Each Monday brings the chance to join Cathy’s In A Vase On Monday to share an arrangement using materials gathered from the garden. As a special challenge Cathy has suggested we create an Ikebana-style floral design this week.
Ikebana is a fascinating art form, a centuries-old, Japanese flower arranging discipline with strict rules that followers may spend a life-time trying to master. Though not having that background, I admire the aesthetic, which emphasizes asymmetry and open space and seeks a harmonious balance among the container, materials and overall surroundings. There is a quiet, meditative component to Ikebana as well that I find appealing.
This design began with a stalk of canna with two large leaves. I made parallel cuts into one side of the darker, shorter leaf to create a fringed effect. The idea was for the fringe to fall evenly spaced along the right-hand side of the design. It looked beautiful for a very short time before it began shriveling and curling. Unlike Aspidistra which can withstand this type of manipulation, the canna leaf displayed distress immediately but retained an interesting character nevertheless.
The canna stalk was inserted first, positioned in the kenzan to the right at a slight angle and back. Next several thin stems of pure yellow Rudbeckia laciniata were secured slightly left and forward. Additional rudbeckia flowers were placed low to meet the edge of the container.
The open and playful form of the rudbeckia is in contrast to the broad, heavy leaves of the canna, yet they hold equal weight in the composition.
A small amount of orange Asclepias works as an anchor and helps tie the design to the container.
Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant) (Orange Glory Flower)
Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower)
blue/brown ceramic circular dish
black, round self-contained Kenzan (flower arranging frog)
Thanks to Cathy for hosting this weekly chance to express our flower arranging interests. Visit her at Rambling In The Garden to discover what Ikebana inspirations she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday. Feel free to join in.
Monday brings the chance to practice flower arranging by joining in Cathy’s weekly challenge In A Vase On Monday, where the goal is simply to fill a vase using materials gathered in one’s own garden.
I made lots of simple arrangements last week for a family get-together but did not have time to photograph them most of them. One of my favorites was this earth tone ceramic pot filled with purple and green leaves of Canna, Purple Heart and Pink Muhly Grass interspersed with a few stems of Verbena bonariensis. This became the starting point for my today’s vase.
After removing everything and discarding the Verbena bonariensis, I rinsed the leaves and the container and inserted a florist’s frog in the bottom.
Next I headed outdoors to gather Zinnias, currently the main source of color in my late summer garden. They are almost all orange or pink.
I found a couple of small Dahlia flowers as well.
To get started I placed the Canna leaves toward the back, then added a few of the tallest Zinnias, followed by the groups of Pink Muhly Grass.
A stem of Autumn Joy sedum from last week or maybe the week before, nicely filled a blank space and added a contrasting texture and some extra height.
After placing the rest of the flowers and Purple Heart, the arrangement seemed crowded. I trimmed away some of the foliage, rolled some leaves down and furled some vertically.
Hylotelephium ‘Herbstfreude’ Autumn Joy (Stonecrop)
Muhlenbergia capillaris (Pink Muhly Grass)
Tradescantia pallida ‘Purpurea’ (Purple Heart)
I placed the cheery Zinnia arrangement on a cherry table in the hallway, designed and crafted by our daughter, where the play of sunlight brightened and enriched the colors of the flowers.
It is interesting each week to join Cathy’s floral challenge called In A Vase On Monday. Her goal is to nudge us to fill a vase using materials gathered in one’s own garden.
Today’s vase features a single iris stalk with two open flowers and three buds. This iris is one of several selected at our community’s plant swap last October which had the good manners to be a reblooming variety and a nice color. Since the first of September these passalong irises have enlivened a small southwestern-corner bed with numerous richly hued and fragrant flowers.
I used strongly patterned, boldly colored Canna leaves to add balance and drama to the arrangement. This orange-flowered canna has not bloomed for the last two years and perhaps needs to be divided; nevertheless, its foliage is attractive and adds nice height to the southern side garden.
On a whim I cut a few stalks of wispy Pink Muhly Grass to add a softer element to the design. I liked the one curving shape introduced by a grass stem, but overall I do not think this material was particularly effective or necessary.
The hand painted Fenton Glass vase, a gift from a sister, proved to be the perfect height for today’s flowers, approximately 1:3. The diameter of its opening was just snug enough to hold the elements upright and stable. The yellowish-green coloring toward the base subtly echoed the bright lemony yellow of the iris.
1 stem reblooming Iris germanica
1 small stalk Canna
6 stems Muhlenbergia capillaris (Pink Muhly Grass)
I embarked on a major garden renovation in January 2011, installing some new privacy shrubs, a picket fence and a meditation circle with a labyrinth. These projects made a large impact on the garden and measurably increased my enjoyment of it. So I coasted for a year, just enjoying the flowers, but lately I have begun thinking again about various aspects of the garden’s design, structure and views.
Fortunately Christina at Creating My Own Garden of the Hesperides hosts Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD) each month, and this prompt provides an opportunity to examine the role foliage plays in the garden.
Summer officially arrived this week and temperatures in the nineties reinforced this changing of the season. This time of year the sun’s glare can pale even the strongest-colored blossoms, making the garden appear washed out. Strong foliage color and varying texture can add interest, especially during these next couple of months. I am often drawn to plants with leaves of deepest greens, reds and purples and find these plants help anchor the garden in summer. Silvery foliage, such as that found in Lavender, Dusty Miller and Artemisia, is equally useful and serves to complement the dark-leafed plants.
Canna’s strong form and deeply patterned, smooth, waxy leaves add interest at many levels as it grows.
This week the first reddish-orange canna flower appeared. (The actual blossom looks yellowish in this picture, but in fact is orange, similar in color to that of the Echinacea cones in the background.) The long, slender leaves of Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) are quite graceful and delicate when juxtaposed with the boldness of the Canna’s leaves.
Several weeks ago I transplanted some of the volunteer Cleome (Spider Flower) seedlings from the Southern path to other areas of the garden that needed filling in. These transplants have not grown very tall yet, just 2-3 feet, but they can reach 4-5 feet. The medium green palmate leaves are but one part of the interesting and complex structure of Cleome.
This Cleome below is opening in front of a stand of Monarda stems; the mid-range dark purple is Setcreasea ‘Purple Heart,’ a reliable plant used as a ground cover in this garden. A gift from a friend many years ago, Purple Heart dies back but easily survives the winters here.
When viewing the Cleome flower from above, the foliage assists by providing the perfect backdrop for the flower to be seen.
The garden holds many examples of foliage variations, but over time as plants have migrated, decreased, multiplied or died out altogether, many original plant pairings have ceased to exist. Much of what is left is happenstance. As I consider the garden’s overall design, I need to look closer at foliage and other characteristics of plants in the garden, noting what combinations work well and under what circumstances.
Check out other GBFD bloggers by visiting Christina at Creating My Own Garden of the Hesperides.
The garden has been completely on auto-pilot for the past eight weeks. With July’s extreme heat and drought came parched plants and severe gardening lethargy. Then the months of August and September brought several important rains, and as is the way of gardens, this garden responded, sparking renewal in growth and interest.
Touring and taking inventory today it was impossible not to revel in the multitude of blooms.
A few days into September the gardenias began blooming again, putting on a more magnificent show than in early June when temperatures in the mid-nineties forced them to struggle. Now the air is filled with the lovely and unmistakable scent of gardenia.
The Orange Canna adds height and interest to the east end of the side garden. Throughout July the canna’s blossoms wilted almost immediately. Today its elegant blossom brightens this space again.
A few Shasta Daisy flowers continue to bloom in different spots around the garden. The divisions transplanted in early Spring are healthy.
It was a treat to discover the Jackmani Clematis in bloom today. This is unusual for this garden. Again the rain seems to have made the difference.
The lantana has been in this garden for ten years. It performed beautifully this year, one of those plants that does not mind the heat.
The Meditation Circle
The flowers in the meditation circle have held up well throughout the entire summer. The marigolds and angelonia withstand the heat and humidity brilliantly. Both have spread beyond the 12-inch allotment of space between the stepping stones, but an occasional shearing works to restore order to the labyrinth and yields long-lasting bouquets to bring inside.
The perennials in the circle, candytuft, thyme and penstemon, all performed well and look healthy. Between the two types of penstemon (Beardtongue), Penstemon Digitalis ‘Husker Red’ is the preferred choice. The 18 ‘Pikes Peak Purple’ Penstemons (foreground) have done fine but are more scraggly and flowers are not very showy–fine in their own right but not great accents for the labyrinth in the meditation circle.
To Be Continued
Many more flowers deserve mention today so this post will be continued later. For a last glimpse at the garden today, here is Salvia ‘Blue Sky.’ This was brought from a former garden ten years ago. It is particularly lovely this year.