Monday, June 6, 2016

The time has come for The Aeonium Challenge...

It’s taken me awhile to wrap my head around this one. Past challenges have been about taking a less than trendy plant (here and here) and using it in a new way, causing one to "reevaluate" its qualities. Easy peasy – once you successfully adjust your way of looking/thinking.

But what if we take an already hip plant and see what you all can do with it? Sounds like fun doesn't it? Credit for this Challenge focus goes to Sean Hogan (Cistus Nursery). He suggested it when we were all brainstorming "what next" after a crazy night of voting on your Poinsettia Challenge entries. It wasn't until a visit to Cistus, when I saw this Aeonium 'Blackbeard' that my brain started working...

And here's my first stab at using the Aeonium in a new and different way (for me at least)...you may notice there's no A. 'Blackbeard' but don't worry, you'll see that one in the upcoming weeks...

Tucked in the small vase are four dark Aeonium cuttings (overwintered from last summer), sadly I've lost the ID on them – if I ever even had it.

The green Aeonium "look alike" is Sedum palmeri - hardy to USDA Zone 7!

Did those fabulous big leaves catch your eye? They're Aesculus x neglecta 'erythroblastos'.

The yellow flowers are from the Sedum.

The large vase features a few of the same elements. Another NOID Aeonium...

And a few more Aesculus x neglecta 'erythroblastos' leaves. They're the only vase element not from my garden. At a recent Hardy Plant Society of Oregon Board meeting we were all encouraged to bring a cutting of something from our garden, these were brought by a wonderful lady named Merle, who works at Tsugawa Nursery in Woodland, WA (the tree is in her home garden). I was so enamored with her show-and-tell leaves that I begged a trade for my Magnolia macrophylla leaf. Thankfully she agreed.

The next morning I woke inspired to put together these arrangements.

Euphorbia 'Excalibur'

A few sprigs of Grevillea australis.

Some blooming stems from Callistemon sieberi as well as a several Eucomis 'Oakhust' leaves.

And of course, the Aeoniums...

This is actually just one ginormous plant that I pulled from it's container and bound the rootball in a plastic bag, then sunk it in a vase of water. Probably not ideal long term but for as long as the other bits are looking good I'm sure it will be fine.

So what will you come up with to answer The Aeonium Challenge? It can be any darn thing you can think up. An in-garden planting, a container, a vase, a tiara...as long as it includes a lovely Aeonium, or two, or six. I can't wait to see what you come up with!

Our same panel of opinionated judges will be serving: Sean Hogan, Nathan Limprecht, Wes Yonnie, Heather Tucker and Kate Blairstone (for more inspiration check out Kate's fabulous Aeonium artwork here).

How do you enter? Just email an image of your creation to spiky plants at gmail dot com by Monday July 4th. I hope to be able to announce the winner mid-July, schedules of our esteemed judges permitting.

And what do you win? Well to our lucky winner Sean Hogan has generously offered up a collection of Aeoniums from Cistus Nursery*! How fabulous is that? Good luck to you all!
Since it's Monday, and these are vases created from things in my garden, I'm also linking up with Cathy and her meme In a Vase on Monday. Click on over there to see what other gardeners have cut and arranged from their gardens (I wonder if there will be any Aeoniums?).

*Aeonium collection only available to a winner in the continental U.S. - however all are welcome to enter. An alternative prize will be awarded if the winner lives elsewhere. All material © 2009-2016 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

26 comments:

  1. Oh. So beautiful, Loree. If we accordian-folded the continent so that you were right next door, would that be okay with you?

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    1. What a sweet thing to say Helen! And sure, I would actually love that! (as long as Arizona and New Mexico don't fall into the fold).

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  2. Those are both just gorgeous! I am going to admire all the entries from afar. You may have noticed that I gave away an Aeonium at the swap this year. It annoys me that they go dormant in summer.

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    1. And you may notice that Aeonium in an upcoming Challenge post. I left it for someone else but when the time came that people were leaving and it was still there...well I had to grab it.

      So dormant, what does this mean in your garden? In mine they still look great but aren't growing much.

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    2. Well, that one that was left dropped a lot of its leaves and what was left closed up into tiny "buds." I had tried to make it the centerpiece of a mixed pot and it turned into a shrinking violet.

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  3. Can't enter due to location but have to say it's long overdue that aeoniums be included in contemporary flower arrangement!

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    1. Of course you can enter! We'd just have to dream up a different prize should you win.

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  4. These are just stunning! (I think I use that word a lot when I look at your blog). You have used the colors I did last week but with entirely different effects. The Aesculus leaf is so dramatic and that coloration is so unusual for that plant.

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    1. As you've probably picked up I am a big fan of those colors, it's always interesting to see how others use them.

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  5. Well Aeoniums are foreign to me here in the NE where we get a short summer...but I love the idea of the challenge...your vases are gorgeous especially with those light green Aesculus leaves...what a contrast! Stunning!

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    1. Thanks Donna, and I'm sorry to read you've got a dearthAeonium
      of Aeoniums. I would have thought with the ongoing succulent craze they'd be just about everywhere by now.

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  6. Nicely done! Your dark Aeonium looks like 'Zwartkop'. My garden is full of Aeoniums - A. arboreum has become my go-to filler for empty spaces in my garden but most of my uses are too uninspiring for your challenge. They do go dormant here as it heats up (although shade helps a lot) but I'll see what I can come up with.

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    1. You're probably right, the big one was bought as 'Zwartkop' - with all the fancy names I'm seeing these days I assumed it was something else. I do hope you'll give the Challenge a try - I bet you can some up with something pretty spectacular.

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  7. Your mixutre of Aesculus and succulents is far out and I also love the burlap base! Hooray for another fun challenge. Aeoniums eh? I'll have to put on my thinking cap if I can remember where it is. It so seldom gets used.

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    1. I think you left it in the greenhouse...go fetch it and get to work!

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  8. These might be really hard to find here in the midwest (at least at the STL nurseries I visit). Maybe HD has a Kosmic version I can use... ;)

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    1. I do hope you can find a few - even if they're small (Home Depot, Lowes houseplant section...near the Kosmic)...

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  9. What an amazing creation - you always manage to think out of the box and I had no doubt that you would come up with something stunning for your challenge - thank you for sharing it with Monday vase makers too :)

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    1. Thank you Cathy, as always I appreciate your inspiration for Monday vases!

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  10. I especially love this one, great color and texture combo!

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    1. Thanks DG...will you be playing along with your own entry?

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  11. Wonderful, Loree! Your arrangements are inspiring!

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  12. Beautiful display of contrasting colors! Aesculus x neglecta has the most eye-catching leafs.

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    1. Did you know of this Aesculus x neglecta prior to seeing it here? I am in love now and wish I had room for it!!!

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  13. Classy...and, um, challenging.

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