Tag Archives: Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’

In A Vase On Monday – Purple And Other Flora

In A Vase On Monday – Purple And Other Flora

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

Since early childhood I have loved gladioli. Last year I planted Gladiolus ‘Purple Flora’ and its rich red counterpart, ‘Espresso.’ In blooming this June the purple one leads the way by just a few days and is today’s featured flower.

Gladiolus ‘Purple Flora’

I tried to partner it only with red Lilium ‘Black Out’ in a simple Ikebana design, but together the red and purple were so intense they needed relief. Soon I had brought in a host of other flowers.

Keeping the strong purple and red hues at center and left, I offset the design with lighter colors and varying textures on the right side near the base.

In A Vase On Monday – Purple And Other Flora

Materials
Flowers
Dahlia ‘Gallery Art Deco’
Dahlia ‘Tsuku Yori No Shisha’
Gladiolus ‘Purple Flora’
Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)
Hydrangea macrophylla (passalong from blogger Jayme, 2013)
Lilium ‘Black Out’ (Asiatic lily)
Foliage
Amaryllis
Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy)
Vase
Black Matte Dish With Red Interior

In A Vase On Monday – Purple And Other Flora

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting and giving us an opportunity to share flower-filled vases across the world. Visit her to discover what she and others found to place in a vase this week. Peace to you.

Wordless Wednesday – Red

Hemerocallis (Daylily) from Mercers’ in Fayetteville (may be ‘Michael Arnholt’

Hemerocallis (Daylily) from Mercers’ in Fayetteville (may be ‘Michael Arnholt’

Hemerocallis (Daylily) from Mercers’ in Fayetteville (may be ‘Michael Arnholt’

Hemerocallis (Daylily) from Mercers’ in Fayetteville (may be ‘Michael Arnholt’

Ruby Slippers, which opens pure white and then turns red, is shifting its color.

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

In A Vase On Monday – Heartsong

In A Vase On Monday – Heartsong

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

In A Vase On Monday – Heartsong

Amidst chaos in our cities and sadness profound, the first lilies and gardenias opened yesterday. They sit solemnly, quietly; a somber lament.

In A Vase On Monday – Heartsong

In A Vase On Monday – Heartsong

In A Vase On Monday – Heartsong

In A Vase On Monday – Heartsong

In A Vase On Monday – Heartsong

Materials
Flowers
Antirrhinum majus ‘Speedy Sonnet White’ (Snapdragon)
Gardenia jasminoides ‘August Beauty’
Gaura lindheimeri ‘Passionate Blush’ (Butterfly Gaura)
Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)
Lilium ‘Black Out’ (Asiatic lily)
Foliage
Gardenia jasminoides ‘August Beauty’
Vase
Porcelain Ikebana vase, Georgetown Pottery, Maine. Rectangle Blue Zen (6.75L x 3.75W x 2H inches)

In A Vase On Monday – Heartsong

In A Vase On Monday – Heartsong

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting and giving us an opportunity to share flower-filled vases across the world. Visit her to discover what she and others found to place in a vase this week. Peace to you.

Wordless Wednesday – Late May

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’
Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)
Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear) needs to be trimmed back and thinned out, but the bees convinced me to keep it awhile.

Currently lighting up the meditation circle Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue) is a another favorite of the bees.

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)
Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

In A Vase On Monday – Camellialabra

In A Vase On Monday – Camellialabra

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

In A Vase On Monday – Camellialabra

Grateful to find a few camellias Sunday afternoon I searched through vases for inspiration and found it in the form of a tall glass candlestick. Using a special floral foam adapter that inserts into the candleholder I began arranging a few bits of foliage:  shiny, deep green camellia leaves and fresh light green hellebore leaves. Scavenging from last week’s Monday vase I rescued and reused stems of gaura.

Next I positioned the recently gathered flowers. Most were red Yuletide camellias. There were a couple of pink and cream Hana-Jiman. Twice as many camellias would have been nice but when all were used I was satisfied. The morning, after all, had been below freezing.

Then I glanced over at the Thanksgiving arrangement sitting nearby, made from purchased bouquets.

T

After nearly two weeks those flowers were still amazingly fresh. From among them I chose a white with pink-accented Alstroemeria to fill out today’s design.

In A Vase On Monday – Camellialabra

In A Vase On Monday – Camellialabra

Materials
Flowers
Alstroemeria
Camellia sasanqua ‘Hana-Jiman’
Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’
Chrysanthemum
Gaura lindheimeri ‘Passionate Blush’ (Butterfly Gaura)
Foliage
Helleborus
Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)
Lavender
Container

Glass candlestick with floral foam base adapter (4.5 inches diameter)

In A Vase On Monday – Camellialabra

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 – December’s ‘Passionate Blush’

In A Vase On Monday – December’s ‘Passionate Blush’

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

December has arrived with the garden in a soggy state. Camellias are beleagured from successive bouts of cold and rain. Snapdragons and violas that were planted to add color to bleak November (and December) refuse to bloom. For Thanksgiving I had purchased a couple of mixed bouquets and created a table arrangement which I considered calling into duty for today’s vase, but I decided to explore the garden first.

So for inspiration this week I returned to ‘Ruby Slippers,’ the oakleaf hydrangea featured several weeks ago. Its deep red leaves are cheerful and welcome this time of year. Everything else seemed woefully unusable until several plants of Gaura lindheimeri ‘Passionate Blush’ offered up possibilities—flexible and energetic stems of burgundy with a few flowers and a few leaves. I do not remember noticing gaura at this time of year before, but this day the stems danced in my hand, begging to star this Monday.

Using an Ikebana vase I inserted the hydrangea foliage low in front, then added several multi-branched stems of gaura. The gaura flowed gracefully. It was limber enough I could wrap and twist pieces into shapes of circles and ovals. I liked the rhythmical effect and felt it was done, but could not resist adding a lime green chrysanthemum plucked from the Thanksgiving bouquet.

In A Vase On Monday – December’s ‘Passionate Blush’

Chrysanthemum, , Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ and Gaura lindheimeri ‘Passionate Blush’

In a second Ikebana vase I clustered a bunch of gaura stems to the right side in back, placed the remaining red hydrangea leaves low to left and center, pleased with the breezy looseness.  This time I wondered how some red alstroemeria from the Thanksgiving vase might look against the red stems and leaves. Fine, yes that will do.

In A Vase On Monday – December’s ‘Passionate Blush’

In A Vase On Monday – December’s ‘Passionate Blush’

Alstroemeria, Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ and Gaura lindheimeri ‘Passionate Blush’

Materials
Flowers
Alstroemeria
Chrysanthemum
Gaura lindheimeri ‘Passionate Blush’ (Butterfly Gaura)
Foliage
Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)
Container
Porcelain Ikebana vases, Georgetown Pottery, Maine. Rectangle Blue Wave. Triangle Blue Wave (6.5 W x 6.5 L x 2H)

Alstroemeria, Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ and Gaura lindheimeri ‘Passionate Blush’

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-Mass Of Pink And White

In A Vase On Monday – Mass Of Pink And White

Each Monday Cathy from Rambling In The Garden invites us to share a vase assembled from materials collected in our gardens.

It feels like summer now complete with high humidity, soaring temperatures and little rain. Today’s mass design relies on two hydrangeas that are enlivening the garden this week.

In A Vase On Monday – Mass Of Pink And White

Featured are white flowers of H. quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ and pink flowers from a passalong H. macrophylla.  I am not such a big fan of pink and would prefer to be sharing this mophead hydrangea in blue, but the soil at my house is too alkaline. I know it’s possible to increase the acidity of the soil to get the blue I desire but I’ve never gotten around to it.

In A Vase On Monday – Mass Of Pink And White

The hydrangeas are joined by more pink and white, courtesy of my last peonies for the season.

I had stored a few peony buds in the refrigerator for several weeks before bringing them out in time for a visit from my sister-in-law last Tuesday. Some buds opened immediately, while others opened unhurriedly and ended up in today’s vase. Both Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait’ and P. ‘Festiva Maxima’ are deliciously fragrant.

Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’

Gaura lindheimeri ‘Passionate Blush’ (Butterfly Gaura), Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait’ (Peony), Hydrangea macrophylla

Seeing Gaura lindheimeri ‘Passionate Blush’  in the garden this week was a surprise and I could not resist tucking a bit into this Monday vase. Gaura has never thrived here and I thought it had disappeared completely.

Gaura and Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’

Gaura lindheimeri ‘Passionate Blush’ (Butterfly Gaura)

Materials
Flowers
Gaura lindheimeri ‘Passionate Blush’ (Butterfly Gaura)
Hydrangea macrophylla
Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)
Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’
Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait’ (Peony)
Foliage
Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’
Container
Porcelain Ikebana vase, Georgetown Pottery, Maine. Triangle Black Wave (6.5 W x 6.5 L x 2H)

In A Vase On Monday – Mass Of Pink And White

Many 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-Accent On Green

In A Vase On Monday – Accent On Green

Each Monday Cathy from Rambling In The Garden invites us to share a vase assembled from materials collected in our gardens.

In A Vase On Monday – Accent On Green

The garden has moved on from irises and peonies, bringing a temporary lull in color. Dahlia tubers are coming up; zinnia seeds need to be planted. Meanwhile, the garden is greener, quieter, subtler.

Greens form the foundation of today’s vase. With Verbena bonariensis being the exception, flowers in this floral design are just coming into bloom.

Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

The design is a base of green with accents of color from the violet-hued verbena and from red leaves and stems of Husker’s Red.

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

The soft gray-green of lamb’s ear is specked with a few pink blooms.

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)

Rich blue flowers will soon appear on Black and Blue salvia. Its tender young lime-green leaves form a stark contrast.

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

The salvia’s leaves echo the light green inflorescence of Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers.’  Ruby Slippers will evolve its color into pink and burgundy.

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’

Materials
Flowers
Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)
Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)
Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’
Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)
Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)
Foliage
Container
Porcelain Ikebana vase, Georgetown Pottery, Maine. Triangle Black Wave (6.5 W x 6.5 L x 2H)

Happy gardening!

Many 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.

Ruby Slippers In The Garden

After featuring the red leaves of my dwarf oakleaf hydrangea in Monday’s vase I went back through some photos to evaluate how it looked earlier in the year.  The sequence of its development each year is remarkable, so I thought I would share its colorful stages.

This is Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’  (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea). It was planted in April 2013 near a large Arizona cypress at the back of the western border, where it could receive some protection from the hot summer sun. It developed rich red leaves that first year and had one or two blooms the following spring, but in 2015 I moved it forward where it could receive more sunlight. Then it really took off.

Just planted, April 2013. Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’

April 30, 2017

By late April the hydrangea show begins. This oakleaf blooms on last year’s growth, but unlike the Hydrangea macrophylla in the garden, flower production has never been affected by cold weather.

April 30, 2017. Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’

May 8, 2017

The inflorescence can be about 9 inches long.

May 8, 2017. Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’

May 15, 2017

The deciduous shrub is said to mature quickly at 3 1/2 ft. tall to 4 to 5 ft. wide. Mine has not spread that wide, or maybe it has. I should measure!

May 15, 2017. Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’

May 31, 2017

The flowers open as pure white but in a couple of weeks take on a pink tinge.

May 31, 2017. Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’

June 27, 2017

In another month the flowers have developed a richer red hue. (Ignore those pink garden phlox in the background–an unplanned combination so shocking I almost like it.)

June 27, 2017. Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’

July 1, 2017

July 1, 2017. Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’

July 1, 2017. Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’

September 22, 2017

Eventually the flowers fade and at least in my hot summer garden, turn brown—the least attractive stage. I have no pictures of the oakleaf during this period.

Then in about September the leaf color begins to transform the shrub.

September 22, 2017 Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’

December 6, 2013

Brilliant red leaves developed even the first year.

December 6, 2013. Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’

December 21, 2016

Last winter I captured this frosty-rimmed scene.

December 21, 2016. Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’

November 25, 2017

And this year the color has warmed the garden with richness.

November 25, 2017. Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ has been a successful addition to my garden. What’s your favorite shrub for extended seasonal color?

In A Vase On Monday – Ruby Slippers

In A Vase On Monday – Ruby Slippers

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

Friday it rained, snowed and sleeted Friday with no accumulation. Meanwhile through the window glass I was admiring the way Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ is living up to its name this year, the ruby part at least. Before snow resumed on Saturday afternoon, I ran out to collect a branch of red leaves to feature in today’s vase.

Next I checked and yes, looking unscathed by the wintry weather, Erysimum ‘Sugar Rush Purple’ and ‘Sugar Rush Primrose’ were going about their flowery business.  I highlighted these a couple weeks ago when they had just started blooming. This time I could detect a light fragrance.

Erysimum ‘Sugar Rush Purple’

What made the red leaves so lovely outdoors was the glowing effect of light streaming though them. In the pictures, without the backlit setting, the leaves are less compelling, but in person they are rather winsome. Husker Red penstemon was added at the lip of the vase, continuing the red foliage theme.

In A Vase On Monday – Ruby Slippers

The design needed more. More flowers. More height. Vertical interest. But the snow had returned and rather than going back into the garden, I made do by incorporating some saved pieces of mossy, lichen-covered wood.

In A Vase On Monday – Ruby Slippers

In A Vase On Monday – Ruby Slippers

These helped a bit, but I lost interest in working on this vase any further. I took it as far as I could.

In A Vase On Monday – Ruby Slippers

Today’s container is a ceramic ikebana vase with 3 integrated ceramic tubes, built-in stem holders, with openings near the base to allow water to flow into the tubes easily.

Materials

Flowers
Erysimum ‘Sugar Rush Primrose’ (Wallflower)
Erysimum ‘Sugar Rush Purple’ (Wallflower)

Foliage
Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)
Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

Container
Ceramic ikebana vase has 3 integrated ceramic tubes, built-in stem holders

Erysimum ‘Sugar Rush Primrose’

One more thing: A thoughtful garden club friend, Debbie, recently surprised me with a gift. She is downsizing as she prepares to move to another home and so passed along her Ateco 612 12″ revolving cake stand to use with my flower arranging. The stand is five inches high with a cast iron base and aluminum top. I have seen florists use a similar stand to assist when designing, rotating the arrangement frequently to check all sides. Today I used the stand while photographing my flowers and found it very helpful. Thanks Debbie!

Ateco 612 Revolving Stand

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.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – April 2017

Today is Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD), hosted by Christina at Garden of the Hesperides. It’s been too busy around my house the past few months to blog regularly as my husband recovers from surgeries. (He is doing well and continues to get physical therapy to help him regain strength.)

But today I planned to join Christina in looking at the part foliage plays around the garden and as there still are a few hours before the day ends, here goes. I refuse to show a photo of the Italian cypress, one of three planted last fall, mown down in its youth by voles. [I discovered it simply leaning over the other day. How I wish there were an easy and practical solution for controlling those creatures]. So, here is more interesting foliage that caught my eye this week.

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue) is looking great in the meditation circle.

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’  (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea) took several years to get established but is looking strong this spring.

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

The soft silvery mound formed by Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ foliage is appealing in springtime.

Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’ at the southern side path entrance has tripled itself. Although it looks fine here alongside this Asclepias, it will soon tower 6 feet.

Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower) and Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

This little beauty is Itea virginica ‘Sprich’ LITTLE HENRY (Virginia sweetspire). It was planted last fall (along with the fateful cypress vole fodder.) I have admired this shrub on other blogs and am looking forward to having it in my garden.

Itea virginica ‘Sprich’ LITTLE HENRY (Virginia sweetspire)

Shasta daisies have helped themselves to an entire border. I push back occasionally and pass along plants to friends, but the foliage is evergreen and in summer the flowers will be welcome, so for the most part I just enjoy them.

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

Visit Christina at Garden of the Hesperides for a look around her remarkable Italian garden and find links to foliage perspectives from many parts of the world.

Frosty Winter Solstice Morn

December Solstice (Winter Solstice) Wednesday, December 21, 2016 at 5:44 am. This day is 4 hours, 51 minutes shorter than on June Solstice.

Frosty Thyme In Meditation Circle

Frosty Thyme In Meditation Circle

Frost rimmed foliage of Hydrangea quercifolia 'Ruby Slippers' (Lil' Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

Frost rimmed foliage of Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

In A Vase On Monday— Hydrangeas

In A Vase On Monday - Hydrangeas

In A Vase On Monday – Hydrangeas

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

Hydrangeas began blooming last week and I am thrilled. The flowers have a way to go before they are fully open but I could not wait. Hydrangea macrophylla generally bloom on old growth. In the previous two years late cold snaps ruined the buds, so this is the first promising display ever from these passalong shrubs.

Often arrangements of flowers require many more blooms than one would expect. I had to return to the garden to snip a few extra hydrangeas to complete the vase.

These flowers were so luxurious and satisfying to arrange.

In A Vase On Monday - Hydrangeas

In A Vase On Monday – Hydrangeas

Perhaps an odd use of concealer foliage, I first lay out a collar of pink achillea around the perimeter of the vase and then added the layer of leaves above. I chose Heuchera villosa ‘Big Top Bronze’ for its beautiful red coloring on the undersides of the leaves to complement the other pinks and reds in the arrangement.

Folded leaves of Heuchera villosa 'Big Top Bronze' reveal reddish underside

Folded leaves of Heuchera villosa ‘Big Top Bronze’ reveal reddish underside

Heuchera villosa 'Big Top Bronze' foliage with Hydrangeas

Heuchera villosa ‘Big Top Bronze’ foliage with Hydrangeas

Penstemons are also blooming this week and I used several colors as filler flowers. Husker Red has dark red foliage with white flowers and self-seeds generously. Pike’s Peak Purple is my favorite. Originally planted along the path of the meditation circle only one plant remains there. Last summer I managed to divide it and plant a piece in a section of the border, where it is blooming but not really thriving.  Red Rocks is the third penstemon, and as is often the case with plants named “red,” the bloom color is pink, not red. Red Rocks is blooming well though.

Center: Penstemon x mexicali 'Red Rocks', Penstemon mexicali 'Pike's Peak Purple', Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red'

Center: Penstemon x mexicali ‘Red Rocks’, Penstemon mexicali ‘Pike’s Peak Purple’, Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’

Penstemon x mexicali 'Red Rocks' (Red Rocks Penstemon)

Penstemon x mexicali ‘Red Rocks’ (Red Rocks Penstemon)

Also featured in today’s vase are three stems of Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’. These large clusters of oak leaf hydrangea, which open white, should gradually turn pink and eventually darken to a rich dark rose. This has never happened. Instead the flowers turn brown and dry up before reaching that stage. Maybe there will be enough rain to keep the plant happy this year.

White clusters of Hydrangea quercifolia 'Ruby Slippers'

White clusters of Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’

Materials

Achillea filipendulina (Fern-leaf Yarrow)
Heuchera villosa ‘Big Top Bronze’ (Coral Bells) – foliage only
Hydrangea macrophylla (from Jayme, March, 2013)
Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’  (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)
Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)
Penstemon mexicali ‘Pike’s Peak Purple’ (Beardtongue)
Penstemon x mexicali ‘Red Rocks’ (Red Rocks Penstemon)

Container Notes

I found a new ceramic vase at my neighborhood’s garage sale a few weeks ago. The selling point was its matching lid with holes to help secure the flowers, like a flower frog. The lid works but with limitations.

To begin this design I edged the container with a low soft border of Achillea filipendulina (Fern-leaf Yarrow). Supported by remnants of feathery foliage, the achillea stayed precisely where I put it.  But the taller, heavier hydrangeas were less cooperative. At the beginning the hydrangea stems had a lot of wiggle room in the openings, shifting around and adjusting as I inserted other flowers.

Eventually I managed but this arrangement might have been easier with a stronger base of Oasis or another anchoring system. The lid does lift up easily to add fresh water.

Vase lid with holes

Achillea filipendulina inserted into holes of vase lid

This view shows how the initial edging of achillea and heuchera leaves support the hydrangeas in the arrangement.

In A Vase On Monday - Hydrangeas

In A Vase On Monday – Hydrangeas

Hydrangea Color Notes

The pink color of my mophead hydrangea is surprising. I grew up in an area where hydrangeas were always blue. I have never had the soil tested here but there are plenty of pines in the neighborhood so I had assumed the soil was acidic. When Jayme gave me the plants, I think there were 2 or 3 blue flowers the first year, 2013; 1 or 2 small pale blue ones in 2014; 1 or 2 small white ones, 2015. So the flower color has been transitioning as the plants grew and became established.

Hydrangea macrophylla

Hydrangea macrophylla

For blue flowers hydrangeas require acidic soil (pH 5.5 or lower) and for pink, neutral to alkaline (pH 6.5 and higher).  To change pink to blue flowers, applying aluminum sulfate to lower the pH and add aluminum to the soil is recommended.

Whew! The End

You deserve a medal if you managed to read this far. Thanks for stopping by.

And as always, thanks to Cathy for hosting this weekly flower obsession. Visit her at Rambling In The Garden to discover what she and other gardeners are placing In A Vase On Monday.

Overhead view of Hydrangeas

Overhead view of Hydrangeas

Flowers And Other November Ephemera

Today there was a very early morning light rain, followed by fog—a mostly gray, dreary but mild day. The clouds lifted a short time before sunset and the sky colored a bright clear blue, before mixing with apricot, red and orange hues.

A few minutes earlier I went out to inspect the Irises–the ones that have been reblooming for several weeks. As welcome as they are I do find it unsettling to see Irises (and many neighbors’ Azaleas) flowering at this time of year.  This is an unknown cultivar passed-along by a friend. The bud is lavender but opens to white. [Note: November 9, 2013. Thanks to P&B at Petals and Wings for identifying this Iris in her comment below as ‘Immortality’ –the only reblooming white Iris.]

Reblooming Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Reblooming Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)--the bud is lavender color

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)–the bud is lavender color

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

In September I had expected the Jackmanii Clematis to flower again but it did not. Today I found one perfect flower under the shelter of neighboring Muhlenbergia capillaris (Pink Muhly Grass).  This Clematis has interesting seed heads also.

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

Clematis 'Jackmanii' seed head

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ seed head

Surprisingly the Ginger Lily still has several blooms even after the October frost. The leaves and stalks are turning brown.

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

A nice surprise during this garden wander was finding that rich orange hips have formed on Gardenia jasminoides ‘Chuck Hayes’ along the western border.

Gardenia Hips -Gardenia jasminoides 'Chuck Hayes'

Gardenia Hips -Gardenia jasminoides ‘Chuck Hayes’

Gardenia Hips -Gardenia jasminoides 'Chuck Hayes'

Gardenia Hips -Gardenia jasminoides ‘Chuck Hayes’

Gardenia Hips -Gardenia jasminoides 'Chuck Hayes'

Gardenia Hips -Gardenia jasminoides ‘Chuck Hayes’

Gardenia Hips -Gardenia jasminoides 'Chuck Hayes'

Gardenia Hips -Gardenia jasminoides ‘Chuck Hayes’

The sasanquas this year are as pretty as they have ever been. The red one is Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’ but the name of the delicate pink and white one is unknown. They have grown up into each other over the years. The pink one was supposed to bloom in autumn and the Yuletide was to wait until winter, but obviously there can be a lot of variation. [Note: November 21, 2013-Thanks to Christina H. in Raleigh who identified the pink and white Camellia as ‘Hana-Jiman.’]

Camellia sasanqua

Camellia sasanqua

Camellia sasanqua

Camellia sasanqua

Camellia sasanqua

Camellia sasanqua

Camellia sasanqua

Camellia sasanqua

One last image for today is that of the Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ I planted in April. This is a dwarf variety and maybe has managed to reach about 12 inches. It was touted as having nice fall foliage and it is beginning to display red stems and burgundy tinges on the leaves.

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Ruby Slippers'

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – June 2013

Joining Christina at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides for Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD), today I am examining the impact of foliage in my June garden.

I like to use silver-foliaged plants and am pleased with the perennial Dusty Miller along the front of the western border.

Dusty Miller

Dusty Miller

A privacy hedge was installed in February 2011 along the southern border. The ‘Blue Point’ Junipers have remained healthy and are noticeably taller this year. Suddenly branches are growing in weird directions so I must figure out how to prune them better. It will still be a while before these trees fill out the edge of the southern border, but already they help provide a sense of enclosure when standing inside the garden.

'Blue Point' Juniper

‘Blue Point’ Juniper

'Blue Point' Juniper

Looking from behind down the row of ‘Blue Point’ Junipers in the Southern Border

The hydrangea planted this year is growing well, although I had imagined it would be larger by now. The foliage is supposed to have nice red color in the fall.

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Ruby Slippers'  (Lil' Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Ruby Slippers'  (Lil' Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Ruby Slippers'  (Lil' Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)-3

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

Having finished blooming, now Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue) and Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ add garden interest with their seedpods.

Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' (Beardtongue)

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

Clematis 'Jackmanii' and Rudbeckia hirta 'Irish Eyes'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ and Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower) is a native plant I picked up through a friend’s plant exchange. I have found this plant to be rather aggressive. Growing to 5-feet, its dark-green leathery leaves are interesting and later in summer and fall the border will shine with its bright yellow daisy-like flowers.

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

A storm last week felled several trees and blew numerous branches and leaves around the neighborhood. Yesterday in the western border I encountered these browned leaves from a neighbor’s Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore). They serve as a reminder Summer has just started but it will pass quickly. Take time to enjoy every minute.

Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)

Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)

Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)

Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)

Thanks to Christina for hosting. Be sure to visit her to see her featured foliage and find links to other foliage highlights of other GBFD bloggers.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – April 2013

I am joining Christine at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides for Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD).

The garden is filling in with this month, from green, sword-like Iris leaves and feathery Achillea to the silvery foliage of Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear), Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion) and perennial Dusty Miller.

Achillea, Candytuft and Lamb's ear

Achillea, Candytuft flowers peeking out and Lamb’s ear

An exciting addition to the garden is this Oakleaf Hydrangea. It’s full name is Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea).

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Ruby Slippers'  April 16 2013

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ April 16 2013

It arrived as part of a plant shipment on April 11 and by April 16 it was settling in well. Yesterday, just five days later, it really seems to be acclimated.

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Ruby Slippers'  (Lil' Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea), April 21, 2013

The broad green leaves of this deciduous woody shrub resemble oak leaves. In fall the highly textured, leathery leaves should turn scarlet and burgundy. The inflorescences should bloom white, turn to pink and eventually fade to burgundy red.

Be sure to visit Christine to see other GBFD articles.