In A Vase on Monday- Trimmings


I have been renovating the Greyhound Beach in my back yard this holiday weekend. It is Labor Day in the US and Monday is a national holiday. My Greyhounds, Alan and Charles, have been gleefully destroying the turf behind the patio for the past few years. The mini racetrack in the backyard – visible from space.


Here is Alan, with his favorite toy, Sharky, digging for reasons only dogs know. I flattened out the holes yesterday and installed edging for sod. Alan has been melancholy all day and refused to eat this morning. Later in the afternoon he relented and woofed down his dinner.



Back to the title, Trimmings. As a part of my reclamation of Greyhound Beach, I decided to trim and tree form a Firebush that has overgrown its space. Trimming off armfuls of flowers. I stopped trimming to contemplate if I could shear the back of the shrub for screening and tree form the front – an Arboricultural dilemma.

This shrub was sold as a Dwarf Firebush, which actually means it gets 10 or 15 feet tall. Only in the Land of the Giants would this plant be considered dwarf. This sort of horticultural nonsense annoys me. One of the first plants installed in my garden to screen the well equipment:

CAM00121 (1)

Firebush Hamelia patens

Here it is, four years later:


And I have cut four feet off the top for the past couple of years, the Greyhound Beach is visible through the shrubs.

Now, this is where the Firebush trimmings ended up- in my vase. 20170903_114540

The vase itself is an English teapot in the Blue Willow style, one of my favorite flea market finds. There are two kinds of Firebush in the vase. The dark red is the native Hamelia patens var patens. The ones from the gigantic orange Firebush are Hamelia patens, I think, botanists argue about these plants. I thought some purple was in order and added Setcresea, some variegated Dwarf Pineapple foliage and some red weeds, um, native wildflowers. The name escapes me – one of those things you think is pretty until you realize the seedheads are like dandelions and there are 10 million in your yard.

Another wonderful attribute of the Firebush. Butterflies love them. Here is a Black Swallowtail that was passing by:


And a Zebra Longwing:


A gigantic Firebush in the garden has some advantages.

Happy Monday.


19 comments on “In A Vase on Monday- Trimmings

  1. Noelle says:

    Love the greyhounds…they do deserve their patch, and I think so does your Firebush Trees, especially as they bring those really magnificent butterflies….thanks for giving us a glimpse of the ‘exotic’ each week.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. pbmgarden says:

    The firebush has a nice texture for an arrangement. Dwarf doesn’t really mean dwarf, does it? Great shots of the butterflies.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I fell for the “only grows to 4 feet” story and did not keep up with cutting back. Now there is a bushy wall on my property. Time for them to be removed. What is the news on the next hurricane? Is it your turn? Let’s hope not. PS Canada is sending up a “cold” front, going down to the 80’s!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Cathy says:

    Dwarf…?!!! At last you have been able to use the trimmings in various vases – how long has it been flowering for? You always seem to have just the right extras to add to your vases as, like today, they always appear elegant

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Cathy says:

    ‘at least’, that should have said


  6. Kris P says:

    I’ve found too that you have to be careful to look into the details behind plant label descriptions – I have a 7 foot Duranta that proves the error of putting faith in labels alone. The firebush did do a wonderful job of screening, though! Best wishes with the reclamation of the greyhound racetrack and I hope Alan doesn’t waste away mourning its loss.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very true, there are few truly dwarf shrubs that thrive here. The Firebush is a favorite due to the Butterflies. I hate to have to cut 4 or 5 feet off every spring and usually get the timing wrong and look at naked ugly for a few months. Thanks. Poor Alan disclocated his toe in a frolicking accident and had to go to the emergency vet.


  7. Cathy says:

    Lovely vase. I especially like the ‘wild flower’. 😉 I never believe labels that say ‘dwarf’ after planting a slow-growing conifer in my first garden which now fills the whole of the front garden (unless they have finally cut it down!).


  8. Eliza Waters says:

    If one has dogs or kids, one must find a way to garden around them. I once read an article written by a Floridian who said she gardens with a machete. Trying to imagine that, your fire bush seems like a good example. At least you don’t have to mete out flowers for your vases – they do look striking against the blue teapot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • True about dogs and kids. I think I made a tactical error in not including a destructible pathway around the garden! And me with a machete, Bad idea, missing limbs, etc. I do have a girl chainsaw. One good thing about gardening here, there is always a flower somewhere.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. FlowerAlley says:

    I love when they dig like they have something important to put in the hole. It’s like they have a big plan.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s