autumn leaves…etc.

autumn leaves…etc.

Summer is glorious but I have always been drawn to the subtlety of the muted tones as things wind down in the garden. Here is the latest example: Eucomis ‘Sparkling Burgundy’ has been starring in a parade of bouquets at Joy Creek. It lasts and lasts. This week the supporting cast is especially strong: Cotinus ‘Grace’ and Hydrangea quercifolia foliage, the fading blooms of Hydrangea ‘King George’ and several plumes of Miscanthus ‘Cosmopolitan’.

Meanwhile, at home, Iris ‘Immortality’ is gifting me with a second flush of blooms. I like a single flower, backed up by a branch of Ponciris trifoliata ‘Flying Dragon’ (those wicked thorns would do any dragon proud), complete with three of its fruits. It should be fun to see what others are finding to put in a vase as the choices dwindle with the season. Go to Rambling in the Garden to get in on the act.

my special island

early days (with visitors)
recently (with mothers day orb and new tree)

I decided to begin a new island where it would get full sun. I call it Bali Hai, referring to the song from South Pacific…”Here am I, your special island, come to me, come to me.” Richard finds this super-silly, but oh well… This summer photo features Penstemons ‘Margarita BOP’ on the left and ‘Blue Springs’ on the right. The folks that discovered Margarita used to end their days on the back porch drinking Margaritas, hence the name, BOP standing in for Back Of Porch.

Chamaecyparis lawsonia ‘Blue Surprise’

I was so excited when I brought home the little tree in the upper photo (isn’t that color to die for?) Well, die it did. If you look closely you can spot a small tuft of green at the base so I’m not giving up on it (anything could happen).

early planting of Siberian bearded Iris
Those same Iris ‘Immortality’ blooming in May

So satisfying and they are giving me a second bloom right now. More iris? Yes, please!

Carex ‘Ice Dance’ (I think)

My good friend Anna gave me a big clump of this, which I separated to make a nice sweep of grasses.

and look at them now, with Lavendula ‘Marshwood’ in the foreground.

I have been incommunicado for some time. If you are reading this, you have somehow refound me and I would love it if you would tell me how in the comments. I now go as sprig2twig.com, which makes a lot more sense than my prior handle. It took a lot of time on the phone with various providers to get here, but WELCOME! I hope this is the start (or renewal) of a beautiful friendship.

nosegays

So much of what is bloomingnow is a treat for the nose. I look forward to the scent of lilacs that transports me to my gram’s casual side yard (never referred to as a “garden”). The bottlebrush blooms of privet and a few store-bought Alstromeria fill in the blank spots.

Lily-of-the-valley, Convallaria majalis is taking over the bed where it was introduced. I was warned, but it just means I can cut as many as I like and sniff away.

Enkianthus is an extremely slow-growing tree with clusters of bell-shaped flowers adorned with subtle stripes.

See what I mean? I adore these.

This is indeed the season for an embarrassment of riches. Excorda ‘The Bride’ is showing off her gown of white and turning heads. The Rhodys are strutting their stuff (here we have ‘Horizon Sunset’) along with Choisya ‘Sundance’ with fragrant white blooms.

Whensome things wimp out, others come along to take their place. Here I added three stems of our native Camassia and a few Centaurea montana.

Who doesn’t love a touch of blue?

The red vase was just asking for some red Rhodies and a dark Anthriscus leaf to set them off. Am I filling every nook and cranny with flowers? You bet! Why, there’s even a little posy in the port-a-potty. Don’t mis out on Cathy’s collection of bloggers’ vases at Rambling in the Garden.

Now…if you are moved to leave a comment (and I adore getting comments) please do not be put off by the ominous “fatal error” message. I haven’t the skill to fix this annoying problem. On the up-side, your comment will appear nevertheless, so please ignore the nasty warning. Who knows what WordPress is up to here: seriously, if you have any ideas for a fix I will be eternally grateful.

a flowery start to the week

‘Thalia’ is the last of the daffys to bloom (and my favorite). Normally I would cut only a few to enjoy indoors but heavy rain had beaten many of them down. I consider this a rescue mission. The vase was spotted at our everything store, where they have started adding more than the plain glass ‘hospital vases’ we are used to. It goes nicely with the tea light holder gifted to us earlier by a house guest.

It is necessary to get right up close to detect the light fragrance, which is just how I like it.

The arrangement at work needed plumping up, so out with the Hellebores and in with a couple of branches of Corylopsis and some evergreens. The Pieris ‘Karenoma’ is still hanging on, bless its heart, as is the Arum italicum leaf. The barn turns into a wind tunnel most afternoons, so to keep the vase from toppling over I placed it inside this larger, black pot and filled the space between the two with gravel to weigh it down. Spring makes for some exciting posies over at Rambling in the Garden, so don’t miss it.

Now…if you are moved to leave a comment (and I adore getting comments) please do not be put off by the ominous “fatal error” message. I haven’t the skill to fix this annoying problem. On the up-side, your comment will appear nevertheless, so please ignore the nasty warning. Who knows what WordPress is up to here: seriously, if you have any ideas for a fix I will be eternally grateful.

spring green

This cookbook came into my life a couple of Christmases ago and it has spurred me to try new things. Most of them have been successes that have joined my own repertoire. Spring being asparagus season, the velouté in the soup section called to me.

Now doesn’t that just look like a bowl full of Spring?

Even considering the chaos left behind in the kitchen, the silky texture and delicate taste were well worth the trouble.

Now…if you are moved to leave a comment (and I adore getting comments) please do not be put off by the ominous “fatal error” message. I haven’t the skill to fix this annoying problem. On the up-side, your comment will appear nevertheless, so please ignore the nasty warning. Who knows what WordPress is up to here: seriously, if you have any ideas for a fix I will be eternally grateful.

IAVOM…a day late

Back to creating bouquets for Joy Creek, where there is so much material to work with. The star of this one is Pieris karenoma, whose vase life is so long that we will tire of it before it conks out.

This is what it looks like in situ, a mature specimen topping out at 6′. I was never drawn to Pieris until I fell in love with this one.

At the other end of the spectrum are the Hellebores, notoriously short-lived. I expected to need to trade them out after only a few days but they surprised me by still looking pretty good after more than a week. I was able to manipulate the blossoms to show their faces by winding them through sturdier stems.

One Arum italicum was all it took to complete the picture.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, R has been doing a prodigious amount of pruning. He brought in an armload of branches and stuck them in a gallon jar…unpretentious beauty at its best.

Will those little swelling nodes amount to something? We shall see. While we’re waiting, let’s pop over to see what Cathy’s meme has attracted this week. See it HERE.

Now…if you are moved to leave a comment (and I adore getting comments) please do not be put off by the ominous “fatal error” message. I haven’t the skill to fix this annoying problem. On the up-side, your comment will appear nevertheless, so please ignore the nasty warning. Who knows what WordPress is up to here: seriously, if you have any ideas for a fix I will be eternally grateful.

not as easy as it looks

I watched through the kitchen window as Richard struggled with this mix of greenery, trying to get it to do his bidding. He’s an artist so eventually he coaxed it into a pleasing configuration. If you have been following Cathy’s In a Vase on Monday meme, you would be forgiven if you assume that this flower arranging gig is easy-peasy. After all, the many participants consistently come up with gorgeous arrangements. To be fair, the flowers and greens themselves are pretty enough to carry the day if all you do is plunk a handful into a jug and call it good. Many of the Monday entries are real works of art and their creators often are generous with tips and tricks employed to get them there.

Those greens were still looking fresh even after sitting on our deck since the holidays. I decided to piggy-back on that success story by adding some sprigs of Nandina and three stems of Hellebore…sorry, I don’t have a name for this one but it endears itself to me by holding its head up high to show off its sweet coloring and pattern rather than nodding shyly as so many of them do.

Interesting (to me) how different it looks in different lighting situations.

Now here’s a closer look at those peachy Hellebores.

I can’t resist giving you a peek at my Valentine tulips. They were tightly furled when they arrived and looked like they would be solid red. What a pleasant surprise to see the delicate white margins as the petals opened. I’ve had mixed results from transferring potted tulips to the garden but one can hope. Speaking of hope: I hope I have convinced you to visit Cathy’s Rambling in the Garden and even to join in the weekly fun and games.

Now…if you are moved to leave a comment (and I adore getting comments) please do not be put off by the ominous “fatal error” message. I haven’t the skill to fix this annoying problem. On the up-side, your comment will appear nevertheless, so please ignore the nasty warning. Who knows what WordPress is up to here: seriously, if you have any ideas for a fix I will be eternally grateful.

christmas recap/happy new year

I have a wonderful little tree in a gorgeous red pot that has been earmarked for Christmas duty. The pot itself weighs quite a bit. Add to that the fact that I neglected to move it onto the covered deck before the rains came, adding all that water weight. We decided that a medical emergency over a Christmas tree might mar the “Merry” so I settled for throwing some lights and ornaments on the Hoya that was already living in the so designated room.

I am very fond of my collection of Margaret Furlong angels.

Each angel follows the basic shell theme but carries a different symbol of the season.

The winds had blown gobs of lichen out of the trees so I gathered enough bits to fill this decorative glass plate as background for five of the angels.

It makes a nice centerpiece when placed on this runner from Ikea and flanked by a collection of crystal and plain old glass candle holders with white candles. The “Christmas tree” will be dismantled soon, but the table setting gets to stay for New Years.

Several of these wooden village pieces were made by friends many years ago. We don’t have a mantle but now that we are catless (boo hoo) I can press the pony wall into service.

Keeping it simple is always a challenge in my world.

A bunch of tin icicles dripping from the Kalanchloe orgyanum and that did it for us in the decorating department.

But I do so enjoy wretched excess when I see it. This spotted on our way to the Trader Joe’s in NW Portland. Here’s hoping you will experience an excess of JOY in the coming year.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

the vase is the thing

My friend Linda just opened an Etsy shop. Check it out HERE. I couldn’t resist ordering a couple of these adorable hand built small pots to give as gifts. The two-part one in the foreground, I am keeping for myself…must admit to difficulty parting with the others but that’s love for you.

Because there is no drainage hole, I am using it, stacked, as a vase. I can see putting wooden matches in it and using the rough surface for striking. At only a few inches tall, it is easy to incorporate into a tablescape or use as a bright spot in cramped quarters.

The other two little pots do have drainage holes. I wanted them to be used inside without worrying about leakage staining surfaces. Enter Tillandsias: problem solved.

You can see how putting it in a saucer would obscure the three little pot feet that are part of its charm.

I’m sorry I don’t know the names of the Tillandsias but I can tell you that I got them from a new Solabee shop that just opened in a remodeled space across the street from the post office in NW Portland (24th & Thurman) next door to the new home of Betsy & Iya (another great gift buying destination).

I’ll link here to Rambling in the Garden, where Cathy hosts ‘In a Vase on Monday’ where we have gotten hooked on bringing the garden’s goodness indoors.

magical succulents + iavom

They tend to be a bit fragile, so bits and bobs are always breaking off from the mother plants.

I had a pot that needed some filling in at ground level so just poked those bits into the soil. Voila! In a matter of weeks they had surpassed all expectation. Kinda reminds me of Jack and his magic beanstock.

This little vase is an afterthought because it took shape a couple of weeks ago. The mums last and last in a vase even though the great outdoors destroyed what was left out there. Supplemented by some dried Persicaria and Chasmanthium latifolium and a decorative leaf plucked from a NOID houseplant, I’ll offer it up for Cathy’s ‘In a Vase on Monday’.