In a Vase on Monday: Sense and Sensibility

 

(c) Terri Robertson, T's Southern Garden, 2018
Purple bearded iris, dalmatian bellflower, autumn sage, lavender, ice plant and thyme arranged in a Waterford posey vase.

I began this post with the most sensical intentions. Then my sensibilities took over.

It’s been a while since I’ve read Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility (or watched Emma Thompson’s movie adaptation), but my takeaway from the story is that we need to embrace a balance of both qualities in our lives. I relearned that lesson this week.

In a Vase on Monday is hosted each week by Cathy on her blog Rambling in the Garden. I missed it last week, and I was determined to be “sensical” and work ahead so my post would be ready first thing this Monday. However, I got distracted by my sensibilities. It was warm and sunny. The birds were singing, and the breeze was rustling in the trees. I decided to do my arranging outside.

(c) Terri Robertson, T's Southern Garden Blog, 2018
Dappled shade on the patio gets me every time.

Just when I was about happy with my arrangement, the breeze shifted all the stems. I moved inside. Once again, I had everything photo-ready, and I made a snap decision to go outside for more bellflowers. I was outside no more than 30 seconds when I heard the crash inside. So much for being sensical.

(c) Terri Robertson, T's Southern Garden, 2018
Chester the Tailless Wonder is quite possibly an evil genius, but we love him.

One of our cats, Chester, had taken down the small table I use when photographing flower arrangements. The vase was in pieces on the floor. The irony was not lost on me that just two weeks ago I wrote about exercising caution when it comes to cats and plants. I suppose I had it coming.

I cleaned up the broken pieces of pottery, salvaged the flowers from floor and started again. Without further ado, here’s what’s in a vase on Monday April 22, 2018.

Purple Bearded Iris (Iris germanica)

I thought my purple irises were not coming up this year, but it turns out they were just on a different timetable than the white irises. Snipping the stems released an aroma like slicing green onion tops for a salad.

(c) Terri Robertson, T's Southern Garden, 2018
Purple bearded iris–don’t miss the ladybug!

Autumn sage (Salvia greggii)

The leaves of this evergreen herbaceous perennial offer a heavenly, lightly sweet scent year round. It’s just beginning to flower and will continue through the year until first freeze. I purchased mine last year at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens fall plant sale. 

(c) Terri Robertson, T's Southern Garden, 2018
autumn sage

Dalmatian Bellflower (Campanula portenschlagiana)

I planted bellflower last fall as a perennial ground cover in a terraced area of the backyard, where it gets part shade. It’s just now beginning to take off, and I love its tiny blue-violet blooms.

(c) Terri Robertson, T's Southern Garden, 2018
Dalmatian bellflower

Ice Plant (Delosperma cooperi)

On the opposite end of the spectrum, hardy ice plant is a succulent ground cover that can take the sun on full blast in the front yard. The blooms shimmer in the sun, giving the plant an “icy” look. This is another Birmingham Botanical Gardens plant sale purchase.

(c) Terri Robertson, T's Southern Garden, 2018
Ice plant flower

Lavender (Lavandula angustiflolia)

I planted lavender in my sunny front yard last year, and it has done well. I’ve divided it successfully and now have two plants.

(c) Terri Robertson, T's Southern Garden, 2018
Lavender

English Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

Thyme and I have a checkered past. I’ve killed it as a houseplant on several occasions. Most recently I killed lemon thyme in an outdoor pot (I’m not sure why but most likely because I left it out to overwinter). Elfin thyme looked terrific between the patio stones, but the environment was ultimately too harsh in the summer, even with lots of shade. I have, however, had success with regular garden thyme outside year round. It might not be the obvious choice for a flower arrangement, but I like effect of tucking in a couple of wild, graceful sprigs.

(c) Terri Robertson, T's Southern Garden, 2018
Garden thyme, also known as English thyme

Vase

The vase that survived this post is a Waterford posey vase (a gift from my parents on some birthday past).

Thank you for stopping by. To see what other gardeners around the world have put in a vase on Monday, please visit Cathy’s IAVOM post and don’t miss the comments below it.

Correction: The original version of this post misidentified the autumn sage (aka salvia) as “Hot Lips” sage. I have both varieties in the same bed, and I mixed them up temporarily.

 

In a Vase on Monday: Foxglove, Rosemary and Heuchera

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Manny (“Best Kitty Ever”) photobombed this week’s In a Vase on Monday post.

Don’t worry, I took the vase way before he had a chance to eat anything and make himself sick. In our house, the arrangements travel with me so they are always in my sight, or I close them up in the guest room where the cats can’t get to them. [Update: A vet friend reached out to me to let me know foxglove is cardio toxic for kitties. To reiterate, Manny nosed in during the photo shoot, but he was NOT allowed to chew on the plants. Please be always careful with your fur babies and what plants you allow them around.]

(c) Terri Robertson, T's Southern Garden, 2018
Camelot lavender foxglove, rosemary and heuchera ‘Mocha’ (coral bells)

This post is part of a weekly meme hosted by Cathy on her blog Rambling in the Garden.  Give her a visit to see what she and other gardeners around the world have put in a vase today. But first, here’s what’s in my vase on Monday, April 9, 2018:

Camelot Lavender Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea): This is my first time planting foxglove. When the creamy white blooms first started coming in, I did not believe the color would be purple, as advertised. But as you can see in the lower blooms, the purple develops after the blooms open.

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Close-up of Camelot Lavender Foxglove

Rosemary: A long stem of rosemary is sturdy enough to stand upright alongside the foxglove. I have a couple of rosemary bushes. They are reliable providers of greenery all year long, and I love running my hand over them to release their smell.

Heuchera ‘Mocha’: Also known as coral bells, heuchera is primarily grown for its beautiful foliage. Its blooms are not much to talk about. However, both the foliage and the flower stems contribute to this arrangement. The broad, dark leaves provide an anchor that calls attention to the fully open foxglove blooms at the bottom. The  spindly burgundy flower stems, which match the height of the rosemary and foxglove, bring in complementary color and texture.

Repurposed glass Evian bottle (vase): I drink tap water most of the time, and I can’t remember the exact occasion when I drank Evian. But the bottle was definitely worth saving as a vase.

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Overhead view

I will close with one last picture of sweet Manny getting a good whiff (before he was removed for his own safety)!

(c) Terri Robertson, T's Southern Garden, 2018
Manny loves to take in outdoor smells, but I whisked this vase away before he could start eating the flowers. Foxglove is toxic for cats, so always watch your fur babies around plants.

In a Vase on Monday: Pretty in Pink

(c) Terri Robertson, tssoutherngarden.com, April 2, 2018
Loropetalum (foliage), George Taber azaleas, tulip Menton and oxalis

The blooms in today’s post remind me of the prom dress Andie creates in the 1980s movie “Pretty in Pink.”

Is that movie a classic anywhere other than the United States? I don’t even like the final dress creation in the movie, but this bouquet has the same pink-on-pink-on-pink quality (in a good way, I hope).

Here are the components of this week’s “In a Vase on Monday”:

1. Tulip Menton

My last tulip of the season is a pretty one. When I started this post, all I knew was I wanted to make the most of this bright peachy-pink bloom.

2. George Taber azaleas

The azaleas, which were beginning to flower two weeks ago, are now in full bloom. The white azaleas are just as lovely and fluffy, but I decided to stick with a pink theme for this vase.

(c) Terri Robertson, T's Southern Garden

3. Oxalis

The tiny hot pink blooms tucked into the center of the arrangement are oxalis. Some people consider oxalis a weed, but I have come to like it growing here and there throughout the garden beds. The photo below shows oxalis flowers after they’ve closed for the evening.

(c) Terri Robertson, T's Southern Garden

4. Loropetalum

We planted loropetalum bushes along our chain-link fence for privacy last year. A friend suggested them as a fast-growing, drought-tolerant classic. In a couple of years, I think we’ll have good fence coverage. Its maroon foliage turned out to be a good complement to this week’s blooms.

5. Repurposed gin bottle (vase)

I love a good gin-and-tonic. The Botanist is one of my favorite gins, and the bottle makes a pretty vase.

(c) Terri Robertson, T's Southern Garden

Thanks to Cathy and her blog, Rambling in the Garden, for hosting the IAVOM meme. It’s helped me connect to other garden bloggers and makes blogging much more enjoyable. Be sure to visit her blog and the comments section to see what she and other gardeners around the world have put in a vase on Monday.

In a Vase on Monday: Wisteria and Irises

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White irises and wisteria in a vintage vase

The plants in this week’s vase came with the house. Both are lovely. One is welcome; the other, invasive.

1. Wisteria

Unfortunately, most of the wisteria growing wild around the Southeastern U.S. is the incredibly invasive Japanese or Chinese variety. There is an American variety that is native to the Southeastern wetlands, which is considered non-invasive though still very robust, but that’s not what you see here. I have cut back some of the wisteria on our property, but it’s going to be a long road to get rid of it for good. As I put this arrangement together, the blooms filled the house with a lovely scent, as if to say, “See, I’m not so bad.”

2. White Irises

In past years, one purple bearded iris (with no white irises) has bloomed in the very same spot in my yard, but this year I have a nice crop of all-white irises. From what I’ve read, this is most likely the result of different types of irises choking each other out. Learning how to care for irises is not high on my very long garden to-do list, but perhaps I will one day. In the meantime, I enjoy what I get.

3. Vintage Vase (unmarked)

The vintage yellow vase is a family piece inherited from my aunt. (Yes, everything in this arrangement is a hand-me-down in some form or fashion!) I did not remember the raised iris design on the vase when I decided to use it, so that is a lucky coincidence.

4. Foliage

The leaves come from tulips whose blooms have faded.

Thanks to Cathy and her blog, Rambling in the Garden, for starting the IAVOM meme. It’s helped me connect to other garden bloggers and makes blogging much more enjoyable. Be sure to visit her blog and read the comments below her post to get a peek at what gardeners around the world have put in a vase on Monday.

In a Vase on Monday: Azalea Buds

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Azalea buds in March in a vintage apothecary bottle

Today’s “In a Vase on Monday” features pink azalea buds clipped from one my drought survivors.

During the 2016-17 drought in the Southeastern U.S., I felt sure the beautifully green city of Birmingham, and perhaps the whole state of Alabama, was on its way to becoming a dust bowl. Everything, even the most established trees, looked parched. When there was the slightest hint of a storm brewing, all we got was clouds, wind, a few drops of rain, and whirls and whirls of dust.

Like many people, we lost quite a bit of landscaping, including all the azaleas across the front of our house. (They were planted there by the previous owner, and it was an ill-advised location. Too much sun.)

However, spring 2017 graced us with lots and lots of rain, helping our trees and shrubs recover. But during that first year, the drought’s toll was still apparent.

Azalea bloom in March
One lone bloom near the ground has opened. I can’t wait till the whole bush is in full bloom for the first time in two years.

Though we lost all the azaleas in our front yard, the three in our backyard, protected by plenty of shade, survived. However, they did not bloom in spring 2017 when the rain returned. Similarly, my holly bushes did not put out berries in fall 2016. Everything was in survival and recovery mode.

Happily, fall 2017 saw the return of holly berries to feed the birds and squirrels, and spring 2018 has brought the return of azalea buds to our backyard. I can’t wait until the bushes explode with flowers.

The vase at the top of this post is a vintage apothecary bottle from my hometown of Augusta, Georgia. The writing on the bottle reads, “744 Broad St., Cabaniss Drug Co., Augusta, GA.” (Speaking of Augusta, if you want to see some stunning azaleas, even if you’re not a golf fan, tune in to the upcoming Master’s Golf Tournament!)

Thanks to Cathy and her blog, Rambling in the Garden, for starting the IAVOM meme. It’s helped me connect to other garden bloggers and makes blogging much more enjoyable. Be sure to visit her blog and see all the comments below her post to get a peek at what gardeners around the world have put in a vase on Monday.

In a Vase on Monday

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Dark, dramatic purples inspired this arrangement on a chilly spring morning in Alabama.

Arranged in a Moscow mule mug, today’s IAVOM includes:

  1. Jean Scherer tulip: The purple petals are so dark they are almost black. These theatrical blooms look almost otherworldly against the bright greens of early spring. A few days back, the blooms were completely open, but they closed when cold weather returned. As soon as I brought this bloom inside, it opened right up again.
  2. Heuchera ‘mocha’: The new spring foliage is a lovely purple–a hue so deep it almost looks coffee colored, as the name suggests. As the foliage ages through the year, it becomes more of a dark green.
  3. Red-veined sorrel: These leaves will make their way into my salad tonight.
  4. Foliage from a black parrot tulip (not yet in bloom): This tall, sculptural leaf was calling my name for today’s arrangement.
  5. Foliage from a Camelot lavender foxglove (not yet in bloom): I interspersed the green leaves with the heuchera ‘mocha’ leaves to help them stand out.

To see what gardeners around the world have put “In a Vase on Monday” visit Cathy’s blog, Rambling in the Garden, and be sure to see all the comments below her post.

Note: The “vase” here is a serving vessel for a refreshing drink called a Moscow mule, a combination of vodka (2 oz), ginger beer (5 oz), lime juice (0.5 oz) and fresh mint served over ice. The traditional mugs were copper. Modern Moscow mule mugs like this one are stainless steel with copper plating on the exterior only (otherwise, the copper will react with the acidic ingredients and leach into the drink). Apparently, the Moscow mule was invented in the 1940s, but it’s become popular again in the last decade. After a family vacation where we drank a lot of these, my in-laws gave us a set of the mugs as a Christmas present! Here’s a link to mugs I have.