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Contemplating plants. Reforming my garden. Savoring peaceful moments. pbmgarden.blog

In A Vase On Monday – Garden Gifts

In A Vase On Monday – Garden Gifts

Each Monday Cathy at Rambling In The Garden encourages us to share a vase highlighting what is growing in our gardens.  Some of today’s flowers are from my garden, zinnias and a few small dahlias; the others grew a few hundred feet nearby.

This past week several sets of neighbors brought us flowers, lovely surprises. The friendliness and generosity of the gestures left us overwhelmed and grateful.  Does anyone still write sentences like, “Such fun I had” and get away with it? Well, such fun I had arranging two gifts of dahlias and another of chrysanthemums. Since mums are coming into bloom around the garden I will save them for another day and focus on dahlias.

The large dahlias in today’s vase were grown by neighbor Eileen, an excellent gardener and first-time dahlia grower.  (Somewhere she has their names recorded and I will try to update them later.) Eileen babied her plants all summer with spectacular results.

In A Vase On Monday – Garden Gifts

In A Vase On Monday – Garden Gifts

When my neighbor offered me these dahlias Sunday how could I resist? She even conditioned them for me and brought them to the back door. Choosing a container was difficult, eventually I settled on a black raku pot with a red accent in the front. At first I hid the red accent to feature  the orange and black.

In A Vase On Monday – Garden Gifts

Then I rotated the container to return the red accent to front center. I had deliberately used red zinnias along with the orange-sherbet-looking dahlias and decided the red in the pot worked fine with the flowers.

In A Vase On Monday – Garden Gifts

In A Vase On Monday – Garden Gifts

Materials
Flowers
Dahlia ‘David Howard’ (apricot orange)
Dahlia ‘Gallery Art Deco’ (sunrise/sunset)
Dahlia (names unknown)
Zinnia
Foliage
Gardenia jasminoides ‘August Beauty’
Container
Red/black raku vase, Charles Chrisco, Chrisco’s Pottery

I mentioned we received several bouquets this week. The first gift, also of dahlias from Eileen’s garden, was Tuesday. I made several arrangements and photographed them together and apart, swooning all the while.

Eileen’s Dahlias

Eileen’s Dahlias

Eileen’s Dahlias

Eileen’s Dahlias

Later that evening I noticed some of my small dahlias from last week’s Monday vase had begun to fade, so I began replacing them with the larger dahlias. Before long I had refashioned the entire thing. This may be my favorite vase I’ve designed. My husband and I enjoyed this arrangement all week, marveling at the size, structure and color of the flowers.

Last Week’s Monday Vase Reinvented

Having such a generous quantity of materials for floral designs is fairly rare. As fall moves ahead this past week has felt like a celebration.

In A Vase On Monday – Garden Gifts

This is not the best photo but I include it to illustrate the size of today’s final arrangement, posed here beside a few other raku pots by the same artist.

In A Vase On Monday – Garden Gifts

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 – Sublime

In A Vase On Monday – Sublime

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

With dahlias and zinnias vying prolifically to outdo each other, the materials for my Monday vases have become redundant this summer. Yet Dahlias and zinnias meet, I think, the Oxford definition of sublime: of such excellence, grandeur, or beauty as to inspire great admiration or awe;  and so they greet you once again this Monday morning.

I remain amazed at their persistence throughout the drought this summer.  (We had light showers since late yesterday morning, for the first time since Hurricane Dorian brought a few sprinkles our way a month ago. We need more but it feels such a relief to experience rain again.)

I wanted to challenge myself to do something different with the design this week. Dahlia ‘David Howard’ has such a soft orange hue I chose to feature it in a favorite Jugtown pot given me by a dear friend. My vision was the dahlias would be loosely arranged, but I struggled to keep the stems in place. Three other flowers never made it into the vase—they fell apart as I began arranging, scattering petals and leaving a void I decided to embrace.

In A Vase On Monday – Sublime

Next I experimented with a streamlined design using an Ikebana vase. It was temporary. Eventually I removed the flowers from it to use in a third vase, but did not take additional pictures. First to go was the large white dahlia. Interestingly I think without it the arrangement achieved greater balance.  Soon I needed the little apricot zinnias too, leaving behind the simplicity of gardenia foliage in the blue vase.

In A Vase On Monday – Sublime

Finally an abundance of cuttings from Dahlia ‘Gallery Art Deco’ inspired me to assemble something more lush.

In A Vase On Monday – Sublime

There seemed to be plenty of stems until the project was well underway (thus the necessity to rob the previous vases). Probably I could have used twice as many flowers, but I made do.

To ensure that the placement of each stem remained secure I used floral foam attached to a small plastic dish. The added benefit is I could try several vases with the same arranged flowers. The plastic dish just sits on top of the vase. (It should be secured to the vase safety and definitely for transport, but I haven’t bothered here.)

A crystal pedestal candy dish seems a bit too small.

In A Vase On Monday – Sublime

A red and black raku pot is more proportional to the dimensions of the flowers, though the red is a bit brash. I used an aubergine silk table runner as a backdrop as an attempt to blend all the colors.

In A Vase On Monday – Sublime

The tiny size of the foraged zinnias add interest, their apricot color plays against that of the Art Deco petal highlights and centers. A couple of stems of pink everlasting sweet pea add unexpected spice to the color scheme.

In A Vase On Monday – Sublime

Materials
Flowers
Dahlia ‘David Howard’ (apricot orange)
Dahlia ‘Gallery Art Deco’ (sunrise/sunset)
Dahlia ‘Tsuku Yori No Shisha’ (white)
Lathyrus latifolius (Everlasting sweet pea)
Zinnia
Foliage
Gardenia jasminoides ‘August Beauty’
Gladiolus
Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)
Container
Porcelain Ikebana vase, Georgetown Pottery, Maine. Rectangle Blue Zen (6.75L x 3.75W x 2H inches)
Red/black raku vase, Charles Chrisco, Chrisco’s Pottery
Crystal candy dish
Olive green Jugtown vase

I’ve been reading up on how to dig dahlia tubers for storage over the winter. It looks rather daunting but I’ve enjoyed these dahlias so much I have to try. I will also save seeds and for inspiration will return to Chloris‘ advice to grow dahlias from seed.

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.

A Rare Visitor, A Rare Moment In The Garden

Last Thursday was an auspicious day in the garden, made pleasant by sightings of three stately monarch butterflies and made thrilling by a truly rare visitor: Funereal Duskywing (Erynnis funeralis).

Funereal Duskywing (Erynnis funeralis)

A week ago on October 3, the hottest day on record in North Carolina for the month of October (100 degrees) I ran out into the garden at midday  (it was only 98°F. then) to greet and photograph a trio of monarchs nectaring at the zinnias. The butterflies scattered as I approached. I followed one to the large perennial lantana shrub, where it settled at the back, at the fence side where I would not be able to get close enough for a good photo.

Biding my time, I turned my camera to a dark butterfly that settled just at front left of me. Its hindwing was edged with white fringe.

Funereal Duskywing (Erynnis funeralis)

Funereal Duskywing (Erynnis funeralis)

Funereal Duskywing (Erynnis funeralis)

The monarch I’d been following lifted up and resettled, unfortunately still keeping its distance. No good pictures there.

Monarch (Danaus plexippus)

With one eye on the monarch I turned back to snap a few more images of the other butterfly.

Funereal Duskywing (Erynnis funeralis)

The monarch floated upward and alit again well out of reach of my camera. Okay, then…

I turned attention back to the more cooperative butterfly.  By now I had the sense there might be more than one. I can’t be sure of that now, but did I make a mental note of the sequence of pictures so as not to confuse individuals.  Subconsciously I was already thinking of posting an image on iNaturalist. This one was to my right slightly deep in the shadows.

Funereal Duskywing (Erynnis funeralis)

As I moved in the camera sensors adjusted and the butterfly started coming into focus.

Funereal Duskywing (Erynnis funeralis)

Funereal Duskywing (Erynnis funeralis)

Funereal Duskywing (Erynnis funeralis)

Ah, there it opened its wings.

Funereal Duskywing (Erynnis funeralis)

By this time it was feeling like the hottest day ever and I ran indoors. When I had time to check out the pictures, I first googled “black skipper 4 white spots” followed by “black skipper 4 white spots and white edging.” Funereal Duskywing (Erynnis funeralis) came up quickly but I dismissed it after seeing its range as Southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas south to Argentina.

Soon I turned to iNaturalist which compares an uploaded photograph to its vast database of images and makes its top ten species suggestions. Usually the top choice will be labelled “visually similar” and “seen nearby.” I normally accept the top suggestion and then wait and hope for the iNaturalist community to verify. Same as my google search, Funereal Duskywing (Erynnis funeralis) came up in iNaturalist as the top recommendation but it was missing the “seen nearby” designation.

After a couple days, no one on iNaturalist had responded. (Sometimes it takes only a couple minutes, but not this time. The entry remains unconfirmed there.) Barely about to contain my curiosity I turned to a new Facebook group I had just joined, Carolina Leps (Butterflies and Moths). As I was a brand new member I hesitated for a couple days before getting up the confidence to post an inquiry and photos for such an unlikely find.

But I should not have worried. One of the group members, Richard Stickney, soon answered it sure looked like one to him. Stickney is, it turns out, Butterfly House Curator at the NC Museum of Life and Science, an 84-acre science museum in nearby Durham. I was so grateful for his response. He confirmed the species is very rare in the eastern US and he indicated he would like to stop by to see it.  By the time Richard came by on Monday, of course the butterfly was not to be found. I have not observed the butterfly again since those few minutes when I distractedly photographed it while waiting for the monarchs to pose. Stickney pointed out the dustywing could be well out of the area by now continuing on its path or even snapped up by a bird. I keep looking out for it though.

Another butterfly expert in the Carolina Leps group, Jeff Pippen, also replied:

Yes, this looks excellent for Funereal Duskywing — a great record for NC! There are only about 2 previous reports for NC, both along the southeast coast. Very glad you got good photos!

Now Funereal Duskywing, rarely seen along the eastern US, is documented in Piedmont region of NC. How cool is that! I am glad I got up the nerve to share the pictures and ask for help with the identification. Thanks for Richard and Jeff for their responses. I am very excited to have contributed this observation.

 

In A Vase On Monday – Autumn Colors

In A Vase On Monday – Autumn Mix

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

These are the same flowers and colors I used throughout summer, same ones I addressed with summery titles.  But today they feel autumnal.

In A Vase On Monday – Autumn Mix

We’ve had a retreat from the unforgiving heat.  Last week this area set a record high temperature for the month of October, 100 degrees F.; Saturday saw highs in the 60s; today should reach 82. It is still very dry.

The white semi-cactus Dahlia ‘Tsuku Yori No Shisha’ is blooming better, I assume a result of the cooler nights.

In A Vase On Monday – Autumn Mix

Zinnias and dahlias responded to a small amount of hand watering this week. They are a lesson in resilience.

In A Vase On Monday – Autumn Mix

In A Vase On Monday – Autumn Mix

Gardenia ‘August Beauty’ is reblooming but tiny black insects make the flowers undesirable to bring indoors.  The rich green foliage though is fresh and makes a perfect foil to the fading dusky colors.

In A Vase On Monday – Autumn Mix

Materials
Flowers
Buddleja davidii ‘Adokeep’
Dahlia ‘David Howard’
Dahlia ‘Gallery Art Deco’
Dahlia ‘Tsuku Yori No Shisha’
Zinnia
Foliage
Gardenia jasminoides ‘August Beauty’
Container
Hand thrown ceramic bowl, periwinkle blue glaze

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 – Pattern And Shape

In A Vase On Monday – Pattern And Shape

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

With still not a drop of rain for weeks zinnias and dahlias are no longer producing enough blooms for generous, overflowing arrangements.

Switching gears today, I concentrated on using leaves of a tulip poplar that volunteered in the yard this summer. Quoting from Wikipedia, “The tulip tree is one of the largest of the native trees of the eastern United States, known to reach the height of 191.9 feet (58.49 meters)[4] with a trunk 1–2 m (4–6 ft) in diameter.” In other words this tree had no business sprouting up under my deck.

In A Vase On Monday – Pattern And Shape

Actually I am very fond of tulip poplars, remembering long summer days under one at my childhood home. That was a beautiful tree that eventually succumbed to Hurricane Fran in 1996. Another tulip poplar imprinted in my memory grew in woods behind our Wave Road house where we raised our daughter.  Unpacking our car one year after returning from vacation we saw the tree had been struck by lightning, scorched from top to toe.

The leaf form is simple and strong, as broad as tall, stretching 5-6 inches. I envisioned and tried a variety of ways to use the collected leaves but found all more challenging than there was time to come to clear resolution. I settled on one leaf, one dahlia.

The container is blown glass, asymmetrical with alternating bands of blue and green color. its top is loosely pinched together leaving just a small narrow opening.

In A Vase On Monday – Pattern And Shape

Today’s vase has me thinking of shape, pattern, positive and negative space and a touch of nostalgia.

In A Vase On Monday – Pattern And Shape

Materials
Flowers
Dahlia ‘Labyrinth’ (?) (sold as Dahlia ‘Cafe Au Lait’)
Foliage
Liriodendron tulipifera (Tulip Poplar)
Container
Glass vase

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.