I think I must be one of the few gardeners who doesn't put together containers with a mix of plants. I love them when I see them but somehow I never seem to get around to doing them myself. I'm sure that some of my reluctance comes from not knowing what to combine or wondering how — or if — it will thrive.
I am seriously thinking of recreating one of these beauties for my garden next year, now that some of the guess-work has been done for me by Avant Gardens. I will need to look for a new pot though, as one of my favorites that would have been perfect for a plant combo, blew over and cracked apart in last Monday night's storm.
I recently brought home a new pair of lamps for our living room. The bases are ceramic with a raised pattern of swirling scrolls which subtly suggest flowers without actually being a floral motif. The color is a dark bronze, almost black, with hints of brown and plum. The lamps are topped with black shades in a silky fabric with a marbleized black-on-black pattern.
The only way to bring a bouquet into such a somber scene was to make it mostly leaves with a only a hint of floral brightness. Heucheras supplied both. And an iron Japanese teaspoon finished the arrangement.
To see what kinds of arrangements other gardens have created today, visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden who hosts this Monday meme.
I went into the garden wondering just what I might put in a vase this Monday, knowing that the season is winding down. White pitchers with pale flowers was not what I pictured initially. But they're a nice departure from all the rich and lively colors I usually think of in autumn. The rear vase holds the last of the Calamintha nepeta subsp. nepeta with a few faded stems of Agastache 'Blue Fortune'. The front pitcher has Heuchera leaves setting off a clutch of Aster divaricatis, Raiche form. I like this Aster best when its center has changed from yellow to a pinkish brown.
To see what other gardeners are putting into a vase today, visit Rambling in the Garden who hosts this weekly meme.
It seems to be the time of year when many of the bloggers I follow are all assessing their container gardens. Some have pots by the door, on the deck, window boxes or a bit of everything. Sometimes a lot of everything. My pots probably look sad by comparison. But I don't want the distraction of bright color in the foreground taking attention away from the view.
That means any deck pots have to be subdued, both the containers themselves and the contents. The best way for me to get the effect I want is with foliage. The deck is currently home to a pair of Hostas as well as Acers, Orchids summering outdoors, Heucheras with burgundy foliage and two tiny evergreens waiting to be permanently planted.
The Japanese maples are Acer palmatum 'Mikawa Yatsubusa'. They are nine years old and should be 3-4 feet tall and a bit wider at ten years old. Clearly they were unhappy where they were growing, so I decided to turn them into pot plants. I am going to overwinter them in the garage to see if they fare better under these circumstances.
On the left below is Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Cumulus' which will become a cloud of blue foliage about one foot high in ten years! Its neighbor is Thuja occidentals 'Rheingold' which will get to be 3-5 feet high and wide in ten years. I bought these little guys locally at Bruce Company for $12 each. They were in a section of the nursery devoted to plants that could be used for bonsai or for fairly gardens. I'm not interested in either of those garden genres but they were a great price for shrubs. Now I just have to wait ten years!
I put together flower arrangements all summer long and can easily create something I am pleased with no matter what's currently available in the garden. But photographing them is another issue. I have done a number of vases that I really liked and could not capture to my satisfaction. But I decided not to worry about the photo quality for the moment or I will never be able to take part in this monthly meme which I quite enjoy.
This bouquet was done for my husband's bathroom so I used a container that is strong and simple in color and shape. And went with Sedum flowerheads that were muted in tone.
A gardening friend who saw this vase commented that she was surprised to see what a great arrangement could be made out of summer standbys like Sedums and Hostas. I think part of the success is due to the sturdy stems and outward facing flowers of this particular Hosta, 'Whirlwind'. You can see what I mean in this picture of it growing in the garden.
To see what other gardeners have put in a vast today, stop by Rambling in the Garden who hosts "In a Vase on Monday."
This year I've been concentrating on the garden that slopes around the Tea House. I began some initial planting late last year with some very small trees and small clumps of ferns. This is what it looked like last summer, just as I was beginning to tackle this area. The Golden Shadows dogwood is surrounded by dwarf Solomon Seal, Sweet Woodruff and half-dead Ivy.
Here it is at the end of July last weekend. A gardening friend stopped by so Mark opened up the Tea House and added this Japanese shop sign. Note the hole in-between the clump of bamboo on the left and the yew ball on the right, as well as the huge spread of Iris cristata near the bottom of the slope. If you look carefully you can just see a dwarf Ginkgo tree poking out of the Iris at the bottom of hill.
Here's the same space after I attacked it this week. I finally joined up the two clumps of Iris cristata (the plain species at the bottom and 'Navy Blue Gem' at the top) to create a river running down the slope and spreading out around the flat rock at the bottom.
Except for a few brief moments this is essentially a green garden, which I think is a bit difficult to understand from a photo. But, if you look closely, you will see that I removed a lot of the Iris that was at the bottom of the slope. Essentially I cleared out where it was engulfing a pair of dwarf Ginkgo trees that are at their tiny mature size. This should do two things: accentuate the "river" effect and make these specimen trees more visible.
The slope includes a swath of Japanese painted fern, as well as a small river of Hosta 'Lemon Lime' (or its it 'Feather Boa'??) that swims around a group of rocks to join up with a group of 'Second Wind' Hostas. At the end of this line of Hostas is 'Spritzer' which finishes off a triangulation of this particular Hosta on the top of the slope and at the two bottom points.
This view is looking down the stone steps last summer.
The same view this week. Late last summer we added two more yew balls on this slope but away from the stairs. In recent days I planted about a dozen Hostas of varying sizes on this slope, a few new ones and the rest moved from other parts of the garden. In addition I added another dozen Hosta plants that were divisions of two mother plants that will eventually create larger swaths.
We also moved one of our largest ceramic pots to this area from the Sacred Grove where it has lived for a number of years. You can just see it in the corner of this photo. It nicely echoes the large pot under the Ginkgo tree in the triangular garden on the other side of the stepping stones at the foot of the slope.
I have definitely fallen behind on these Monday posts, though not on actual bouquets. I've been cutting flowers continuously and putting arrangements throughout the house. But our hot weather and abundant rainfall have the garden exploding — especially with weeds. So I've let the photos slide while I try to keep up with the weeds.
I splurged recently on a group of vases to add to my collection. They're made by Heath Ceramics and are quite small, only 3 inches in diameter and just over 4 inches high (7.62 cm x 10.16 cm). As the company says, "the Heath lover can never have too many bud vases". The company's current palette is subtle and the containers have a matte sheen rather than glossy shine. And they just added the wonderful little speckled style this summer (below and in the center above).
I've been using them to showcase foliage rather than flowers. The group usually is resting on an irregular slab of green marble in the center of the dining room table. But I brought them outside to photograph them.
To see what other gardeners have put in vases today, visit Rambling in the Garden who hosts this monthly meme.