Tag Archives: Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

In A Vase On Monday – Lost Meaning

In A Vase On Monday – Lost Meaning

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

At dayspring as sun entered the garden, gentle bees were slumbering on yellow petals. I gathered flowers carefully in the crisp morning air.

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage). Canna leaves wrap the vase.

I arranged the flowers in a mood of contentment and joy.

In A Vase On Monday – Lost Meaning

In A Vase On Monday – Lost Meaning

Then I learned the news of another senseless killing in the United States. Las Vegas.

Sorrow, grief, mourning.

Meaning is lost.

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

 

Materials

Flowers
Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)
Muhlenbergia capillaris (Pink Muhly Grass)
Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage)

Foliage
Canna
Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

Container
Flared, crystal vase

In A Vase On Monday – Lost Meaning

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.

Early October Notes

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

On this sunny Sunday afternoon I am safe and dry while many parts of North Carolina and other southern states are reeling from wind and rain brought by Hurricane Matthew. There is vast flooding that is expected to increase as rivers swell. While many are saying this storm could have been a lot worse, it is heartbreaking to see images of streets and homes underwater, including in my hometown of St. Pauls.

For all of my life I have heard reverential tales of the force of Hurricane Hazel which in October 1954 hit North Carolina, the only category 4 hurricane to do so. (Matthew approached as Category 3 but was Category 1 when the eye passed the Cape Fear region around Wilmington). Yesterday around 4:30 pm Hurricane Matthew surpassed a record set by Hurricane Hazel when the tide gauge in downtown Wilmington rose to 8.21 feet. Hazel’s record of 8.15 feet which had held for 62 years was toppled.

We probably had 4 or 5 inches of rain here yesterday. The meditation circle was largely underwater during the day but the water has soaked in now. Zinnias were knocked down as were the native swamp sunflowers. I had watched the sunflowers swaying all afternoon, surprised to see them standing. They tend to fall over each autumn with or without a storm. Here is how they looked a few days ago.

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Last Thursday my husband and I stopped by the Botanical Garden to see what was in bloom. Though I know many of you enjoy asters, I am not really a big fan; however, it was easy to appreciate this large planting in its prime.

Aster at NC Botanical Garden

Aster at NC Botanical Garden

 

Symphyotrichum puniceum (Purple-stem American-aster) -Canada & eastern United States

Symphyotrichum puniceum (Purple-stem American-aster) -Canada & eastern United States

Nearby golden flower heads danced in the gentle breeze.

Solidago spp. (Goldenrod)

Solidago spp. (Goldenrod)

Solidago spp. (Goldenrod)

Solidago spp. (Goldenrod)

And the pink muhly grass was looking splendid.

Muhlenbergia 'Pink Flamingos' (Hybrid Hair Grass) at NCBG

Muhlenbergia ‘Pink Flamingos’ (Hybrid Hair Grass) at NCBG

Since discovering the beauty of colchicum several years ago I have yet to plant my own, so it is lucky to live close to public gardens where someone thought to grow them.

Colchicum autumnale (Autumn-crocus)

Colchicum autumnale (Autumn-crocus)

Colchicum autumnale (Autumn-crocus)

Colchicum autumnale (Autumn-crocus)

Colchicum autumnale (Autumn-crocus)

Colchicum autumnale (Autumn-crocus)

Wordless Wednesday— White Clouds and Sunflowers

Scenes from North Carolina Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill yesterday.

White Clouds

I have always like pink muhly grass but how about this white form? Muhlenbergia capillaris ‘White Cloud’ (Hairgrass).

Muhlenbergia capillaris 'White Cloud' (Hairgrass)

Muhlenbergia capillaris 'White Cloud' (Hairgrass)

Muhlenbergia capillaris 'White Cloud' (Hairgrass)

Muhlenbergia capillaris 'White Cloud' (Hairgrass)

Muhlenbergia capillaris 'White Cloud' (Hairgrass)

 

Sunflowers

I think the darker yellow in the next photo is Swamp sunflower (Helianthus angustifolius). Not sure about the pale yellow flower.

Sunflowers at NCBG

 

Sunflowers at NCBG

In A Vase On Monday—Experimenting With A Blue Pot

In A Vase On Monday--Blue Tree Vase

In A Vase On Monday–Blue Tree Vase

Monday brings the chance to share cut flowers from the garden by joining in Cathy’s weekly challenge In A Vase On Monday.

The entirety of our summer’s missing rain was located and delivered consecutively for the last eleven days or so it seems. Ahead of warnings about Hurricane Joachin, on Thursday I gathered some flowers and placed them in several large containers of water for conditioning.

Late Friday afternoon I began thinking about how I might use the flowers for today’s vase. I definitely wanted to use the bright Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower) that soared upwards of 10 feet before finally blooming a week ago. In just the right light the petals look oddly neon green.

Helianthus angustifolius (swamp sunflower)

I had collected several generous armloads of this native flower thinking I would cut the the long stems to one size and add them into a tall vase for a sunny bouquet.*

But my thoughts shifted toward first using some of the flowers in a creative abstract design.

I had in mind to use a special ceramic sculpture my daughter made. It features a stylized tree form rooted at the base that expands upward and hugs the curves of the two-chambered container. Midnight blue coloring at the top of the taller side and a cut-out crescent moon evokes nighttime.

Detail of tree vase

Detail of tree vase

Detail of crescent moon on vase with Leaf of Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Detail of crescent moon on vase with Leaf of Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

For years this piece has been on display in my living room and I thought it, the container, would make an interesting focal point for the design supplemented with one or two stems of Helianthus. It did look interesting that way but unfortunately I did not take pictures before continuing to experiment. I kept adding more things until I had the yellow flowers winding up the sides, middle and around the top of the vase—all too much and without purpose or merit.

I started over a couple more times until I was finally satisfied. By then it was nighttime and rainy, so the indoor light was too weak for taking sharp photographs. The lighting created strange variations in the background wall color (actually a pale yellow), but the flower colors are accurate.

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

The pot is the focus of the design but I am not convinced the color of the flower material relates well to the container. On thing that works is the way the branching red stems of the sunflower echo the dark redness of three dahlias.

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

Materials
Dahlia x hybrida
Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)
Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage)
Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant)

Dahlia, Swamp Sunflower and Obedient Plant

Dahlia, Swamp Sunflower and Obedient Plant

Not wanting to use water in the vessel, this week’s vase was completely staged, photographed and immediately disassembled. Overall I am pleased with the result and I definitely enjoyed the process.

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

Thanks to Cathy for hosting this weekly flower addiction. Visit her at Rambling In The Garden to discover what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday and feel free to join in.


 

* [Eventually I got around to making that sunny bouquet and I had fun photographing it in a variety of vases. Here is a mesh gallery of that bouquet.]

Procrastination Payoff

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Typical of my gardening efforts this year I missed my deadline to cut down the towering, passalong Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower) that lives in the western border.

Not wishing to encourage this native plant to spread any further I usually clean it up early, but it really has a nice autumn display.

Seedheads of Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Seedheads of Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

 

Deep burgundy foliage of Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Deep burgundy foliage of Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Gravitating Back To The Garden

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower) in Western Border

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower) in Western Border

Autumn arrived this past week bringing a succession of cooler days and rain, lots of steady rain. Fortunately Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower), a native which reached over 10 feet tall before finally blooming about five days ago, managed to withstand the rain without falling over.

Yesterday the sun returned and I felt the pull to get busy in the garden again.

For many months I have often felt disengaged from my garden and as a result the flower beds have wandered through spring and summer with only minimal maintenance. But recently I took some time to enjoy the garden and my outlook changed.

Yesterday and today the weather was so pleasant, we ate every meal outdoors overlooking the borders. This morning while talking to our daughter in California, I sat in the garden on the bench next to a group of tall, colorful zinnias . As we chatted the birds chattered also and the chimes sounded gently in the breeze.

Looking around the last couple of days I noticed how things are still very green and how, despite my inattention, the garden continues to work well as a peaceful respite, at least when I take time for it.  Before long I really wanted to get to work, so this afternoon I spent a few hours cleaning up, trimming away some overgrown spots and pulling lots of weeds.  The time passed quickly and quietly—it was very satisfying. It is not that I have not kept up with some of the essential chores all along, it is rather that today I felt connected again.

Last spring I planted a dahlia at the back of the western border, thinking it was going to grow very tall. It grew slowly and soon got lost behind more aggressive players: Tradescantia, Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’, Physostegia virginians (Obedient plant), and a recently blooming, tiny white daisy-like flower I believe to be native Boltonia asteroides (false aster) or perhaps it could be native Symphyotrichum pilosum (frost aster).

Dahlia peeking out above Symphyotrichum pilosum (frost aster)

Dahlia peeking out above Symphyotrichum pilosum (frost aster)

I gave the dahlia some breathing room and placed a peony ring around it for support—better late than never perhaps.

Dahlia After the Cleanup

Dahlia After the Cleanup

Here is another embarrassing, entangled planting to the left of the dahlia. My goal was to pull up all of these plants today, but first I wanted some before images. As soon as I entered the border to take pictures I noticed a colorful orange and black butterfly that seemed not to mind the weedy, unruliness of this area.
American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)

As I moved in with my camera it alighted on an echinacea and I realized it was not a monarch as I had hoped it might be. I did not recognize this butterfly.

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) Nectaring On Echinacea

I managed one more photo as it prepared to take off. Tentatively I identified it as American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis), but would appreciate help in confirming it.

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) Preparing For Take-off

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) Preparing For Take-off

In the end I pulled up most of these plants, but the false aster (if that is indeed what it is) was teeming with wasps and bees, so I felt I should leave them some food.

Wasp on Symphyotrichum pilosum (frost aster)

Boltonia asteroides (false aster)

Symphyotrichum pilosum (frost aster)

I hope my gardening enthusiasm lasts for a while. Blue skies and lower humidity really help.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – August 2014

I missed last month but today I once again join Christina of Creating My Own Garden of the Hesperides for Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD). To my dismay after many attempts I do not have deep or wide vistas where foliage is the main highlight, so I will concentrate on the foliage of individual plants.

After seeing how other gardeners rely on Brunnera, I added this silvery-leaved plant in spring and am pleased with the way it brightens up a dark corner. Its name is Brunnera macrophylla ‘Silver Heart’ (False Forget-Me-Not).

Brunnera macrophylla ‘Silver Heart’ (False Forget-Me-Not)

Brunnera macrophylla ‘Silver Heart’ (False Forget-Me-Not)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower) is towering above the western border, adding welcome height and structure to that area.

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) flowers profusely in spring but its foliage is attractive all summer.  Here it is still covered in early morning dew.

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

The native Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) is forming flowers and will make a delicious meal later in the fall when the berries ripen to teenager purple.

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

The fern-like leaves of Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy) add nice textures to the border. This plant is very aggressive, but I have learned to be aggressive in pulling it out when it wanders too far.

Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy)

Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy)

Near the Tansy, something is eating the Ageratum. It has looked like this most of the summer. Most years I try to pull up the Ageratum so it does not overrun the border, but I have not been attentive enough to the garden this year. A few remain and the purple flowers will provide some relief to the autumn border. This is the first year the leaves have looked so poor.

Ageratum

Ageratum

In spring I began planting sedum in the hell strip between the sidewalk and the street where the grass refuses to grow. The sedum has not performed spectacularly but I think it is very slowly filling in. Before the homeowners association sends us a letter this fall telling us we need to replant our strip, I tried to get ahead of the game by also planting Ophiopogon japonicus ‘Nana’ (Dwarf Mondo Grass) . It has been so miserably hot since I bought it last week I could only manage to get a small portion of it planted so far.

Ophiopogon japonicus 'Nana' (Dwarf Mondo Grass)

Ophiopogon japonicus ‘Nana’ (Dwarf Mondo Grass)

Ophiopogon japonicus 'Nana' (Dwarf Mondo Grass) and sedum in the devil's strip

Ophiopogon japonicus ‘Nana’ (Dwarf Mondo Grass) and sedum in the devil’s strip

 

Also near the street is a small planting of shrubs encircling crape myrtles. I would very much appreciate it if someone can help identify this shrub. It is not one I love, but it requires very little maintenance and survives rain or drought equally well.

Unknown shrub

Unknown shrub

Unknown shrub

Unknown shrub

Visit Christina at Creating My Own Garden of the Hesperides for more Garden Bloggers Foliage Day features.