Tag Archives: Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

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.

In A Vase On Monday – Festiva Centerpiece

In A Vase On Monday – Festiva Centerpiece

Cathy at Rambling In The Garden invites us to share an arrangement every Monday using materials collected from our gardens. I visited my sisters Saturday and was delighted to bring home three stems of their hydrangeas, just coming into flower.  Sadly the cut flowers wilted on the trip and I could not revive them, so I had to look for something else.

In their stead this week is a simple bowl of peonies.

In A Vase On Monday – Festiva Centerpiece

After featuring bundles of peonies last Monday my plan was to seek something else to highlight today. Many summer flowers are coming into bloom here at pbmGarden as the garden begins to transition away from spring, but a week of much needed rain has left many of the blooms looking a bit ragged.

Fortunately the lower shelf of my refrigerator was still stocked with salvaged peony buds from last week’s thunderstorms. After several hours at room temperature half-dozen Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’ flowers were opened partially and eager to serve as stand-ins for the hydrangeas.

In A Vase On Monday – Festiva Centerpiece

I floated the peonies in several inches of water in a special bowl with matte black finish on the outside. Its shiny red glazed interior coordinates with the delicate red brushstrokes on the flower petals, but as the peonies continued to open that aspect of the design was lost.

In A Vase On Monday – Festiva Centerpiece

In A Vase On Monday – Festiva Centerpiece

White flowers of Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ and deep red snapdragons tucked among the peonies are used as accents.

In A Vase On Monday – Festiva Centerpiece

Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon) and Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’

 

Materials
Flowers
Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon)
Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’
Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)
Foliage
Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)
Vase
Red/Black ceramic bowl

After several more hours the peonies were fuller and lush. Lightly fragrant, they look glamorous atop the piano.

In A Vase On Monday – Festiva Centerpiece

In A Vase On Monday – Festiva Centerpiece

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.

Wordless Wednesday—In The Meditation Circle

Meditation Circle

Meditation Circle

 

Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon)

Penstemon and Snapdragon

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue) opening in Meditation Circle

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

Angelonia angustifolia (Summer Snapdragon)

Various Thymes in Meditation Circle

In A Vase On Monday – Hellebores

In A Vase On Monday – Hellebores

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

Trying to beat the rain I entered the garden yesterday morning to scout for flowers for today’s vase and immediately was rewarded with the sight of a bright yellow crocus.

Crocus Species (Snow Crocus Mixture)

The crocus was left safely in place as hellebores were already my pick of the week.

Hellebores were blooming last winter by January 7, 2017. This year the first one opened February 6, 2018—a full month later.

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

The winter has been much colder for longer periods of time so imagine my surprise it was seventy degrees F. by 10 a.m. With gray skies threatening I took advantage of the mild weather to trim away old leaves from the hellebores and clean up around some daffodils. Long way to go but finally I took that first step toward getting the garden ready for spring. Daffodils were flowering last year at least by February 8, but this year they are timid.

Narcissus ‘King Alfred’ (trumpet daffodil)

Back to the matter at hand, for the vase I cut all three hellebores that were open.

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

Husker Red Penstemon foliage hearts (think celery hearts) anchor the design and reflect the red hue of the hellebores. Other supporting material, recycled from an arrangement from a few weeks ago, are Beefsteak Begonia heart-shaped leaves and a pine branch.

In A Vase On Monday – Hellebores

Materials

Flowers
Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)
Foliage
Begonia ‘Erythrophylla’ (Beefsteak Begonia)
Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)
Pine branch
Vase
Porcelain Ikebana vase, Georgetown Pottery, Maine. Triangle Ikebana Blue Wave (6.5 W x 6.5 L x 2H inches)

The overhead views were interesting.

In A Vase On Monday – Hellebores

In A Vase On Monday – Hellebores

Nearly as soon as I finished photographing the vase I knocked one of the flowers out, breaking the stem, so I decided to float it in a red flute. Beneath the glass is a poppy-themed placemat that just happened to be on the table. I love the way this image turned out.

In A Vase On Monday – Hellebores

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.

Tuesday View August 2, 2016

Tuesday View August 2, 2016

Tuesday View August 2, 2016

Cathy at Words and Herbs hosts the Tuesday View, encouraging garden bloggers to post a photo of the same view of the garden week by week and note the changes.

This Tuesday view shows the early morning garden at 7:14 a.m., under an overcast sky. Several storms this week brought welcome rain, but one also knocked down the larger of two Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower) against the fence.

There are fewer flowers this week.  The biggest change I notice this week from last is how brown the neighbors’ sycamore tree has become. At center behind our fence in the photograph, this Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore) is often brown and unsightly by this time of year, but  until now it had seemed fine this summer.

One of the first things I planted in the meditation circle was Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue), used to form a wall at one of the turn-arounds help guide walkers along the path.

Meditation Path with Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue) at lower right.

This penstemon is evergreen and has proved to be reliable and has produced lots of new plants. They show up in random spots. I leave them for a while and eventually move them into other parts of the garden.

Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' (Beardtongue)

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' (Beardtongue)

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

Another penstemon planted at the same time has a lovely purple flower but has proven much less hardy. It is Penstemon mexicali ‘Pike’s Peak Purple.’ Only one has survived through the years, but I am trying to nurse and encourage it. This summer it has done well and is reblooming now.

Penstemon mexicali 'Pike's Peak Purple' and Angelonia ’Serena White’

Penstemon mexicali ‘Pike’s Peak Purple’ and Angelonia ’Serena White’

Penstemon mexicali 'Pike's Peak Purple' and Angelonia ’Serena White’

Penstemon mexicali ‘Pike’s Peak Purple’ and Angelonia ’Serena White’

To wrap up this Tuesday view I must mention the angelonia as it continues to brighten up the meditation circle.

Angelonia ’Serena White’ with Angelonia ’Serena Purple’ in the distance

Thanks to Cathy at Words and Herbs for hosting the Tuesday View. Check out her featured view and those of other gardeners.

The Tuesday View: 5th July 2016

Meditation Circle at 7:00 a.m. July 5, 2016

Meditation Circle at 7:00 a.m. July 5, 2016

Cathy at Words and Herbs‘ Tuesday View encourages garden bloggers to post a photo of the same view of the garden week by week.

For my Tuesday view I have selected the meditation circle which at 20 feet in diameter covers a large portion of this 70 foot wide by 50 foot deep garden. The labyrinth is viewed from the top steps of the screened porch, facing west.

The house blocks the earliest morning sun, but soon light slides down on either side and spills along the edges into the garden.

Meditation Circle at 7:51 a.m. July 5, 2016

Meditation Circle at 7:51 a.m. July 5, 2016

This past week I purchased additional Angelonia ‘Serena White’ and completed the planting along the outside right path of the circle. This replaces the last of the fall-winter violas and pansies.

Angelonia ’Serena White’

Angelonia ’Serena White’

Angelonia ’Serena White’

Angelonia ’Serena White’

At the same time I laid in fresh hardwood mulch and cleaned off the pavers, though multiple rains since then muddied the effect. If I had a do-over I would build up the soil and raise the meditation circle to improve drainage.

Angelonia ’Serena White’

Angelonia ’Serena White’

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ finished blooming weeks ago leaving behind interesting seed heads.

Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red'

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’

I usually leave them until they flop over, which has happened, and am rewarded with new plants.

Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red'

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’

Self-seeded young Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' between Angelonia ’Serena White’

Self-seeded young Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ between Angelonia ’Serena White’

Several types of thyme planted in the center and between the paths of the labyrinth are coming into bloom. Thymus serpyllum ‘Pink Chintz’ is the only one I can identify.

Thymus serpyllum 'Pink Chintz' (Pink chintz thyme)

Thymus serpyllum ‘Pink Chintz’ (Pink chintz thyme)

Pink Chintz thyme has no fragrance nor culinary value but it flowers stand erect and draw pollinators (although none would pose this morning).

Thymus serpyllum 'Pink Chintz' (Pink chintz thyme)

Thymus serpyllum ‘Pink Chintz’ (Pink chintz thyme)

Thymus serpyllum 'Pink Chintz' (Pink chintz thyme)

Thymus serpyllum ‘Pink Chintz’ (Pink chintz thyme)

This very finely textured pass-along thyme is likely ‘Elfin.’

Pass-along Thyme (probably Elfin)

Pass-along Thyme (probably Elfin)

After encouraging these thymes for a few years now I am asking them for restraint as they overflow the pavers. I have been trimming back gradually but when they are in flower I find it difficult to do (not to mention it is a tedious task).

Thymus serpyllum 'Pink Chintz' (Pink chintz thyme)

Thymus serpyllum ‘Pink Chintz’ (Pink chintz thyme)

 

The blue gazing ball sits exactly on center of the meditation circle. This section is lined with Angelonia ‘Serena Purple.’ I like the way it picks up the hues of the Husker Red Penstemon and the soft lavender pink of the thyme.

Angelonia ’Serena Purple’

Angelonia ’Serena Purple’

Angelonia ’Serena Purple’ and Thymus serpyllum 'Pink Chintz' (Pink chintz thyme)

Angelonia ’Serena Purple’ and Thymus serpyllum ‘Pink Chintz’ (Pink chintz thyme)

Angelonia ’Serena Purple’, Thymus serpyllum 'Pink Chintz'

Angelonia ’Serena Purple’, Thymus serpyllum ‘Pink Chintz’

Angelonia ’Serena Purple’

Angelonia ’Serena Purple’

Thanks to Cathy at Words and Herbs for hosting the Tuesday View. Check out her featured view and those of other gardeners.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – May 2016

It is time again for Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD), hosted by Christina at Garden of the Hesperides.

Near the back steps, a passalong dahlia is preparing for its second year in my garden, courtesy of Libby at An Eye For Detail. The foliage looks strong and flowers are forming. I neglected to dig the dahlia last fall so am relieved to see it made it through the winter.

Dahlia

Dahlia

In the upper left of the image above, fragrant Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm) is inconveniently growing up through where the garden hose is stored and needs to be reined back. In front of the monarda, a few dark red leaves of Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue) are visible. Also here several plants of Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) are pushing upwards through some impertinent clover and a ground cover of Iberis sempervirens (Candytuft). Foliage of Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) peek through as well. The Aquilegia’s last remaining red flowers nod their heads.

Here is a closer look at the Echinacea and Aquilegia, with seeds formed on Iberis. The textures were not planned but do look interesting together.

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower), Iberis sempervirens (Candytuft) and Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower), Iberis sempervirens (Candytuft) and Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

The other side of the steps features a long, sunny border fronted largely by Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy).

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

Across the garden in its shadiest corner, several Heuchera villosa ‘Big Top Bronze’ (Coral Bells) responded well to the recent rains and have grown substantially. Their multi-hued foliage is rich and full for the moment. Meanwhile Brunnera macrophylla ‘Silver Heart’ (False Forget-Me-Not) finished blooming, but the smaller silvery, patterned leaves add a bright pop to this planting area (lower left of image). In back at left fern-like foliage of Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy) and sword-like iris leaves add height and texture.

Heuchera villosa 'Big Top Bronze' (Coral Bells)

Heuchera villosa ‘Big Top Bronze’ (Coral Bells)

In a small nearby border with a bit more sun grows more Heuchera villosa ‘Big Top Bronze’. Its companion Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ has similar coloring. A stand of self-seeded Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena) with long green, leathery leaves gives a change in texture and color.

Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' (Beardtongue) and Heuchera villosa 'Big Top Bronze' (Coral Bells) with Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue) and Heuchera villosa ‘Big Top Bronze’ (Coral Bells) with Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

Silvery shades of Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear) and soon to bloom Lavender complement more leaves of Bearded Iris.

Bearded Iris, Stachys byzantina (Lamb's Ear), Lavender

Bearded Iris, Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear), Lavender

Four Gardenia jasminoides ‘August Beauty’ have been planted for about three years. Most are finally getting some size and buds are forming.

Gardenia jasminoides 'August Beauty'

Gardenia jasminoides ‘August Beauty’

One of the August Beauty gardenias has been eclipsed by its aggressive neighbors.  Soon the monarda will explode with red, inviting hummingbirds to sip its nectar, and dark pink flowers will grace the echinacea. But for now this spot is a relaxing green with Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ providing white accents—a cool, calm, peaceful interlude.

One Gardenia jasminoides 'August Beauty' has become swamped by surrounding plants.

One Gardenia jasminoides ‘August Beauty’ has become swamped by surrounding plants.

Thanks to Christina at Garden of the Hesperides for hosting. Read her foliage update and see more links to foliage perspectives from many parts of the world.

Finding Color Along The Labyrinth

Meditation Circle

Looking Toward Meditation Circle Entrance

In these last days of July the meditation circle has finally come into its own. Originally, when this was a new feature in the garden, I attempted to use only evergreens or semi-evergreens here, but, since I could never find a perfect combination, I have been much happier just supplementing with low-maintenance annuals.

Entrance To The Labyrinth

Entrance To The Labyrinth Is Between Two Rows Of Dark Purple Angelonia ‘Alonia Big Indigo’

A beautiful but tough annual that never needs deadheading, Angelonia angustifolia (summer snapdragon), is providing plenty of color and interest. I know I have mentioned Angelonia before, but it is finally well-established and caught my eye a couple of days ago after a brief morning shower.  It does not mind the heat and scarcity of rain. Its size is a good fit for the narrow space between the paths of the labyrinth, keeping the paths open for easy passage without needing much trimming.

Angelonia ‘Serenita Raspberry’ and 'Purple'

Angelonia ‘Serenita Raspberry’ and ‘Purple’ (Purple turned out to be pink.)

I had planned to use a limited color scheme of white and blue this year, but blue Angelonia were hard to find this year at the time I needed them. Unable to locate enough white plants to use for the entire circle either, I ended up having to settle for a mix of mostly pinks and a few purples (Angelonia ‘Serena White’, ‘Alonia Big Indigo’, ‘Serenita Raspberry’, ‘Purple’ , and ‘Rose’). The ‘Purple’ turned out to be pink also. Though not my first color choices, I have enjoyed them immensely.

Angelonia 'Alonia Big Indigo'

Angelonia ‘Alonia Big Indigo’

Angelonia 'Serena White'

Angelonia ‘Serena White’

Angelonia ‘Serenita Raspberry’, 'Purple' and 'Alonia Big Indigo'

Angelonia ‘Serenita Raspberry’, ‘Purple’ and ‘Alonia Big Indigo’

I need to fill in where the original thyme was planted to define part of the wall. It has spread out from the center, but left patchy gaps in the middle. With that one exception the various thymes are doing well and have been blooming for a few weeks, attracting many pollinators. The goal of the labyrinth (or center of the circle) is planted in Thymus serpyllum ‘Pink Chintz’ (Pink chintz thyme).

Angelonia 'Serena White' and Thymus serpyllum 'Pink Chintz' (Pink chintz thyme)

Angelonia ‘Serena White’ and Thymus serpyllum ‘Pink Chintz’ (Pink chintz thyme)

Thymus serpyllum 'Pink Chintz' (Pink chintz thyme)

Thymus serpyllum ‘Pink Chintz’ (Pink chintz thyme)

Here is the second Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia) I have seen this summer enjoying the thyme.

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

There still are a few Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue) left from the original planting a few years ago. They have self-seeded and I have left a few, moved some to other parts of the garden and given many away.

Thymus serpyllum 'Pink Chintz' (Pink chintz thyme) and Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' (Beardtongue)

Thymus serpyllum ‘Pink Chintz’ (Pink chintz thyme) and Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

Another penstemon original to the labyrinth is Penstemon mexicali ‘Pike’s Peak Purple’ (Beardtongue). Of the dozen or so only one survives. I think it likes this summer’s dry weather.

Penstemon  mexicali 'Pike's Peak Purple' (Beardtongue)

Penstemon mexicali ‘Pike’s Peak Purple’ (Beardtongue)

Penstemon  mexicali 'Pike's Peak Purple' (Beardtongue)

Penstemon mexicali ‘Pike’s Peak Purple’ (Beardtongue)

All in all I love the how the circle has enhanced the garden and I enjoy the peacefulness of the walking meditation.

Meditation Circle

Meditation Circle

Vibrant Blooms At Mid-May

Paeonia 'Festiva Maxima'

Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’

At mid-May there is a profusion of flowers as the garden launches a noticeable shift toward summer. Several very hot days last week signaled it was time, and although the temperatures quickly moderated, the transition was underway.

The days are dry, clear and sunshiny. After the luxury of ample rains throughout winter and early spring, I am having to water some of the new shrubs and other recent purchases.

I am fairly new to the world of peonies and I wonder what took me so long to understand their allure. Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’ was at its best this past week. Meanwhile Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait’ is just getting started with its display.

Paeonia 'Festiva Maxima'

Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’

Paeonia 'Festiva Maxima'

Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’

Paeonia 'Pink Parfait' (Peony)

Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait’ (Peony)

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ has been reliable for years while other clematis have come and gone. I added two new ones this spring. It has been blooming for a full month and continues to add new flowers.

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

I love having white plants in the garden and have long admired white clematis. This new Clematis ‘Henryi’ is tucked into a corner against the house where the fence begins.

Clematis 'Henryi'

Clematis ‘Henryi’

Also new this spring, Clematis ‘Niobe’ is promised as one that will bloom all summer and I hope eventually it will add interest along the stark white fence at the northern boundary.

Clematis 'Niobe'

Clematis ‘Niobe’

A pass-along yarrow opened up this week in the southern border. Echinacea is opening in the southern side path as well in many parts of the main garden.

Achillea filipendulina (Fern-leaf Yarrow)

Achillea filipendulina (Fern-leaf Yarrow)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

After a beautiful season many of the bearded irises are looking tired, just as the Siberian iris are gaining strength. These Siberians were, guess what, pass-alongs! A Chapel Hill friend rescued for me from her neighbor’s divisions one year.

Iris sibirica (Siberian Iris)

Iris sibirica (Siberian Iris)

I pulled out the blue pansies on one side of the meditation circle last weekend and added white angelonia. Already the tamer color scheme appeals to me.

Angelonia ’Serena White’

Angelonia ’Serena White’

Even without the meditation circle remains vivid this week as the red snapdragons continue to thrive, making it a difficult choice to remove them. I have more of the angelonia waiting to replace the snapdragons though so I must be disciplined and discard them soon. Adding to the energy in this area are two dozen Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue). I like the rich foliage topped with delicate white flowers.

Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' (Beardtongue)-2

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)-2

The original planting in the labyrinth started with about 3 Husker Reds and many Penstemon mexicali ‘Pike’s Peak Purple.’ Only one Pike’s Peak Purple remains but Husker Red has been increasing. I have been encouraging every visitor to the garden to take some home. It is valuable for it evergreen foliage.

Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' (Beardtongue)-2

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' (Beardtongue)-2

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

Penstemon  mexicali 'Pike's Peak Purple' (Beardtongue)

Penstemon mexicali ‘Pike’s Peak Purple’ (Beardtongue)

I added several new Penstemon x mexicali ‘Red Rocks’ to the garden this year, though not in the meditation circle. Having either purple or red in the name of a plant does not always mean red.

Penstemon x mexicali (Red Rocks Penstemon)

Penstemon x mexicali (Red Rocks Penstemon)

The view from the garden bench is filled with blooms. Soft breezes stir the chimes. Towhees, robins, cardinals and an especially persistent Carolina Wren add to the pleasure.

Meditation Circle

Meditation Circle

In A Vase On Monday—Anemones Redux

Anemones In A Vase On Monday - Overhead View

Anemones In A Vase On Monday – Overhead View

I am joining Cathy for In A Vase On Monday, a weekly challenge to fill a vase using materials gathered from one’s garden.

I wandered around the garden for quite a while this morning, not sure what to select. The lovely Anemone coronaria ‘Mr. Fokker’ kept waving at me as I tried to decide.  Last week I had featured this blue-violet poppy anemone in my Monday vase, but in the end, other flowers in that arrangement were more dominant. I have been very happy with these anemones this spring, so here is another vase giving Mr. Fokker a prominent role. Also I chose a few white Anemone coronaria ‘Bride’ to add brightness to the other dark-hued flowers.

Anemone coronaria 'Bride' and  ‘Mr. Fokker’

Anemone coronaria ‘Bride’ and ‘Mr. Fokker’

The meditation circle is full of Viola and Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’, some of which have spread into the walking path. I pulled up three young penstemons and several handfuls of viola to use as filler.

Viola

Viola

The container is a rectangular terra cotta clay pot, into which I placed a Pyrex glass bread pan to hold water. The penstemon plants were spaced evenly inside toward the center, followed by groups of violas around the edges of the pot.  I relied on the density of the filler plants to hold the anemones stems in place rather than using floral foam, but the flowers always shift when secured this way.

In A Vase On Monday - Anemones Redux

In A Vase On Monday – Anemones Redux

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

 

 

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

Materials

Anemone coronaria ‘Bride’
Anemone coronaria ‘Mr. Fokker’
Viola
Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)
Terra cotta rectangular planter
Rectangular glass dish

Were it not for the fine grains of pine pollen currently coating everything in this part of North Carolina, the arrangement would be perfect for the front porch.

Anemone Arrangement On Front Porch

Anemone Arrangement On Front Porch

Many thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting each week. Please visit her to see what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday.

Merry Christmas 2014!

Christmas Centerpiece 2014

Christmas Centerpiece 2014

Hope everyone has had a wonderful day. We celebrated Christmas today with gifts, phone calls with family in many corners of the country and dinner at our home with a special friend. Thanks for the many good wishes from my blogging friends.

In A Vase On Monday-Yuletide

In A Vase On Monday-Yuletide. As it looked on Monday with Camellias.

Yuletide camellias in the vase from Monday did not last long enough to see this holiday through, but an extra package of cranberries pulled from the freezer at the last moment gave the arrangement new life.

In fact, I like the result better than the original. More of the Husker Red Penstemon is visible now and the deeper red of the berries seems to accentuate the dark burgundy hue of the penstemon foliage.

The only other change was the addition of a piece of fruit, a Christmas orange. Looking at the photograph I think the color of a lime might have been nice instead. May have to try that.

View from above - Christmas Centerpiece 2014

View from above – Christmas Centerpiece 2014

Side view - Christmas Centerpiece 2014

Side view – Christmas Centerpiece 2014

In A Vase On Monday—Yuletide

In A Vase On Monday-Yuletide

In A Vase On Monday-Yuletide

Monday brings an opportunity to practice flower arranging by joining in Cathy’s weekly challenge In A Vase On Monday to create a floral arrangement from materials gathered in one’s own garden.

The Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’ is blooming as it should be at this holiday season and though it has appeared in many recent Monday vase, it takes center stage again this week.

But the original inspiration for this arrangement was a group of 6 small Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ plants I pulled from the meditation circle today where they had sprouted up. I thought the red and green hues of the leaves would make a nice arrangement in and of themselves. I used the plants, roots and all, placing them over top of florist’s foam, secured with pins. Later I will try to reestablish them in one of the borders if they hold up.

Eventually I could not resist adding the camellia flowers for a bit more color, but using them led the design away from the restraint I had envisioned.

I thought I would create a low, arrangement, but raise it by using a crystal pedestal dish.  The design works best from overhead though as I did not work out the proportions carefully except from the top view.

In A Vase On Monday-2

A few sprigs of black berries of Liriope spicata (creeping lilyturf) added a textural element to contrast with the rest of the design. The dark color of the berries are intended to pick up the deep coloring in the penstemon as well. One small sprig of Achillea filipendulina (Fern-leaf Yarrow) was blooming yesterday and it made a useful accent.

In A Vase On Monday-3

Materials List

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)
Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’
Lavandula x intermedia ‘Dutch’ (Dutch Lavender)
Liriope spicata (creeping lilyturf)
Achillea filipendulina (Fern-leaf Yarrow)

The arrangement will add some color and cheer this week as Christmas nears. Saturday we had a snow that lasted about 30 minutes before turning to rain. The snow did not stick at all but it was fun to watch. And yesterday was winter solstice—the days are getting longer.

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting. Please visit her to see what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – December 2014

Seed pods of Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)

Seed pods of Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)

Today is the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. Arrival time in pbmGarden is 6:03 PM EST.

Tomorrow is Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD), hosted by Christina at Garden of the Hesperides. In anticipation I walked around the garden with the camera in late morning, when the air was quite chilly and the sky, quite gray and dull. Later the sun peeked out.

The Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle) lost its leaves long ago but the seed pods still provide a bit of interest and an interesting coloration on the bark of the Crape Myrtle’s trunk set my imagination to wandering.

Intriguing mark on trunk of Crape Myrtle.

Intriguing mark on trunk of Crape Myrtle.

The screening hedge of five Juniperus chinensis ‘Blue Point’ has grown considerably this year. I like the height, but not the shape of these trees and how to prune them properly is a mystery to me.

Juniperus chinensis 'Blue Point' (Blue Point Juniper)

Juniperus chinensis ‘Blue Point’ (Blue Point Juniper)

Last December the junipers were decorated for the holiday season, but not yet this year. This picture is from last year’s GBFD post.

Juniperus chinensis 'Blue Point' (Blue Point Juniper)

Juniperus chinensis ‘Blue Point’ (Blue Point Juniper).  Lavender is in left foreground.

The small Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ in the Western border continues holding on to its rich fall color.

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

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

Some of the gardenia hedge is not doing well along the Western border where many bushes never recovered from the deep cold last winter. A couple are looking fairly green, but others look miserable. I read it is possible to cut them to the ground to rejuvenate them and may give it a try for those worst affected.

Gardenia jasminoides 'Chuck Hayes'

This Gardenia jasminoides ‘Chuck Hayes’ is doing well.

Gardenia jasminoides 'Chuck Hayes'

This Gardenia jasminoides ‘Chuck Hayes’ needs rejuvenation.

In the meditation circle many Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue) have volunteered. I keep moving them around into different areas of the garden. The foliage stays colorful and healthy through most of the winter.

Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' (Beardtongue)

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

When we moved here the front foundation shrubs were underplanted with a row of Liriope spicata (creeping lilyturf). This spreads by runners and is a difficult plant to remove or even contain but it does have attractive fruit this year.

Liriope spicata (creeping lilyturf)

Liriope spicata (creeping lilyturf)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) is nearing the end of its usefulness for 2014. I really like its early green florets and enjoy watching it move from pink to dark red. I have left its browned flowers alongs with many other plants for birds.

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude)

This sedum maintains a brighter, more colorful presence in the garden. It is Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’ (Angelina Stonecrop). Most of it is yellow, but some tips are bright pink.

Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’ (Angelina Stonecrop)

Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’ (Angelina Stonecrop)

On the north side of the house this camellia hybrid is full of buds. An unusually cold winter kept this from blooming last year so I hope 2015 will be kinder to it. Its green leathery leaves are glossy and attractive year-round.

Camellia x 'Coral Delight'

Camellia x ‘Coral Delight’

Thanks to Christina for hosting the GBFD review. Visit her to see what foliage she and others are featuring this month.

In A Vase On Monday—Simplicity

Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' (Beardtongue)

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

Each Monday brings opportunity to practice flower arranging by joining in Cathy’s weekly challenge In A Vase On Monday. The goal is to fill a vase using materials gathered in one’s own garden.

Simplicity is my theme this week, because sometimes that is all there is time for and exactly what is needed. Shortly before my sister and her husband arrived for a brief overnight visit Saturday I dashed out to the garden to collect a few flowers to display throughout the house.

Instinctively I headed toward the Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue), the current star of the meditation circle and quickly gathered an armful of blossoms. Inside I removed most leaves, gathered the stems and trimmed the ends. I inserted the entire bunch en masse into a favorite ceramic vase decorated with earth toned matte glazes. The effect was simple, fresh and airy.

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ is a perennial and is drought tolerant, two reasons it was chosen to provide part of the labyrinth walls. It is also evergreen in my 7B planting zone. Its name may be confusing as its tubular flowers are white; however many (not all) of its lance-shaped leaves tend toward dark red, lance-shaped leaves and it has rich burgundy stems. Actually some of the flowers also do carry a slight pink tinge.

Husker Red self-seeds easily and I was able to share a lot of small volunteers and a couple of good sized plants with my brother-in-law for a new sunny border he is planning.

Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' (Beardtongue)

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

Although this arrangement was assembled on Saturday, it still looks fresh on Monday. This versatile penstemon lasts quite well indoors as a cut flower and outdoors, it continues to bloom profusely.

Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' (Beardtongue) in the Meditation Circle

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue) in the Meditation Circle

Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' (Beardtongue) forms part of the Meditation Circle wall

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue) forms part of the Meditation Circle wall

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting. I encourage you to visit her to learn what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday.