Author Archives: pbmgarden

About pbmgarden

Contemplating plants. Reforming my garden. Savoring peaceful moments.

In A Vase On Monday – Foliage Variations

In A Vase On Monday – Foliage Variations

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

Usually at this time of winter Hellebores and Daphne have begun offering up their flowers, but there are no flowers outdoors this week. A single white cyclamen from an indoor plant stands in to represent the winter garden flora.

There was more choice for foliage. I settled on broad, patterned leaves of aucuba, a stem tip cut from sarcococca (with flower buds), a dried piece of eucalyptus and a pine branch scavenged from a holiday evergreen gift from treasured friends. The pine seemed to call for an Ikebana vase and I chose a blue rectangular one that I have used many times before.

In A Vase On Monday – Foliage Variations

The design transitioned multiple times and is still in a state of flux. This one has many paths and I am still searching.

In A Vase On Monday – Foliage Variations

This is is current state, simplified, and featuring sarcococca.

In A Vase On Monday – Foliage Variations

Cyclamen With Pine and Sarcococca ruscifolia


Cyclamen persicum (Persian cyclamen)
Pine branch
Sarcococca ruscifolia (Fragrant Sweet Box)
Aucuba japonica ‘Variegata’ (Gold Dust Aucuba)
Porcelain Ikebana vase, Georgetown Pottery, Maine. Rectangle Blue Zen (6.75L x 3.75W x 2H inches)

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

In A Vase On Monday – Form and Flower

In A Vase On Monday – Form and Flower

Each Monday Cathy at Rambling In The Garden invites us to share an arrangement using materials collected from our gardens. Like much of the United States my state of North Carolina  has been in deep freeze, literally setting records for number of consecutive hours under freezing.

Soon these snowy sidewalks and unfriendly temperatures will be just a memory. By Friday we should see 66 degree Fahrenheit. While waiting for that promised warmup I turned once again to the holiday Hippeastrum (amaryllis) featured in last week’s Monday vase.

At that time the amaryllis sported 4 blooms, sadly it was down to one yesterday. After cutting it from the bulb, I stuffed the inside of the stem with cotton to help it absorb water and placed it into a small Ikebana holder. I fashioned foliage for the normally bare-stemmed flower using bright green and white striped leaves from a Warneckii ‘Lemon Lime.’

For inspiration I chose a special sculptural form to serve both as container and focal point for today’s design.

In A Vase On Monday – Form and Flower

Our multi-talented daughter is the artist. Now an architect in L.A. she also is a fine woodworker.

The outer casement of her box is mahogany—surface carvings add texture and depth.  A drawer insert made of zebrawood slides opens from either side, revealing three deeply carved pockets (though not pictured, the middle one has a lid).  Because of the dual openings our daughter named this piece, “ambi.”

The Ikebana holder nestles comfortably into the leftmost pocket.

In A Vase On Monday – Form and Flower

The three large red seedpods seemed necessary to complete the design. 

In A Vase On Monday – Form and Flower


Hippeastrum (amaryllis)
Seedpods of unknown variety
Dracaena deremensis warneckii ‘Lemon Lime’
Carved Box, mahogany and zebrawood

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting each week. Visit her to discover what she and others found to place In A Vase On Monday.

Marking Time With A Garden

Snapdragons in Meditation Circle -April 22, 2017

Seven years ago, on January 7, 2011, I wrote my first pbmGarden article. Since that time I have been honored by your presence at my humble garden gate.

Lilium ‘Black Out’ (Asiatic lily)  – May 25, 2017

Initiated as a record-keeping discipline while I was working through some garden improvements, this blog has ended up being a source of deep personal satisfaction. You, dear readers, are the reason. As the garden grew, friendship sprouted. You have cheered me on with your own garden wisdoms and encouraged my efforts large and small.

Snapdragons in Meditation Circle – April 22, 2017

We share a love of nature, we savor gardening moments, we find energy, solace and joy among the trees, birds and flowers. Through our gardens we are nourished.

Iris sibirica (Siberian Iris) – April 26, 2017

It is a pleasure to have you visit. May our paths cross again soon.

Crossing Paths

Looking Back At 2017

Floral designs created for In A Vase On Monday were the majority of my posts this year, but there were some noteworthy moments in the garden itself. With emphasis on spring, my favorite time in the garden, here are a few favorites from 2017. Enjoy this quick view or click on a image to see the images full-size in a slideshow.

In A Vase On Monday – Another Year Blossoms

Hippeastrum (amaryllis) December 30, 2017

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

Today’s vase is from my indoor winter garden, a holiday peppermint from my sister Cindy. She has a good record of coaxing Hippeastrum (amaryllis) bulbs into bloom.

I had hoped to feature this amaryllis as my Christmas day vase last week, but I had to prepare the post several days early. At that time three buds were visible but only one was beginning to unfold, thwarting my plan. The next day, Christmas Eve, the first flower opened to reveal a green-tinged center, creamy stripes and dark pink accents.

Hippeastrum (amaryllis) December 24, 2017

During the week my husband and I enjoyed watching the expanding show as a second bud opened. (Wouldn’t you know, I failed to get a photo when the third bud opened on Friday.)

Hippeastrum (amaryllis) December 26, 2017

Then, Saturday morning, I was completely taken by surprise to find a fourth flower had inserted itself. How did I miss that last bud? 

Beautiful symmetry.

Hippeastrum (amaryllis) December 30, 2017

Eventually the amaryllis will be planted outdoors. With luck it may bloom and again find its way into a Monday vase.

Hippeastrum (amaryllis) December 30, 2017


Hippeastrum (amaryllis)
Metal container

Hippeastrum (amaryllis) December 30, 2017

If you are one to enjoy looking back at last year, here is the entire collection of 2017 Monday vases.

With gratefulness for your encouragement and friendship I wish you happiness, health and peace in the new year.

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting and giving us another year of flower arranging pleasure. Visit her to discover what she and others found to place In A Vase On Monday.

2017 Garden Reflections And Seeking Balance

I had to laugh at myself for deciding to review the garden over the past year. For one thing, I came across an almost completed draft of the 2016 garden review, abandoned.

This year I have been so disconnected from working in the garden, allowing it to become overgrown and weedy, that I have been loathe to photograph it in its true state. I stopped buying plants or even visiting garden centers; stopped walking the meditation labyrinth; stopped even strolling along the borders during some parts of the year.

For much of 2017 the garden no longer called to me in that special way it once did when it truly was my pleasure and salvation. This is not by any means my first wander away from tending the garden, but this year felt different. I simply did not have time to care for it and it became more obligation and burden than discovery and joy. For the first six months of the year my husband was recovering from 2 back-to-back back surgeries, undergoing extensive rehab and therapy, and gratefully he has done well. In the second half of this year my attention shifted further to yoga. After practicing since 2005, finally in June I completed training to become a yoga teacher, an endeavor I consider a personal milestone.

One encouraging influence of 2017 was attending the Garden Bloggers Fling. The attendees were friendly and delightful people; the gardens were inspirations. After starting the year with long days in hospital and rehab settings, I found such healing simply from being in these garden settings, their beauty touched my very core.

This year I managed to join In a Vase On Monday 49 times and that brought great satisfaction, both in creating an arrangement and in seeing what others had produced each week. For the most part I avoided participating in other thematic posts such as foliage day, bloom day or share-a-view day, which in other years I had loved writing. These can be quite fun and educational. Though there was never any obligation, I found myself stressing over them when I joined in and feeling guilty if I missed one; letting go of those commitments has freed me to enjoy those memes as a reader, appreciating the contributions, ideas and insights of my fellow bloggers.

In recent weeks I have sensed a subtle shift in attitude. Especially since the winter solstice I am aware of lengthening days. I have felt those tingling urges a gardener gets when imagining possibilities for next year’s garden. And so I find myself beginning to look forward to reconnecting with my little garden world in 2018 and to finding a manageable balance between that world and the rest of me.