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