In A Vase on Monday – A Southern Classic


In college, I took a class about perennials and designing perennial gardens. The teacher was Bob Hill, he has a Siberian Iris named for him – a deep purple. He was a true Southern plantsman and longtime professor, teaching Planting Design and Plant Identification. My guess is, by the time I took his class, Mr. Hill, in his 50s, had one too many smarty pants student say something annoying. He did not suffer fools gladly and you did not want to be the fool. A good teacher, if you listened. I was lucky to have the perennials course, it was rarely taught and I sincerely doubt the powers that be would even consider such a course nowadays. God knows you don’t want to teach Landscape Architects how to landscape anything. I’ll stop there and save my opinion about Landscape Architecture schools for another time.

Here is the point! We were taught the correct color scheme for a summer perennial garden is cool blue, pale and lemon yellows and pure white. This was supposed to be cooling and soothing in the summer heat. White gardens were brought up as a possible alternative and one wasn’t supposed to use hot colors until the fall and then pastels in spring. I suspect Bob Hill is spinning in his grave if he has visited my garden from the great beyond. A garden he worked on:


The vase is blue and white china, very popular in the South (probably approved by Bob) and I collect it. This teapot is English and one of my favorite pieces. The colors are Southern Classic per my college class. Here is a close up of the flowers:


The blue is Blue Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata), a stalwart shrub of South Florida gardens and nearly indestructible. The bud and white flowers are from Tropical Gardenias (Tabernaemontana divaricata), the white flowers with the yellow eye are from Bridal Bouquet Frangipani (Plumeria pudica), pale yellow verging on apricot flowers on from Zinnias “HomeDepotensis”, the ferns are native Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exalata).

This teapotful of Classic Southern Summer color smells heavenly – and I do feel a bit cooler.

Hopefully, Mr. Hill understands and approves.


19 comments on “In A Vase on Monday – A Southern Classic

  1. Interesting information that I did not know. I will go for anything that grows in the heat.


  2. Christina says:

    Colpir always depends on the light levels around. If I planted soft colours in high summer the garden would look washed out! Bright colours fade in the bright sun and sem more like pastels anyway. But I do love a vase with blue and white; that always seems very elegant.


  3. Cathy says:

    Oh bless Mr Hill, I m sure he would pleased to know he had at least one diligent student! How intriguing to think of advocating different colours for different seasons though… I particularly like the height in your vase with The Boston Fern and the plumbago, and offset against them the whites look stunningly bright


  4. Homedepotensis? Really Queen!


  5. The colours are so elegant (both flowers and vase) yet the arrangement is welcoming, inviting one’s nose closer to inhale deeply the intoxicating fragrance. Very appealing to me.


  6. Eliza Waters says:

    All that lovely blue and white is cooling and the bit of peachy-yellow is just the right amount to balance it. Very pretty! I would love to be able to smell the fragrance, too.
    Mr. Hill sounds like an old-fashioned guy, his rules are similar to the clothing rules doled out to young women about no white past Labor Day or darks past Easter. Thank God Women’s Lib freed us from those bonds!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Kris P says:

    Well, I’m not sure you can ever go wrong with blue and white with a touch or yellow, regardless of the time of year. I fell for your latest creation at first glance and I’m coveting that teapot. My own Plumbagos seem disinclined to bloom this year but then it’s still surprisingly cool here. The weather forecasters say the heat is coming though.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Can’t answer for Mr Hill but I love it. It must smell absolutely heavenly. I cannot imagine gardening to such hard and fast rules and even less dressing to the rules you and Kris discussed!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Sorry not Kris, Eliza!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. A refeshing delight! Is that your garden in the photo with box (?) hedges? Looks amazing.
    My husband thought of plumbago as ‘his’ flower as, for his christening, the lady from the big house next door grew it in her greenhouse and brought a huge bunch of it to decorate the table. My mother-in-law always thought it had been a good omen, being Cambridge blue in colour, and my husband did go to Cambridge University – the only one in the family ever to go to one of the top Universities.


    • Thank you – that is not my garden, it’s the Founder’s Garden at the University of Georgia. Didn’t know about Cambridge blue or people growing Plumbago in greenhouses. I used it as a center plant in summer containers further north.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. pbmgarden says:

    I think Bob was on to something (at least to the extent those colors work well together). Your vase would make him proud. Blue Plumbago is something I’d love to be able to grow successfully.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like the colors and remember the garden. in the high shade of white oaks, a zoysia lawn, blue hydrangeas, real gardenias, lemon yellow daylilies and chartreuse hosta and ferns. And a few more..I think you should grow the Plumbago in summer containers, I did with Bengal Tiger Cannas and white begonias and blue scaveola and margarita sweet potato.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Chloris says:

    Lovely colour scheme, good for Mr. Hill. I have a summer border in these colours. But plumbago and frangipani are fabulous additions.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. tonytomeo says:

    I never would have lasted as a landscape designer. I grow what I like. Blue is not an easy color to work with. There are not many options for blue flowers.


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