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.
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.
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.
Back to the matter at hand, for the vase I cut all three hellebores that were open.
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.
Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)
Begonia ‘Erythrophylla’ (Beefsteak Begonia)
Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
To wrap up this Tuesday view I must mention the angelonia as it continues to brighten up the meditation circle.
Thanks to Cathy at Words and Herbs for hosting the Tuesday View. Check out her featured view and those of other gardeners.
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.
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.
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.
Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ finished blooming weeks ago leaving behind interesting seed heads.
I usually leave them until they flop over, which has happened, and am rewarded with new plants.
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.
Pink Chintz thyme has no fragrance nor culinary value but it flowers stand erect and draw pollinators (although none would pose this morning).
This very finely textured pass-along thyme is likely ‘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).
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.
Thanks to Cathy at Words and Herbs for hosting the Tuesday View. Check out her featured view and those of other gardeners.
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.
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.
The other side of the steps features a long, sunny border fronted largely by 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.
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.
Silvery shades of Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear) and soon to bloom Lavender complement more leaves of Bearded Iris.
Four Gardenia jasminoides ‘August Beauty’ have been planted for about three years. Most are finally getting some size and buds are forming.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Here is the second Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia) I have seen this summer enjoying the thyme.
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.
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.
All in all I love the how the circle has enhanced the garden and I enjoy the peacefulness of the walking meditation.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.