Monday, April 29, 2013

So what did she do about that embarrassing Dusty Miller infatuation?

I know a few of you have probably been losing sleep, wondering if I’ve come to my senses and ditched the Dusty Miller (I confessed awhile ago to having bought three plants, after mentioning I was thinking about it). Or maybe instead I've planted them and I’m now proudly growing a favorite plant of tacky suburban gardens everywhere? (whoops, how many people did I just offend with that comment?)

Those poor little plants. I moved them around the garden, trying to find just the spot…but no. I couldn’t make them work, maybe it’s the preponderance of grey days here in the Pacific NW but they looked hopelessly dingy. Time to toss them; or maybe give them to somebody else…or…guerrilla plant them in a friend’s garden and see what they do! (like this one?)

In the end I decided to have a little fun. After all it was seeing Dusty Miller in hip floral arrangements that started me thinking of them in a different way, maybe I should see what I could do? Let me just preface these photos by saying there is a reason floral designers are paid to do what they do…and I am not one of them. I have no illusions of grandeur; I was just having fun…

I went with a neutral color scheme because I wanted it to work with my green/grey/white mantle-scape which I’m still not tired of.

It turned out a little “weddingy”…although I guess most brides don’t carry an agave down the aisle (I wish I would've thought to do that back when Andrew and I were married!).

I really liked how the soft texture of the Dusty Miller leaves worked with the teeth and leaf markings on the agave…

By the way the agave was a gift from Pam, a pup from her Agave colorata which I haven't yet planted up.

Also from Pam an Aloe 'Blue Elf,' which I couldn’t resist tucking in the (left over from Christmas) eucalyptus in the vase behind.

The other succulents are ones from my collection.

Yikes! I hope I haven't gone and done what Scott referred to as the succulent equivalent of “bedazzling!” Thankfully a few leaves in a vase alone is a nice way to go too…

All material © 2009-2013 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

40 comments:

  1. It was an infatuation that was doomed from the beginning. I'm surprised how soon the cutting remarks started between you. Your arrangements are fun and I love the incorporation of succulents with foliage in vases! Who'd a thought of an agave in a vase? (Well, obviously you.)

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    1. I don't think it was an original idea, no doubt I saw it somewhere and stole the idea!

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  2. That last photo makes me want to grow these, kinda, but whenever I see these in a garden or on the nursery shelf I just can't. This plant just doesn't work for me. Maybe planted in a huge mass, with some purple grasses or something, but on a small scale, nope.

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    1. Yes what you describe (mass planing with complementary plant) sounds like it would work...but who wants to devote that much space to dusty miller?

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  3. I'm glad you came to your senses and have returned from the dark side of coveting suburban/gas station plants :) This is the best use I have ever seen of dusty miller.

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    1. I wonder when exactly I'll start flirting with petunias?

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  4. Truly a unique 'dangerous' bouquet! Cool. And I was skeptical from the start...now I can get some sleep!

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    1. Sorry to drag the whole affair out for so long, I should have known sooner it was doomed.

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  5. Dusty Miller has its place, and it's not ALWAYS in sad suburban gardens or mass public plantings (as you have shown here nicely!) I might even one or two in the garden if my Convolvulus cneorum dies an early death (odds don't seem in my favor since this is my 4th attempt to keep one happy.) Or if I want the silvery white of a Helichrysum but don't want to wait for it to mature...

    Nice mantel!

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    1. I do hope everyone got that I was having a little fun with the suburban gardens remark...and I have no doubt that you could totally rock the dusty miller!

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  6. You might consider planting some in an inconspicuous place, just so you could have it for cutting. The mantle is a masterpiece!

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    1. Oh to have a garden with inconspicuous places! (and thank you Ricki)

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  7. I'm the least qualified to comment on floral designs but I love what you did. If they all looked like yours, I might be more interested :-).

    BTW, how do you keep your mantel so uncluttered???

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    1. I'm with Gerhard! How do you keep it all so neat, everything, house and garden? Envious...

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    2. Haha, Andrew would call the mantle VERY cluttered, being a fan of "less stuff" always.

      And Patricia if you saw the back garden right now "neat" would not be the first word that came to mind.

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  8. I like Ricki's idea. I love what you ended up doing with the dusty miller. I'm rethinking my big succulent containers that I put on top of the gabions last year. I'm more and more coming over to the one plant-one pot idea.

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    1. I've always been one plant-one pot too, but something got a hold of me last year and I didn't want to have so many small containers sitting about so I combined things into larger ones. Now I'll be spending time this year reversing that since I've reverted back to my old ways.

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  9. But that's what some plants are there for, to have fun with them! I like your colour scheme and combinations, very unique and creative!

    A bride with agaves on their wedding bouquet, now that sounds cool! Although it might cause injuries to whoever tries to catch it when she throws it....

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    1. I didn't even think of that! Too funny. Ah well there's always the trend of having a second bouquet just for the tossing. It could be agave free.

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  10. I think it looks really pretty in your containers. I suppose the really skilled gardener can make the fuzzy things work in the landscape. I for one am not a really skilled gardener.

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    1. Ha, I don't believe you aren't a skilled gardener, not even for a second.

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  11. Sadly, it was a love affair that ended almost as soon as it had begun ;-)

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    1. We've all had a few of those right?

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  12. The arrangements look great - who knows, you may start a trend and succeed in making dusty miller fashionable again. If the fashions of the 70s and 80s can come back, I certainly can't see why dusty miller can't too...

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    1. Good point, although for some people I don't think it ever went out of fashion.

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  13. What is the saying? There are no bad plants. Only bad placement? We've yet to see the perfect placement of dusty miller, but I have no doubt there is one. Until then, your mantle arrangement is a good use for it. How fun to see my agave and aloe pups getting a little limelight up there too.

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    1. They are going to be planted up soon Pam, I just couldn't resist using them for this exercise.

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  14. I love your arrangements, Lori! Your mantle-scape always looks sublime.

    -Bridget

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    1. Thank you, high praise coming someone who does what you do for a living!

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  15. These arrangements are beautiful! I don't know how I feel about dusty miller in the garden but it sure is beautiful in cut arrangements!

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  16. Love that arrangement you've made. Gorgeous!

    I must admit, my yard is host to a number of Dusty Millers. I think the appeal has to do with the fact that it's evergreen and it's foliage does not resemble anything I currently have....and also the name reminds me of "Dusty Springfield'', so that's a few extra points right there!

    May I ask who did that piece of art above your mantel that is to the left of the black and white photograph of the cactus? It reminds me of my friend, Nancy's work. Is it an etching?

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    1. If you can make it work in your garden go for it! I really wanted to. I think part of my issue is a preponderance of yellow, it made the color of the dusty miller just look dirty.

      I love that Tom Waits the cactus has Dusty Springfield keeping him company!

      The artwork is by my husband Andrew, watercolor, carved wood and metal. We've got several of his pieces around the house, he used to show at a couple of galleries which is how I know Tamara.

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    2. fifi la fontaineMay 01, 2013

      Oh how funny! Just saw that your Andrew has pieces at Augen Gallery--which is where I show too! I really like his work. Is he going to have another show anytime soon?

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  17. fifi la fontaineMay 01, 2013

    Oh, how cool! I really like that piece. Actually, it does have the same feeling as the gorgeous assemblage of mossy wood with the metal "feet" that Andrew made too. Now I'm going to try and find more of his work online...

    Thanks, Loree!

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  18. I work at a greenhouse and I've seen some Dusty Miller there. It has its pros and its cons. I like that the leaves feel like puppy ears.

    But I'm mainly just writing to say that I'm now seriously considering carrying an agave down the aisle when I get married, though I *probably* would not throw it at the crowd afterwards:) That would be beautiful.

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    1. Yay!! I hope you do (carry, not through). I'd love to see a picture...

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  19. Tacky suburban gardens... HDU! ;) We tried to kill ours last year but to no avail. Mom wins!

    OH, I picked up a giant Euphorbia grandicornis in Atlanta this past weekend (http://instagram.com/p/YvF1AHkqVT/). It was hilarious trying to pack it in the car with everything else. I managed to break off two stalks, so hopefully I'll have babies now.

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    1. Love that Euphorbia!!! (HDU???)

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    2. Ha... How Dare You! :)

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