Monthly Archives: September 2015

lest you think I have stopped arranging

this is probably the second busiest time of year for me in the garden. To keep it looking fresh requires lots of cutting back and dead heading, this year in particular has required triage watering on a daily basis as it has been so dry,  and there is perennial dividing and planting, bulb planting, indoor bulb ordering  and usualy a big project on the baord too. That leaves little time for other pursuits, but I have still been managing to throw together some arrangements form the garden and snap some quick photos .

here a simple pitcher with a few late upright sedums( I may have posted before?)sedum

this next one is a favorite , it is one large hydrangea bloom ( faded), persian shield stobilanthes dyerianus, verbena bonairiensis , and a twig of snowberry symphoricarpos . Simple and just my style. Both the Persian shield and hydrangea will last a very long time in a vase, the Persian shield often grows roots and can be potted up to overwinter indoors. The snowberry is a crap shoot, sometimes they last forever , sometimes they brown up quick. I always pick off any that are showing signs of rotting to prevent it spreading and this twig has held up already well over week in water.DSC_0034 DSC_0042

The last  one is a red /dark pink color study. I was so excited to do a red filled vase and was going to make it a loose blousy affair with lots of stems of daucus carrota which is a carrot relative I FINALLY got seed for , but when I went out to pick them the GD rabbits had eaten the plant  to the ground. I sulked for the rest of the day, but put together this little vase anyway to cheer me up. It has a coleus, a very large dahlia, purple fountain grass, a single zinnia,   the burnished leaves of a mountain hydrangea, celosia, sedum ,and the foliage of Red Shield Hibiscus, another newbie to me for cutting.  red shield hibiscusThe hibiscus was slow to get going, and now has enough foliage that I don’t mind cutting, what I did notice though was that the older and bigger leaves wilt promptly when cut ,and so far despite all my tricks I have yet to figure out how to re-hydrate them. the smaller leaves are just fine .It is a cool plant I may grow again.DSC_0016 DSC_0015 DSC_0013 DSC_0012

As to the reddish carrot flowers I adore, luckily I had sown seed in a container of other annuals and I have some about to bloom there. The container got lifted up onto a pedestal and out of reach of the mangy marauders for further insurance. As soon as I see flowers I will try again.

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clematis seed head wreath

Those of you who grow any clematis plants know that their seed heads are distinctly interesting. Freaky, even. Depending on the variety they can be tiny little stars or very large and alien looking sructures.  Those of the weedier species look like old men’s beards , a common name given to clematis virginiana because of the likeness. I wandered around a few days ago to take some photos of a few of those that are currently on vines in the garden. Top to bottom they are c. alba luxurians, c.hexapetala, c.texensis ‘gravetye Beauty’, c. Etoille Violette’, Gravetye Beauty again, c.’Pope John Paul II’, c ‘Pagoda’, c. ‘Polish Spirit’ and c. tanquitica ‘Bill McKenzie’DSC_0015 DSC_0013 DSC_0018 DSC_0009 DSC_0007 DSC_0005 DSC_0004 DSC_0001 DSC_0023


While  taking the pictures, I remembered that I had seen a photo in an English Gardening magazine in which the seed heads had been made in to a wreath and I promptly decided to make myself one!

I started by collecting a whole bowl full of seed heads from outside making sure to cut a long enough stem on each so it could stay in the wreath without any glue,DSC_0029

Next step:  I took a wire wreath form  and covered it with chicken wire ( ps wear gloves doing this part because OUCH!)DSC_0049

Next step: Moss was wired over  the the form  and then all it took was gently inserting the seed heads in through the moss into the wire and VIOLIA! done. DSC_0067 DSC_0066 DSC_0065 DSC_0064

It really is very sweet and is now hanging on the mantel. Over the next week or two the seed heads will “fuzz up ” which is something they would do on the vines, but much much later in the season. Once cut , they start to fuzz faster. Then the whole thing will look much different, but still really cool. DSC_0063DSC_0005


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we had a lovely weekend

it really was a lovely weekend here with lots of visitors from ll over, thanks to all who came . I hope you enjoyed  it as much as I did!DSC_0011 DSC_0030 DSC_0036 DSC_0039 DSC_0041 DSC_0046 DSC_0047 DSC_0050 DSC_0051 DSC_0062 DSC_0064 DSC_0066 DSC_0019 DSC_0002 DSC_0003 DSC_0008 DSC_0012 DSC_0014 DSC_0016 DSC_0020 DSC_0008 (2) DSC_0014 (2)

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Plant Profile: Chrysanthemum pacificum ( Ajanium pacificum)

Depending on the day and how the stars are aligning the plant in today’s profile can be known as  Chrysanthemum pacificum  or Ajania pacificum , and if you are unsure which is correct you can always use it’s  common name,  Silver and Gold Chrysanthemum. Call it what you want, it is a worthy addition to the late season garden. It was brought to us gardeners here in the states very recently after being seen by National Arboretum staff in a nursery in Japan ( where it is indigenous) . I have seen  news articles from the  1980′s  that  predicted this wonder of a plant would be the” next big thing”  when in was first introduced  given its delicate yet striking silver edged foliage, its graceful form , ease of growth and propagation, and bonus little button yellow flowers in late ( and I mean LATE) Fall, yet as far as I can see that has yet to happen. It should though, and if you see this plant, which has been known to grace the shelves of Lowes as well as the catalog pages of sophisticated nurseries, you absolutely must purchase it and add it to your little piece of heaven. ( this photo taken off wikipedia )

Silver and gold chrysanthemum’s  foliage is so unusual  and will pair well with many other plants, and honestly you could grow this for the leaves alone.  In the spring, which is when this plant can be moved and planted most successfully,  I am going to pair one up with an earlier blooming cream or white chrysanthemum, maybe ‘Mellow Moon’  ( seen below) to really bring out the silver edge. It would also work with shasta diasies  or even the annual tiger paw asters. On second thought, maybe I will move a few ;)

Mellow Moon

Right now it is loving life on the very edge of the rock garden where it does get a significant amount of  sun and most importantly good drainage. Like many of it’s family members it despises wet feet and will not make a winter if it is in placed in a location that stays waterlogged after snow melt. Other than that is it easy to grow, taking or hazy hot and humid summers in stride without ever looking bedraggled , and pretty drought tolerant to boot. You may have to look a bit if you want to purchase plant , given that the predicted popularity never happened many catalogs discontinued carrying it and finding anything at local stores and nurseries is always unpredictable at best. You can get it at  Lazy s Farms online  and they have a newer introduction called ‘Pink Ice’ available too.

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