Shrubs

Shrubs. Okay, I know, sounds pretty boring.  But there’s so much going on shrub-wise right now, I have to discuss the subject.

Hardy Orange Fruits

Hardy Orange Fruits

The little furry green hardy oranges on the poncirus trifoliata are doing extremely well.  The furry surface almost looks like the hideous grey shoes I had to wear at the high school I attended.  The uniform of plaid skirt and blazer I could handle. But where did they come up with furry grey shoes?  Furry!  I swear, I’m not making this up.  They were the ugliest shoes I’ve ever seen.  But these little green oranges are kind of cute.

And speaking about oranges, the mock oranges are in bloom.

Mock Orange

Mock Orange

I have three varieties of mock orange.61113 020-35

The classic rounded petal mock orange is shown above.  The “nana” or miniature version is shown here to the left, and the pointed petal version is shown below.

You’ll see that the leaves on all three shrubs are similar.

And the aroma of these flowers is marvelous.  You can smell it clear across the yard.  It’s very similar to the “Orange Blossom” perfume that my mother loved.

Mock Orange

Mock Orange

The spirea are adding a pop of hot pink to the landscape.

Spirea

Spirea

And the purple smoke bush “flowers” are filling out.  I guess you could call them “flowers”…from a distance they do look like puffs of smoke.

Purple Smoke Bush

Purple Smoke Bush

The photos above and below were taken after rain had fallen.  The smoke bush looked like it was covered with diamonds.  I couldn’t really capture in a photograph what I was seeing.  The close-up of the leaves below was the best I could do. 

Droplets of Water on Smoke Bush Leaves

Droplets of Water on Smoke Bush Leaves

This blue spruce is next to the purple smoke bush.  It, too, had drops of water on it that looked like diamonds…again, couldn’t capture it in a photo.  The blue grey color of the spruce next to the dark purple smoke bush is fabulous.

Weeping Blue Spruce

Weeping Blue Spruce

The flowers on the oakleaf hydrangea are starting to appear.  These smallish green flowers will grow into gorgeous large white flowers a little later in the summer.  The foliage of this shrub is stunning as well…the leaves turn a purple bronze color in the fall and the white flowers turn pink.  You’ll see more photos as the year progresses.

Oakleaf Hydrangea

Oakleaf Hydrangea

And did you ever think of using shrubs or trees as the subject of a floral arrangement?

Juniper Branch Faux Bonsai

Juniper Branch Faux Bonsai

I’ve been doing a little pruning and one of my junipers was starting to crawl up the stone wall next to it, so I snipped the end of the branch.  It was much too beautiful to toss out.  The form was so graceful…it looked like a bonsai tree.  Then I remembered the Ikebana dish that my sister, Anne, had given me several years back.  I’ve used this dish many times over the years.  It is a perfect container for one or several special flowers, or branches.  This dish has a pin frog attached to it so that it holds the stem securely within the dish.  The juniper branch looked like a little bonsai tree in the container.

Maple Ikebana

Maple Ikebana

The red stemmed maple tree growing near the juniper had some weak stems that also needed trimming and this branch tip looked wonderful in the dish as well.

The following was taken from Wikipedia:

“More than simply putting flowers in a container, ikebana is a disciplined art form in which nature and humanity are brought together. Contrary to the idea of floral arrangement as a collection of particolored or multicolored arrangement of blooms, ikebana often emphasizes other areas of the plant, such as its stems and leaves, and draws emphasis toward shape, line, form. Though ikebana is a creative expression, it has certain rules governing its form. The artist’s intention behind each arrangement is shown through a piece’s color combinations, natural shapes, graceful lines, and the usually implied meaning of the arrangement.

“Another aspect present in ikebana is its employment of minimalism. That is, an arrangement may consist of only a minimal number of blooms interspersed among stalks and leaves. The structure of a Japanese flower arrangement is based on a scalene triangle delineated by three main points, usually twigs, considered in some schools to symbolize heaven, earth, and man and in others sun, moon, and earth. The container is a key element of the composition, and various styles of pottery may be used in their construction.

“The spiritual aspect of ikebana is considered very important to its practitioners. Silence is a must during practices of ikebana. It is a time to appreciate things in nature that people often overlook because of their busy lives. One becomes more patient and tolerant of differences, not only in nature, but also in general. Ikebana can inspire one to identify with beauty in all art forms. This is also the time when one feels closeness to nature which provides relaxation for the mind, body, and soul.”

Another benefit of ikebana is that, if you have a yard, you can walk outside and choose a branch or flower of pleasing form and create a stunning arrangement without buying a bouquet at the store.  Evergreens especially last a very long time in the ikebana dish (as long as you remember to periodically add water!).  And during the Christmas season this dish is in continuous use!

So, since I only have one ikebana dish, was it the juniper or the maple?  Which one looked best?  Well, I took care of that in a hurry:

Juniper and Maple Arrangement

Juniper and Maple Arrangement

So that’s it for shrubs…hope it wasn’t too boring!

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