Tag Archives: yarrow

In A Vase On Monday—Cottage Garden Bouquet

Cottage Bouquet in Pringle Pitcher

Cottage Bouquet in Pringle Pitcher

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.

I think of my garden as an informal one, a cottage garden planted with old-fashioned, easy-to-grow favorites. Achillea x ‘Appleblossom’ (Yarrow) began blooming about two weeks ago and Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant) opened just a couple of days ago. I took them as a starting point for creating this loosely arranged collection of blossoms.

Both of these plants produce their flowers in clusters (umbels). The flat-topped clusters of Appleblossum yarrow range in hue from a pale, straw yellow to this peachy colored one.  The Asclepias, of course, is a bright, deep orange.

Achillea x 'Appleblossom' (Yarrow) and Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Achillea x ‘Appleblossom’ (Yarrow) and Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Now that the irises and peonies are but a memory for another year, the garden is transitioning toward summer flowers. Currently there is not a lot of any one plant dominant in the borders, so I gathered a bit of this and that to round out the cottage garden bouquet.

For foliage I selected Dusty Miller from a large silvery clump in the western border. For a tall, spiky accent I found two colors of Veronica spicata, ‘Pink Goblin’ and only slightly darker ‘Rotfuchs.’ Both are just coming into bloom.

Veronica spicata 'Rotfuchs' (Red Fox Veronica) and Dusty Miller

Veronica spicata ‘Rotfuchs’ (Red Fox Veronica) and Dusty Miller

Verbena bonariensis is finally taking hold in my garden after a few years of trying it in different locations. This week it is cheerful, still standing tall. The American goldfinches enjoy it and its stems bend gently under their ever so slight weight once they begin perching on it and harvesting seeds.

Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena) in front of Achillea x 'Appleblossom' (Yarrow)

Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena) in front of yellow straw-colored Achillea x ‘Appleblossom’ (Yarrow)

Three stems of Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) provide round focal flowers for today’s arrangement. These flowers are just coming into bloom and usually I can still find one or two for a quick vase in October. Each year I try to add a few more of this native plant to the garden. The Echinacea’s orange cone center echoes the color of the Asclepias, which could be exploited in a more formal design for an interesting effect. The yellow-hued achillea works less well with the color of the Purple Coneflower.

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

In A Vase On Monday-Cottage Bouquet1

Today’s floral container was handmade by local artist Jim Pringle of Pringle Pottery. A treasured wedding gift, this ceramic pitcher is part of a set that came with four cups similarly decorated in bands of blue, green and white. Together the pieces have held countless informal arrangements of garden flowers, but they are rarely used for beverages.

Cottage Garden Bouquet



Achillea x ‘Appleblossom’ (Yarrow)
Achillea filipendulina (Fern-leaf Yarrow)
Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)
Dusty Miller
Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)
Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)
Veronica spicata ‘Pink Goblin’ (Speedwell)
Veronica spicata ‘Rotfuchs’ (Red Fox Veronica)

Cottage Bouquet

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.

Studying The Borders At May’s End—Meditation Circle

Digitalis 'Dalmatian Purple' (Foxglove) Near Meditation Circle

Digitalis ‘Dalmatian Purple’ (Foxglove) Near Meditation Circle

Meditation Circle

To finish up a look around my garden at the close of May attention turns to the Meditation Circle. My original vision for this area was to feature the walls of the labyrinth with evergreen or semi-evergreen, flowering plants. Too-narrow planting areas, weather, soil condition, moles and now even fire ants have impacted this area and distracted me from taking this beyond the original concept and the first experimental plantings.

Nevertheless, the two types of Penstemon in bloom since mid-May have contributed greatly to the overall spring garden. As early as mid-March, well before the flowers came on, the foliage was recovered from the stress of winter and looked attractive, especially ‘Husker Red.’ A curving row of low-growing Thyme has filled in well between the stones. Several other Thymes have been added to the center.

Garden View- Meditation Circle Looking Toward Northern Border

Garden View- Meditation Circle Looking Toward Northern Border

Last year Alyssum, an annual, bloomed prolifically into late fall near the house, so I thought to try some along the meditation path. It has been very slow to take hold but I hope it soon will help conceal the mulch.

Alyssum 'Easter Bonnet Violet'

Alyssum ‘Easter Bonnet Violet’

Near The Back Steps

There have been very few bees so far in the garden this spring but yesterday this one was working its way around another penstemon, this one next to a large stand of Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm) near the house. Flowers are forming but there is no bright red yet on the Monarda.

Bee and Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' (Beardtongue)

Bee and Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

Along the house at the opposite end from the Monarda is an Achillea whose color and name I adore: Appleblossom. Usually I would not feature the foundation of the house but I like the way the soft hues of this flower work with those in the bricks.

Achillea x 'Appleblossom' (Yarrow)

Achillea x ‘Appleblossom’ (Yarrow)

This Achillea is floppy and defies my attempts to hold it up. It seems to enjoy leaning on the Shasta Daisies in front.

Achillea x 'Appleblossom' (Yarrow) With Shasta Daisy

Achillea x ‘Appleblossom’ (Yarrow) With Shasta Daisy

May is done until next year. Welcome June.

Newly Blooming

Fragrant Gardenia jasminoides ‘Chuck Hayes’ and a few other plants are newly blooming in this Chapel Hill garden today.

Gardenia jasminoides ‘Chuck Hayes’

Long before the garden’s picket fence was installed ‘Chuck Hayes’ was planted as a low privacy hedge in the western border. Both evergreen and deer resistant this gardenia variety is very cold hardy in this area. It prefers regular watering, but seldom is anything watered in this garden beyond a week or two after planting. The hedge is benefitting from the very significant amounts of rain the garden has received all winter and spring. It also responded well to the Epsom salts I applied a month ago when some of the leaves began to yellow. Many of the original ‘Chuck Hayes’ shrubs were lost to drought and the spots left bare are gradually being replaced with taller plants that can provide more privacy.

Gardenia jasminoides ‘Chuck Hayes’

Nearby the first clusters of flowers have opened on the Butterfly bush (possibly Buddleja davidii ‘Black Knight’).

Buddleja davidii ‘Black Knight’? (Butterfly bush)

Buddleja davidii ‘Black Knight’? (Butterfly bush)

The bees are finding plenty of food, including this Veronica spicata ‘Pink Goblin’ (Speedwell), which actually has been blooming for a few weeks now, not just starting today. It seems much revived after last night’s elaborate thunder and lightning storm that brought heavy amounts of rain.

Veronica spicata ‘Pink Goblin’ (Speedwell)

Pale delicate flowers of Lavender are open today at last and bees are finding it irresistible.  In the background are drifts of pink Achillea and the ‘Blue Point’ Juniper hedge planted last year.

Lavender and Pink Achillea

The first blossoms of Salvia ‘Blue Sky’ appeared today, revealing this flower’s characteristic azure blue brilliance atop a 5-foot flower stalk.

Salvia ‘Blue Sky’

Liatris spicata ‘Alba’  is not quite open, but a little of the white flower is visible. The soft grass-like foliage provides a nice texture in the northern border.

Liatris spicata ‘Alba’

One more newly opened flower today, a cheerful Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy). There are many large clumps of this herbaceous perennial all around the garden, so soon this single blossom should have plenty of company.

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

Sunday Garden Vignettes

The sky was gray since early morning and by early evening soft rain began to fall. At mid-afteroon the garden was a peaceful, serene setting for a leisurely walk.

Echinacea as well as lavender are opening in several places around the garden, just about the same time as last year. Perhaps Spring is slowing down from its frenzied earlier pace. Other observations: Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ will soon be blooming along the southern side path, a bit ahead of that planted in other areas. Liatris spicata is adding feathery softness to the northern border that has been dominated by sword-like iris leaves. Proving to be very weak-stemmed again this year, Achillea x ‘Appleblossom’ is falling over into a thick stand of Shasta Daisies. Many of the perennials attract bees, including Veronica spicata, Stachys byzantina, Nepeta and Penstemon. Verbena bonariensis looks strong and healthy this year and the American goldfinches are loving it.

Early May Garden Views and Notes – Part 3

Record keeping: Last in a 3-part series of notes about what is planted and what is blooming currently in the garden.

Yesterday I focused on long views of the garden borders to document what is planted in each section.  But yesterday morning there also were fresh new blossoms that can be best appreciated by examining them close up.


Late Evening In An Early April Garden

Achillea (Yarrow), Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft), Stachys byzantina (Lamb's Ear)

A bit of happenstance in the late evening garden forms a nice texture study. A Candytuft with its bright white flower and slender leaves is tucked between the feathery, dark green of a dwarf Yarrow and the fur-like, silver-gray of a Lamb’s Ear.

Tradescantia (Spiderwort)

The Tradescantia (Spiderwort) in this garden are violet, purple, and even pale blue, but not usually nearly white with a center that hints of pale lavender.  Unlike the others which are pass-along plants, this was an actual purchased specimen. (Of course, it has moved itself around and is no longer where it was planted originally.)

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

The Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood) opened a week ago. The large white petals are actually bracts. The greenish-yellow cluster in the center is made up of about twenty small flowers.

Meditation Circle

The meditation circle has been in bloom since December thanks to Iberis Sempervirens ‘Purity’ (Candytuft). Since a series of recent heavy rains the Candytuft has looked really tired and will soon need to be trimmed back. After almost a full year I am still undecided on how to finish planting the labyrinth with evergreens. An annual, Angelonia, bloomed here well into October so it may be a good choice again this summer.

Northern Border

The garden in early April is fresh and growing enthusiastically. In the northern border Meadow Sage ‘May Night’ adds a bit of color, but soon the irises will be ready for a vibrant display.

Northern Border

A Peachy ‘Appleblossom’

A lovely yarrow cultivar ‘Appleblossom’ was added to the garden in May and today it is blooming. If unharmed by cold weather and allowed to age gracefully, the flower’s peachy color eventually will fade to cream.

Achillea x 'Appleblossom' (Yarrow)

Galaxy hybrids

In learning about this plant, I found ‘Appleblossom’ being referred to as a Galaxy hybrid. An article on the Chicago Botanic Garden website gave a good explanation of this term (and the rest of the article is interesting as well).

In 1986, the Galaxy hybrids, a group of cultivars with clear, distinctive flower colors, were introduced from Germany.  The original hybrid between Achillea millefolium and A. x taygetea resulted in the cultivars ‘Hoffnung’, ‘The Beacon’, ‘Salmon Beauty’ and ‘Appleblossom’ (Thomas 1990). Since then, other cultivars with improved habits and a broader range of flower colors have joined the original Galaxy hybrids in the market place. (Hawke, 1994)


Hawke, Richard G. (1994). Plant evaluation notes, a report of cultivated yarrows (achillea). Retrieved November 25, 2011 from http://www.chicagobotanic.org/downloads/planteval_notes/no5_yarrow.pdf