Tag Archives: verbena bonariensis

Butterflies and Glad Tidings

Throughout the day yesterday I glimpsed this male swallowtail nectaring at this large stand of Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena). The day before the garden had been filled with colorful American Goldfinch (Carduelis trusts) also enjoying this plant. The verbena has scattered itself all around the borders, so this year I have been able to share some with friends.

male Eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

male Eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

male Eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucous) enjoying Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

male Eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucous) enjoying Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

male Eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

male Eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

About a month ago I noticed a Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) fluttering around, just for a day, but I could never get a picture. Then again on Saturday another passed through. Still no picture of the butterfly, so I will share its host plant, Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant).

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

This spectacular gladiolus below is from a package of blue shades mix planted last spring. The bulbs performed poorly last year, so seeing this royal spire each day thrills me. Although the tip of the stem is out of view, at this stage the gladiolus is half blooms and half buds.

After Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) finished blooming here in the western border, I cut it back leaving this section looking particularly bare. Now that the weather has finally warmed up, everything should fill in quickly: Buddleia davidii ‘Adokeep’ (Butterfly Bush), Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower) and Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox). I am still deciding how to replace the gardenia hedge that once lined this fence along the back.

Gladiolus

Gladiolus

This is the same flower after a rain a few days earlier, with the northwest corner in the background: ‘Carolina Sapphire’ (Arizona Cypress), Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox), Callicarpa americana (American beauty berry), Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood). In front of the planter Allium atropurpureum are preparing to  bloom.

Gladiolus

Gladiolus

In A Vase On Monday—A Sweet Fragrance

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

Once again I am joining Cathy for In A Vase On Monday, a weekly invitation to fill and share a vase using materials gathered from one’s garden.

With a large pass-along gardenia starting to flower last week, what to use in my vase this week was an easy decision. Gardenias are quick to brown and I find them difficult to photograph, but these minor flaws are easily overlooked with one whiff of their sweet perfume.

Gardenia jasminoides

Gardenia jasminoides

The entire experience of gathering, arranging and photographing these gardenias was accentuated by the remarkable fragrance of the flowers.

Gardenia jasminoides

Gardenia jasminoides

Three stems of Verbena bonariensis inserted into a small, one inch floral pin holder doubled as  an armature around which the gardenias were added.

In A Vase On Monday - View From Above

In A Vase On Monday – View From Above

Today’s container is a traditionally-shaped pressed glass dish that had belonged to my aunt. Rarely used, it is the perfect size for the number of flowers I collected. The arrangement adds an graceful detail to the dining room buffet.

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

Materials

Flowers
Gardenia jasminoides
Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

Gardenia jasminoides

Gardenia jasminoides

A big thank you 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.

In A Vase On Monday—Traditional Marble

In A Vase On Monday-Marble and Red

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 dropped more than 25 degrees F. Saturday night delivering a fresh, autumnal crispness to the air. In response the Dahlia ‘Blue Bell’ (that turned out to be red) is finally blooming with more intensity. I was able to cut three fully open specimens this morning to include in today’s vase.

Dahlias Covered In Morning Dew

Dahlias Covered In Morning Dew

One Iceberg rose was in prime condition this morning and I brought it inside to serve as a focal point for today’s arrangement and to add contrast in texture and color.

Rosa 'Iceberg'

Rosa ‘Iceberg’

Freshly formed palmate leaves of lupine radiate outward and provide an interesting background for the white rose. (Thanks to Cathy at Words and Herbs for the suggestion to use lupine foliage in a vase.)

Palmate lupine leaves provide background for Rosa 'Iceberg'

Palmate lupine leaves provide background for Rosa ‘Iceberg’

For a container I selected a marble, urn-shaped mortar that is substantial enough to offset the mass of the heavy, richly-colored dahlia flowers.  The shape of the mortar together with the old-fashioned quality of the dahlias inspired this week’s rather traditional design.

Marble mortar anchors the arrangement.

Marble mortar anchors the arrangement.

Silvery sprigs of lavender echo the gray marble in the base while adding lightness to the design. Hovering above the dahlias a few Verbena bonariensis flowers complete the arrangement.

Verbena bonariensis and lavender sprigs are used as fillers.

Verbena bonariensis and lavender sprigs are used as fillers.

Verbena bonariensis and lavender with Dahlias

Verbena bonariensis and lavender with Dahlias

Materials

Dahlia ‘Blue Bell’- 3 stems
Rosa ‘Iceberg’- 1 stem
Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)- 7 stems
Lupinus ‘Woodfield Hybrids’ (Lupine)- 3 stems
Lavandula x intermedia ‘Dutch’ (Dutch Lavender)- 5 stems
1 Florist’s Frog
1 Marble Mortar

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

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.

In A Vase On Monday—Late Summer Basket

In A Vase On Monday - Late Summer Basket

In A Vase On Monday – Late Summer Basket

Today, the first Monday in September, is designated as Labor Day in the United States. It has been a federal holiday since 1894 to recognize the importance and contributions of workers. It is also time again to join in Cathy’s challenge In A Vase On Monday. The goal is to fill a vase using materials gathered in one’s own garden.

Although I love blue-hued flowers my garden most often seems to be filled with pink ones. Since for today’s arrangement I avoided reusing multicolored Zinnias and yellow Rudbeckia, today’s Monday vase is also filled with pink flowers.

Everlasting Sweet Pea is blooming better than it did at springtime and Obedient Plant is in its prime. Most of the Echinacea is attractive now only to the American goldfinches, but I found one large, fresh bloom to include. For a touch of blue I also chose a handful of  Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ and more pink, a few stems of Verbena bonariensis.

Pinkish hues dominate the garden's blooms: Everlasting Sweet Pea, Obedient Plant, Echinacea

Pinkish hues dominate the garden’s blooms: Everlasting Sweet Pea, Obedient Plant, Echinacea

 

I collected a mix of greenery to support the arrangement, so much in fact I later had to remove quite a bit to allow the flowers to stand out. The foliage is dark green Japanese holly, bright yellowish-green, Wintergreen boxwood and silvery Dutch Lavender.

Dark and light green and silvery foliage was used for this late summer arrangement.

Dark and light green and silvery foliage was used for this late summer arrangement.

The arrangement was created using floral foam in a shallow, plastic dish. The vase today is a small potato basket.

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

The basket is one of the first baskets I made one autumn many years ago during a 4 or 6-week program at The Arts Center in Carrboro.

Potato basket-detail

Potato basket-detail

Potato basket-detail

Potato basket-detail

Materials
Flowers
Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)
Lathyrus latifolius (Everlasting Sweet Pea)
Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant)
Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’
Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)
Foliage
Buxus microphylla var koreana ‘Wintergreen’ (Wintergreen boxwood)
Ilex crenata (Japanese holly)
Lavandula x intermedia ‘Dutch’ (Dutch Lavender)
Mechanics
Lomey 6″ clear designer dish
Floral foam
Handmade basket

I found this old photo of my baskets. Commercial dyes were used to color the reeds and the color has faded considerably. The egg basket handles were formed of wisteria vine, a material easily found in my yard at the time. For several months my kitchen was filled with basketmaking materials. I made baskets for my daughter, my sisters and a special friend and gave them as Christmas presents that year and then never made another one.

Susie's Baskets

Susie’s Baskets

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

Garden Recordkeeping Part 5

As September 2013 winds down I have some photographs and notes to record. This is the fifth and final post in this series.

The Southern side path leads from the left front of the house toward the garden in the back. Muhlenbergia capillaris (Pink Muhly Grass) is blooming there currently. It sits at the bottom end of the path, just before the walk turns right to guide visitors through the white picket gate entrance.

Muhlenbergia capillaris (Pink Muhly Grass) in Southern Side Path

Muhlenbergia capillaris (Pink Muhly Grass) in Southern Side Path

Other plants featured at this time in the Southern side garden are Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage), Lavender, Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood), Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue.’

Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage)

Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage)

An Iceberg rose belonged to a dear friend and though I am not much a a rose grower, this one is special for sentimental reasons. Since the weather cooled it has been reblooming.

Rosa 'Iceberg'

Rosa ‘Iceberg’

Rosa 'Iceberg'

Rosa ‘Iceberg’

Rosa 'Iceberg'

Rosa ‘Iceberg’

Rosa 'Iceberg'

Rosa ‘Iceberg’

I keep trying Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena) in various spots around the garden. American Goldfinches love the seeds and look pretty against whatever remaining lavender flowers have not gone to seed.

Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) is reliable and that is reason enough to like it. Although it is always listed as drought-resistant, it really did a lot better than usual when we were having plenty of rain.

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Last year I planted a row of three Italian Cypresses in back along the Northern border. Most of the time since, they have not looked quite convinced they should live and thrive, but do seem to be growing now a bit. Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood) is planted nearby.

Italian Cypress and Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Italian Cypress and Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Self-seeded Zinnias are still blooming in the northeast corner of the garden, as well as in a border near the back steps. These are the giant variety so they add some much needed height to the garden. I have not seen any butterflies around them lately, but earlier they attracted many Eastern Tiger Swallowtails.

Zinnia

Zinnia

Almanac
Partly cloudily, 66.6°F. at 7:25 pm, heading toward low tonight of 54°F. Warmer days for the rest of the week. No rain forecast. Waning crescent moon.

Sunday Garden Vignettes

The sky was gray since early morning and by early evening soft rain began to fall. At mid-afteroon the garden was a peaceful, serene setting for a leisurely walk.

Echinacea as well as lavender are opening in several places around the garden, just about the same time as last year. Perhaps Spring is slowing down from its frenzied earlier pace. Other observations: Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ will soon be blooming along the southern side path, a bit ahead of that planted in other areas. Liatris spicata is adding feathery softness to the northern border that has been dominated by sword-like iris leaves. Proving to be very weak-stemmed again this year, Achillea x ‘Appleblossom’ is falling over into a thick stand of Shasta Daisies. Many of the perennials attract bees, including Veronica spicata, Stachys byzantina, Nepeta and Penstemon. Verbena bonariensis looks strong and healthy this year and the American goldfinches are loving it.

Late October Garden, Up Close

From late this afternoon here are a few close-ups of the October garden.

Purchased this spring, the ‘Appleblossom’ yarrow performed poorly all summer. It is located in two sections of the garden, neither of which was to its liking. There were only a few blooms but perhaps it will put on a show yet. The feathery foliage looks very healthy now and several flowers promise to open soon.

Achillea x 'Appleblossom'

These chrysanthemums are one of many pass-along plants from a dear elderly cousin. The extra rains this year have given them a better than usual chance at putting on a nice show this year.

Chrysanthemum

The Verbena bonariensis has had an extended blooming period this year. Several new plants were added around the garden this year and all are doing well.

Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

Several Ornamental Sweet Potato vines have given a great show this year. This one survived being nibbled to a nub by deer early in the summer.

Ornamental Sweet Potato Vine

The NC State Fair ended today and frequently garden displays there use Ornamental Chili Peppers. Inspired by those showy displays, these pots of peppers add some nice deep Fall color.

Ornamental Pepper