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.

Sunday Succulents

My sister-in-law in Nashville has beautiful pots of succulents on her patio. This week when I was visiting, she was kind enough to let me raid them. (I tried to be discreet; her containers still look great.)

I snapped off some individual leaves, which I will try to propagate, but I also snipped and divided some larger sections. I used the larger plants to make this tiny container garden for the guest bedroom.

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The shell planter is vintage Fitz & Floyd ($4 at an estate sale; yes, I may be a little obsessed with vintage FF). It has no drainage holes, so I added rocks before topping with cactus potting mix. I’ll have to be careful not to overwater.

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Vintage Fitz & Floyd with Zinnias, Boxwood and Creeping Jenny

 

This 1970s Fitz & Floyd kangaroo toothbrush holder was a $2 estate-sale find (thank you to the best estate-sale-scouting friend I know for taking me along on a lunch break). I figured the (C) FF mark on the bottom stood for something, but I was surprised to find it was Fitz & Floyd. The Kangaroo pattern is a bit whimsical, but it’s not – how shall I say this – as loud as the Fitz & Floyd I know, 1980s to present.

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I could not find a listing or another example of the Kangaroo-pattern toothbrush holder online, though my search did turn up examples of soap dishes, bathroom tumblers, teapots and salt-and-pepper shakers in the pattern.

This arrangement includes:

  • Boxwood trimmings. It was time to trim them or the neighbors might start giving us sideways glances.
  • Creeping Jenny. Living up to its name, it’s never in short supply.
  • Zinnias. The two seed packets I planted this spring just keep kickin’.

Right now this arrangement is hanging out in the guest room, with the door shut and no one to enjoy it. Let’s just say cats and flower arrangements do not mix…and never will.

The Joy of Tiny Things

A friend recently gave me a tiny amber bottle she found at an estate sale. This August, zinnias, cosmos, and althea are in full bloom in my sunny front yard, and I have enjoyed displaying single blooms in this tiniest of vessels. Added bonus: This small arrangement is easy to tuck in visible but out-of-the-way places, such as on top of this canister against the kitchen backsplash. Our cats have not disturbed it at all, whereas a larger arrangement would never survive unattended.

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Cosmos
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Althea – bluberry smoothie
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Zinnia and Althea

 

 

Father’s Day Plant Sampler in Vintage Metal Box

Create a budget-friendly gift using a thrift store find, easy-to-propagate plants from your own garden, and found objects.

This tiny plant sampler makes a perfect gift for a nature- or garden-loving dad. The container is a vintage metal box (old-school filing cabinet style) that I found at a thrift store for 49 cents. It is approximately 5.5 inches wide, 3.25 inches deep, 3.5 inches high when closed, and 5.5 inches high when open. Plants include creeping jenny, ajuga, and two types of succulents. This arrangement also features smooth pebbles, lichen, live moss, and a found, vintage blue floor tile for a pop of color. A small branch props the lid open.

To make the card tucked into the inside of the lid, I repurposed some stationery that I never use, simply tearing off the side with my initials. I used watercolor pencils to create the block letters. The greeting says “Happy Father’s Day,” but you could use the same idea for any special occasion.

I put together this piece as a temporary arrangement, but will watch it to see how long it is suitable as such. I used plants from my own garden, all of which are easy to propagate. After their time as an arrangement is through, the plants can be transplanted to a new home.

 

 

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