Chuparosa (Justicia californica) is one of the most casual plants in my garden, unsure whether it ought to stand up or sprawl over the ground, but on the whole much preferring the latter. So far it does not grow dense enough to keep weeds down either, only provides some shelter for them. For all that it is a special plant in its way, not least because it came through last summer utterly unfazed. Also, its blooms are among the favorites of our resident hummingbirds. I have plans for moving it as its habit does nothing for the back of the North Border, but it is a plant I don't want to lose altogether. In the meantime, its bright flowers seemed like a good choice to start today's vase.
As Lavender x "Goodwin's Creek Gray" is still loaded with blooms, I decided to use their dark purple to contrast with the slender scarlet of the chuparosa.
White lantana completed the flower colors. The lantanas have seen some foliage die-back due to temperatures in the upper 30s (about 3 C), but the white one has come right back into flower.
Another plant which, like the chuparosa, has been difficult to position well is Eremophila "Outback Sunrise". Transplanted to the East Border last spring, it is finally filling in well and supplied a few leafy stems today. (Actually, some came from a bit surviving surreptitiously in the South Border.) It is emphatically a ground cover plant and does quite a good job at that - making a good weed-smothering mat.
Strangely enough, the same could be said for the other foliage plant I have used: Artemisia x "Powis Castle", though it makes a neat mound, rather than a spreading cover.
I used my handbuilt dark earthenware vase for this very loose collection of winter's bounty. The coiling technique I have been using lends itself to making very spherical forms from the clay.
Enjoying the blooms...
...on a somewhat rainy day. However, rain is a good thing here! I know this is proving a rather cold January in many places, but the weather here has been unusually mild and fairly moist, so it looks as though the garden is getting off to a good start for 2017.
Thanks to Cathy for hosting the lovely In a Vase on Monday theme at Rambling in the Garden!
Weather Diary: Partly cloudy; High: 64 F (18 C)/Low: 49 F (9 C); Humidity: 49%-100%
Annette (Tuesday, 10 January 2017 03:23)
Hi Amy, I love the way you've shot this vase, colours are matching beautifully. Lovely mix of texture too. Yes, I wouldn't mind exchanging my ice vase for 18°C, having said that it's mild and raining today so my new vase has to sit in the freezer for a bit. ;)
Cathy (Tuesday, 10 January 2017 07:44)
Your mix of flowers and foliage is lovely Amy, and I especially like the shape of the arrangement and of the vase itself. Cool and rainy is maybe not good for the gardener, but good for the plants! Everything is dormant here beneath a layer of snow...
Cathy (Tuesday, 10 January 2017 08:46)
It is so interesting to read about the different plants and how they cope in your climate, which has some real extremes. Glad to know you are having some rain in the mix too. Today's collection has the perfect profile for your spherical vase which I always enjoy seeing. Thanks for sharing
danger garden (Tuesday, 10 January 2017 11:07)
Your version of Desert Casual is quite lovely. It all works together with that vase just perfectly.
Kris P (Tuesday, 10 January 2017 12:04)
When I saw your first photo I was immediately attracted to the Artemisia. Pure envy on my part! I hope my plants come back with robust foliage like that. Right now, they just look sad.
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Wednesday, 11 January 2017 01:18)
Hi Annette, I still think your ice vase is the most creative way of dealing with the cold weather ;-) but I am glad we are getting some pleasant temperatures as summer will arrive again after a while... I have been entirely out of practice shooting with lower light, so I was glad there was a bit more sun when I photographed these on Monday afternoon!
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Wednesday, 11 January 2017 01:25)
Cathy@Words and Herbs - Yes, the plants like the cooler, moister weather, just as yours are (hopefully) enjoying their time under a blanket of snow... Thanks so much :)
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Wednesday, 11 January 2017 01:30)
Cathy@Rambling in the Garden - I think the Chuparosa's way of coping is to sprawl as far as possible along the border. It is already about twice as wide as any listing I've seen for it! So glad you like the effect of the vase, all the more as it was definitely a case of plonking! ;-)
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Wednesday, 11 January 2017 01:33)
Thanks so much, Loree! It was fun to put this together :)
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Wednesday, 11 January 2017 01:38)
Kris - What is it about Artemisias...! Both of my "Powis Castle" plants have thrived here, but "Silver Mound" has sulked ever since I planted it last autumn, and I think it is all but dead now. I am hoping to locate one of the A. ludoviciana varieties, maybe "Valerie Finnis", as the species is apparently native to the SW. Hope your Artemisias bounce back! They are beautiful plants... when they go ahead and grow!