Each Monday Cathy at Rambling In The Garden invites us to share an arrangement using materials collected from the garden.
We are in the midst of a perfect spring in North Carolina. Skies are bluest blue, air is crisp at dawn, sunlight is warm and nourishing. Across the region petal-like bracts of dogwoods unfold above colorful azaleas, native columbine flowers nod atop every breeze and in my garden, irises are beginning to bloom.
Iris season epitomizes the best of spring in my little garden space. And so it is that mature hellebores, native columbine and early-blooming tall bearded irises take the stage this week for today’s Monday vase.
Several types of purple irises are flowering but Iris germanica ‘Raspberry Blush’ is the one I selected to use. Since purchasing Raspberry Blush several years ago I have often though the iris may be mislabeled. It seems more salmony orange than raspberry.
But outdoors in certain light the flower has more reddish tones and I can almost see raspberry.
Growing nearby the confusingly named iris is a strong stand of Aquilegia canadensis or Eastern red columbine. Its color seems particularly muted this year. The pale hue sparked my imagination to pair it with the iris.
Having never used columbine indoors, prior to cutting any I looked it up and read it can last quite well. Because this wildflower has self-seeded and spread itself into many parts of the garden, it was easy to collect a large batch. In such a large bunch the columbine quickly became tangled and it was tricky to tame.
Removing the foliage made it look tidier, but was too time-consuming. I settled on using only a few stems. When inserted into a florist’s frog the columbine created the outline of the design.
Next came the placement of the irises.
Hellebores tucked around the base of the arrangement help to conceal the mechanics.
The final arrangement is loose and fresh, much more interesting in person than as captured in photographs. The pictures have forced me to analyze quite a lot. If I were making it over I would lower most of the columbine and allow the irises to soar above. Or I would add several focal flowers in contrasting colors to make the design more dynamic.
Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)
Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)
Iris germanica ‘Raspberry Blush’
Container and Mechanics
Blue and periwinkle ceramic bowl
Small black plastic Solo bowl – vase insert
3-inch florist’s frog (floral pin holder)
The container was purchased from a potter at the local Eno River Festival probably a dozen years ago.
Last week several people asked about how long a clematis would last in a vase. The ‘Jackmanii’ I used lasted only 2 days, but it brought pleasure each time I passed by the vase.
Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting and giving us a chance to express our flower arranging passion. Visit her to discover what she and others found this week in their winter gardens to place In A Vase On Monday.
This is a very lovely soft arrangement. Love the colors. I have to say that sharing your flower arranging skills makes me take more time when I have cut flowers. For that, I send a big thank you. 🙂
Ah, time to join in each Monday Judy! Thanks.
Beautiful colors! And what a fabulous container.
Thanks Marian. I love that bowl and keep it out on a small table in the living room. Don’t think I’ve ever used it as a vase before. Another year I bought mugs from this same potter, whose name I will have to find. The sides are decorated abstractly with iris.
Beautiful display and container. I have never really thought of that native columbine for a vase but it looks wonderful. You really see its form this way, almost more than when it’s in the garden.
Thanks Linda. My first time using it. The columbine may become a messy, dropping petals and seeds, but I’ll try it for a day or two. It may end up on the back porch.
I really like the design, it looks like the perennial border captured in a bowl.
Thanks, I see what you mean with the three layers.
Oh this is wonderful Susie – and the iris look almost a pale pink rather than salmon and the perfect focal point amongst all those aquilegia blooms. Usually we might only see 2 or 3 stems of aquilegia so this airy display seems really novel and works so well. Your step by step instructions will prove really useful to epeople, I think, so thanks for sharing
Thanks Cathy. This form of aquilegia is so adaptable to light and soil conditions, mine has taken over one border. It’s underplanted with another sturdy grower, Monarda, that is coming up behind it quickly.My garden is full of undisciplined, playful plants.
The columbine really caught my eye. The large vase of them were as stunning as your arrangement.
Thanks, I am enjoying the leftover vase of columbine too. I think if I’d just trimmed some of the lower foliage so it would be out of the water, I would have let the columbine stand on its own.
you are very self critical Susie; it looks perfect to me just as it is!
I wasn’t unhappy with this vase at all. It’s got a real personality. Have a wonderful week.
I loved this on first sight, Susie! It’s a beautiful arrangement. Now you have me thinking I should try growing the drought-tolerant Arizona columbine.
Thanks Kris. Not familiar with that variety but I do enjoy this columbine in the garden. It’s already dropping petals so may not be the best for a vase though. Have a good week.
It’s a wonderful airy arrangement. The soft colours are delicious and very good together.
Thanks Alison. I like the soft colors too.
Lovely colours and flowers combined by a real artist!
Thank you Anna. I appreciate your encouragement. Have a nice week.
Susie you are too hard on yourself – I had an intake of breath when I saw that and your first instinct to have the columbines floating around and above was perfect. Iris can be hard to place in an arrangement as they are such a rigid flower but by surrounding them with the airy columbine you have made them work. The hellebores are a perfect final touch – as ever I love it!
Julie, I appreciate your thoughtful response. You described iris exactly: rigid. In demonstrations I’ve seen floral designers remove parts of a flower, for example some extra buds, so as not to interfere with the shape of the arrangement, but I wasn’t about to sacrifice any blooms!
I absolutely agree with Julie, took my breath away – you’re a true star florist, Susie. Who’d think of something like this – nobody. I fell in love with the Aqueligia here before and I’ms till looking for them. They’re delightful and so elegant, a perfect match for the Iris. Happy Easter 🙂 PS: Hope your husband is back to his old self. x
Thank you Annette and Happy Easter. Hope you can find Aqueligia eventually. I’m glad I experimented with the columbine. It started shedding after a day so it’s now on the back porch that overlooks the garden where the fallen petals are not such a problem. Looks very natural there.
Stunning Susie, a fabulous arrangement. How well they go together. I love the Aquilegia, it is so dainty. The Iris doesn’ t look like Raspberry Blush to me but I love its peachy colour.
Thank you. I’ve searched iris databases in past years and the faux raspberry blush looks similar to “‘Beverly Sills’ – Famous tall ruffled reblooming peach/pink.”
That’s such a beautiful arrangement – I do love the airy effect of the columbine flowers with the full irises. It is doubly interesting to me to see your selections as last year was my first for irises here and I am still trying to get desert columbine established. Would love to have it sow freely in my garden as yours do, but I doubt that will happen here! 😉 Something to dream for though! Love the pottery dish as well!
Thank you. Hope you’ll have good success with your columbine. My was planted about 15 years ago and none is in the original location. It spread itself around until it found locations it felt at home with.
So lovely Susie. Like they are growing together in a lagune… and those colours are such a good match! Simply a big bunch of those Columbines would be a delight, but you always create something extra special! Your spring garden must bring you so much pleasure. I have bought myself one of those small flower frogs but haven’t dared try it out yet! 😉
Thanks Cathy. I did end up with a large bunch of columbine that towered over the dining table on our back porch. They were lovely but pretty messy. Don’t be intimidated by the flower frog–it can be your friend for certain types of flowers.
those blush colours are so good. And you were able to find os many different plants with that colour.
Thanks Joanna, the blush colors are a bit unusual for my garden but glad they paired up well.
Never seen Columbine used in an arrangement like this – looks fantastic! I love the airy quality of the dangling flowers.
Jason, the columbine turned out to be pretty messy, so it was relegated to the back porch dining table fairly quickly. The airy quality appealed to me too.
That’s a really unique yet graceful combination of flowers! I wouldn’t think to combine the salmon-colored irises with the columbine, but it really works. Wild columbine has hints of peachy-salmon along with the gentle red, doesn’t it? I’m eagerly awaiting the columbines blooming here–they’re so graceful. You’ve created a beautiful, unique arrangement.
Thanks so much Beth. The columbine has been lovely this year. Hope you’ll get to enjoy it there soon.
An intake of breath when I saw your vase, Susie. It is really delightful, so delicate. And your description of how you went about it are always so helpful to a novice like me. The florist’s frog? I want one (and some lower, more shallow, bowls for arrangements).
Thank you Cathy. Glad you found the details helpful. The florist’s frog comes in very handy for certain types of arrangements. I saw some floral demonstrations a couple of weeks ago and good old crumpled chicken wire was a go-to solution for that designer.
I have tried the chicken wire, but I find my impatient hands tend to tear stems and mess up the wire when I’m inserting. Need to slow down (and find a frog!)
I love your beautiful vase and the flowers are all so delicate and beautiful! You are truely talented!
Thank you Lee. The columbine lasted only a short while indoors because of dropped petals. But it was fun to experiment.