In a vase on Monday: End of the road

This is actually an ‘In the Vase on Sunday’.  With a freeze forecast for Sunday night I wanted to get out there and save the last bits of summer for just a few more days (a vase full of frost blackened flowers wouldn’t be as welcome on the dinner table).  Zinnias, dahlias, and chrysanthemums fill (some would say overfill) this week’s vase.

dahlias and zinnias cut flowers fall

The late afternoon light and cool nighttime temperatures of fall really bring a glow to the zinnias and dahlias.

The dahlias are still the backbone of this arrangement.  It’s been flowering for months, and even with a healthy wash of mildew over its leaves the flowers just keep on coming.  Red zinnias and dark pink daisy chrysanthemums fill in between, and a few seed heads of panicum and tufts of papyrus reed lighten up the mix.  I thought I’d add some “bright lights” swiss chard for the lusty leaves, but it’s the colored stalks which really stand out.  Maybe I’ll just include them for the stems alone next time!

dahlias and zinnias cut flowers fall

This arrangement is fresh and bright enough to carry an August picnic table, if it weren’t for the chrysanthemums you wouldn’t even know it was fall.

I spent the rest of the afternoon lugging pots into the garage and taking coleus cuttings.  Although a few of the hardier pots stayed out overnight (geraniums, oleander, dracaena), the rest have begun their six month imprisonment in the dungeon.  I won’t water them, they’ll look terrible, but hopefully they’ll go somewhat dormant rather than keep trying to grow and as a result die.

dahlias and zinnias cut flowers fall

Inside the house the colors go well with the Halloween and harvest decorations. A few little pumpkins would look great alongside the vase but the kids insist they stay on the porch  🙂

Our freeze didn’t amount to any more than a frozen windshield and a few singed coleus, but it’s good to have much of the sheltering of plants done.  Now all I have to do is reorganize them enough to fit a car in there too!

Looking at the long range forecast there’s a strong possibility next Monday will also host a vase full of flowers (chrysanthemums I hope!), so it will be nice to join in on the Monday vase meme a few more times before snow flies.  If you’d like to join in or take a peek at what others are up to, drop by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden and take a look.  Each Monday I’m surprised at what people put together!

22 comments on “In a vase on Monday: End of the road

  1. pbmgarden says:

    I like your colorful mix of blooms Frank. The swiss chard stems add an instant wow factor too. Hope your pots will all happy in their winter home.

  2. I absolutely love the Swiss chard stems! Such a creative idea!

  3. Christina says:

    It makes me sad to think you you ‘without’ a garden Frank. You get so much enjoyment from your garden. It also helps me understand why a tropical garden is so appealing, you have to bring in so many plants anyway it is just part of what you do. I don’t really have any plants that need to come inside, I’ll take cuttings from anything that I think might not survive. The vase is the gainer from all your precaution, it is my favourite so far I think. The ‘Bright Lights’ was an inspiration, what a clever way to make the vase itself fun!

    • bittster says:

      Thanks Christina! It is kind of discouraging to think of the winter ahead, but I’ve added a few late season plants, a few early spring bloomers, and with that real winter can shrink to a tolerable three months.
      Still I wouldn’t mind being able to stroll the gardens all winter, and I wouldn’t mind being able to plant something in the shelter of a wall and have a reasonable chance of it overwintering. I think I would end up overplanting things like amaryllis and rosemary 🙂

  4. AnnetteM says:

    Well done you getting so organised before the cold arrives. We have a really wet and windy time ahead, but so far the temperatures haven’t dropped. I too take my pots of bulbs into the garage so the soil doesn’t freeze. They usually come out before they start sprouting. I did get one geranium through the winter last year, but it didn’t do very well so I won’t bother this year. I have dahlias and acidanthera bulbs to lift and dry in the garage to overwinter. I have not done dahlias before but the acidanthera survived last year.

    • bittster says:

      It sounds like you still have plenty to do as the weather turns cold. Hopefully you still have time before that happens.
      Normally we would have already had our first hard frost, so this is a treat to have things growing so long. With all the extra time I really should be much more organized than I am!
      I wonder why the geranium gave you a hard time. I find that as long as I don’t water they kind of limp along into the new year and beyond. It’s not a pretty sight though 🙂

  5. Cathy says:

    Yes, the six months ‘in the dungeon’ is a bit of an eye opener for those of us in more temperate climates. Will you still have foliage in your garden? With all your preparations you are clearly well prepared and know what to expect! The chard is a brilliant concept for your vase – was that a spur of the moment thing, or have you done it before? It’s a real ‘flaming’ vase- and hopefully we will still see some sort of vases from you over the winter

    • bittster says:

      I’ve been trying to add winter foliage, but can’t commit to any of the larger needled evergreens…. most of the broadleaf types are not hardy enough for this area, and in that department I’m limited to rhododendrons and some hollies.
      The chard was looking so healthy after the rain and cooler weather that I wanted to add the leaves. It was only after the sun hit the glass and I saw the stalks light up that I realized I might be on to something!

  6. Yup, pretty much sounds like my Sunday, though I don’t lug pots into the garage! The vase is a nice combination, and those stems are eye-catching. Nice use of the grasses too–it looks like something that could have come from a florist!

    • bittster says:

      Thanks Kimberley! I was laughing when I read your post, it really was similar to what I did Sunday. Nice that we have a short reprieve though, I’ll enjoy the warmer bulb planting weather and see if I can finally get a few perennials moved around. Like you said in your post, if it all freezes now I’m ok with that. It’s been a good year 🙂

  7. Cathy says:

    It’s amazing how fast the temperatures can change, isn’t it. Your vase is lovely and colourful, but you know what I love about it most? The chard stalks! A brilliant idea, and one I shall have to try out next spring! They really go well with the chrysanths and dahlias.

    • bittster says:

      I’m almost tempted to slip a few stalks into the next vase and skip the leaf altogether! They really are exceptionally colorful both in the vase, in the garden, and in the kitchen.
      I don’t mind these temperatures at all, it’s perfect digging weather… or at least it would be if the gnats would all just fly away!

  8. Chloris says:

    A fabulous arrangement! What gorgeous colours and I love the chard and the Panicum too. I hope the frost will spare your garden a bit longer.

    • bittster says:

      I’m ready for a frost. Once I drag everything inside, the drops in temperature are far less stressful. Plus I enjoy cleaning up and putting the beds to rest. (I just need to resist the end of season bulb sales)

  9. Annette says:

    Sorry to hear about Father Frost arriving, Frank. Hope he’s stays away from my plot a long time yet! You’re excellent at flower arranging – guess I’ve told you before. This is just the right bouquet to celebrate the season. I played around with Dahlias as well yesterday for stock photos. They’re so adorable and will be part of my garden again next year. Love the chrysanthemums and zinnas too!

    • bittster says:

      Thanks Annette, it’s always good to hear from you! I’m sure your dahlia pictures came out great. They’re not the most subtle of flowers but they sure do put on a show 🙂

  10. I moved my jade plant in, too because we were forecast to hit 34. It spends the winter in front of a sunny basement door. Your arrangement is lovely. I like the addition of the Rainbow chard. 🙂

    • bittster says:

      Thanks! I’ve been growing on a jade plant cutting for a few years and all of a sudden noticed it’s gotten fairly big. Funny how these things sneak up on you 🙂
      Some of the succulents are really easy to overwinter. I’m always at risk of adding too many new ones.

  11. My Sunday, too — fleece on the late veggies, succulents like mini jade brought inside, and picked the remaining zinnias and marigolds for the dining room table. Now we have the howling cold wind and rain and I still have 200 bulbs to plant. You seem more organized than me, Frank. P. x

    • bittster says:

      Pam, I’m far from organized but flattered you think that! Today was a beautiful day, I hope you are able to plant a few bulbs this weekend and put a dent in that 200. I typically buy a few more bulbs right after Thanksgiving and always wonder what I was doing when the package arrives in a snowstorm 🙂

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