Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Monday, August 31, 2015

In a Vase on Monday....And Forevermore

A few garden bloggers that I follow participate faithfully in the "In a Vase on Monday" meme hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden  --  specifically, Ricki at Sprig to Twig and Kris at Late to the Garden Party.

Every so often I think it might be fun, or at the very least, interesting, to join in. But I find it hard to shake the conviction that I'll be taking flowers from an already paltry number blooming in my garden, and that I'll basically be crap at it. But on a recent garden walkabout I realized I might be able to make something work with all the dead stuff. I don't have to worry about keeping the stems in fresh water, or about matching or clashing colors (since everything is some shade of brown).

And if it looks like crap, I can blame it on the fact that everything is dead.

But if it looks good, I can keep it forever.

The first thing I had to do was buy a vase. I own a single bud vase. I found something I thought was appropriate at Fred Meyer. Except it's not a vase. It's a candle holder. But so what? I used it anyway, cause I liked the filigree-ish exterior, with its bare stem-like design. It has a glass insert, meant for holding a candle, that's not removable. But guess what? That glass insert worked brilliantly to hold the stems.

Then I just went around the garden with my secateurs, looking for dead stuff. I found plenty, given our harsh summer, and my laziness in deadheading. I knew I had to work quickly, and cut everything on Friday, because over the weekend we were going to get a big wind and rain storm, and everything I was planning to use would get beaten up or soaked.

I rejected a stem of Inula, because the lower part was still green. Same with a nicely curved stem of Liatris. Too much purple in that flower still. I considered using some dead stems from my red twig dogwood, that I cut and stuck in a vase a couple of years ago. But, Hello? Red. I used stems mostly in twos and threes and fives.

My requiem for summer

A little bit of everything

Cardoon flower

Ostrich fern and cardoon foliage

Cardoon flower with Kewpie doll hair

Phlomis has interesting tiered flowers

Bare daylily scapes remind me of bones or antlers

Oakleaf Hydrangea flower borders on orange, but not quite

A few hints of green in a twisted cardoon leaf

Once I placed this dried Eryngium flower, I had to be careful placing the rest -- they're very poky!

A single sinuous banana leaf at the back

I probably photographed this same banana leaf a few months ago for Foliage Followup

I like it. It's kind of ugly, but it's kind of beautiful too.

The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins?
-- Edgar Allan Poe

You should check out Cathy's In a Vase on Monday post here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wednesday Vignette

I'm not convinced you can call this a vignette. It's more of a Wednesday Macro. But I'm including it in Anna's Wednesday Vignette meme anyway.

I never looked that closely at Panicum flowers before, other than to vaguely notice that they're a sort of rosy color. Yesterday doing a garden walk-about I finally looked really closely at them for the first time, and realized they are pink -- and orange! My current favorite color combo for the front garden, where most of my Panicums hang out.

How cool is this?

All I need now is for someone to start breeding Panicums for larger flowers. Cause these little babies are tiny, tiny, tiny.

Anna at Flutter and Hum hosts the Wednesday Vignette meme. You can read her current post here, and check out the links to other participating bloggers in the comments.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wednesday Vignette

From a July visit by the Petal Pushers to the garden of Wendy and Bob.

Kale and watering can

Anna at Flutter and Hum hosts Wednesday Vignette. Check out her current post here.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Foliage Followup -- August, 2015

It's time for Foliage Followup, which always happens the day after Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, with the purpose of celebrating the role of fantastic foliage in the garden. Because of our long, hot, dry summer, I have a lot of crispy foliage, not to mention plants that have been torn apart and trampled by the rampaging marauders in the back. But I have found a few vignettes of good-looking leaves, and I've expanded the "not flowers" designation to include some seedpods.

Tetrapanax 'Steroidal Giant' looks quite lush despite being watered briefly about once a week

Black Colocasia/elephant ear would make a great subject for a leaf casting

Colocasia 'Mojito' unrolling

It's hard to capture the wonderful shades of blue and purple in Little Bluestem 'Blue Heaven'

The now golden strands of pheasant tail grass

The red tips of Panicum virgatum

Not really foliage, but not flower either -- Arum seed clusters (the day after I took this picture, it was trampled by raccoons)

Also not foliage -- Castor bean seedpods

Pam Penick at Digging hosts Foliage Followup. See her post here, and don't forget to check out the links from other bloggers in the comments.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day -- August, 2015

Almost all of my flowers right now are in the front garden, but even so, it still seems sparse to me. So many plants have flowered and gone past already because of our hot, dry summer. Still, there are a few to show for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.

My Brugs have been flowering off and on all summer, but my cream-white one had produced a big flush of flowers that I can smell as soon as I set foot out the front door. Such a beautiful flower and a lovely scent!

The yellow one has been flowering too

I have a few Dahlias in flower. I planted and/or transplanted all of them this year, and many of the new ones produced just a bunch of leaves, but no flowers. They've gotten minimal watering. Maybe next year and in future years, with more water and more temperate temperatures, there will be an impressive show.

I think I started this one from seed a couple of years ago

Variegated Knautia

Sedum 'Thundercloud'

A second clump of the same Sedum is always behind, although it's in the same bed only 6 feet away

Echevaria flower stalk

Lobelia tupa in the front garden is much darker red than the one that blooms earlier in the back

Alstroemeria 'Rock and Roll'

Love Lies Bleeding is not even a foot tall, such a disappointment

Thank Heaven for Crocosmia in the mid- to late summer garden

Eucomis 'Sparkling Burgundy' is much shorter than last year and not flopping (yet)

A touch of rebloom on the Bougainvilleea that I bought back in the spring -- I'm so relieved I haven't killed it (yet)

Rudbeckia is another star of the mid- to late summer garden

In the same bed with the Rudbeckia are several different ornamental grasses. I often forget that this is the time of year when they "flower" too, although it's hard to think of their panicle as a flower.

Pink-tinged Panicum virgatum, probably 'Rotstrahlbusch'

Sesleria autumnalis

Bouteloua gracilis 'Blonde Ambition'

Aka eyebrow grass

Pennisetum 'Redhead'

Anemanthele lessoniana

There is some great color on the blades of my Little Bluestem, but the awns are not quite as far along as my other late season grasses. Perhaps I'll show you my Little Bluestem tomorrow for Foliage Followup.

Crocosmia 'Gold Rush,' a recent purchase, is destined for the back garden

I have a multi-pronged raccoon-foiling plan for the back garden, but I won't be implementing it for a few weeks

A couple of dainty Aloes are flowering

I bought a couple of tender cactus a week or so ago, one of which almost immediately produced a bunch of flower buds. I neglected to get photos of the flowers completely open.

Nicotiana has seeded around from last year's plants

One last Kniphofia

Himalayan Honeysuckle/Leycesteria formosa

One of my favorite flowering shrubs

Verbascum bombyciferum -- so fantastically Seussian

I know it as Belamcanda chinensis, but it has a new name -- Iris domestica

Calendula officinalis 'Solar Flashback' self-sown from last year's plants

I'd prefer even more of them, so once the flowers have produced seed, I'll save some and sow them in pots in the spring to be planted out

Calendula has the strangest seeds -- that green thing that looks sort of like a fuzzy caterpillar is one of them


Joe Pye Weed and Monarda 'Raspberry Wine' in one of the few beds in the back garden untouched by the raccoons

That's my flowers for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, hosted by Carol Michel at May Dreams Gardens. You'll find her Bloom Day post here, along with links to lots of other bloggers around the world.