In A Vase Today: Wildflowers

August 18, 2015 vase 006

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Some might say that I cut a bouquet of weeds for today’s vase.  Others, kinder perhaps, would admire these as wildflowers.  I passed by the roses and Zinnias today to cut these deep golden orange Black Eyed Susans, some wild Ageratum, Poke Weed, a few stems of Basil and Sage, and some Muscadine grape vines grown from seeds.

We found the Black Eyed Susans growing in the edge of the lawn during our first full summer in the garden.  I dug up clumps the following spring and began spreading them around.  We transplant a few clumps each spring now because we love how they shine from mid-August through until frost.

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August 18, 2015 vase 005

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That first summer I noticed the distinctive periwinkle blue fluffy flowers of Ageratum appearing on what I had thought were unchecked weeds in some of our beds.  We were delighted to discover these perennial flowers blooming, unplanned and unplanted, around the garden.  Soon, we discovered these are perennial Conoclinium coelestinum, related to, but different from the annual Ageratum we find as bedding plants each spring.  Also known as ‘Blue Mist Flower,’ this is a native American wildflower.  It self-seeds and can become invasive.  Once you recognize its foliage each spring, it is easy to move, pull, or allow it to grow on through the summer to bloom in the autumn.

Poke Weed, Phytolacca americana, is another native plant which magically appears in the garden.  I first noticed it growing up through the ginger lilies last summer.  Although highly poisonous, its prolific purple black berries, which appear later in the season, attract many songbirds.

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Poke Weed flowering above the ginger lilies, and in front of a Magnolia blooming out of season. So pretty....

Poke Weed flowering above the ginger lilies, and in front of a Magnolia blooming out of season. So pretty….

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We’ve pulled more than we’ve left this year, but we rather like the effect of the flowers and berries poking out above the ginger lily foliage.  This plant commonly appears along the edges of woods, fields, and roads. The birds spread the seeds far and wide, and it can become invasive.  Somehow it called out to me today as I was cutting the golden Susans. And so I added a few stems to the vase.

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August 18, 2015 vase 004

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What is the difference between a flower and a weed?  I believe that is an entirely subjective judgement of the gardener.  It has a lot to do with where a plant happens to be growing, and whether or not you like it there.

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August 11, 2015 storm approach 008

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I just finished a wonderful article in the current issue of Horticulture magazine about lawn gardens, which explores this very topic.  If you haven’t read Horticulture this month, I recommend it.  There is also a very instructive article on native American fruits like Muscadine grapes, Paw Paws and American Persimmons alongside an excellent article on fig culture.  Needless to say, I was hungry by the end of this issue and just had to bake a little treat with some Muscadine grapes we found today at our local farm stand.

The vines in today’s vase grew from the seeds of grapes we ate two summers ago.  I made jam that year, and planted a handful of the seeds in various pots and beds.  The seeds came up and we are enjoying the beautiful grape foliage this summer.  I suspect fruit may still be another year or two away.

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August 18, 2015 vase 007

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You may recognize today’s vase as one of our treasures from local Shelton Glass Works.  We have a long tradition of glass around Jamestown.  You can easily recognize John Shelton’s stunning cobalt blue glass in shops and at art shows around the Williamsburg area.  I’ve paired this little pitcher with a cluster of Aqua Aura quartz and a small statue of Kuan Yin, Buddha of Compassion.  I found both on the West coast this spring.  This dark Kuan Yin reminds me of the black Madonna statues well known in France and Egypt.

I appreciate Cathy’s weekly challenge to fill a vase with beautiful flowers and foliage cut from the garden.  It always interests me to explore what may be available each week and then pull an arrangement together.  It has been a busy stretch here with travel, gardening, and friends.  I was away yesterday and so found time this afternoon. to construct a vase.  I hope you will visit her at Rambling In the Garden to see her gloriously bright vases today.  There is a collection, all in a vintage mood.

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August 5, 2015 butterflies 048

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And what of your garden?  Have you explored, clippers in hand, lately?  Surely there is something beautiful out there ready to come inside to delight you with its fragrance and beauty.

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August 18, 2015 vase 003

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Woodland Gnome 2015  

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These Black Eyed Susans were  growing in the garden when we came here, but we spread the plants around when they emerge each spring.  The clumps spread and also self-seed.

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About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

11 responses to “In A Vase Today: Wildflowers

  1. Your last paragraph is the perfect invitation for people to join us with In a Vase on Monday – thanks for that, and for sharing your thoughts about the garden and how you have chosen the blooms for your vase. Certainly it is is intriguing to go out with secateurs or clippers and an open mind and see what you come up – all very effective in your vase with its fascinating props. That is a very stylish little statue and it is good to see your aura quartz again.

    • Thank you, Cathy. Do you get Horticulture magazine in Britain? Perhaps it is different from the American version if you do- They have a very open editorial opinion about what may be allowed to grow, and even admired, among the native species. I love your meme for the variety of flowers chosen by all the gardeners who participate. So nice to see what is growing where, when 😉

  2. I love this arrangement! I also encourage BES in my gardens, fields and even patches of lawn. They are so cheerful, and though they are prolific, they are easy to control. Pokeweed, although toxic, is an impressive plant! We have a patch that reaches 6′ tall and equally wide. The flowers are like delicate little buttons on a baby’s gown and the color of the fruit is so rich. I love the wild ageratum, too. I saw it for the first time about a year ago at the farm where we get our honey. I need to finagle a few plants from them!

    • Thank you, Eliza for this enthusiastic comment 😉 Why am I not surprised that you love these plants, too? I’m planning to dig some Iris later this week. I was looking at the ones you want when I was working in the beds on Sunday, and they haven’t grown much this summer. But I’m going to find some rooted piece to share with you and will include some starts of the Blue Mist/wild Ageratum. I saw a gorgeous Poke Weed growing behind a friend’s fence and over their woodpile last week. A huge plant whose berries were already turning purple even in the shade! Mine are still green growing in the sun. I”m sorry I haven’t visited your page lately. I’m crazy busy at the moment and still traveling each week. I will catch up when i can relax and enjoy each post 😉 Hugs, WG ❤

  3. Black-eyed Susans are my favorite!

  4. I love this and the white background, lovely!

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