In a Vase on Monday: Sunflowers Last Call

My sunflowers are going fast.  Staying true to their DNA, sunflowers grow from seed to seed in about 90 days. I planted mine in mid-May so I’m on borrowed time.

The shortest of the sunflowers bloomed the longest, making them the perfect flower for today’s In a Vase on Monday. Cathy at Rambling in the Garden features flowers and a prop in a vase each Monday year round. Impressive! She encourages others to participate as well. Come join Words and Herbs and Creating my own Garden in the Hesperides, and others. It’s fun.

sunflowers in a vase on monday

Sunflowers in a vase on Monday

Easy Arranger

Check out my new gadget. It’s called an Easy Arranger™. It’s a wire form in the shape of a flower, made in China, assembled in the United States, sold in Canada and now holding up sunflowers harvested in San Jose. My easy arranger should consider applying for a frequent flyer card. I bought two of them in the beautiful gift shop at Butchart Gardens on holiday last month. The malleable form molds over the top of your vase lending support to cut flowers. Pretty nifty, eh?

easy arranger collage

Easy arranger in action

Saving Seeds

I’ve been gathering seeds from each of the seed heads so I’ll have plenty to plant next year. I’m going to package a few and give them away at Christmas as well. I wish I could share with my readers around the world, but shipping seeds outside of the US is a no-no.

As an aside, so is shipping millipedes, but apparently a crate marked ‘toys’ arrived in San Francisco this week with foot-long millipedes illegally shipped from Germany. No thanks!

sunflower seeds and seed heads

Assorted sunflower seeds and seed heads

squirrel eating sunflowers

Making quick work of delicious sunflower seeds

The Long View

The photo below is the long view, taken from my back door looking out on the space where we read. Although close shots are generally more interesting, I find that I’m often curious about the scenery just out of view.

garden long view

My Garden: The Long View Dear Reader, I wish you were here! This is the view outside my back door. You take two steps down and you land on this patio. Just beyond is our browning grass, born from necessity in our continued drought. The white flowering plant is an Anemone. They’re usually more prolific, but again, the drought. The lovely window painting is at eye level when you’re seated, painted by the talented Whitney Pintello. I wish you could come join me for a cold drink, a hot tea and a chat. Cheers, Alys

Does this interest you, too?

I’m trying to mix it up a little at Gardening Nirvana, hoping to add some zest to the mix. Does the idea of the long view interest you or are you shrugging your shoulders and wondering “what is she thinking?”

Please leave me a comment, below, or take the quick poll.

In a Vase on Monday: Following Garden Sunshine

Cathy at Rambling in the Garden arranges flowers in a vase year round. How’s that for inspiration? Several bloggers join in the creative process, posting their own flowers in a vase on Monday, than linking back to her blog.

Cathy’s first post reads:

I know I have set myself a difficult task, finding something for a vase every week, and particularly starting in mid-November, but in truth the fact that it IS a challenge will make me more determined to achieve it! Posting a picture of my pickings will also make it easier because I will expect it of myself every Monday – so if anybody would like to join me by placing things ‘In a Vase on Monday’ and posting a picture then please feel free to add a link here so we can all share in the pleasure such vases can bring. Today’s vase has some of everyone’s favourite Persicaria ‘Red Dragon’, Vitis vinifera ‘Purpurea’ and Sedum spectabile ‘Autumn Joy’.

Inspired!  If you want to join in the fun, simply post your own flower arrangement on a Monday and link back to Rambling in the Garden.

Garden Sunshine

For all my love of miniature gardening, it never occurred to me to arrange flowers in a tiny teapot. I have several.

This morning Diane at Garden Sunshine changed all that with her delightful post: tiny pink flowers in a miniature, silver teapot. You can see her gorgeous flower arrangement here.

I dusted off one of my cloisonné teapots and put together a tiny arrangement using Bachelor Buttons, Love-in-the Mist seed pods, flowering spider plants and a couple of annuals going to seed.

 

in a vase on monday july 7

Three loves: cats, flowers and teapots

tiny bouquet

Tiny Teapot: A different perspective

Please join us next Monday

And remember…

A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows. – Doug Larson

…and a vase is simply a vessel for holding flowers.

Artfully arranged Dandelions in a jelly jar qualify for In A Vase on Monday.

Cranberry Hydrangea: A Lovely Bloom to See in the New Year

Cranberry Colored Hydrangea

Cranberry Colored Hydrangea

My ever-changing Hydrangeas are now a brilliant shade of cranberry. I love their ruddy complexion. They’ve set buds for spring, but the pom-pom like blooms linger.

It’s a challenge pulling together a flower arrangement from the garden this time of year.  That said, I wanted to come up with a creative way to use what I had, including these lovely flowers.

Here’s what I did:

I removed the bloom above the last set of buds, leaving a short but sturdy stem to work with.

I filled one small jar with leftover florist’s foam.  I filled a second, slightly wider jar with a handful of crystal beads.  Together they create the illusion of a tall vase, even though the stem itself is less than three inches long.

Hydrangea blossom

Hydrangea blossom with short stem, supported with florist foam

florist foam

Florist foam…or volcanic rock?

stacked jars

Glass jars, stacked and slightly nested

Hydrangea blossom

Do they make a crayon this color? I would name it “Spectacular”

Bacopa Cordata

Bacopa Cordata

Winter Flower Arrangement

Winter Flower Arrangement

And there you have it.  Simple and festive and ready to see in the new year.

How will you celebrate the start of a new year?

Thanksgiving Centerpiece: Hollowed Pumpkin Bouquet

I’ve always wanted to try this…and finally did this year.

We grew this beautiful white “Cotton Candy” pumpkin last summer.  It created the perfect color compliment to the orange flowers and its moderate size didn’t over-power the table.

Pumpkin Centerpiece

Step 1: Remove the top of the pumpkin, the seeds and the pulp.

Step 2: Coat the cut edge of the pumpkin with petroleum jelly to slow the drying process.

Step 3: Insert a plastic jar, cup or other non-porous container into the opening.

Step 4: Cut flowers and dried grasses, reducing the stems to about 6 inches.  Arrange to taste.

Thanksgiving Table