Tag Archives: Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

More Beautyberry

On Monday I used branches of Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) to form the main structure of a floral design. Several people commented about this callicarpa being different from ones grown in their gardens, so I thought I would share a few more photographs of this shrub, which is native to Southern United States. I took this sequence of images on September 2, 2016.

American beautyberry has a loose, open form. The flowers are said to be insignificant. Pink buds form along leaf axils.

Flower buds. Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Flower buds. Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) -September 2, 2016

Flowering continues up the stalk as fruit forms from the spent blossoms left behind.

Pink flowers give way to small berries. Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Pink flowers give way to small berries. Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)-September 2, 2016

The clusters of fruit hug the stem. As the green drupes ripen their color shifts to reddish-purple.

Clusters of ripening fruit. Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Clusters of ripening fruit. Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) -September 2, 2016

For use in a flower arrangement I had to pluck the leaves away. The leaves eventually will drop leaving the bright berries for cardinals and other birds to enjoy.

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)-September 2, 2016

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)-September 12, 2016

In A Vase On Monday—Beautyberry

In A Vase On Monday - Beautyberry

In A Vase On Monday – Beautyberry

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

I am late preparing today’s vase, but managed to assemble a quick contribution featuring maturing stems of Callicarpa americana (American Beautyberry), a shrub native to the southeastern United States. Here is the arrangement from a different side.

In A Vase On Monday - Beautyberry

In A Vase On Monday – Beautyberry

To pair with the purplish-magenta of the ripened callicarpa berries, I included  a large stalk of Phlox paniculata ‘Nicky.’

Phlox paniculata 'Nicky,' American Beautyberry, Marigold

Phlox paniculata ‘Nicky,’ American Beautyberry, Marigold

Multiple stems of light pink Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant) act as a foil to soften the brash hues, then a few bright yellow zinnias and French marigolds add more dashes of color.

In A Vase On Monday - Beautyberry

In A Vase On Monday – Beautyberry

Obedient Plant, American Beautyberry, Zinnia, Marigold

Obedient Plant, American Beautyberry, Zinnia, Marigold

Photographing the arrangement was relegated to the screened porch so we would not have to be picking up little berries all week.

In A Vase On Monday - Beautyberry

In A Vase On Monday – Beautyberry

To hold the heavy stems of berries in place I used the larger Perfect Arranger floral holder, which in turn was secured to the container with floral clay adhesive. If I had had more time I might have worried about hiding the mechanics, but I think the Perfect Arranger is interesting and does not detract.

In A Vase On Monday - Beautyberry

In A Vase On Monday – Beautyberry

Materials
Callicarpa americana (American Beautyberry)
Phlox paniculata ‘Nicky’ (tall garden phlox)
Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant)
Zinnia ‘Cut and Come Again Mix’
Zinnia ‘Burpeeana Giants Mix’
Zinnia elegans ‘Cactus Flower Blend’
Round shallow ceramic bowl
Perfect Arranger floral holder
Floral clay adhesive

In A Vase On Monday - Beautyberry

In A Vase On Monday – Beautyberry

In A Vase On Monday - Beautyberry

In A Vase On Monday – Beautyberry

In A Vase On Monday - Beautyberry

In A Vase On Monday – Beautyberry

Thanks to Cathy for hosting this weekly chance to express our flower arranging passion. Visit her at Rambling In The Garden to discover what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – September 2015

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

I am joining Christina at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides for Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD, today. After such a hot, dry summer I have not enjoyed much time in the garden lately. I usually am sad to say good-bye to summer, but Fall begins here tomorrow and I find myself relieved.

The dogwood has limped through these hot days. It gets too much sun in its 14-year temporary (let’s just put it here for now) location. A nearby juniper that used to provide it shade had to come down several years ago, leaving the dogwood quite exposed until the replacement tree can grow large enough to become its protector. Yesterday I noticed the dogwood is starting to form fruit. When I took these pictures, I believe I heard a deep, tired sigh.

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

After displaying its beautiful flowers in mid-July this Iris domestica (Blackberry Lily) put itself to work on the task of increasing the show for next year. This is the first year I have grown Blackberry Lily and it is easy to understand why it got its name. Big green pods formed by mid-August and now a month later, these richly black seeds have emerged.

Iris domestica (Blackberry Lily)

Iris domestica (Blackberry Lily)

Iris domestica (Blackberry Lily)

Iris domestica (Blackberry Lily)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) is native to Southeastern United States. This is a deciduous shrub with loose, open branching. The magenta berries are less visible than in other Callicarpa species, but the cardinals, finches and other birds in the garden find them easily.

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) blooms its heart out in early spring. After being cut back to the ground it drapes itself again in soft, fresh green leaves, making an attractive ground cover.

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

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.

Mid-August Notables

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ with Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Lately I have spent very little time in my waning summer garden, but yesterday in the peace of the early morning I enjoyed some quiet moments watering and assessing the main borders.

Much of my garden is shutting down for the season. Cleome and phlox, which managed to carry the garden through the worst of the heat and drought, now have quit producing.

After spring, my favorite time to garden, all bets are off anyway, but I did make an effort this year to plan for more interest in the summer months. I also watered frequently when rains did not come, something I rarely am willing to do. Nevertheless, it has been a tough summer for gardening.

Even some old reliables, such as Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’ felt the strain. Usually a star in the summer, this year ‘Irish Eyes’ struggled and gave up all too quickly. Just a few flowers remain.

Many new plants have been stressed too. Although I tried to keep them happy, three new gardenias and one of the two new camellias appear to be doomed.

For several years I have admired photos of Agastache (Mexican hyssop) from across the blogosphere. Finally this spring I brought Agastache ‘Kudos Ambrosia’ home from my local garden center, where it has languished.

Also, despite packaging promises of “flowers summer through fall,” neither a new red Clematis ‘Niobe’  nor some red and purple dahlias planted in spring have yet to make much impact. These plants at least look healthy though so I am optimistic in a few more weeks their performance will improve as the weather cools.

Even with these and other setbacks, there are a few bright spots in the garden, which were really my focus for today.

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ has rebloomed. This vine looked lovely in spring, then turned completely brown in time for Christina’s visit. I trimmed part of it back halfway but it seems to have all recovered, so I cannot give credit to the pruning.

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

Zinnias continue to look colorful and healthy. These orange ones are my favorite each year.

Zinnia

Zinnia

Zinnia

Zinnia

I purchased a few red-orange Zinnia ‘Profusion Fire’ as plants for some instant color in late spring. The ones planted in containers did not make it, but in the ground they coped better. This one looked nice in the dewy morning, surrounded by fresh leaves of Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) and perennial Dusty Miller.

Zinnia 'Profusion Fire' Peeking Out From Under Aquilegia canadensis

Zinnia ‘Profusion Fire’ Peeking Out From Under Aquilegia canadensis

Zinnia 'Profusion Fire' and perennial Dusty Miller

Zinnia ‘Profusion Fire’ encompassed by perennial Dusty Miller

Rudbeckia hirta (black-eyed-susan) is not unusual at all, but I have had trouble keeping it established in my garden and am excited it has done well this year.

Rudbeckia hirta (black-eyed-susan)

Rudbeckia hirta (black-eyed-susan)

Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant) which opened about 10 days ago continues to look fresh in the northwest border. The cuttings I brought inside for Monday’s vase also are holding up well.

Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant)

Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant)

Cosmos planted from seed in early spring in the southern side border faced stiff competition from Cleome that reseeded vigorously.  Only a few cosmos plants survived the battle and none have bloomed so far even though the cleome has been removed. They look strong and healthy bathed in yesterday’s early sunlight. I expect them to rally this fall.

Cosmos

Cosmos

Cosmos

Cosmos

A dependable highlight for weeks and weeks each year, Autumn Joy (Stonecrop) is doing well. I really like it in this green stage.

Hylotelephium 'Herbstfreude' Autumn Joy (Stonecrop)

Hylotelephium ‘Herbstfreude’ Autumn Joy (Stonecrop)

A native, Callicarpa americana (American beauty berry) started flowering a few weeks ago. Berries are forming too, suggesting just a hint of the pink that will mature to a shocking shade of magenta.

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

So, at mid-August the garden is not as lush as last summer when there was ample rain to sustain it, but having chosen to water this year I have found myself more connected to its changing moods. Though sadly I could not save all the plants, I have had the pleasure of time spent among the flowers and the gift of being more aware of the bees, butterflies and other insects visiting my little backyard haven.

And then there is this: my husband spontaneously said tonight, “What a luxury the garden is.” I think he is on to something.

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.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – September 2014

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

The first day of autumn coincides with Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD).  The countryside and the garden remain fairly green—very little autumnal leaf color so far. As one sign of the season, stems of the native Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) are covered in purply ripened berries.

In the Northern Hemisphere the fall season arrives today with the occurrence of the autumnal equinox, September 22 at 10:29 p.m. EDT. It was almost 90°F yesterday, but now at 5:00 p.m. it is a pleasant 71°F. The rest of the week should remain in the seventies during the day, dropping into the 50s at night.

There was a surprise shower overnight, not enough to fill the bird baths but any amount is needed and welcome. A few drops remained on this Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine), decorated with bits of red as it transitions toward fall.

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Strange as it seems, last week I could detect the fragrance of Winter Daphne. Three of these lovely shrubs serve as hedge at the front of our house.

Daphne odora 'Aureomarginata' (Winter daphne)

Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ (Winter daphne)

Along the northern side yard camellias, gardenias and hellebores add green interest. The camellias are gaining fat buds that will open in another month to six weeks.  The gardenias in this position look healthy, more so than others in the back garden. Stationed nearby Hellebores are full of strong, deep green leaves.

Gardenia and Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

Gardenia and Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

For several years I have been monitoring the progress of a small passalong Sarcococca ruscifolia (Fragrant Sweet Box). It requires full shade which is hard to find in my garden. I planted it underneath one of the corner ‘Carolina Sapphire’ Arizona Cypress specimens, where it receives scant early morning sunlight. The plant remains very small but the foliage look great this year.

Sarcococca ruscifolia (Fragrant Sweet Box)

Sarcococca ruscifolia (Fragrant Sweet Box)

Sarcococca ruscifolia (Fragrant Sweet Box)

Sarcococca ruscifolia (Fragrant Sweet Box)

The only featured grass in my garden is Muhlenbergia capillaris (Pink Muhly Grass). Despite it  not being very well situated, this year it looks very nice.

Muhlenbergia capillaris (Pink Muhly Grass)

Muhlenbergia capillaris (Pink Muhly Grass)

A big thank you to Christina at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides for hosting GBFD on the 22nd of each month.

 

Early Morning Garden In Early September

Facing west: Lantana camara (Common lantana)  in the Southern Border and Zinnia in Island Border

Facing west: Lantana camara (Common lantana) in the Southern Border and Zinnia in Island Border

After the cold winter Lantana camera took a long time to start growing this year. This was fine with me because it seemed too large the last couple of years. This perennial, deciduous shrub is invasive in some places further south and is very toxic. Butterflies are typically attracted to it but there have been very few takers this summer.

Lantana camara (Common lantana)

Lantana camara (Common lantana)

Both the lantana and this Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) were planted soon after the garden was established. I moved most of the Perovskia to another location because usually by now this is crowded out by the arching branches of lantana. This year it is holding up pretty well.

Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) and Lantana camara (Common lantana)

Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) and Lantana camara (Common lantana)

Near the bottom of the branches the berries of Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) are ripening.

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

This intimidating creature is Argiope aurantia, known as the Corn Spider or the Black and Yellow Garden Spider.

Argiope aurantia, (Corn Spider or Black and Yellow Garden Spider)

Argiope aurantia, (Corn Spider or Black and Yellow Garden Spider)

I was happy I did not disturb her web. She did not like being photographed so early in the morning.

Argiope aurantia, (Corn Spider or Black and Yellow Garden Spider)

Argiope aurantia, (Corn Spider or Black and Yellow Garden Spider)

She was very well camouflaged as I went to check out the Chrysanthemums. Upon closer observation the concentric circles of the web are visible against the dark green on the left.

Argiope aurantia, (Corn Spider or Black and Yellow Garden Spider)

Argiope aurantia, (Corn Spider or Black and Yellow Garden Spider)

Here is a view of one of these orb spiders from the top side in a photograph taken several years ago.

Argiope aurantia, (Corn Spider or Black and Yellow Garden Spider)

Argiope aurantia, (Corn Spider or Black and Yellow Garden Spider)

I was excited this morning to find several yellow irises poised to rebloom. These are passalongs so I do not know the name.

Reblooming Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Reblooming Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Reblooming Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Reblooming Iris germanica (Bearded iris)