In a Vase on Monday: Don’t Spare the Blushes

IMG_2291The skies have been lowering and lifting all morning making it hard to catch the light for today’s photographs – always more of a problem than creating the vase in the first place! My starting point today was the Primula beesiana, not the plant I bought from Gardeners’ World Live three years ago which never amounted to anything but ones I bought at little cost from a JTF discount warehouse last year and split to give me half a dozen or more plants, all flowering. Their pinky lilac tiers are not fully open yet so it will be interesting to see whether they will open up now they are picked.

IMG_2289Joining these as yet unsung heroes was a single allium which I think must be A roseum – it is a few years since I bought the original bulbs which I don’t recall doing especially well, but I am now finding self seeded allims here and there which I think must be these – and seeing how pretty they are perhaps they can all stay. Having decided on this sugary palette ‘Blush Noisette’ was the next contender for inclusion, the four bushes now beginning to spread nicely across the fences that surround the rose garden and all smothered in buds or open flowers. This gave the title, and having picked pale pink Geranium sanguineum striatum these were then rejected in favour of Helianthemum ‘The Bride’, if only for their name!

A few stems of lavender were included for structure and scent and astrantia for more blushes. Although there are now a couple of the pinker astrantias coming into flower, they are barely establishing yet (somehow less easy going than the whiter ones here) so stems of old IMG_2296faithful A ‘Buckland’ were included yet again, not something not worth apologising for as they will recur time and time again! A friend had invited the Golfer and myself round for a meal for his birthday at the weekend, so I took her a little posy of these astrantia along with a single stem of Allium christophii, both of which will last well in a vase. Trying to keep the foliage minimal and delicate today, stems of Luzula nivea were picked but even these looked too ‘heavy’ so were excluded and a few clematis seedheads added instead, and the chosen flowers placed in a lilac Caithness Glass posy vase. I had forgotten about conditioning last week’s roses and they didn’t last long, but I learned from this and dipped Blush Noisette in boiling water for 20-30 seconds.

Despite using astrantia again I am pleased to have been casting the net wider and finding something a little different to use – and the process of selection and rejection is useful as I am learning that ‘less can be more’ in many instances. As the variety of blooms available widens it will be harder to become selective – but I shan’t be complaining! It is a joy to go through this process every Monday and a real pleasure to have home-grown flowers in the garden for most of the week. Having started it as a personal challenge it is lovely that others have become enthused by it – if you haven’t joined in yet you would be very welcome to do so. The idea is to find something from your garden or thereabouts (thinking out of the box is encouraged!) and post as usual but with a link to this post and a link back to yours in a comment – in this way we can enjoy each other’s vases too and share information about the contents and the process of selection as well.


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32 Responses to In a Vase on Monday: Don’t Spare the Blushes

  1. Pingback: In a vase on Monday – sunny sunflowers | Creating my own garden of the Hesperides

  2. Christina says:

    Perhaps more ‘frilly knickers’ than blushes or perhaps that’s what caused the blushes! A very pretty vase and I think you made the right decision regarding the foliage. Here’s the link to my effort!

    • Cathy says:

      No more reference to knickers after the Superbum vase! πŸ™‚ It’s good to experiment with different foliage – I keep a look out for alternative additions on most of my rambles. No sunny sunflowers here yet, but the plants have survived the slugs so far – look forward to seeing yours.

  3. jenhumm116 says:

    Looks like there’s a bit of a ‘blush’ theme going on this week! I love the primula.

    • Cathy says:

      Oh, is yours blushing too…?! The primula has done really well and I guess it might self seed, which is even better.

  4. Kris P says:

    It’s a wonderful composition, Cathy. I love Astrantia and wish I could grow it here. In composing today’s vase, I too debated the inclusion of my selected foliage when it added a heavier note to the arrangement but I ended up leaving it in. Here’s the link:

    Thanks again for hosting!

    • Cathy says:

      Some of my astrantia needs to be culled a little though, but otherwise I haven’t a bad word to say about it – sorry you can’t grow it…. Look forward to seeing your moody blues, particularly as I am low on blues here after an early spring flush.

  5. Chloris says:

    A lovely arrangement, such lovely delicate colours. I love Blush Noisette, it really is a first class rose and flowers for ages. Astrantia is great for flower arrangement and the Primula looks wonderful too. I don’ t think I could bear to pick any of mine. I had just the same thoughts about foliage, I picked some frothy Euphorbia and then discarded it.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Chloris. The Blush Noisette were still settling in last year and look really promising this year πŸ™‚

  6. Liz says:

    Hi Cathy,

    How do you keep your Astrantia looking happy? Mine always seem to flop literally within minutes of cutting them, then perk up a little once they’ve been in water for a while but then don’t last long in the vase before flopping again.

    Lovely rose too, I’ve never conditioned them before… perhaps I’ll give it a go, as some of mine don’t last long in vases.

    • Cathy says:

      Strange about your astrantia Liz, as mine will last all week in a vase… Last week the roses had drooped beyond redemption within a day or two, so I am rather more hopeful this time

  7. pbmgarden says:

    Love your blushing pinks and lavenders this week Cathy-gives your vase a charming, romantic quality. I have a very similar vase and find it quite versatile. Yours works perfectly with the flowers you’ve chosen. Here’s my link:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks – and I must admit that looking at it now I am really pleased with it – the Blush Noisette have opened out more and the almost centres of the astrantia help pull the arrangement together. Look forward to seeing what is in your red-on-red vase!

  8. Cathy says:

    The colours are lovely, going so well with the vase, but the shape in particular also makes this pretty posy so effective. Love it! And I agree… it is such a pleasurable activity selecting and arranging flowers every week. I never thought I’d be cutting flowers so often from my garden, but so glad I have been inspired and encouraged by you, Cathy, and all the other contributors. Thank you! Here’s my vase for today:

    • Cathy says:

      You are very welcome – and I will sometimes do a second vase later in the week now as well, or try out something to see how well it lasts when cut. Sharing ideas and offering support is proving to be rewarding all round, and is encouraging us to do something we were reluctant or forgetful to do before. Thanks for joining in.

  9. Pingback: In A Vase On Monday – A Peony Lunch – Part 2 | Peonies & Posies

  10. Julie says:

    Such beautiful choices this week Cathy – that rose is perfect for high summer. Another one to add to my growing list. In many ways I feel I am missing out by concentrating on my peonies but I have to make the most of their very short season. Like you I think all these garden flowers are calling out for a few additional vases in the coming weeks!

    You can find my contribution at

  11. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday | gotthegardeningbug

  12. Hi there, what a wonderful idea! The soft pinks and lavenders coupled with the beautiful shapes are just stunning. Here’s my late addition:

    • Cathy says:

      Thank you – and it is almost looks better on its second day and although the helianthemum flowers have dropped their buds on the stems make a nice addition. Thanks for joining in – I shall be over to see your vase shortly πŸ™‚

  13. What gorgeous colors! I love the array of hues and how in combination they are spectacular. Thank you for the reminder of how just a little bit of lavender can add so much to the stability of the bouquet. Simply beautiful!

    • Cathy says:

      Thank you so much – this is the first year I have really had any lavender anyway (that’s not strictly true – I’ve had it to fill a space but totally neglected it in the past) and it struck me as being almost a half way house between flower and foliage, if you see what I mean. That all sounds a bit muddled – sorry! πŸ™‚

  14. A very pretty vase, Cathy! Astrantia looks good cut – I must start using some of mine. I have “Buckland” as well as several others. Might I recommend “Roma”? It’s a beautiful dusky pink, that flowers for ages. I haven’t used it myself yet, in a vase, but I imagine it would blend in beautifully – maybe with pink roses.

    • Cathy says:

      I do have a fairly new ‘Roma’ but she is not pink – I wonder if it is mislabelled? I used to have more pink or red ones but they seem to have disappeared although I have a nice dark ‘Bloody Mary’ that is beginning to bulk up again.

  15. croftgarden says:

    Such a gentle colour palette, typical of early June in the garden. I have managed a contribution, although I’m still to graduate from the single species vase.

    • Cathy says:

      Nothing wrong with single species vases – it focusses the mind mind more and perhaps I will resist the temptation to take advantage of the choice and go for a single species vase again soon like I often did over winter when there was less choice.

  16. Anna says:

    Oh most pretty in pink Cathy. Have read the comment about ‘Roma” and totally agree. She is a good doer and and is definitely most pink. Can send you a division next spring if of any interest.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Anna. I am sure I used to have a few pink or red astrantia but they seem to have disappeared, so ‘Roma’ would be most welcome in due course.

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