In a Vase on Monday: A (Strong) Summer Breeze

My goodness, it has been windy! Although temperatures are still rather high, the breeze at least meant that I could bear to go outside and do some much needed tidying up, which led to this vase… some snippets from trimming and an exciting discovery – an Astrantia finally flowering in my garden!

I have used the lovely tree of life vase that my sister gave me last year – so appropriate as she is here to visit. πŸ˜€

This Astrantia major is called ‘Shaggy’. Such a common name for such a regal flower I think. I would have called it something like ‘Victoria’, or ‘Estelle’…

The funny thing is, I gave up on Astrantias a long time ago. Then last year I was sent this one with an order by mistake, and since one plant I had ordered was no longer available I was able to keep this as a replacement. I was sceptical…

… I planted it in a shady spot last spring and it did not grow an inch. So in the autumn I moved it to a semi-shaded area. And now, suddenly, it has appeared amongst some Alchemilla. I had completely forgotten about it. What a lovely surprise!

Other ingredients in my vase this week are: Alchemilla mollis, which is starting to flop in the heat, some Honesty (Lunaria rediviva) seed pods – still fresh green, Poppy (Papaver orientalis) seed heads which were mostly removed from the rockery (poppy foliage tends to swamp other plants and was wilting anyway), a few sprigs of Coriander and Heuchera flowers, a tiny sprig of Euphorbia seguieriana cut down by mistake, and some Teucrium hircanicum. Teucrium is one of the few plants that has survived this heat and strong drying wind almost unscathed. Its tall purple spires look like Veronica, but last all summer and set seed like mad. I also added some spikes ofΒ  Briza media which, in its second year, has got established enough for me to cut some now. I cut another grass – Melica ciliata – to complement the tall Teucrium, along with a few twigs of young birch foliage.

Three cheers for our host Cathy at Rambling in the Garden who will, I hope, be putting her feet up after having a ballΒ ( πŸ˜‰ ) having opened her garden again yesterday.

Finally another picture of the Astrantia – I can’t get over it! An Astrantia in my garden! πŸ˜€

52 thoughts on “In a Vase on Monday: A (Strong) Summer Breeze

  1. I can understand your pleasure at finding the Astrantia, it is something I’ve tried and failed with here. They need more moisture or at least humidity I think. Your vase shouts summer. Have fun with your sister.

  2. Congratulations on your Astrantia! It’s beautiful and you are very much in fashion having this in your garden, they seem to be featuring in lots of show gardens here in the UK this summer, though I’ve noticed they’re still much rarer elsewhere.

    • Oh, nice to be fashionable (for once!) πŸ˜‰ I have always loved them and had a couple in my last garden. One came with me but didn’t survive… so I am very pleased about this one! πŸ™‚

  3. So glad you have an astarntia in bloom – and all these other goodies that have survived your testing conditions recently. Is Briza media as good a do-er as B maxima? Such an abundant vase today – thanks for sharing

  4. Last weekend’s garden tours here included homes featuring Astrantia, and I fell hard for it. Thanks for sharing a special variety that I will attempt to locate. Gorgeous! I’m a sucker for the pink and rubra versions as well.

    • They are lovely, March. I love the pale pink ones and had a very deep red one in my last garden too. All gorgeous. Hope you find one! πŸ™‚

  5. Congratulations on the flowering astrantia. It is beautiful. I often think plants have odd names which are not at all what I would have chosen. It sounds as though your weather is very challenging.

    • Thank you Alison. The wind has dropped a little but it’s still very hot. I have given up hoping for rain! Yes, some plants have such ugly names, but maybe they have a special meaning for someone somewhere! πŸ˜‰

  6. Lovely combo and vase, Cathy. Congrats on the Astrantia – I planted one last summer and have just two blooms. Fingers crossed there will be more. My interest is peaked by the Teucrium, I’ve not seen that one before. Would you consider it invasive or manageable?

    • I am not sure how it would behave in damper soil, Eliza, but I can easily pull up clumps and keep it under control… not as bad as Lysimachia which comes up repeatedly with its long underground rhizomes. It would be interesting to hear how it does in other gardens, but I have never seen it anywhere else.

  7. Your vase doth runneth over. It is beautiful. The Astrantia is sweet. It looks so cheerful. I have never tried to grow them. Actually I have never seen them available here. Hmmmm… Maybe I should try one and if it grows I might start the fad here.

    • Warwickshire Gardener says they are all the rage in the UK now, having appeared in several garden shows… perhaps they will catch on! Hope you manage to locate one and try them out!

  8. Yaaaaaaaay – success and probably when you had forgotten all about that little plant sent in error Cathy. You must be delighted that you didn’t relegate it to the compost heap when it arrived. Hopefully it will establish itself now and you will have a good clump next year. I think that Margery Fish was responsible for the name calling it so as it’s not as neat and symmetrical as most astrantias πŸ™‚

    • Thanks Anna. That is good to know that there was a technical reason for the name! I am tempted to try again with some of the lovely pink and red ones now. πŸ™‚

  9. Weather has not been easy for you this year, has it, Cathy? I’m glad to see that some plants have totally thrived, however! I’m in love with your Astrantia and love the story behind it! How great that you were able to give it another chance to thrive in your beautiful garden!

    • Thanks Debra. It must be a robust sort, as it is in a very dry spot under a large Yew tree. It is often surprising what thrives and what doesn’t.

  10. Oh you fortunate gardener! πŸ˜€ I’ve never grown astrantia but always think it looks so wonderful – yours is no exception! (I vote for renaming it ‘Estelle’ πŸ˜‰ ) Hope you have a lovely visit with your sister!

  11. I’d love to be able to grow astrantia but it’s too dry and chalky here. What a nice surprise to find some in your border. A lovely, abundant vase, Cathy, full of beautiful plants. The teucrium is a new one on me so I’m off to research it! Hope you have a lovely time with your sister.

    • Thank you Sam! I assumed it was too chalky for Astrantia here too, so it really was a nice surprise. If you have dry chalky soil I bet this Teucrium would do welll for you. πŸ™‚

  12. Not having heard of the genus Astrantia, I looked up Astrantia major and found in Wikipedia that “these plants native of Europe and Western Asia are widespread in southern Europe (Pyrenees, Carpathians and Balkans), but also in the Caucasus up to Anatolia.” I also learned that this genus is in the carrot/parsley family and that the name Astrantia presumably comes from the Greek word for star. If you were to name your plant Estelle, it would carry on the stellar tradition.

    • I didn’t realise it is not well-known in the United States, but it doesn’t surprise me to hear it is in the carrot family. I can see the similarities with carrot flowers. Thanks Steve!

  13. Congratulations on the surprise appearance of the Astrantias. That’s always exciting. I really like that seed pod you’ve used in the front of the arrangement. One would never guess you’ve been suffering from drying winds and heat with that beautiful arrangement on your table. You’ve got the Midas touch.

  14. Beautiful vase and just full of summer! I like the alchemilla in there as a filler, maybe if I gave my plant a little more respect it would look as nice!
    I’ve killed many astrantia seedlings. Maybe I gave up too soon, I just assumed it was too dry or hot for them here.

    • Alchemilla is great as a border filler too, although I do have to cut mine back by July. But the new leaves come along really quickly. I also assumed my garden was simply too dry for Astrantia, but this one seems a bit tougher. πŸ™‚

  15. Cathy, I’m so glad you have an Astrantia. The flower is very pretty and the vase filled with precious flowers says “Summer”. Enjoy your sister’s visit. Greetings from Margarita.

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