In a Vase on Monday: Sweet Gardenias

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

The guest room smells amazing today thanks to the small vase of gardenias clipped for today’s In a Vase on Monday post.

Frostproof gardenias (Gardenia jasminoides)

I’ve written before about the drought that claimed quite a few of my plants and shrubs in 2016-17. I dragged my feet about replanting shrubs in the largest front bed, but I finally got the job done this year. I opted for a frostproof variety of gardenias, which are full sun and drought tolerant. The bushes started flowering last week, and they smell ever so nice. Gardenias have a heavy, sweet scent, but it’s not overpowering.

(c) Terri Robertson, T's Southern Garden, 2018
A gardenia in bloom. Ahhhh, breathe it in.

Colorwheel, aka Stokes’ Aster (Stokesia laevis)

The colorwheel bloom in last week’s post got a couple of comments, so this time I’m including a photo of new versus old blooms. The palest bloom opened most recently; the others have darkened with age.

(c) Terri Robertson, T's Southern Garden, 2018
Colorwheel, aka Stoke’s aster, blooms deepen in color with age.

“Hot Lips” sage (Salvia x jamensis) 

The small white flowers tipped in red are “Hot Lips” sage or saliva. A couple of varieties of perennial salvia are shown in the photo below. I’ve caught a glimpse of a ruby throated hummingbird a few times this spring—apparently they love salvia!

(c) Terri Robertson, T's Southern Garden, 2018
Salvia = hummingbird magnet

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: Kangaroo Colorwheel

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

Last week, I noticed a few garden bloggers chose fun animal vases for In a Vase on Monday. This week, I follow suit.

Kangaroo Vase

This vintage Fitz & Floyd piece is actually a toothbrush holder. As a vase, the holes meant for toothbrush handles function like a flower frog, helping stems stay in place. This is not the first time this estate-sale find has appeared on my blog, but it is its first appearance since I began posting for IAVOM, hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.

Colorwheel, aka Stokes’ Aster (Stokesia laevis)

The pastel, almost white bloom by the kangaroo face is the very first offering from my Stoke’s Aster this season. This perennial, full-sun plant is native to the Southeastern United States. It earns the nickname Colorwheel from the changing color of its blooms, which begin as the palest pink-purple and age to a deep mauve.

(c) Terri Robertson, T's Southern Garden, 2018
An overhead view offers a closer look at the Stoke’s Aster bloom (bottom left).

Rounding out the colorwheel: repeat bloomers

The rest of the blooms in this vase have already appeared in various posts this year, and you will probably continue to see them in my vases through the summer.

  • The spindly brown stems bearing tiny white flowers are heuchera ‘Mocha’ also known as coral bells.
  • The clusters of small purple flowers are lavender (Lavandula angustiflolia).
  • With a truly ice-like shimmer, the neon violet flowers are ice plant (Delosperma cooperi).
  • The violet, cone-shaped clusters are butterfly bush (Buddleja), and speaking of …

The butterfly bush below our kitchen window went from one single bloom last week to full-blast flowering this week. Bring on the butterflies!

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

More animal vases

Last week, posts from these bloggers inspired my kangaroo creation.

  • Wild Daffodil, hailing from the other side of the Atlantic on England’s south coast, featured zebra and giraffe vases.
  • In Florida, the Shrub Queen arranged native wildflowers in a cow vase and introduced us to a sweet real-life pup.
  • Bonney Lassie, of Washington state, has a fish vase that I adore.

More In a Vase on Monday

Visit Rambling in the Garden to see what Cathy and gardeners around the world have put in a vase this Monday. Thank you for stopping by!


The World’s Tiniest Flying Broomstick, or Collecting the Seeds of Stokes’ Aster

Okay, the title of this post should definitely be “Collecting the Seeds of Stokes’ Aster,” but I’ll be darned if this dead stem with tightly clustered seeds at the end doesn’t look like it belongs in the hand of an itty, bitty witch. Also, it’s almost Halloween, so bear with me.

Stokes’ Aster (Stokesia laevis) is a perennial, full-sun plant. It earns the nickname Colorwheel from the changing color of its blooms, a pale pink-purple that ages to a deep mauve.

Stokes’ Aster (Stokesia laevis) blooms in late spring. I purchased this plant at the annual spring plant sale of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

Even after it’s finished blooming, the foliage is quite nice. It did well in the scorching summer sun, and next year I’d like to cover a larger area with it. Though the plant should spread over time, I hope to speed things up by growing more plants from seed.

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Foliage of Stokes’ Aster

Collecting the seeds is pretty simple. The flowers leave behind a dry husk. Strip off the loose outer husk; then gently peel away the inner husk. What’s left is a cluster of seeds attached to a stem that looks like a tiny broomstick. (Note: I did not deadhead the blooms until late September; next year I will do it earlier to encourage more flowers.)

The seeds easily fall away from the stem with the brush of a hand. I’m storing mine in a paper envelope in a dry place until it’s time to sprout seeds. With a little luck and attentiveness, I’ll have many more Stokes’ Asters next year.