In A Vase On Monday—Literally

In A Vase On Monday--Gladiolus

In A Vase On Monday–Gladiolus

A great beginning to my week is 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. We finally had several nice rains—not enough to be underwater, but I am celebrating today with a submerged arrangement.

My new glass vase I used last week can support a design using a large quantity of flowers or perhaps one with a few very tall, strong stemmed ones, but what if neither is easily available. I decided to experiment to see what other possibilities I could find for using it.

Vaguely I remembered a garden club meeting once with a demonstration of a floral design where the blooms were placed under the water. This seemed like a fun place to start and I found some examples online. With this technique I learned it is feasible to combine a large vase and a single flower with dramatic effect.

I gathered my materials in the dining room so the arrangement would not have to be moved once the vase was filled. Here are a simple materials list and the steps I followed.

Materials
Gladiolus
Floral pin frog
Tall glass vase
Beach glass

Gather materials

Gather materials

Fill the vase half full with water. Carefully add decorative beach glass or other stones, optional.

Add water and decorative beach glass

Add water and decorative beach glass

Measure the height of the flower against the vase. I wanted it to be almost as tall as the vase itself, but this will depend upon the type of flower one is using. Trim excess stem straight across. Insert the gladiolus firmly into a floral pin. This pin is about 3/4 inch diameter.

Insert flower firmly into floral pin

Insert flower firmly into floral pin

Lower the flower into the water. Use a chopstick or other tool to settle the flower into position and gently adjust the beach glass to hide the mechanics.

Use beach glass to hide the floral pin

Use beach glass to hide the floral pin

Finish filling the vase all the way to the top. Some bubbles will form on the flowers. I read distilled water can prevent this but it was not important to me.

Air bubbles form on the flowers at first but will clear after an hour or two.

Air bubbles form on the flowers at first but will clear after an hour or two.

Apparently, submerged arrangements will not last very long, perhaps a day or two. Nevertheless, do try this at home. Other waxy flowers such as roses and orchids can be used. Delicate flowers that fall apart easily will cloud the water.

The arrangement was easy to assemble but I think the result is elegant and sophisticated.

Submerged Gladiolus

Submerged Gladiolus

Thank you to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for welcoming everyone to join 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.

Post 550—Flowers And Insects

Hemerocallis (Daylily)

Hemerocallis (Daylily)

It is just a number, but having arrived here, I like the idea of marking my 550th post.

Most days this week I have enjoyed the garden by getting up early, between 5:00-6:00 a.m., to take pictures, water certain plants and spend some time in quiet reflection before the neighborhood starts bustling. A red Daylily started flowering a week ago, this yellow one opened today.

Wednesday I noticed a colorful creature spiraling an Allium Atropurpureum. Perhaps someone will be able to help me identify it.

Allium Atropurpureum

Allium Atropurpureum

Scattered all around the garden, Echinacea purpurea has been reliable in the heat. Some planting of echinacea received no extra water during this drought, but I watered this section fairly regularly since I was watering nearby. Even drought-tolerant plants such as this one respond positively to some attention.

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) Along Back of Northern Border

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) Along Back of Northern Border

Bees are becoming active at this early time of day, but frequently during my walks I have come upon them asleep on Echinacea and once, on Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint).

Nepeta 'Walker's Low' (Catmint)

Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint)

Another bee pair was lazily hanging out on the spire of a Liatris spicata. This one is the only liatris that has kept its dignity during the recent heat wave.

Liatris spicata

Liatris spicata

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox) came into its own this week. Along with Cleome it helped to fill in some gaps along the fence in the western border, attracting more bees at the same time.

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Bee on Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

Bee on Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

A recent addition to the garden, Ruellia brittoniana ‘Purple Showers’ (Mexican petunia) is taking its time getting adjusted to its new home. Eventually it should make a nice large clump and overwinter, I hope. There are  a couple of new flowers each morning, gone later in the day—the bunny or some other phenomenon? I have not seen the rabbits in 4 or 5 days nor have I come upon an abandoned little blue velvet jacket.

Ruellia brittoniana ‘Purple Showers’ (Mexican petunia)

Ruellia brittoniana ‘Purple Showers’ (Mexican petunia)

Under the screened porch a long border was overtaken years ago by Shasta Daisies. When they first come into bloom they are fresh and inviting.

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

Always too quick for my camera on a few mornings there was a single hummingbird sipping among the Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm). The blooms are drying out so one time the tiny bird caught a a long red petal in its long beak instead of finding nectar—I could almost see it trying to spit it out.

Last night a huge storm passed us right by and hovered instead over the town of Chapel Hill. Several friends reported hail damage. Tonight a smaller storm carried some light rain our way for 45 minutes. The bird baths were filled only half-way, but the water should help refresh the garden. Have a great weekend.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – June 2015

A second post today—time again for Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD), hosted by Christina at Garden of the Hesperides.

Daphne odora 'Aureomarginata' (Winter daphne)

Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ (Winter daphne)

The foliage of three Daphne odora shrubs in the mixed hedge along the front porch has made a significant recovery. After the harsh cold winter their leaves were very brown and I worried they would not survive. Now it looks quite healthy.

The river birch (not pictured) has been losing leaves for a month because of the dry weather and high temperatures. The front lawn is littered with them, making it look more like autumn is coming.In front a low compact hedge of Carissa Holly surrounds a crape myrtle on either side of the walkway. This area has not received any supplemental water, meaning it is holding up pretty well. The fescue lawn should recover but not until fall.

Ilex cornuta 'Carissa' (Carissa Holly) and Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)

Ilex cornuta ‘Carissa’ (Carissa Holly) and Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)

In back of the house where I have been watering, the garden is a mixed story. A new planter featuring Colocasia Royal Hawaiian ‘Black Coral’ (Black Coral Elephant Ear) looks very sad. All the plants were designated for full sun, but Euphorbia Diamond Delight is the only one living up to its name.

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

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

Foliage on Hydrangea macrophylla understandably shows distress from the sun. But I am surprised to see the leaves of Hylotelephium telephium ‘Herbstfreude’ (Autumn Joy) looking sunburned as well.

Hydrangea macrophylla

Hydrangea macrophylla

Hylotelephium telephium 'Herbstfreude' (Autumn Joy)

Hylotelephium telephium ‘Herbstfreude’ (Autumn Joy)

Here are a sample of other plants around the garden whose foliage is looking healthy this week despite the weather.

Thanks to Christina at Garden of the Hesperides for hosting. Read her June foliage update from her holiday in the US and see more links to foliage perspectives from many parts of the world.

In A Vase On Monday—Tall Summer Color

In A Vase On Monday—Tall Summer Color

In A Vase On Monday—Tall Summer Color

Time once again to join Cathy for In A Vase On Monday, her weekly invitation to fill and share a vase using materials gathered from one’s garden.

Mondays roll around quickly these days. Last Monday at my house we were preparing for Christina’s arrival, so I am especially happy to share today’s new glass vase. Tall and elegant, it was a gift from Christina during her visit and will be a valued reminder of the time we spent together. The vase is nicely proportioned, 4 inches in diameter at the top, 6 inches at the base and 11.5 inches high. It is higher than what I am used to working with, so luckily a beautiful tall and thick-stemmed red gladiolus opened just in time to experiment.

I searched for foliage with strong, long stalks that could support the flowers without mechanics. The chrysanthemum leaves looked fresh and the buds needed to be pinched back anyway so I cut a few stems. I also found fern-like Tanacetum vulgare or tansy, which always needs containment.

Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy) and Chrysanthemum foliage in new vase

Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy) and Chrysanthemum foliage in new vase

Next I grouped and inserted seven tall stems of Allium Atropurpureum and added the dark red gladiolus.

Allium Atropurpureum and Gladiolus added to foliage

Allium Atropurpureum and Gladiolus added to foliage

Gladiolus

Gladiolus

Other long-stemmed flowers, Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower), which was used last week, and Gaura lindheimeri ‘Passionate Blush’ (Butterfly Gaura), which is just coming into bloom, were added for a bit more textural interest.

My intention was to keep the design rather minimal but I had started with too much foliage. It seemed many more flowers were required, so I began sifting through vases of flowers that I had arranged earlier in the week, pulling out possible candidates. I added a salmon-hued gladiolus and Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) and Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’ from last week’s vase were used to help fill out the arrangement.

Allium Atropurpureum, Echinacea purpurea and Gladiolus added to foliage

Allium Atropurpureum, Echinacea purpurea and Gladiolus added to foliage

Gladiolus

Gladiolus

Gladiolus

Gladiolus

No longer looking at stem length, I also included some saved peonies. When Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’ and ‘Pink Parfait’ were in bud I cut about a dozen and placed them in a bottle of water in the refrigerator. I had taken them out a few days earlier. They took longer than expected to open, but I was able to use several of them in today’s vase.

Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’

Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’

More lighter flowers or foliage would have been useful. As often is the case the resulting design does not match my original concept, but I think these richly colored blooms work well together.

In A Vase On Monday—Tall Summer Color

In A Vase On Monday—Tall Summer Color

 

In A Vase On Monday—Tall Summer Color

In A Vase On Monday—Tall Summer Color

Materials

Foliage
Chrysanthemum
Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy)

Flowers
Allium Atropurpureum
Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)
Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’ (Hybrid Coneflower)
Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)
Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’ (Peony)
Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait’ (Peony)
Gaura lindheimeri ‘Passionate Blush’ (Butterfly Gaura)

In A Vase On Monday—Tall Summer Color

In A Vase On Monday—Tall Summer Color

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for welcoming everyone to join her in this addictive Monday diversion. Please visit her to see what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday.

Summer And Summer Phlox

Phlox paniculata 'Robert Poore' (Summer Phlox)

Phlox paniculata ‘Robert Poore’ (Summer Phlox)

Sunday, June 21, 2015 at 12:39 pm—Summer Solstice ( June Solstice) is today.  The temperature currently is 89 °F (31.7 °C) at 11:00 am, quickly heading toward a high of 99 °F (37 °C).

June 2015 (source: weather underground.com)

June 2015 (source: weatherunderground.com)

The weather continues to be quite a distraction and hindrance to gardening, yet somehow certain plants persevere even when the gardener falls behind. Summer phlox began blooming this week in the western border.

Phlox paniculata 'Robert Poore' (Summer Phlox)

Phlox paniculata ‘Robert Poore’ (Summer Phlox)

Phlox paniculata 'Robert Poore' (Summer Phlox)

Phlox paniculata ‘Robert Poore’ (Summer Phlox)

Happy Summer!

Morning Moments In The June Garden

Hemerocallis (Daylily) possibly 'Michael Arnholt'

Hemerocallis (Daylily) possibly ‘Michael Arnholt’

We had another nearly 100-degree day yesterday and yet, a fresh daylily greeted me in the garden first thing this morning. A thunderstorm during the night brought welcome rain and it is cooler today, a mere 91°F. Starting tomorrow temperatures will climb again into mid-90sF for another week. When summer starts officially on Sunday what surprise can it bring?

Hemerocallis (Daylily) possibly 'Michael Arnholt'

Hemerocallis (Daylily) possibly ‘Michael Arnholt’

Part of the Monarda border fell victim to the storm’s strong wind and rain, actually a small price to pay in exchange for not needing to water this morning.

Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)

Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)

I planted some new purple gladioli for cutting this year, but the first to flower is a salmon one from many years ago.

Gladiolus

Gladiolus

Several weeks ago I pulled up last fall’s snapdragons from the meditation circle, but as an experiment I left one along the front edge of the northern border. Surprisingly it continues to bloom despite the heat, its rich blossom, still drenched from last night’s rain, seems impossibly smooth and glossy red.

Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon)

Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon)

I added several new Liatris spicata (Gayfeather) to the border this spring. Rather than opening, some of the flower tips just turned brown from the heat, but this one is off to a good start.

Liatris spicata (Gayfeather)

Liatris spicata (Gayfeather)

With the appearance of its first multicolored flowers open today, Lantana camara is making a comeback in the southern border. It had died back to the ground during this year’s cold winter.

Lantana camara (Common lantana)

Lantana camara (Common lantana)

Just on the other side of the fence from the lantana, one of my favorite vignettes from this morning’s garden walk is a large patch of self-seeded Cleome at the southern entrance to the garden. While the gate and much of the garden was still in shade, the flowers were bathed in the sun’s early light.

Sunny Patch of Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Sunny Patch of Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

A nectaring bee found the cleome enticing.

Bee Nectaring on Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Bee Nectaring on Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Gardens, Birds and Friends

Great Blue Heron, Sarah P. Duke Gardens

Great Blue Heron, Sarah P. Duke Gardens

My husband and I had the good fortune to host a quick visit from Christina and her husband this week and it was such a great experience.

The weather was more than a bit challenging, as we are in the middle of a serious heat wave. Maximum temperature records are flying out the window, including here in the Piedmont area where we live. The average temperature at this time of year is 85°F (29.4°C); however, yesterday was a sunny, hot, humid 100°F (37.7°C) day.

Our guests were real troopers as we tried to catch some of the garden highlights in this area. We started humbly with a look around pbmGarden. The meditation circle, Christina said, is what first drew her to my blog, so it was a treat to see her and her husband navigating the labyrinth.

Meditation Circle

Meditation Circle

Next up we toured Duke Gardens in Durham and though we did not cover all 55 acres, we managed to see quite a lot of the specialized gardens. Christina’s husband was quite interested in seeing North American birds and were able to spot American robin, red-bellied woodpecker, Eastern bluebird, brown thrasher, crow and blue jay, among others. An Eastern towhee was audible but never stepped out where we could spot it.

While cooling off at water’s edge we encountered a variety of ducks, watched a family of Canada geese and admired a stately Great Blue Heron. All the birds seemed eager to pose.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Muscovy Duck

Muscovy Duck and Canada Geese

Across the water in the distance we could see a focal point of the Asiatic Arboretum, a red Japanese-style arched bridge, which we later crossed.

The Red Bridge, Sarah P. Duke Gardens

The Red Bridge, Sarah P. Duke Gardens

The White Garden showcased beautiful hydrangeas.

White Garden, Sarah P. Duke Gardens

White Garden, Sarah P. Duke Gardens

As time ran short we had to scrap plans for Niche Gardens, a retail nursery for native and unusual plants. But before it closed for the day we managed a brief stop at nearby North Carolina Botanical Garden, where we saw a sampling of milkweeds, ferns (including southern maidenhair), carnivorous plants and trumpet vines. We admired the enormous leaves of  Magnolia macrophylla (Big-leaf Magnolia), a staff member explained to us about vining spinach that grows all summer and Christina was able to get a close-up look at a bee-covered Vitex angus-castus tree. Our bird list for the day grew to include American goldfinch and mourning dove.

There were a thousand more places I wanted to share and a thousand more things to say, but all too soon it was time to say good-bye. Thanks Christina for stopping in.