Tag Archives: Nandina domestica

In a Vase on Monday

Determined to put a holiday arrangement together today—since greens are one of the few things my shady garden offers in abundance—I ran through the garden with pruners just as it was getting dark and quickly made this vase.


Plant materials include a single cutting of Southern magnolia (M. grandiflora), two snips of American holly (Ilex opaca), a handful of Japanese spotted laurel (Aucuba japonica ‘Variegata’), and a smidge of heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica) sporting two clusters of berries.

The “vase,” an old can purchased years ago at a flea market, is one of my favorites.  Fitted with a glass bowl to hold wet florist foam, woody stems are easily held in place and enough moisture is supplied to keep foliage fresh.

When complete, the arrangement claimed pride of place on a small English side table on the new porch.

As an aside, the painting above the table was the first item purchased for the recent addition to our home.  In fact, it was bought at auction for this particular spot even before the plans for the porch were complete.  The artwork, Cyclamen and Brass Tray #4, was painted by Nan Greacen (1909-1999).  Nan was born in Giverny, France, while her father, the American Impressionist Edmund Greacen (1876-1949), painted with Monet.

I had no inkling of this history when I left a bid on the piece; I just liked the pretty pot of white cyclamen, plus the style of the painting and its frame, and thought it perfect for a gardener’s porch.  Certainly, the price paid was no clue to distinction, but then, that’s the beauty of buying at auction.

I like the way the two floral offerings work together, especially since I typically look for white cyclamen at Christmas.

To see what others have created today, visit Kathy at Rambling in the Garden.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day–March 2015

After surviving a week of cold, wet weather in Washington, DC, I’m back in my office this morning, window open, relishing bird song, blue skies, and a warm day, with temperatures predicted to reach 80 degrees F (26 C).  Best of all, look what I found blooming in the garden when I returned home.

Flowers & Foliage, March 2015

Flowers & Foliage, March 2015

The collection of Camellia japonica includes (top, left to right) ‘Jordan’s Pride’, ‘Memphis Bell’, unknown white, (bottom) ‘Glen 40’, ‘Memphis Bell’, and an unknown red.  All of these cultivars were likely planted in the 1950s and/or 1960s.  The other flowers are forsythia, Helleborus orientalis (Lenten roses), Edgeworthia chrysantha, Veronica ‘Georgia Blue’, pansies, violas, Pieris japonica ‘Temple Bells’, and Narcissus ‘Tete-a-Tete’ (miniature daffodil).  The foliage is Heuchera ‘Plum Pudding’, Rumex sanguineus (bloody dock), Asarum (Chinese ginger), Nandina domestica, Aucuba japonica ‘Gold Dust’, and Gardenia sp. ‘Variegata’ (commonly called “double variegated”).

The millefliori-style photograph is inspired by the work of Ellen Hoverkamp, but my process is much simpler.  Here’s another inside peek at my studio…

To see what’s blooming in other parts of the world, visit May Dreams Gardens.

In a Vase on Monday

I have to admit from the get-go that this post breaks all the rules…the foliage and berries aren’t from my garden, the vase doesn’t belong to me, and I didn’t put the two together. Even still, I thought you might enjoy seeing this arrangement made today by Clarice Wilson Garden Club member Nancy Boyd at the Kilgore-Lewis House (c. 1838).

Kilgore-Lewis, home of the Greenville Garden Council of Garden Clubs, serves as a meeting place for the Council and its twenty gardening clubs, as well as a favorite location for events such as weddings and other family celebrations. Earlier today, local garden clubs began to decorate the house for the Christmas holiday and I was on hand to gather tidbits and take photographs for an upcoming gardening column in the Greenville News.

Holiday arrangement takes pride of place in the parlor of the Kilgore-Lewis House.

Holiday arrangement takes pride of place in the parlor of the Kilgore-Lewis House.

Nancy’s handsome floral display is made with American holly (Ilex opaca), ‘Little Gem’ magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora), heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica), deodar cedar (Cedrus deodara), English ivy (Hedera helix), and tall stems of Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia) for height.

As in past years, each room of the house is decorated by a different club around a central idea. The theme for 2014 is “A Naturally Festive Christmas.” The Kilgore-Lewis House will be open to the public this Sunday afternoon, December 6, from 2 to 5 p.m., and on the following Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., until it closes for the holidays on December 19.

Nancy’s vase was one of the few arrangements completed before I had to depart this morning, but I have more to share and I look forward to returning to K-L tomorrow to see the finished effect.

Be sure to visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden to see what others found for their vases today.

In a Vase on Monday

This post doesn’t strictly follow the rules, but I’m excited to have a contribution to In a Vase on Monday, a meme initiated by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden and popular among blogging friends.

Last week, I attended a workshop by Marty Van Allen, a renowned floral designer and 2009 winner of the Garden Club of America’s Katharine Thomas Cary Medal. After demonstrating various designs, Marty coached participants in making a “modern mass” arrangement. This type of design requires a plain, stout container and features blocks of color and texture, rather than a mix of stems.

My first "modern mass" arrangement.

My first “modern mass” arrangement.

Florist roses were provided, but participants were asked to bring an array of foliage and berries from their garden. Not knowing what would be required, I took clippings of nearly everything that was presentable! In the end, I used the foliage of cast iron plant (Aspidistra elatior), folded and secured into a loop; pink lorepetalum (Loropetalum chinensis ‘Burgundy’); gold dust aucuba (Aucuba japonica ‘Variegata’); plus unripe, green berries of heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica).

Seen from above, the arrangement features florist roses along with foliage and berries from my garden.

Seen from above, the arrangement features florist roses along with foliage and berries from my garden.

Marty noted that no more than five types of color/texture blocks should be used and their shape should be amorphous. The goal is to create rhythm with movement of the eye from one group to the next.

In addition to the low, wide-rim vase used for the workshop, Marty also created a modern mass arrangement in a nearly round vessel with a (roughly) 5-inch diameter opening at top. With a little imagination, it’s easy to see this contemporary style of massing could be adapted to nearly any simply shaped, portly container.

The big takeaway, however, is the exciting knowledge that I can make arrangements with foliage from my shady garden along with summer’s hydrangeas and winter’s camellias, or a small addition from the florist shop.