In A Vase On Monday – Summer Sun

IMG_4424Seeing Cathy’s (Words and Herbs) sunflower vase last week, I was reminded that I hadn’t used my sunflower pocket vase this year.  So, here it is, hand-painted in Ecuador by Artesa.

IMG_4428The large flowers are, of course, sunflowers (Helianthus annuus). I love the coppery blush on the largest one. No ID as it is from the CSA farm where we have we have a weekly share pick-up.

IMG_4427The yellow daisies are woodland sunflower (Helianthus divaricatusand the grass is yellow fox-tail (Setaria pumila).

IMG_4423I recently learned that certain foxtail grasses create a problem with livestock and pets, because the barbed seed heads can embed in flesh, entering through ears and nose, where they can fester. Like in a horror film, some cases have resulted in death when the barb migrates to the heart or brain. The particularly troublesome species to watch for is Foxtail barley (Hordeum jubatum). Here is a short video to help identify it. Another is Canada wild rye (Elymus canadensis). If you have a dog that runs free in fields, click here to learn more.

Even though Setaria isn’t on the really bad list, I’ve been on a campaign to pull and trash the seed heads ever since. They’ve been increasing in my yard over the past decade, probably brought in via an animal or hay bale. I found them attractive to look at both in the garden and in arrangements. However, I can forego the pleasure if it means avoiding a costly vet bill. I’d rather be safe than sorry. It may take a few years before I can get most of them out of the yard, it’s a work in progress.

IMG_4425Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In the Garden, who hosts a weekly meme to showcase what is blooming in our gardens. Wander over to see what gardeners all over the world are arranging this week.

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Silent Sunday


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Flower Arranging 101


“A joy that’s shared is a joy made double.”  ~ Chinese Proverb

Today dawned clear and sunny, a beautiful day to share with good friends.

Two of my neighbors came over this morning to pick flowers to make arrangements. The youngest you may recognize as my Violet Tea friend. We all share a love of flowers (and board games, craft art and UNO).

IMG_4158I gave them each a bucket of water in which to place their cut flowers and set them loose in my garden. I taught them where to cut in order to leave buds for future blooming and how to clean stems of leaves that would rot under the water line.



There were very few flower casualties and no snipped fingers!

One must have at least one flower to tuck behind an ear!

IMG_4163Up on the deck, they set to work with their vases, arranging the flowers they had picked.

The glorious finished pieces:

These two are natural pros, another generation of up-and-coming flower lovers.

Now, with that done, it’s on to the board game!

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Wordless Wednesday


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The Tuesday View August 16


August 16, 2016

Things are slowing down, the exuberance is waning, as expected as we head towards summer’s end.

At the center, the blue globe thistle (Echinops ritro) has been chopped down, the orange and red daylilies are gone, the lemon yellow daylilies (Hemerocallis ‘Hyperion’) are waning, and the spires of Astilbe taquettii are nearly done.

At the rear, pink and white cleome (C. hassleriana) mix with a smattering of pink cosmos (C. bipinnatus ‘Sensation Mix’), the last of the sunflowers (Helianthus annuus), beloved of the birds and destroyed by squirrels; through the middle, pink and white phlox (P. paniculata); along the front (left and right), white flowering tobacco (Nicotiana alata), pink coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea), and lamb’s ears (Stachys byzantina). 

Below are closer shots of the front of the border.

A view of the far left, the calendulas (C. officinalis) mixed with zinnias (Z. elegans ‘County Fair Mix’) and cosmos.IMG_4132 In the back, more cosmos, the sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus) are overrun with vines of the sky-blue, ivy-leaved morning glory (Ipomoea hederacea). I won’t be planting these two together again. The morning glory is too vigorous and really needs a leaner soil to bloom better. Its weight actually snapped the wooden posts I had and toppled the fence so we had to insert metal fence posts and wire the fence to them. Gardening is an endless learning curve.

I’m linking with Cathy at Words and Herbs, joining participants taking weekly photos of the same garden over the course of the growing season to note its evolution.

Below are some of the previous views for comparison:


April 1, 2016


June 11, 2016


June 28, 2016


July 26, 2016

August 2, 2016

August 2, 2016

August 9, 2016

August 9, 2016

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In A Vase On Monday – Two Vases

IMG_4116I have two vases to share this week, as both are smaller than my usual arrangements. The first measures approximately 5″ wide x 8″ tall. IMG_4113To assist in arranging, I used a vintage glass frog from my mother-in-law’s collection. I was pleased to find that it fit perfectly into my small, hand-painted Ben Thomas Porcelain cup. With wide-mouthed openings, IMG_4118frogs come in handy.

IMG_4119My ‘Silver Mound’ artemisia (A. schmidtiana ‘Nana’) has budded and begged to be used. I love its delicate flowers and lacy foliage.

IMG_4117I thought it would look well with spires of pink and violet veronica (V. spicata). I then added a few stems of Johnny-jump-ups (Viola tricolor), lavender and pink sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus) and filled in with light pink cosmos (C. bipinnatus ‘Sensation Mix’).

IMG_4126IMG_4120The second vase is the result of my trimming a top-heavy sunflower that threatened to topple once the flowers set seed. I’ve been enjoying seeing goldfinches visit to pluck ripening seeds, but fat squirrels have found the patch and are ripping them to shreds and scaring off the birds. Naughty squirrels!

We’ve had some heavy downpours lately, so a lot of flowers are no longer standing upright, including the yellow zinnia that I cut and stuck into the top of the arrangement. I love the rich, gold color with the contrasting cobalt-blue glass vase.

IMG_4124Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In the Garden, who hosts a weekly meme to showcase what is blooming in our gardens. Wander over to see what gardeners all over the world are arranging this week.


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Silent Sunday


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