Tag Archives: zinnia

Tuesday View: August 9, 2016

Meditation Circle

Meditation Circle

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 was taken at yesterday afternoon at 4:53 p.m., about an hour after a storm cloud dropped a small amount of rain. Thunder continued to rumble as I took the photograph.

I have not gardened at all for a week. Most of the thymes still are doing well but some of the original unknown one has died back in a few places (visible at about 4 o’clock in the picture). Otherwise there is little change from last week.

Meditation Circle

Meditation Circle

 

 

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

In A Vase On Monday—Choices

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

Each Monday brings the chance to join Cathy’s In A Vase On Monday to share an arrangement using materials gathered from the garden.

Last weekend my good friend Susan and I took a short trip to Creedmoor, NC, to browse the handmade American crafts at Cedar Creek Gallery. If you have a few minutes to learn about this unique place, I encourage you to watch this 4:33-minute video and you will certainly want to visit too.

Having in mind from the outset to shop for a new flower vase, I returned home with three prizes, all Ikebana vases with integrated pin frogs. I had spotted them immediately upon entering the gallery, just inside the front entryway. After admiring many other beautiful pieces, I returned to those that first caught my eye and prepared to make a selection.

I chose a black triangular vase and a blue rectangular one. With me vacillating among other choices of designs, my friend stepped in at my moment of indecision and treated me to the third vase as an early Christmas present, a triangular shape decorated in the blue wave pattern. Thank you Susan!

Porcelain. Rectangle Ikebana Vase Blue Zen (6.75L x 3.75W x 2H), Triangle Ikebana Blue Wave (6.5 W x 6.5 L x 2H), Triangle Ikebana Black Wave (6.5 W x 6.5 L x 2H)

Porcelain. Rectangle Ikebana Vase Blue Zen (6.75L x 3.75W x 2H), Triangle Ikebana Blue Wave (6.5 W x 6.5 L x 2H), Triangle Ikebana Black Wave (6.5 W x 6.5 L x 2H)

I had planned to make only one arrangement today but this type of vase does not hold a lot of material. And there were plenty of flowers left over to use in experimenting. I never felt any of the three were quite finished, rather I just finally stopped working on them for now.

The first vase holds two red gladiolas (the first of 30 planted in mid-June just coming into bloom), a large orange cactus zinnia, a sprig of orange peppers and a red dahlia. This design went through many iterations, even some made digitally, to explore the composition and proportions. If anyone is curious I included some of the design stages at the end of this post.

Rectangle Blue Zen In Red and Orange

Rectangle Blue Zen In Red and Orange

Gladiolus

Gladiolus

The next vase began with an interesting seed pod rescued from a recently bloomed canna. I think the pod has great potential but I allowed that tallest zinnia to distract from it. It is less worrisome in person though.

The bright yellow zinnias are from a Burpee Zinnia ‘Burpeeana Giants Mix’ packet. This year I also planted ‘Cut and Come Again Mix’ zinnias from Burpee and Zinnia elegans ’Cactus Flower Blend’ from Botanical Interests.

Yellow celosia adds movement and energy.

Triangle Black Wave In Cream And Yellow

Triangle Black Wave In Cream And Yellow

Triangle Black Wave In Cream And Yellow

Triangle Black Wave In Cream And Yellow

The third vase is sprightly and pink. It is the only one where I used foliage, cut from Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata.’ The flowers are zinnias, obedient plant and verbena bonariensis.

Triangle Blue Wave In Pink And Cream

Triangle Blue Wave In Pink And Cream

Triangle Blue Wave In Pink And Cream

Triangle Blue Wave In Pink And Cream

Materials
Canna Seed Pod
Capsicum annuum ‘NuMex Easter’ (dwarf Ornamental pepper)
Dahlia, spp.
Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ (Winter daphne)
Fresh Look Mix Celosia (citrus colors)
Gladiolus
Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant)
Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)
Zinnia ‘Cut and Come Again Mix’ (Burpee, popular cutting variety, 24” H)
Zinnia ‘Burpeeana Giants Mix’ (Burpee, colorful huge 6’ Blooms, 24” H)
Zinnia elegans ’Cactus Flower Blend’ (Botanical Interests, 4-6” wide, 2-3’H. Heirloom Twist and shout. Double and semi-double)
Porcelain Ikebana vases, Georgetown Pottery, Maine. Rectangle Blue Zen (6.75L x 3.75W x 2H inches), Triangle Blue Wave (6.5 W x 6.5 L x 2H), Triangle Black Wave (6.5 W x 6.5 L x 2H)

Thanks to Cathy for hosting this weekly chance to express our flower arranging passion. Visit her at Rambling In The Garden to discover what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday. Feel free to join in.

Notes On Design Progressions

In the sets of images below, the ones on the left are photographs of the actual arrangement while those on the right are imagined.

The first set show the earliest version of the red design. It was only after viewing photos that I noticed the design looked too heavy on the left side. I ending up reworking it several times.

In post-production I edited the photographs to imagine making different cuts than what I really did.

Here is an intermediate version on the left (the real thing). I had shifted the orange peppers to the right and added some Daphne greenery to improve the balance of the composition. Again the images on the right show some imaginary changes to the design through digital editing. I was reluctant to trim down the gladiolas but in fact they were too tall for the vase. Trimming the  top of the left-leaning gladiolus improves the design. If I had done that and then lopped a little from the top of the center glad as well, I would probably have been happy with the design.

In my final version of the real-life arrangement greenery was removed. The orange ornamental peppers moved to the back where they got somewhat lost. The gladiolas were shortened. After trimming and repositioning, the gladiolas relate better to the size and shape of rectangular vase. The glad on the right crowds the dahlia, but I can live with it.

 

In A Vase On Monday—High Summer

In A Vase On Monday - High Summer

In A Vase On Monday – High Summer

Each Monday brings the chance to join Cathy’s In A Vase On Monday to create an arrangement using materials gathered from the garden. That anything can bloom in such hot, humid conditions invites pause and contemplation. Nature surprises again and again.

It is a treat today to share a new botanical themed vase, a gift from my sisters. The ceramic vase is three-sided with a green, embossed exterior that is highly textured.

Birthday Vase -Three-sided with embossment

Birthday Vase -Three-sided with embossment

 

Birthday Vase - Width and height are same

Birthday Vase – Width and height are same

The interior is colorfully patterned and decorative. Top edges are adorned with berries and tendrils.

Birthday Vase

Birthday Vase

Berries and Tendrils Sit Atop The Vase

Berries and Tendrils Sit Atop The Vase

Working with such a complex vase was a bit challenging. First I imagined it filled with hydrangeas, but mine are well past their prime. Next I envisioned using lots of foliage and that is what I decided to try. My pass-along dahlia is five feet tall and full of buds but very few flowers. The leaves are healthy and attractive so I cut several stems to use a a starting point for the arrangement. I also chose one stem of Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow.’

Vase - Outlined with Foliage of Dahlia and Euphorbia

Vase – Outlined with Foliage of Dahlia and Euphorbia

Next flowering stems of heuchera and sprigs of multi-hued lantana were added help define the design.

Early stage- shaping the design

Early stage- shaping the design

I liked the vase at this stage and could have stopped here, but with many other cut flowers left,  I wanted to continue working on the arrangement, forgetting to take any more photographs as the design was progressing.

Materials
Flowers:
Buddleja davidii ‘Adokeep’ (Adonis blue Butterfly Bush)
Fresh Look Mix Celosia (citrus colors)
Heuchera villosa ‘Big Top Bronze’ (Coral Bells)
Lantana camara (Common lantana)
Lathyrus latifolius (Perennial Sweet Pea)
Liriope muscari
Pelargonium (Geranium)
Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant)
Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower)
Zinnia

Foliage:
Dahlia sp.
Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’

These are some of the colorful summer flowers growing in the garden that fill today’s vase.

Lantana camara (Common lantana)

Lantana camara (Common lantana)

Pelargonium (Geranium) and Liriope muscari

Pelargonium (Geranium) and Liriope muscari

Zinnia hovers above Buddleja davidii ‘Adokeep’, Liriope muscari, scarlet Pelargonium, Physostegia virginiana

Lathyrus latifolius (Perennial Sweet Pea)

Cactus Flowered Zinnia

Euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow', Lantana, Zinnias

Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’, Lantana, Zinnias

I need up having to remove some of the foliage to give room to the flowers. A view from above:

In A Vase On Monday - Overhead View

In A Vase On Monday – Overhead View

At our house this week we will be enjoying the colorful summer bounty of the garden.

In A Vase On Monday - High Summer

In A Vase On Monday – High Summer

Thanks to Cathy for hosting this weekly chance to express our flower arranging passion. Visit her at Rambling In The Garden to discover what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday. Feel free to join in.

Tuesday View: July 25, 2016

Tuesday View - July 26, 2016

Tuesday View – July 26, 2016

Note: Tuesday is actually July 26. Mixed up the date in the post title because I took the photographs 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 was taken at Monday 12:52 p.m. instead of at the usual early morning Tuesday time. Yesterday the sun had gone behind the clouds for a few minutes so I took advantage of the photo opportunity.

In a noticeable change from last week the grass is turning brown in spots. Fescue retreats in this type of weather, but should recover once cooler weather returns in the fall. Monday reached 97° F. There has been no rain for 10 days, leaving some things looking a bit desperate.  I have watered 3 times, but it has little effect.

Another detectable difference is in the circle where the path is lazily being restored. Yesterday I uncovered more of the labyrinth pavers, only a few left to go. A friend and I had done a meditation walk Saturday, and I realized that with the path obscured as it was by thyme, it would be easy to turn an ankle or trip. We managed to not hurt ourselves. The thyme released its calming fragrance as we stepped across it.

Meditation Path

Meditation Path

At lower left in the first photo, the edge of a small round border is just barely visible. Here zinnias, planted from seed (maybe mid-June), are finally beginning to bloom.

Zinnias

Zinnias

Zinnias

Zinnias

Zinnias

Zinnias

Looking back north toward the meditation circle, I took a last picture as one of dozens of skippers flying around landed on a Verbena flower. There also were lots of dragonflies and swallowtails but they were camera shy.

Skipper On Verbena Bonariensis.

Skipper On Verbena Bonariensis.

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

In A Vase On Monday—Welcome

In A Vase On Monday - Welcome

In A Vase On Monday – Welcome

Today brings a welcome chance to share the garden by participating in Cathy’s weekly call to display our cut flowers In A Vase On Monday. My vase was prepared several days ago.

This past week I finally cleared the Southern Side Path of grass, pruned a couple of overgrown shrubs to make it easier to pass by, and deadheaded lamb’s ears, echinacea and more. The fence gate in the photo below belongs to my neighbors. Mine is not visible, but the slate path curves to the right, leading visitors through the gate and into the main garden.

Southern Side Path

Southern Side Path – After clean up

At the right corner guarding the back entrance, a large Green-Headed Coneflower had been taking its job much too seriously, reaching out from the house and blocking traffic from both directions. I cut away and removed all of the overhanging stalks, which were still covered in golden yellow petals and pollinators galore. (Can’t remember the last time I wrote “galore.”)

This plant, Rudbeckia laciniata, grows 6-7 feet tall and begins blooming early to mid-July. Although the trimmings were generously oversized, I decided I could use them for a Monday arrangement if I left them outdoors. Normally left unadorned by the front door, a  large periwinkle ceramic urn made the perfect container.

In A Vase On Monday - Welcome

In A Vase On Monday – Welcome

A tall glass vase of water was placed inside the urn to hold the the rudbeckias. The flowers sit cheerfully at the front door to welcome company. I was too tired to worry about arranging them carefully, but now wish I had taken a few more minutes to pose them.

That the pollinators would not mind being relocated was one thing I had not anticipated. When dinner guests actually did arrive Saturday, dozens of bees and other insects were hanging around. Entering the front door required calculation and prowess.

Bee and Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower)

Bee and Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower)

I tried to identify this skipper and thought I had found a match on Jeff Pippin’s site, until I read the description: “Indian Skipper (Hesperia sassacus): In NC, this butterfly is rare to uncommon and found only in the mountains. Indian Skippers are single brooded, flying in May/June. The host plants are various grasses, and this species is commonly found nectaring on Red Clover.”

So much for my skipper skills. Wrong place, wrong time, wrong plant. If anyone recognizes this insect, I would like to know what it is.

Unknown Skipper on Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower)

Unknown Skipper on Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower)

This one I believe is Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus).

Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower) With Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower) With Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

Materials
Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower)
Ceramic Urn

In summer I love to fill the house inside with flowers as well, not formal arrangements, just colorful blossoms lining the counters and tables, tucked into window sills and corners. These are a few from the weekend dinner party.

More Vases

More Vases

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy) and Angelonia ‘Serena White’

More Flowers

More Flowers

More Flowers

More Flowers

Many thanks to Cathy for hosting this weekly floral arrangement celebration. Visit her at Rambling In The Garden to discover what she and other gardeners are placing In A Vase On Monday.

On Zinnias

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Zinnia - October 9, 2015

Earth Zinnia – October 9, 2015

It is nearing the end of January. While other gardeners are sharing wondrous drifts of snowdrops and crocuses, zinnias have been on my mind the past couple of weeks.

I was excited by astronaut Scott Kelly’s tweet on January 16, 2016 from the International Space Station announcing “First ever flower grown in space makes its debut!”

Zinnias are flowers from my childhood and rarely does a summer go by without a bright stand of them in my garden. Easy to grow, they come in rich colors, are long-lasting as cut flowers and attract butterflies, bees and other pollinators. I like the idea of zinnias in space.

Growing zinnias is an important milestone in NASA’s Veggie project as scientists strive to understand how plants grow in microgravity. (Tomatoes are scheduled on 2017.)

Well, oops, it turns out a sunflower had been grown in June 2012 on the shuttle, so the zinnia was not actually the first flower grown in space after all.

But no wonder Kelly was excited to see this bloom. He had been granted gardening autonomy to oversee the zinnia plants after reporting to the ground support that the plants were drying out too much.  He wanted to water them and was given permission to skip the protocol that would have had him wait several more days. [Read more: How Mold on Space Station Flowers is Helping Get Us to Mars.]

Now Kelly has shared another photo of the zinnias and a bit of gardening wisdom:  “garden proving through challenge and continuous effort comes growth.”

 

 

In A Vase On Monday—A Starter Kit

Flowers Awaiting

Flowers Awaiting

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

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

Although I had gathered flowers yesterday and placed them in glasses of water to condition overnight, today started out too hectic for me to work with them any further.

I never found time to prepare a vase, but the blossoms looked eager and full of promise and it seemed a shame not to share them. So I slipped the glasses onto red wooden trays.

Here is a floral design starter kit—flowers and foliage. Just add a vase.

(Click to view the slideshow.)

Materials
Dahlia
Cosmos
Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)
Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant)
Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage)
Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude)
Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)
Zinnia
Aucuba japonica ‘Variegata’ (Gold Dust Aucuba)
Dracaena deremensis warneckii ‘Lemon Lime’
Iris leaves
Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower) seedpods

Thanks to Cathy for hosting this weekly flower addiction. Visit her at Rambling In The Garden to discover what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday and feel free to join in.

In A Vase On Monday—Gardenias

In A Vase On Monday - Gardenias

In A Vase On Monday – Gardenias

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

I had planned all week to feature Zinnia ‘Profusion Fire’ in my Monday vase, but as I walked through the garden I was tempted by other choices. At last the cosmos is in full bloom.

Gardenia, Cosmos, Zinnia 'Profusion Fire', Chrysanthemum

Gardenia, Cosmos, Zinnia ‘Profusion Fire’, Chrysanthemum

Cosmos

Cosmos

On the north side of the house Camellia sasanqua ‘Hana-Jiman’ is newly blooming, but upon inspection I saw the weekend rain had damaged its first few flowers. I brought them indoors anyway to enjoy the fragrance.

Growing beside the camellia I was surprised to find so many flowers on the two passalong gardenia shrubs. They must like the rain and the cooler weather. They won me over and I collected the nicest ones for a simple table arrangement.

In A Vase On Monday - Gardenias

In A Vase On Monday – Gardenias

The container is a small green Seagrove pottery vase given to me in 2007 by a dear friend.

In A Vase On Monday - Gardenias

In A Vase On Monday – Gardenias

Materials
Gardenia jasminoides

In A Vase On Monday - Gardenias

In A Vase On Monday – Gardenias

Thanks to Cathy for hosting this weekly flower addiction. Visit her at Rambling In The Garden to discover what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday and feel free to join in.

In A Vase On Monday—Rich Seasonal Color

Cosmos, Dahlias and Zinnias - In A Vase On Monday

Cosmos, Dahlias and Zinnias – In A Vase On Monday

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

Rain has been a rare occurrence at my house since last spring so I was delighted to have a rainy weekend. I gathered flowers during a break in the showers yesterday.  Today’s informal vase features three types of red dahlias that are just beginning to bloom.

Cosmos, Dahlias and Zinnias - In A Vase On Monday

Cosmos, Dahlias and Zinnias – In A Vase On Monday

One is a cocoa-tinged cactus-type dahlia that is newly purchased this year. The other two I would classify as formal decorative dahlias. One from last year that overwintered successfully is dark red with blue-violet overtones. The other, a passalong from friend Libby at An Eye For Detail, has smaller, bright scarlet flowers and nice long stems.

Dahlias and Zinnias - In A Vase On Monday – Version 2

Dahlias and Zinnias – In A Vase On Monday

Cosmos is finally starting to flower a little  in my garden while Zinnias continue to bloom profusely. Both are used today to fill out the arrangement.

Cosmos, Dahlias and Zinnias - In A Vase On Monday

Cosmos, Dahlias and Zinnias – In A Vase On Monday

Dahlia and Zinnia - In A Vase On Monday

Dahlia and Zinnia – In A Vase On Monday

I experimented with a variety of containers today before finally settling on a large lime green latte/soup mug.  The first vases I tried were too tall to suit the stem length of most of the dahlias, so I trimmed the all the flowers much shorter than I had planned. I used a 2-inch flower frog to hold the stems in place.

The cloudy morning had me carrying the vase of flowers all over the house and porch trying to capture some natural light.

Dahlias and Zinnias - In A Vase On Monday

Materials
Cosmos
Dahlia x hybrida
Euphorbia ‘Shorty’ (Shorty Spurge)
Lavandula x intermedia ‘Dutch’ (Dutch Lavender)
Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage)
Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude)
Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)
Zinnia

Dahlias and Zinnias - In A Vase On Monday

 

Thanks to Cathy for hosting this weekly flower addiction. Visit her at Rambling In The Garden to discover what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday and feel free to join in.

In A Vase On Monday—A Pitcher Of Late Summer

Monday brings the chance to share cut flowers from the garden by joining in Cathy’s weekly challenge In A Vase On Monday. In preparation I gathered flowers Sunday morning. It was a lovely day for enjoying being outside, clear sunny blue skies and 73 degrees F. (23C.).

Late Summer Pitcher

Late Summer Pitcher

For some time now I have intended to feature this rudbeckia—Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower)—in a very tall glass vase, as the stems are quite long. But the effect was not as I had imagined. In the end I pared them down and chose a more rustic container.

I loosely combined them with pink and orange zinnias, lantana and cosmos into a matte putty-gray jug to create an informal late summer arrangement.

Late Summer Pitcher

Late Summer Pitcher

While the lantana and zinnias are very sturdy, these rudbeckia petals behave just the opposite—flowing and draping and acting all dramatic.

Late Summer Pitcher

Late Summer Pitcher

Late Summer Pitcher

Late Summer Pitcher

The colors in the lantana, a bright medley of red, orange, yellow, reflect those of all the other flowers in the arrangement. Meanwhile the umbels or flower clusters of the lantana contrast with the composite form of its companions.

Lantana Echoes Colors of Zinnia and Rudbeckia

Lantana Echoes Colors of Zinnia and Rudbeckia

Materials
Cosmos
Lantana camara (Common lantana)
Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower)
Zinnia

Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower)

Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower)

This should be a long-lasting arrangement, bringing the golden glow of late summer sunshine to the indoors.

Update: The Phalaenopsis orchid blossom used in my vase two weeks ago is still looking fresh.

Thanks to Cathy for hosting this weekly flower addiction. Visit her at Rambling In The Garden to discover what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday and feel free to join in.

In A Vase On Monday—Featuring Gardenias

Trio of Vases - Overhead View

Trio of Vases – Overhead View

Trio of Vases - Overhead View (B&W)

Trio of Vases – Overhead View (B&W)

Monday brings the chance to practice flower arranging by joining in Cathy’s weekly challenge In A Vase On Monday, where the goal is simply to fill a vase using materials gathered in one’s own garden.

Yesterday I gathered a variety of flowers and foliage and placed them into glasses of warm water for conditioning. There were Zinnias, Dahlias, Perovskia, Lantana, Pink Muhly Grass, even a single, long-awaited Cosmos.

But of these, only a few of the Zinnias made it into this week’s arrangement. I never finished working with most of the flowers I collected, but did complete a trio of vases—two small and one large ceramic containers.

Trio of Vases

Trio of Vases

The prized blooms this week are gardenias from bushes on the north side of the house. Their fragrant, waxy white flowers and deep green leaves are the main focus for the large vase, accentuated by a few boldly colored zinnias.

Gardenias and Zinnias

Gardenias and Zinnias

Gardenia sp.

Gardenia sp.

 

In one of the small vases are an Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown,’ a gardenia with greenery and several sprigs of Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue.’

Black and Blue and Sundown

Black and Blue and Sundown

In the other small green vase are five pink and orange Zinnias, simply arranged.

Vase of Pink and Orange Zinnias

Vase of Pink and Orange Zinnias

The vases were interesting to photograph from above. I seldom include props but today I used one of several pieces of decorative molding salvaged from my father’s cabinet shop to play with the composition of the largest vase. (I had planned to use this molding with last week’s orchid but as it turned out it detracted from the integrity of the flower. Here it just is used to add weight to the bottom of the composition.)

Doecorative Molding

Decorative Molding

Gardenias and Zinnias - Overhead View

Large Vase – Gardenias and Zinnias – Overhead View

Large Vase - Gardenias and Zinnias

Large Vase – Gardenias and Zinnias

I like the black and white version of the last image.

Large Vase - Gardenias and Zinnias (B&W)

Large Vase – Gardenias and Zinnias (B&W)

Materials
Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’ (Hybrid Coneflower)
Gardenia sp.
Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’
Zinnia

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting. Discover what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday and feel free to join in.

In A Vase On Monday—Zinnias

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

Monday brings the chance to practice flower arranging by joining in Cathy’s weekly challenge In A Vase On Monday, where the goal is simply to fill a vase using materials gathered in one’s own garden.

I made lots of simple arrangements last week for a family get-together but did not have time to photograph them most of them. One of my favorites was this earth tone ceramic pot filled with purple and green leaves of Canna, Purple Heart and Pink Muhly Grass interspersed with a few stems of Verbena bonariensis. This became the starting point for my today’s vase.

This vase was the foundation for this week's arrangement.

This vase was the foundation for this week’s arrangement.

After removing everything and discarding the Verbena bonariensis, I rinsed the leaves and the container and inserted a florist’s frog in the bottom.

Next I headed outdoors to gather Zinnias, currently the main source of color in my late summer garden. They are almost all orange or pink.

Zinnia sp.

Zinnia sp.

I found a couple of small Dahlia flowers as well.

Dahlia and Zinnia

Dahlia and Zinnia

To get started I placed the Canna leaves toward the back, then added a few of the tallest Zinnias, followed by the groups of Pink Muhly Grass.

Canna and Zinnia

Canna and Zinnia

A stem of Autumn Joy sedum from last week or maybe the week before, nicely filled a blank space and added a contrasting texture and some extra height.

After placing the rest of the flowers and Purple Heart, the arrangement seemed crowded. I trimmed away some of the foliage, rolled some leaves down and furled some vertically.

Sedum, Canna and Zinnia

Sedum, Canna and Zinnia

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

Materials
Canna sp.
Dahlia sp.
Hylotelephium ‘Herbstfreude’ Autumn Joy (Stonecrop)
Muhlenbergia capillaris (Pink Muhly Grass)
Tradescantia pallida ‘Purpurea’ (Purple Heart)
Zinnia

I placed the cheery Zinnia arrangement on a cherry table in the hallway, designed and crafted by our daughter, where the play of sunlight brightened and enriched the colors of the flowers.

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

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting. It is always fun to discover what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday.

Mid-August Notables

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ with Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Lately I have spent very little time in my waning summer garden, but yesterday in the peace of the early morning I enjoyed some quiet moments watering and assessing the main borders.

Much of my garden is shutting down for the season. Cleome and phlox, which managed to carry the garden through the worst of the heat and drought, now have quit producing.

After spring, my favorite time to garden, all bets are off anyway, but I did make an effort this year to plan for more interest in the summer months. I also watered frequently when rains did not come, something I rarely am willing to do. Nevertheless, it has been a tough summer for gardening.

Even some old reliables, such as Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’ felt the strain. Usually a star in the summer, this year ‘Irish Eyes’ struggled and gave up all too quickly. Just a few flowers remain.

Many new plants have been stressed too. Although I tried to keep them happy, three new gardenias and one of the two new camellias appear to be doomed.

For several years I have admired photos of Agastache (Mexican hyssop) from across the blogosphere. Finally this spring I brought Agastache ‘Kudos Ambrosia’ home from my local garden center, where it has languished.

Also, despite packaging promises of “flowers summer through fall,” neither a new red Clematis ‘Niobe’  nor some red and purple dahlias planted in spring have yet to make much impact. These plants at least look healthy though so I am optimistic in a few more weeks their performance will improve as the weather cools.

Even with these and other setbacks, there are a few bright spots in the garden, which were really my focus for today.

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ has rebloomed. This vine looked lovely in spring, then turned completely brown in time for Christina’s visit. I trimmed part of it back halfway but it seems to have all recovered, so I cannot give credit to the pruning.

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

Zinnias continue to look colorful and healthy. These orange ones are my favorite each year.

Zinnia

Zinnia

Zinnia

Zinnia

I purchased a few red-orange Zinnia ‘Profusion Fire’ as plants for some instant color in late spring. The ones planted in containers did not make it, but in the ground they coped better. This one looked nice in the dewy morning, surrounded by fresh leaves of Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) and perennial Dusty Miller.

Zinnia 'Profusion Fire' Peeking Out From Under Aquilegia canadensis

Zinnia ‘Profusion Fire’ Peeking Out From Under Aquilegia canadensis

Zinnia 'Profusion Fire' and perennial Dusty Miller

Zinnia ‘Profusion Fire’ encompassed by perennial Dusty Miller

Rudbeckia hirta (black-eyed-susan) is not unusual at all, but I have had trouble keeping it established in my garden and am excited it has done well this year.

Rudbeckia hirta (black-eyed-susan)

Rudbeckia hirta (black-eyed-susan)

Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant) which opened about 10 days ago continues to look fresh in the northwest border. The cuttings I brought inside for Monday’s vase also are holding up well.

Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant)

Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant)

Cosmos planted from seed in early spring in the southern side border faced stiff competition from Cleome that reseeded vigorously.  Only a few cosmos plants survived the battle and none have bloomed so far even though the cleome has been removed. They look strong and healthy bathed in yesterday’s early sunlight. I expect them to rally this fall.

Cosmos

Cosmos

Cosmos

Cosmos

A dependable highlight for weeks and weeks each year, Autumn Joy (Stonecrop) is doing well. I really like it in this green stage.

Hylotelephium 'Herbstfreude' Autumn Joy (Stonecrop)

Hylotelephium ‘Herbstfreude’ Autumn Joy (Stonecrop)

A native, Callicarpa americana (American beauty berry) started flowering a few weeks ago. Berries are forming too, suggesting just a hint of the pink that will mature to a shocking shade of magenta.

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

So, at mid-August the garden is not as lush as last summer when there was ample rain to sustain it, but having chosen to water this year I have found myself more connected to its changing moods. Though sadly I could not save all the plants, I have had the pleasure of time spent among the flowers and the gift of being more aware of the bees, butterflies and other insects visiting my little backyard haven.

And then there is this: my husband spontaneously said tonight, “What a luxury the garden is.” I think he is on to something.

In A Vase On Monday—Vivid Summer Color

Design From Above

Design From Above

Monday brings the chance to practice flower arranging by joining in Cathy’s weekly challenge In A Vase On Monday, where the goal is simply to fill a vase using materials gathered in one’s own garden.

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

Zinnias are usually reliable but this year very few of the seeds germinated. The plants that grew are very strong though and the colors, vibrant. Several of my favorite deep orange ones opened yesterday so they form the basis of this week’s arrangement. I added a couple of pink zinnias and a salmon one as well, all that were blooming today.

Zinnia and Angelonia

Zinnia and Angelonia

 

There is plenty of Angelonia blooming, making it an easy choice for filler flowers.

Zinnia and Angelonia

Zinnia and Angelonia

Zinnia and Angelonia

Zinnia and Angelonia

I chose the dark pink Angelonia and I really like the way it pairs with the orange zinnia, but in retrospect white would have provided better contrast in the overall arrangement.

The similarity of color tone in today’s flowers made it hard to achieve a good range of light and dark in the design. It is easier for me to see this when I squint at photographs than while arranging the flowers–something to keep in mind next time.

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

Dahlias are blooming sporadically. I was able to find a couple of dark burgundy ones as well as a sprig of Purple heart foliage. Their contribution to the design is best observed when viewing the vase from overhead.

Zinnia, Angelonia, Dahlia, Purple heart and Sweet pea

Zinnia, Angelonia, Dahlia, Purple heart and Sweet pea

I also included a couple of stems of Gomphrena or globe amaranth from a patio planter.  The Gomphrena seems to love the heat. A passalong Perennial Sweet Pea, which has bloomed well all summer, and a salmon-hued Pelargonium, which has not, round out the choice of flowers.

Sweet pea, Gomphrena, Zinnia, Pelargonium, Angelonia

Sweet pea, Gomphrena, Zinnia, Pelargonium, Angelonia

 

Materials
Angelonia ‘Rose’
Angelonia ‘Serenita Raspberry’
Dahlia sp.
Gomphrena globosa (Globe amaranth)
Lathyrus latifolius (Perennial Sweet Pea)
Pelargonium × hortorum ‘Rocky Mountain Salmon’ (Zonal geranium)
Tradescantia pallida ‘Purpurea’ (Purple Heart)
Zinnia

 

From above: Zinnia, Angelonia, Dahlia and Purple heart

From above: Zinnia, Angelonia, Dahlia and Purple heart

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

In A Vase On Monday—Keep Calm And Garden On

In A Vase On Monday - Keep Calm And Garden On

In A Vase On Monday – Keep Calm And Garden On

Monday morning is time to join Cathy for In A Vase On Monday, a weekly invitation to fill and share a vase using materials gathered from one’s garden.

In A Vase On Monday - Keep Calm And Garden On

In A Vase On Monday – Keep Calm And Garden On

My two younger sisters helped me celebrate my birthday last week with some special garden-themed gifts, several of which I incorporated into the setting for today’s vase. One is a refashioned and repurposed silver spoon stamped with the words, “Keep Calm And Garden On,” guidance I appreciate and shall try to follow.

In A Vase On Monday - Keep Calm And Garden On

In A Vase On Monday – Keep Calm And Garden On

The arrangement sits atop a beautiful batik table runner made by my quilter sister. The colors in the fabric echo those of the today’s flowers as do those in the pretty kitchen towel with diminutive pots of herbs. I had not planned the vase around these items but they make nice companions.

In A Vase On Monday - Keep Calm And Garden On

In A Vase On Monday – Keep Calm And Garden On

The flowers themselves are a simple summer bouquet of Shasta daisies paired with dark orange and deep pink Zinnias. Multi-branched stems of Lantana camara provide foliage as well as complementary floral accents in pink, orange and gold.

Shasta Daisy, Zinnia and Lantana

Shasta Daisy, Zinnia and Lantana

Materials

Lantana camara (Common lantana)
Leucanthemum superbum ‘Alaska’ (Shasta Daisy)
Zinnia

Zinnias

Zinnias

Thank you to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for welcoming everyone to join her in this opportunity to share a vase each week. Please visit her to see what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday.

In A Vase On Monday—Red Pitcher

 

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

Each Monday brings an opportunity to join in Cathy’s weekly challenge called In A Vase On Monday. The goal is to fill a vase using materials collected from the garden.

Today’s offering is a simple collection of Zinnias in hues ranging from orange, apricot, coral, and pale yellow. Three sprigs of Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’ contribute foliage in dark shades of purple and red. A burgundy dahlia and an umbel-shaped floret of Autumn Joy sedum,  now aged to a rich burnt sienna color, complete the arrangement.

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

In A Vase On Monday-4

The flowers are held in a bright red Waechtersbach pitcher accented with white hearts, a gift from my mother-in-law many years ago.

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

Materials

Dahlia ‘Blue Bell’
Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’ (Spurge)
Hylotelephium telephium ‘Herbstfreude’ (Autumn Joy)
Zinnia Cut and Come Again Mix

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting. Discover what delightful things she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday. Perhaps you will be inspired to share your own vase.

Beginnings

A First Garden

A First Garden

I recently came across this photograph that shows my first garden. The same summer I was married I planted this little flower bed at the very edge of our property near the driveway.

Silver bells and cockle shells and pretty maids all in a row. Or in my case, a back row of gladioli, two rows of red salvias, and a front row of zinnias, all meticulously outlined in small stones collected from around my yard. Both gladiolus and zinnia were well known to me, but the red salvia was not and it seemed terribly exotic.

These little plants were a rectangle of joy that summer and so looking back at it now, I have to say this was quite a successful garden.

A year before our marriage my husband had bought a small house on a dirt road, down in a valley on a one-half acre, heavily wooded lot. The land was once farmland, but had returned to young pine forest by the time our house was built four years earlier.

The trees were mostly loblolly pines and unfortunately, over the years we learned a lot about how freshly broken pines smell after ice storms and hurricanes. Long after this photo was taken, the sweet gum tree visible on the left became a Hurricane Fran victim. The resulting light that streamed in after the tree was removed brought us an interesting surprise—after nearly two decades of living there a yucca plant bloomed for the first time in this little corner.

That yucca, discernible In the middle right of the photo, lay at the base of a large pine. It was planted before we had moved there by Dr. Harold, our neighbor who owned the adjoining property. His wife’s first name was Fern and perhaps to honor her or just because he liked ferns, he also had dug up ferns of some unknown type and placed them, earth and all, atop these two tall stones, where they thrived during our years there. Dr. Harold had a deep love of the land and often walked his property and the surrounding woods with a beautiful English Sheepdog and later, his Golden Retriever, Lance.

Though only three miles from town, my newly married self felt isolated and lost on this land “out in the country.”  I did appreciate the azaleas and the many fine native dogwoods growing there, but being unused to anything wild, I did not even recognize what poison ivy looked like. Thankfully a wise friend finally took pity on me and announced one day she was coming over to walk me around our property to point out the poison ivy, so I could know what to avoid. It took a while but we eventually managed to get that pesky plant under control.

There were too many trees in my opinion and the soil—in addition to being covered with tree roots, the soil was heavy clay, quite opposite the rich, loamy soil of my parents’ vegetable garden.

The first year we were married my husband and I used large (and heavy) stones picked up from along nearby roadsides to create paths and to delineate islands around groups of trees.  At the sunniest edges of these islands I tried to grow flowers, but gardening was not easy for me in this shady location. Everything I wanted to grow needed sun.

Though I did not consider myself a gardener at this time, somehow the few sunny spots in our yard soon became flower beds. They were mostly filled with irises that had been passed along by my across-the-street neighbor, Henrietta.  Many years later when enough trees had fallen to allow plenty of sunlight through, I decided to turn the entire front yard into a garden with islands of perennials and these irises were the starting point. The garden I created at that time is still my favorite.

By that point I had learned enough to hire someone to bring in lots of planting soil and compost to form raised beds. No more scratching around tree roots in hard clay. The year before my good friends and accross-the-street neighbors, Bill and Cecy, had made a wonderful garden in their back yard, exuberantly full of shasta daisies and yarrow, among other things They had started with loads of compost recycled from the town’s food waste, so I took a cue from them.

When Janice, my friend who earlier had taught me how to tip-toe past the poison ivy, saw the beginnings of my perennial garden, she dropped off lots of ephemeral wildflowers and other natives, such as Monarda.

I am not sure what sparked the idea to create that perennial garden. Over time I think I had become a gardener without being aware it was happening. In my memory it stands out as a respite from work and simply a beautiful place to busy my hands and free my mind.

I was fortunate to have a true gardening mentor, though when she was living, I did not know to think of her in such terms. Through the years my mother’s cousin, VIrgie, shared dozens of plants from her garden, including sweet shrub, spirea, Turk’s cap lily, phlox, tradescantia, everlasting sweet pea. When we moved to our current home many of Virgie’s plants came with me. It was the wrong time of year to be able to bring Janice’s ephemerals,  but her Monarda came along and so did Henrietta’s irises.

Sadly my digital images of my previous perennial garden were lost during a painful hard-drive crash. I am still hoping to come across a printed photograph of it sometime when I take time to go through my boxes of pictures. For now I remember it circuitously by looking at this image of my first little garden near the driveway—the beginnings of a love of gardening.

 

 

In A Vase On Monday—August Mingle (Take Two)

In A Vase On Monday - August Mingle

In A Vase On Monday – August Mingle

Yesterday’s In A Vase On Monday was completed too late to photograph the flowers in natural light. This afternoon I set up the arrangement on the sunny back porch and made a few more images.

I wanted to include them today for my own record because the colors are so much more vibrant and truer to life than I was able to capture indoors last night under artificial light. The rich hues of Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ are especially more obvious and in general, the natural light makes it much easier to see all of the flowers in detail.

Zinnia, Rudbeckia and Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’ (Hybrid Coneflower)

Zinnia, Rudbeckia and Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’ (Hybrid Coneflower)

In A Vase On Monday - August Mingle

In A Vase On Monday – August Mingle

In A Vase On Monday - August Mingle

In A Vase On Monday – August Mingle

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

Zinnia, Rudbeckia and Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’ (Hybrid Coneflower)

Zinnia, Rudbeckia and Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’ (Hybrid Coneflower)

Orange Zinnia Cut and Come Again

Orange Zinnia Cut and Come Again

Lantana camara (Common lantana) and  Orange Zinnia Cut and Come Again

Lantana camara (Common lantana) and Orange Zinnia Cut and Come Again

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ and Yellow Zinnia Giant Flowered

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ and Yellow Zinnia Giant Flowered

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ , Yellow Zinnia Giant Flowered and Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’ (Hybrid Coneflower)

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ , Yellow Zinnia Giant Flowered and Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’ (Hybrid Coneflower)

In A Vase On Monday - August Mingle

In A Vase On Monday – August Mingle

Materials
Lavandula x intermedia ‘Dutch’ (Dutch Lavender)
Heuchera villosa ‘Big Top Bronze’ (Coral Bells)
Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’ (Spurge)
Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy)
Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’
Pale yellow and orange Zinnia Cut and Come Again Mix -Burpee- 24” height
Canary yellow Zinnia Giant Flowered -Burpee-30” height  Huge 5” blooms
Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’ (Hybrid Coneflower)
Rosa ‘Iceberg’
Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’
Lantana camara (Common lantana)
Physostegia virginiana (Obedient plant)

In A Vase On Monday—August Mingle

In A Vase On Monday--August Mingle

In A Vase On Monday–August Mingle

Monday is nearly over, but I have been hurrying this evening to join Cathy’s challenge In A Vase On Monday. The goal is to fill a vase using materials gathered in one’s own garden.

In between errands and rain showers I finally managed at midday to gather flowers for today’s vase, leaving them in water to condition.  After dinner at last I had a few minutes to assemble an arrangement for today. Fortunately it went together quickly.

First I affixed florist oasis to a shallow dish. Using a single stalk of euphorbia and multiple stems of Coral Bell flowers and lavender leaves, I outlined a basic circular shape for the design. It would have been nice to have some concealer leaves, but it was too late to gather any. I made do with a few fern-like tansy leaves and a bit of the lavender.

Outlining the arrangement

Outlining the arrangement

Next I emphasized the outline using Black and Blue salvia, then added rich canary yellow giant zinnias for focal flowers. The salvia is actually very blue, not purple as the photograph makes it seem.

Next Black and Blue Salvia and Yellow Zinnias were added.

Next Black and Blue Salvia and Yellow Zinnias were added.

Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’ (Hybrid Coneflower)

Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’ (Hybrid Coneflower)

Then came red-orange coneflowers (Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’), orange zinnias, and lantana. The lantana seems mostly orange at first glance, but its blooms are actually multi-hued clusters of orange, yellow, and pink flowers.

I finished the arrangement with yellow rudbeckia with green-cone centers, and Rosa Iceberg.

This iceberg rose did not really bloom well in spring, but recently it has tried again. Its flowers are very small and stems are weak, but I used them today for their fragrance.

Rosa 'Iceberg'

Rosa ‘Iceberg’

Physostegia virginiana (Obedient plant) is starting to bloom this week and I used a couple of stems draping downward.  To complete the arrangement I set the flowers atop an inexpensive bone-colored ceramic novelty vase that is stamped Vintage 4.

In A Vase On Monday--August Mingle

In A Vase On Monday–August Mingle

It is easy to lose track but as I was arranging I tried to work from all sides of the arrangement.

In A Vase On Monday--August Mingle

In A Vase On Monday–August Mingle

In A Vase On Monday--August Mingle

In A Vase On Monday–August Mingle

I do not usually work with so many different flowers in one arrangement and still cannot decide if it is easier or harder. It is surprising that such a variety was available today in my garden.

Materials
Lavandula x intermedia ‘Dutch’ (Dutch Lavender)
Heuchera villosa ‘Big Top Bronze’ (Coral Bells)
Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’ (Spurge)
Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy)
Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’
Pale yellow and orange Zinnia Cut and Come Again Mix -Burpee- 24” height
Canary yellow Zinnia Giant Flowered -Burpee-30” height  Huge 5” blooms
Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’ (Hybrid Coneflower)
Rosa ‘Iceberg’
Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’
Lantana camara (Common lantana)
Physostegia virginiana (Obedient plant)

In A Vase On Monday--August Mingle

In A Vase On Monday–August Mingle

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

In A Vase On Monday—Chow-Chow Rustica

Chow-Chow Rustica

Chow-Chow Rustica

Another week is beginning and once again I am joining Cathy’s challenge In A Vase On Monday. The goal is to fill a vase using materials gathered in one’s own garden.

My husband kindly did the photo shoot for today’s arrangement, which afforded him naming rights. Inspired by the container, a simple glass jar that once held Ms. Mary’s Mild Chow Chow, he aptly suggested the title, Rustica.

Rustica also appropriately reflects the simplicity, charm and rural quality evoked by this Monday’s flowers. This is a colorful, informal presentation of yellow, pink and red zinnias supported by yellow rudbeckia with green-cone centers.

Chow-Chow Rustica detail

I planted packets of two types of Burpee Zinnia seeds this year. Both the large yellow and red zinnias in the detail to the left are from the “Giant Flowered” mix. These reach 30 inches tall with blooms of 5 inches in diameter.

Materials
Zinnia Cut and Come Again Mix -Burpee- 24” height
Zinnia Giant Flowered -Burpee-30” height  Huge 5” blooms
Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

By the way, chow-chow is a colorful relish popular in the South—a tangy, vinegary concoction made of chopped mixed vegetables, sometimes sweet, sometimes hot, sometimes both. I am curious if you are familiar with it and how you use it. There are many variations, but my father enjoyed making chow-chow with his home-grown, coarsely chopped green cabbage, to which he probably added red and green peppers, onions and mustard seeds.

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

Early Morning In The Garden

The severe winter was rough on this Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’ but I cut it all the way back in early spring. It has been looking strong ever since. There are flowers, but I became distracted by the colorful young leaves this morning.

Euphorbia 'Blackbird' (Spurge)

Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’ (Spurge)

Euphorbia 'Blackbird' (Spurge)

Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’ (Spurge)

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ is barely blooming this summer, but a few were encouraged to give it try after this week’s rain.

Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue'

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue'

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

While I was photographing the Black and Blue saliva a handsome dragonfly landed nearby for several seconds before dashing off.

Dragonfly

Dragonfly

Dragonfly

Dragonfly

The heat suits the zinnias just fine. This one looked particularly fresh in the morning light.

Zinnia In Early Morning Sunshine

Zinnia In Early Morning Sunshine

Autumn Passage

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

Yesterday evening during dinner on the porch I glimpsed what I thought could be a Monarch, so this morning I headed out to investigate. In the northwest corner of the garden this solitary butterfly was enjoying nectar from the few remaining Zinnias.

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) and Zinnias

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) and Zinnias

Garden Recordkeeping Part 5

As September 2013 winds down I have some photographs and notes to record. This is the fifth and final post in this series.

The Southern side path leads from the left front of the house toward the garden in the back. Muhlenbergia capillaris (Pink Muhly Grass) is blooming there currently. It sits at the bottom end of the path, just before the walk turns right to guide visitors through the white picket gate entrance.

Muhlenbergia capillaris (Pink Muhly Grass) in Southern Side Path

Muhlenbergia capillaris (Pink Muhly Grass) in Southern Side Path

Other plants featured at this time in the Southern side garden are Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage), Lavender, Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood), Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue.’

Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage)

Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage)

An Iceberg rose belonged to a dear friend and though I am not much a a rose grower, this one is special for sentimental reasons. Since the weather cooled it has been reblooming.

Rosa 'Iceberg'

Rosa ‘Iceberg’

Rosa 'Iceberg'

Rosa ‘Iceberg’

Rosa 'Iceberg'

Rosa ‘Iceberg’

Rosa 'Iceberg'

Rosa ‘Iceberg’

I keep trying Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena) in various spots around the garden. American Goldfinches love the seeds and look pretty against whatever remaining lavender flowers have not gone to seed.

Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) is reliable and that is reason enough to like it. Although it is always listed as drought-resistant, it really did a lot better than usual when we were having plenty of rain.

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Last year I planted a row of three Italian Cypresses in back along the Northern border. Most of the time since, they have not looked quite convinced they should live and thrive, but do seem to be growing now a bit. Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood) is planted nearby.

Italian Cypress and Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Italian Cypress and Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Self-seeded Zinnias are still blooming in the northeast corner of the garden, as well as in a border near the back steps. These are the giant variety so they add some much needed height to the garden. I have not seen any butterflies around them lately, but earlier they attracted many Eastern Tiger Swallowtails.

Zinnia

Zinnia

Almanac
Partly cloudily, 66.6°F. at 7:25 pm, heading toward low tonight of 54°F. Warmer days for the rest of the week. No rain forecast. Waning crescent moon.

Early September Observations

On the first day of September a serendipitous sun shower in late afternoon was followed by a quite stormy evening. That night the garden received a refreshing inch of rain. Now a mere week has passed without rain, but the effect on the garden was immediate. All of the borders are browning, shriveling and retreating as plants lose their vigor.

Though the days are still warm, the nights are noticeably cooler and the amount of daylight is decreasing. Responding to these signals, the changes in length of day, temperature and moisture, the garden appears to be receding.

Rarely do I water the garden, but I would like to prolong this year’s flowers a few more weeks. With no rain in the forecast for another five days, I walked out soon after dawn to apply some selective relief. At that early time of day the neighborhood was luxuriously quiet, interrupted only by pleasant birdsong and rich tones from wind chimes catching a gentle breeze.

Cardinals and hummingbirds went on with business as I carried around the hose. As bees have been mostly absent this summer I was surprised to see a large number of bumblebees. Two American Goldfinches, brilliant yellow, each stood atop Purple Coneflower seedpods surveying the bounty.

With the watering done I walked the meditation circle, then used the camera to make notes of the morning.

There still are some flowers to enjoy. The garden has two Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’ and one is completely spent, yet the other at the bottom of the southern side path continues to bloom profusely.

Rudbeckia hirta 'Irish Eyes'

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Hummingbirds and butterflies are attracted to Phlox Paniuclata, which thrived with all the rain this summer. No deer bothered jumping the fence to get to it either, a first in many summers.

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)   'Robert Poore'  possibly

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox) ‘Robert Poore’ possibly

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)   'Robert Poore'  possibly

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox) ‘Robert Poore’ possibly

Orange Coneflower is one of the plants that began sagging so much this week without water. One would expect this native plant to be more drought-tolerant than a week.

Rudbeckia fulgida (Orange Coneflower)

Rudbeckia fulgida (Orange Coneflower)

Cleome bloomed well all summer. Though many have dried up and formed numerous seedpods, a few are just beginning to bloom.

Self-portrait with Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Self-portrait with Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Zinnias look bright and colorful against the back fence and draw butterflies to that corner of the garden.

Zinnia

Zinnia

Though many stalks and leaves are now brown, some foliage remains in good shape. Columbine, which had all been cut back after flowering, now has formed gentle mounds in (too) many places. Some of the leaves are taking on a slight reddish tinge.

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Baptisia and Artemisia team up nicely along the southern side path. The rains this summer really brought the Baptisia along this year.

Baptisia 'Purple Smoke' and Artemisia 'Powis Castle' (Wormwood)

Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’ and Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)

Autumn Joy Sedum began blooming abundantly this week, making its little section of the garden seem quite happy.

View of Mediation Circle with Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

View of Mediation Circle with Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)