemones and in the end the vases seem perfectly suited for the garden’s spare offerings.

Photographing these flowers was fun. I reversed the order of the vases and experimented with perspective and point-of-view, finding pleasure in these simple winter flowers. I hope you enjoy them too.

In A Vase On Monday - Wintertide Pair

In A Vase On Monday – Wintertide Pair

Materials
Anemone coronaria ‘Bride’
Cyclamen
Daphne odora (Winter daphne)

In A Vase On Monday - Wintertide Pair

In A Vase On Monday – Wintertide Pair

Thanks to Cathy for hosting this weekly flower addiction. It is always interesting and insightful to visit her at Rambling In The Garden to discover what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday and feel free to join in.

In A Vase On Monday - Wintertide Pair

In A Vase On Monday – Wintertide Pair

In A Vase On Monday - Wintertide Pair

In A Vase On Monday – Wintertide Pair

Mid-January Garden

Today, Saturday, was a beauty of a day here in Chapel Hill with sunny skies and pleasant temperature of 61°F (16°C). In contrast, forecasts call for rain and maybe even a snow flurry Sunday morning and unseasonably cold on Monday with highs only in mid 30s and low 18°F.

Just after the grass was cut yesterday another heavy rain started falling. The ground was completely saturated again this morning.

Freshly Mown Grass Beside Meditation CIrcle

Freshly Mown Grass Beside Meditation CIrcle

I stitched together a panorama capturing most of the garden as it appeared around 8:45 a.m. looking westward from the top of the screen porch stairs. Sunlight was just reaching into the tops of the trees; the garden was still shaded.

Garden Panorama 2016-01-16

Garden Panorama 2016-01-16

About an hour later I had a chance to inspect the borders more closely. With leaves caked in mud this poor hyacinth, alternately enticed by days of warm sunlight and bashed by rain and cold, is the only one of its group to open. Others are up, but remain in tight bud.

Hyacinth orientalis ‘Woodstock’

Hyacinth orientalis ‘Woodstock’

By this time of year it is not unusual to have Hellebores in bloom; however, despite the many warm days this winter they do not seem to be opening very quickly. There are lots of buds.

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear) is spreading far and wide. Fortunately it is easy to pull out when it oversteps its welcome.

Stachys byzantina (Lamb's Ear)

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)

I planted Euphorbia ‘Shorty’ (Shorty Spurge) last spring and am happy with its color and form. Still covered in raindrops it seemed to be dancing in the morning light.

Euphorbia 'Shorty' (Shorty Spurge)

Euphorbia ‘Shorty’ (Shorty Spurge)

Last winter was unusually cold and long and a late February 2°F cold snap ruined the leaves and buds of Daphne odora (Winter daphne) before it could flower. It eventually recovered its foliage. This winter it has already been blooming for several weeks. There are 3 bushes clustered together. This one in front is Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata.’

Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ (Winter daphne)

Daphne odora (Winter daphne)

Daphne odora (Winter daphne)

Pansies are blooming throughout the meditation circle, but the plants themselves have not grown much. In spring they should fill out more.

A female Northern Cardinal was one of many birds happy to find the feeder has been restocked.

Female Northern Cardinal

Female Northern Cardinal