In A Vase On Monday – Fluff and Majesty

In A Vase On Monday – Fluff And Majesty

Each Monday Cathy at Rambling In The Garden invites us to share an arrangement using materials collected from our gardens.

Today’s vase title comes from a flower description I happened upon by the late garden writer Henry Mitchell.

The fattest and most scrumptious of all flowers, a rare fusion of fluff and majesty, the peony is now coming into bloom.

Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’ opened last week and it easily lives up to that characterization. I knew it would find a place of honor in this week’s design.

Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’

Another majestic flower, regal and dramatic, is a black-bud-opening-to-dark-purple ruffled iris, a wonderful pass-along from a former neighbor.

Iris germanica (Tall bearded iris) and Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’

Less dramatic than the darker iris, the yellow iris is also a pass-along, circa 1976, and was brought from my former garden to this one in 2001. The older irises in my collection are more demure and understated.

Iris germanica (Tall bearded iris)

Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’ which grows along the Southern side path is having an exceptional year.

Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’

Its smoky lavender hue is echoed in the speckled portion of the iris falls, just under the beard.

In A Vase On Monday – Fluff And Majesty

Drifts of Verbena bonariensis are starting to accent the borders. In the vase today it adds height and reinforces the color theme.

Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

The arrangement was designed with the peony facing the front. I like the subtle change to the arrangement brought by rotating the vase slightly so the peony is viewed more to the side.

In A Vase On Monday – Fluff And Majesty

Materials

Flowers
Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’
Iris germanica (Tall bearded iris)
Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’
Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

Vase
Porcelain triangle Ikebana Blue Wave (6.5 W x 6.5 L x 2H)

A peek from above…

A View From Above

and a couple more views for my records.

In A Vase On Monday – Fluff And Majesty

In A Vase On Monday – Fluff And Majesty

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 gardens to place In A Vase On Monday.

41 thoughts on “In A Vase On Monday – Fluff and Majesty

  1. Christina

    Perfect! Stunning combination of the Peony and Irises, such rich sumptuous colour. As you may guess I used Irises too today but they aren’t the stars of my arrangement. Enjoy May Day

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thank you. Isn’t it wonderful that irises even exist? Such a marvel of nature. Mine are just beyond their peak now so even though I’m enjoying them, I feel a tinge of sadness knowing they’re fading away for another year.

      Reply
      1. Christina

        I still have a couple that haven’t begun yet but one is just finishing. I can’t believe that I didn’t grow them in my garden in England.

    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Peonies like it colder than what our winters provide apparently, but I don’t want it any colder here and they make a nice effort anyway.

      Reply
  2. Cathy

    A great description indeed for this very pretty peony. I love the look of the baptisia which is a plant I don’t know and the lavender shade is so effective in linking the verbena and darker iris to the peony whilst the yellw iris adds a splash of sunshine. All very lovely so thanks for your contribution, as always

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Baptisia is wild indigo–native here. This particular one was discovered as a chance seedling in a trial bed at the North Carolina Botanical Garden in the early 1990s and brought to market by a local native plants nursery. There is also a lovely yellow form.

      Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      I think you’re right Marian. Introvert that I am, this year I’ve come to appreciate the older forms of iris that I grow.

      Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thank you. I’ve tried Baptista in several locations around the garden and this one has done the best. Something usually eats all the flowers (deer probably) as it grows outside the main fence, so I don’t mind cutting some of the blooms.

      Reply
  3. Kris P

    It surprised me that the first thing I noticed was the Verbena, not the peony! I have severe peony envy as you may recall. Yours is beautiful, as are all of the flowers you’ve chosen this week. As summer is closing in on us and my Itoh peony has yet to produce flower buds, I’m guessing our winter rains weren’t sufficient to do the trick this year.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Kris, the verbena has been so nice in the garden this year. A flock of yellow goldfinches were perched on it for a moment, making a beautiful contrast. I’m rooting for that Itoh.

      Reply
  4. Linda Brazill

    Festiva Maxima was the peony everyone had when I was growing up. I remember being fascinated by it. And Henry Mitchell was one of the first garden writers I ever read. I always remember he said that if you could not grow a particular rose because of your climate you should move! I would not have thought to combine the Iris with the peony but they work well, esp. when they are not all stem but more flower.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      I read this peony was introduced in 1851. Wonder if any survive? I should pull out my Henry Mitchell books–learned about him long after he’d died, but his writing is timeless.

      Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Brian, I had ordered some fancy peony and this is what the nursery sent. Took several years for it to bloom at all so I didn’t know for a long time about the mistake. Festiva maxima is easy to grow and has been happy here, so I’m happy too.

      Reply
  5. Edinburgh Garden Diary

    I adore that peony. Also the Baptisia, which I hadn’t heard of but a quick online search tells me that it comes in a whole range of very tempting colours! Beautiful composition as always, Susie. Each bloom is exquisite.

    Reply
  6. Cathy

    Ooh, peonies flowering already? How wonderful! Love the combination with iris, and the description ‘fluff and majesty’ is very apt!

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Spring flowers are very early here, by one to two weeks on many things. These peonies are so exuberant they just make me smile.

      Reply
  7. Cath

    That peony is so beautiful! They are just the ultimate Spring flower and I would love to grow them but it’s a bit too warm and humid. They have such majesty. I bet that arrangement is bringing you a lot of pleasure this week.

    Reply
  8. rickii

    The earliest of my Irises are just beginning to bud up…something to look forward to. I hope I can use them as deftly as you have here.

    Reply

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