January Awakenings

On January 4, 2020 little tight hellebore buds were tucked in close to the earth. I just checked on them yesterday and they seemed content to stay hidden.  Today they have awakened.

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

Yesterday the lemony scent of daphne odora drifted through the air and with today’s breezes the effect is more pronounced.

Daphne odora (Winter daphne)

Daphne odora (Winter daphne)

In A Vase On Monday – Pine And Flora

In A Vase On Monday – Pine And Flora

Each Monday Cathy at Rambling In The Garden encourages us to share a vase highlighting what is growing in our gardens.

January has been mild in temperature but wet, making the garden soggy. Carefully stepping into squishy soil yesterday morning I retrieved a small pine branch that had dropped into the border from the neighbor’s towering tree. The branch is the starting point for today’s vase.

To support the pine branch I reached into a treasure trove of florist pins donated to me by a friend and former coworker. She had inherited the collection from relatives and was kind to pass them on to me. There are various sizes and shapes, mostly metal pins, but a few made of glass.  The one I reached for is metal, an extra-heavy 3.5 by 4.5-inch rectangular one whose pins are sharp and nicely spaced. It gripped the branch easily in place.

Florist Pin 3.5 By 4.5 Inches

In A Vase On Monday – Pine And Flora

This arrangement is a bit like a sketch or prototype. I like it much more in person than in the photographs. With more time I would have trimmed and shaped the pine branch more and would returned to the garden for some taller materials to support the design. Perhaps too I would bind some of the needles in green wire. Possibilities are endless.

In A Vase On Monday – Pine And Flora

The hellebore bud used last week opened after a day inside. It is included in today’s vase along with one other, cut Sunday, that opened the same way.

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

It is still possible to find a few camellias, so Yuletide is included again today. Daphne buds are reluctant to commit, but there are several stems with open flowers here and there.  I caught the fragrance as I cut the daphne and now am longing for it.

Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’ and Daphne

Materials
Flowers
Anthurium
Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’
Daphne odora (Winter daphne)
Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)
Foliage
Anthurium
Arum italicum
Pinus taeda (loblolly pine)
Container
Black square plastic dish

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting and giving us an opportunity to share flower-filled vases across the world. Visit her to discover what she and others found to place In A Vase On Monday.

In A Vase On Monday – January Blossoms

In A Vase On Monday – January Blossoms

Each Monday Cathy at Rambling In The Garden encourages us to share a vase highlighting what is growing in our gardens. It is the first Monday of the new year. Providing continuity from the past year, 2020’s initial vase holds the familiar blossoms of Yuletide sasanqua camellia. It really is the only choice for flowers this week.

In A Vase On Monday – January Blossoms

But I included a preview of Vases Future. Hellebores seem a bit late this year despite relatively mild weather recently. Their buds are promising.

Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’ With Hellebore Bud

The Daphne shrubs are full of buds and finally a tiny flower has emerged.

Daphne odora (Winter daphne)

The anthurium flower is from a house plant we were given a year ago. Originally the color was pink and perhaps it will be again one day. I have brought it into a different room where it will receive more light and where I will be reminded to water it occasionally.

In A Vase On Monday – January Blossoms

Materials
Flowers
Anthurium
Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’
Daphne odora (Winter daphne)
Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)
Foliage
Anthurium
Arum italicum
Container
Blue/brown ceramic flat, round dish

Deep thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting and giving us an opportunity to share flower-filled vases across the world. Visit her to discover what she and others found to place In A Vase On Monday.

2019 Garden Retrospective

Iris ‘Orinoco Flow’

The garden has not been tended properly for several years but it continues to nourish me.

Hellebores and daffodils bring the garden to life in January and February, leading the way toward iris time which generally marks the garden’s peak.

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

Narcissus ‘Tete-a-Tete’ (Tete-a-Tete Daffodil)

This year irises bloomed April 5-May 4, or at least that when I photographed them.

Iris germanica (Tall bearded iris) May 2, 2019

Iris hybrid  May 2, 2019

Peonies, zinnias and other flowers have their season too though helping to keep some interest going well into late fall, when camellias take over.

Paeonia lactiflora ‘Coral Charm’ (Coral Charm Peony)

Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’ and ‘Madame Emile Debatene’ May 1, 2019

Zinnias

Zinnias and Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) August 12, 1019

For expediency I tried to skip from peonies to zinnias! I should have known better. Whenever I try to choose among flowers, “But what about the…?” becomes my next thought.

What about anemone, muscari, columbine, monarda, gardenia, hydrangea, lamb’s ear, the redbud, the dogwood, asclepias, Clematis ‘Jackmanii’, or what about Virgie’s old-fashioned rose, the same one my mother and grandmother grew.

Rosa (Rose) -Virgie’s Old-fashioned Rose  May 13, 2019

This year I put effort into growing dahlias; photographed butterflies in the garden and serendipitously stumbled upon a rare one for North Carolina; and created a variety of floral vase designs using foliage and flora gathered from just outside the back steps.

Dahlias

Dahlia ‘David Howard’

Dahlia ‘Gallery Art Deco’

Dahlia ‘Cafe Au Lait’ with Phlox September 12, 2019

Dahlia ‘Cafe Au Lait’

Dahlia ‘Tsuku Yori No Shisha’

Florals

Most posts this year were weekly, scheduled for Mondays so I could join Cathy at Rambling In The Garden in sharing vases of cut flowers In A Vase On Monday. I rarely hesitate to sacrifice flowers from the garden. Bringing them indoors and working with them is a pleasure—a creative opportunity. See the 2019 Vases and those from prior years.

Heat Wave -June 3, 2019

Butterflies

Summarized in a mid-August post titled Summer In The Garden I documented a larger than usual variety of butterflies and other insects this year. They were not always easy to photograph, but they were fun to chase. iNaturalist is a valuable resource for help with identifying these garden visitors.

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

On a one hundred degree day in early October, while waiting for a Monarch to settle and pose, I snapped a photo of a closer and more cooperative subject. It turned out to be a fortuitous sighting of a Funereal Duskywing (Erynnis funeralis), a rare visitor to this state. [If you missed it, you can read about my duskywing saga.]

With only two other previous sightings of Funereal Duskywing in North Carolina I was pleased to have my photos included on the Butterflies of North Carolina website with the annotation in the comments section that “The most significant NC record was of a male photographed by Susie Moffat in her garden in Chatham County in 2019; the duskywing was nectaring on lantana.”

Funereal Duskywing (Erynnis funeralis)

Looking Ahead

Goals for the coming year include visiting more gardens, growing more from seeds, reviving the meditation circle, perhaps weeding and definitely appreciating my garden a little more for what it brings to my life.

Importantly, through this humble garden blog I am able to stay in touch with gardeners and other friends near and far.  Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!

 

In A Vase On Monday – Winter Bauble

In A Vase On Monday – Winter Bauble

Each Monday Cathy at Rambling In The Garden encourages us to share a vase highlighting what is growing in our gardens.

As 2019 comes to a close I chose small bits and baubles foraged from the garden beds for the year’s final Monday vase. Motivated to create a small design so I could feature two fresh, tiny blooms of Erysimum ‘Sugar Rush Red,’ I selected two petite but heavy, bowl-shaped glass candleholders as containers. I attached floral pin frogs to the candlesticks using florist sticky clay to make it easier to hold the materials in place.

Erysimum ‘Sugar Rush Red’

Spiraea this December has buds and a few white flowers. The fern-like greenery is Tansy. Several of its leaves came with a bonus streak of purple along the vein to pick up the color of one of the vases.

Spiraea Flowers and Leaves

An unusual find is a dried carcass from a daylily fruit, the loculicidal capsule. The daylily seed pod’s walls dry out and once the seeds are ripe the walls split apart. The fruit dehisces longitudinally through the locules. This three-valved chamber continued to dry, forming a conversation starter and interesting accent for today’s vase. (I welcome your corrections to my description of this process.)

Daylily Capsule

Daylily Capsule

In late October I had discovered one still holding its seeds; I am not sure if this is the same one that found its way into today’s vase.

Daylily Seed Pod October 24, 2019

The last ingredient looks like pine needle, but actually is grass, an unidentified oddity, the second clump I’ve found growing in the garden. The leaves are quite stiff and long, over 18 inches. It’s rich green color appealed to me and I decided to use it in an abstract way, formed into bundles and cut to even heights to form vertical pillars. Unfortunately the sharp prongs of the floral pin frogs were not closely enough spaced to hold all the grass securely. Next time I might bind the bundle with twine to keep the needles from spilling away.

In A Vase On Monday – Winter Bauble

The candleholders are 2 ½ inches in diameter. The contents in the clear one measure 6 inches tall; the purple, 7½ inches.

Materials
Flowers
Daylily seed capsule
Erysimum ‘Sugar Rush Red’ (Wallflower)
Spiraea prunifolia (bridal wreath spiraea)
Foliage
Stiff grass (unknown)
Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy)
Container
Small glass candleholders (2) fitted with florist pins

In A Vase On Monday – Winter Bauble

My 2019 Monday vases are collected into one place to see the year at a glance or to step though a slide show. I was able to participate 43 times this year.

Deep thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting and giving us an opportunity to share flower-filled vases across the world. Visit her to discover what she and others found to place In A Vase On Monday.

Happy, Happy New Year! Peace, calm and joy and may you grow!

Erysimum ‘Sugar Rush Red’

Foggy Morning Musings

It has been ages since the time when I wrote nearly daily blog entries here at pbmGarden. The goings-on in my garden are still going on, often are photographed and frequently, posts are conceived and begun, only to become abandoned for other priorities.

But the after-holidays have provided a bit of respite and this morning I had a chance to wander out into a mist of fog. First stop just out the front door our river birch beckoned. It was 47 degrees at 9:00 a.m. heading up to 67.

River Birch On Foggy Morning

By the front steps Winter daphne bides its time. Each year once I have detected daphne’s pink buds, I become anxious for the appearance of white blossoms and fragrant perfume.

Daphne odora (Winter daphne)

Daphne odora (Winter daphne)

Near the front sidewalk an enterprising insect architect had been busy fashioning a pyramidal model.

Ilex cornuta ‘Carissa’ (Carissa Holly)

Ilex cornuta ‘Carissa’ (Carissa Holly)

Ilex cornuta ‘Carissa’ (Carissa Holly)

Temperature and rainfall measurements have been all over the place since late October. There have been dark days, wet ones, cold, brisk and sunny ones and a few, balmy. Off and on during this day weak sun broke through for a short time and the sky tended toward blue before settling back into dull whitewashed gray.

I stepped across the street into the neighborhood’s park for a few more photos.

Foggy Morning

Foggy Morning

The trees were filled with birds but I could not make out what kind, nor could I grab an image. I watched them dance from branch to branch and listened to their songs and maybe that was enough.

Foggy Morning

Foggy Morning

Returning home I paused at the front garden to note Iberis (candytuft) planted 18 years ago still manages to if not thrive, survive; whereas, in the meditation circle and other spots in the back gardens it is very short-lived. It is an attractive ground cover even when not in flower. I do not know what is different about this one, not sure of its name. Others I have tried are Iberis sempervirens ‘Alexander’s White’  and ‘Purity.’

Iberis sempervirens (Candytuft) With Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Iberis sempervirens (Candytuft) With Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Nestling up to the Iberis is visually delicate Aquilegia canadensis. This native columbine is tough despite its dainty look and remains green most of the winter. Leaves sometimes take on a charming purple-red hue.

Iberis sempervirens (Candytuft) With Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Through the years columbine has helped itself to new locations all around the yard. Recently I have learned to call it a useful ground cover and feel much better about it.

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Are you enjoying a lull in your normal routine? Hope the days bring whatever you need, bustle or calm.