November 14, 2020

Dahlias in Red, Pink and Purple


Dahlias in red, pink and purple were fun to arrange back in September.  This vase includes large 'Cafe au Lait Rose,' 'Purple Haze,' and 'Arabian Night' as well as Japanese Anemone robustissima, dried 'Purple Candles' astilbe stalks, 'Royal Purple' smoke bush, honeysuckle and blackberry greenery.

This closer view includes a stem of 'Summerwine' yarrow and 'Medicine Bow' chrysanthemums.

'William Shakespeare 2000' David Austin roses had a nice fall flush and blended with the color scheme.

Here is 'Cafe au Lait Rose' in the garden.  I ordered the standard 'Cafe au Lait' and was disappointed to receive this color instead, but the plants were sturdy and they bloomed like crazy, so I made do.

This is another arrangement using most of the same ingredients, plus some Western sword fern fronds.

Here's yet another variation on the theme.  

'William Shakespeare 2000' had a great year in the garden.  So many of my David Austin roses are growing in too much shade now that trees have matured, or they have been transplanted recently to sunnier spots and are still recovering.  It was nice to have plenty of WS blooms while I'm waiting for 'Gertrude Jekyll,' 'Crocus Rose' and 'Charles Rennie Mackintosh' to recover and bloom heavily again.  Newly planted in 2020 were 'Emily Bronte' and 'Desdemona,' which I loved and can't wait to see mature.  In 2020 I also planted two 'Florentina' and two 'Plum Perfect' roses from Kordes, and I have 'Bolero' and 'Celestial Night' on order for next spring.  I'll probably order 'Eustacia Vye' from DA roses if it's available when their new catalog comes out.  Can you ever have enough roses?

I've got my dahlia tubers dug, cleaned and stored in wood shavings from the pet store in a large bin in our garage.  I've had to spritz them with water a couple of times as they started to soften, but I'm hoping they'll do better as the garage cools down with winter weather arriving.  Last month the garage was hovering about 55 degrees, which is a little too warm for dahlia tuber storage.  

Mmm, I sure love 'William Shakespeare 2000.'  This rose has disease problems in some areas but is perfectly healthy in my garden.

'Purple Haze' and 'Arabian Night' looked good out in the garden as well, shown here with 'April Night' salvia (which didn't bloom until May) and 'Millennium' allium.

Here they are again with 'Pagan Purple' delphinium and 'Mighty Chocolate Cherry' astilbe in the background.  'Arabian Night' started blooming before 'Purple Haze,' but once PH started, it outbloomed any of the other dahlias I've ever grown.  It's near-black leaves were a nice contrast in the garden as well.

'Purple Haze' almost looks like a coneflower, doesn't it?

The dahlia season came to an abrupt end when frost hit on October 23 and then we had 6 inches of snow on October 25, shown above.  But I've already got tiny flower buds on my 'Jacob' hellebores, so spring can't be that far away, right?

September 22, 2020

Last Day of Summer Garden Tour

We can tell that fall has officially arrived, as the sunlight is gentler and the air is crisper.  These photos document the garden on the last day of summer.

The west garden features purple asters and orange mums while the daylily leaves are starting to turn yellow.

Looking north from the garden gate gives this view, where dahlias and butterfly bushes add color.

Facing east from the garden entrance leads the eye down the path to the white garden.  It's not looking too great so it doesn't get a closeup shot.

Turning back toward the gate allows the different textures and shades of green to shine.  I just transplanted several clumps of pink 'Lucky Charm' anemones to the bed at right of the path, so there will be more fall color in a few years as they spread to fill the space.

The main sunny bed includes a 'Berry Awesome' hardy hibiscus at center and long-blooming 'Purple Haze' and 'Arabian Night' dahlias to the sides.

Here is another view of the same area with the 'Miss Molly' and 'Blue Chip' butterfly bushes on display.

The back of the main sunny bed would have more color if I stopped cutting all the dahlias to use in vases, but at least the he dried astilbe spikes add interesting texture to this area.

Last week my husband transplanted a 'Popcorn' viburnum from this spot and replaced it with a 'Thoweil' Hinoki false cypress (the dark green shrub at bottom center).  The viburnum needed more sun to bloom well, and it was blocking this lovely view from the chair in the northeast corner of the yard.

A shot of the northeast corner reveals a favorite sitting spot tucked into the shades of green and chartreuse.

I just love the dark green color added by the two new 'Thoweil' Hinoki false cypress shrubs.  These should grow 6' high and 2' wide eventually.

The honeysuckle that died back on the left side of the swing set isn't quite recovered, but it has made nice growth this season.

Looking south through the arch reveals yet more shades of green and chartreuse.  I'm so pleased at how the different types of foliage provide interest even without a lot of flowers.  It has taken me many years to get to this point.

Here is a final view from the southeast corner with a 'Sister Elizabeth' rose to the left.  
Soon we'll be working hard on all the fall cleanup and planting a few more bulbs.  I'm not looking forward to the long winter ahead, but I've already made lists of new plants to buy (especially new dahlia tubers) and other adjustments to make next spring.  Meanwhile we'll enjoy every last warm afternoon in the garden.

September 16, 2020

Late Summer White Vases

Recently I made these green and white arrangements with a mix of flowers and materials from my garden.  At the center of the arrangement above, I used some of the 'White Glitter' sea holly (Eryngium) I grew from seed this year.  I love to mix something a bit unexpected with classics like hydrangeas, mums and alstroemeria.

This little guy features a homegrown 'White Onesta' dahlia with more of the sea holly plus a purchased rose, carnations and stock.  Leaves and seedpods from bronze fennel add tetxure.

This vase is made from mostly purchased materials with stiff stems, but I added some of my honeysuckle to soften the lines a little.

This is the back side of the same vase, with green Trachelium (described as Green Balls on the Costco website) mixed with white Limonium and roses.  The Trachelium reminds me of something from a Dr. Suess book.  I lean toward a 'meadowy' style and the Trachelium feels more modern, so it's not my favorite.  I also included a homegrown 'Annabelle' hydrangea, ripened to green, and some bronze fennel leaves.

This low pedestal vase was looking rather boring when it was just packed with white flowers, so I started adding greenery and may have gotten carried away.  I even trimmed some German ivy (Senecio mikanioides) from a houseplant and tucked it in.  

 A final tall vase includes my favorite contorted filbert branches as a base as well as some variegated pineapple mint at front.  I just love the softness added by the homegrown materials.

September 8, 2020

Dahlia Vases for September


My dahlias are still going strong, though the countdown is on until frost takes them out.  We often get frost in the first half of October, but meanwhile I'm enjoying the dahlias in the garden and in vases.  This arrangement features 'Arabian Night,' 'Great Silence' and 'Purple Haze' dahlias.  For foliage I used viburnum, yarrow leaves, purple smoke bush and honeysuckle.

I dug up most of my dahlia tubers from last year and tried to store them in the garage over the winter.  I was unsuccessful and they all dried up, but one 'Great Silence' tuber was forgotten in the ground.  We had a mild winter for Zone 6 and somehow it survived and sprouted this spring.  Here are its blooms at center, along with violet spikes from 'Blue Chip' butterfly bushes and hypericum berries that have matured from peach to black.

'Arabian Night' was my first dahlia to start blooming and it has been prolific.  I have five plants that are slowing down on blooms since I haven't been feeding them regularly, but I fertilized them this week and hopefully they'll flush out again.

This second vase includes more 'Purple Haze' plus some larger dahlias that were labeled 'Cafe au Lait' but are obviously not that.  The stems are short so I had to tuck them at the base.  I also used 'Miss Molly' butterfly bush spikes, German statice, purple smoke bush and viburnum stems.

Here's a closeup of 'Purple Haze.'  I have four of these this year and they started blooming after 'Arabian Night,' but they've been blooming machines ever since.  The leaves are nearly black and the plant is compact, so it's a nice addition to the garden.

August 27, 2020

Emily Bronte Rose Arrangement

Here is a midsummer vase of 'Emily Bronte' roses with 'Maya' dahlias, 'Invincibelle Spirit' hydrangeas, Ammi majus, flowering oregano, honeysuckle leaves and viburnum twigs.

I ordered 'Emily Bronte' from David Austin roses this spring and it has been a winner already this year.  The scent is lovely and strong, the color is perfect for blush color schemes, and it has been a quick repeater.  I've read that the color isn't as good in some other areas, perhaps where temperatures are higher than here.  I haven't seen any disease, but we don't have strong disease pressure here for roses anyway.

I added a few ripening blackberries for texture.  These are from a plant in increasing shade as trees mature, so the berries don't get enough sun to sweeten well.  Blackberry and raspberry stems make good fillers for arrangements, especially in late fall when other plants have dropped their leaves but the berry foliage is still green.

I grew several Ammi majus (false Queen Anne's lace) from seed this spring.  They're beautiful in arrangements but they make a mess as the hundreds of tiny petals ripen and drop all over the table.  This vase also includes several 'Maya' dahlias which blend perfectly with the colors of the 'Emily Bronte' rose.  


July 22, 2020

More Midsummer Garden Views

With temperatures hitting the 90's this week (upwards of 32 degrees C), it really feels like summer.  It has been a slow process to get more midsummer color in my garden, but I feel like we are finally reaching that goal.  In the front yard a few daylilies are blooming along with 'Walker's Low' catmint, but most of the interest comes from different leaf colors and textures.  

The long-blooming 'Walker's Low' catmint is ready for a trim to get rid of the spent bloom stalks, then it will keep producing flowers until frost.

I posted lots of pictures of this area last week, but I can't resist a few more.  The 'Red Velvet' lilies are at peak bloom and I've fallen in love with this new addition to the garden.  

'Arabian Night' and 'Purple Haze' dahlias are blooming behind fragrant 'Purple Prince' lilies.  Despite the name, this trumpet-shaped lily is actually a deep pink.  The color plays well with the second round of blooms on 'Caradonna' salvia and the main flush of blooms on 'Millenium' allium.

This is the best July ever for this section of the garden.  The lilies are such a special addition.

In this view the 'Fujian' Orienpet lilies are opening behind the 'Red Velvet' stalks.  'Fujian' is a show-stopper with large flowers that are strongly fragrant.  Both types were ordered from B&D Lilies last fall.

The 'Big Smile' daylilies are opening next to the swing set while the 'Lady of Shallot' roses in pots take a break from blooming.  The honeysuckle growing on the frame has hosted several Pine Siskin finch nests this year, and at least two of those nests have been taken over by bumblebees.  

A view toward the northeast corner of the backyard is very green and calm.

The area right behind the swing set is full of floppy 'Chantilly Peach' snapdragons (they'd like more sun) and several types of Veronica.

I just planted a 'Thoweil' Hinoki cypress in this area and have another in a pot to plant in fall after I transplant a viburnum.  The dark, wavy texture will be pretty all year.

The white section of the garden features an 'Annabelle' hydrangea and 'Meidilland White' rose in peak bloom.  Dahlias, anemones and more lilies are set to open soon.

I replanted another white clematis at the base of the arch after the first one died last summer (I think it had fungal wilt), and it's slowly starting to climb up the side. 

Just past the arch are 'Purple Candles' veronica and a young 'Invincibelle Blush' hydrangea next to the birdbath.  

I'll finish with the view of the east side of the house.  Short 'Maggie Dayley' and tall 'Purple Candles' astilbe are in bloom in front of a 'Comtesse de Bouchaud' clematis.  I love the chartreuse leaves with the mauve flowers.