In a Vase on Monday: Black and White and Red All Over

IMG_0503The title of this post is based on a very old and not very funny ‘joke’ which needs to be said aloud, the original answer being a newspaper or book (ie ‘read’… get it?). Today, it refers to a vase I posted twelve months ago and a year of people reading and commenting on 52 In a Vase on Monday posts.

Twelve months ago I made the effort and posted a simple vase entitled ‘Monochrome’, containing Astrantia ‘Buckland’ and the seedheads of Rudbeckia fulgida, hoping to get myself back into the habit of picking a little posy from the garden every week. Comments on the post suggested that this was a good idea and might prove an encouragement to others, so the following week I asked if anyone else would like to join me – Julie of Peonies and Posies and Christina of My Hesperides Garden were the first to do so and have loyally been posting their own vases almost every week. Since then others have posted vases regularly or occasionally with new bloggers joining the meme all the time and a record 21 vases posted last week, 22 including mine.

It surprised me just how much the meme captured bloggers’ imaginations, and I for one am thrilled by the response. Not only did it quickly ensure I got back into this simple habit, but it prompted many others to do the same, some of whom were once reluctant to pick flowers they had grown but who now find themselves willing to pick even their last or first rose or other such flower and bring it inside to enjoy at closer quarters. With it has also come the realization that vases don’t have to be formally ‘arranged’ to look effective,  that simple plonking is all that is necessary when the contents speak for themselves, and that basic tweaking soon follows naturally.

IMG_3447We have also learned that there are other containers that make good receptacles, so dusty kitchenalia or ornaments have made an appearance, or car boots searched for cheap little vases or containers to suit every size and colour of flowers. Many of us have found ourselves looking forward eagerly to our Monday challenge, actively considering possible contenders for inclusion during the preceding days. Foliage and seedheads, wild flowers and garden thugs, fruit and vegetables have all appeared – and thinking out of the box is applauded, the spirit of the meme being findings from our own gardens or thereabouts. Some of us have posted whilst away from home too, keeping within the spirit of the meme as far as possible, such is the addiction of the challenge.

IMG_2119The most rewarding aspect though is the support, encouragement and inspiration we have given each other as the months have gone by – it has been an empowering experience for all concerned and we have learned such a lot, with advice on growing or cutting or displaying, and many of us now growing some flowers specifically for cutting. We have become increasingly confident with our picking and plonking and come to appreciate just how much pleasure there is to be gained from bringing the fruits of labouring in our gardens into our homes – and giving posies of home grown flowers to our friends and families instead of shop-bought.

vase.collageAs for my vases, it would be hard for me to choose a favourite, and when I looked back at them there were many I had forgotten about and some that shocked me by their prettiness. I still have especially fond memories of The Blossome and the distinctive shades of Rhapsody in Blue but there were several others that brought me particular pleasure. There were contentious ones too, like the mahonia in a Sunny Oasis  and the props in Bewitched. Regular readers will know I like a ‘good title’ and for me that is part of the challenge, although I have to admit they usually just pop into my head. Throughout last winter props increasingly crept into the posts too, partially to pad out and emphasise the more limited material, but these were often forgotten about once we became smitten and spoiled for choice again.

vase.egsI would like to thank everyone who has joined in the meme over the year, the regular contributors and those who have commented and offered encouragement – it has more than exceeded any expectation I may have had when I posted my first vase, but this is down to all of you who have supported it in your different ways. To celebrate a year of vases I have put photographs of these 52 vases into a Blurb self-published book and everyone who posts a vase this week will go into a draw with one person winning a copy of the book (cut off time 22.00 GMT on Wednesday 12th November). The Golfer (who still doesn’t like cut flowers) will be responsible for pulling the winning name from one of his many hats and this (the name, not the hat) will appear in next week’s post. Thank you everyone – and keep filling your vases!

This entry was posted in Being Creative, Gardening, Gardens, In a Vase on Monday and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

69 Responses to In a Vase on Monday: Black and White and Red All Over

  1. jenhumm116 says:

    Hi Cathy, many congratulations on a fabulous year of Monday vases!
    It’s a lovely meme with such friendly, encouraging people taking part. Here’s to year 2….
    Her’s mine for this week:

  2. Julie says:

    Hi Cathy, Congratulations on a year of hosting this meme, I do not often produce a vase, but I love reading and seeing everyones contributions. 🙂

    • Cathy says:

      Hi Julie, and thanks for all your positive comments on the vases and the meme itself. It’s what makes Mondays so uplifting for all of us.

  3. Annette says:

    I think you’ve been an inspiration to us all and Julie is right, although I don’t contribute a lot I always enjoy what you guys come up with. But today I couldn’t resist for several reasons…congrats on your year of vases (beautiful collage) and the book of course. Great achievement! Here’s my beat the blues-vase: Happy Monday everyone!

    • Cathy says:

      Beat the blues sounds lovely, Annette – and producing a vase is a great way to do so. Thanks you so much for your comments and your periodic vases – they are equally welcome

  4. This is my second contribution, and I really want to thank you for the opportunity to participate. Until now, I didn’t want to cut too many flowers from my garden since I am the only one who appreciates them in the house, and I figured that more people would see them in passing if I left them in the garden. But, with your meme, I can enjoy them in the house and others can, too!

    It is also fun to pull out old vases and containers that haven’t received much use in years. This week, I am using a Japanese coffee pot from my grandmother. Thank you!

  5. pbmgarden says:

    Great title Cathy–your Monday In A Vase has certainly been read all over (and I remember when I thought that joke was hilarious! I’m sure it’s still delighting kids everywhere). It has been a fun year visiting with you every week. Thanks.
    My contribution this week is

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, you are probably the next longest serving vase poster after Julie and Christina and you are equally loyal and I really appreciate the support you have given the meme. I don’t think any of us realised how enjoyable it would become!

  6. Pingback: In a vase on Monday – One year on | Creating my own garden of the Hesperides

  7. Christina says:

    Congratulations on a year of vases. Cathy, that is quite an achievement. I think of all the memes that people have thought up this, for me, is the most fun and the one I’ve learnt most from. So a really big THANK YOU. Here’s my contribution this week:

    • Cathy says:

      The learning process has been the biggest benefit, I think, along with the mutual support – and the meme may never have gained momentum if it hadn’t been for you and other early contributors, so THANK YOU too Christina!

  8. The inspiration is contagious from you Cathy and others. What an accomplishment, a whole year of vases. I won’t say I can do that but I will give it a go for as long as I can. And I love that you have put a book together too. I have been wanting to create a book and again you have inspired me.

    I am still putting vases together and will as I have the garden provides…still no freeze here so I have a few flowers. And I want to thank you Cathy for bringing me more in touch with my garden and creative side. Here’s is my contribution:

    • Cathy says:

      You are very welcome Donna – the meme has grown because of the support bloggers like you have given it, whereas I only started it, and originally for selfish reasons! It has been empowering to have had that challenge there every Monday, and as you say it has made us look at our gardens differently. Do have a look at the Blurb or similar photo book sites – they are fairly simple to use, particularly if you use their basic format so do ask me if you want any more info.

  9. Congratulations on major stick-to-itness! I am NUTS about that all blue arrangement in the bottom right with the blue and white pitcher/vase. Just gorgeous. People have clearly loved your idea–how wonderful!

    • Cathy says:

      I am quite good at sticking-to-itness Susan – but it is such an enjoyable challenge there was never any reason for not doing so. That blue jug was quite early in the year too, the end of March, and it was a surprise to have all those different blues in the garden

  10. First, let me say The Bothy is brilliant! 52 weeks of arrangements is impressive but photographing and writing about them even more so. I often brought flowers indoors but never had a venue for sharing them until I discovered your meme. My garden is winding down but I am hoping to be able to keep filling vases a bit longer. Congrats on your vases and your achievement.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Linda – the first vase posts were a lot shorter, but it became fun to include info on why things were chosen and about the props and vases too

  11. AnnetteM says:

    Congratulations Cathy on a great meme and thinking up 52 brilliant vases with props and witty titles!

  12. Pingback: Last of the Summer Roses | Country Garden UK

  13. Gillian says:

    Well done for a whole year of cut flowers… lots of good ideas and lovely photos. I’m on week two so just another 50 to go!

    • Cathy says:

      I remember my week two – and it seems hardly any time ago, Gillian!! Thanks for your kind comments.

    • Cathy says:

      I am still trying to catch up on comments and vase posts – Mondays are much busier now! I am sure you can manage another 50 vases to complete your first year of them too 🙂

  14. CathyT says:

    This is only my second week Cathy (although I’ve looked for a while), and I don’t know how consistent I’ll be, but thank you so much for your inspiration. I think after only one week I can really agree with everyone that this meme has given me so much pleasure (and I’ve learnt too!). I really look forward to visiting other people’s vases over the next day or so and drawing encouragement/learning new things from them as well. And yes, I can see how it triggers all sorts of cut-flower growing experiments! Roll on spring 2015!
    Meanwhile, here’s my own for today:
    I wish I’d read your post above, before I prepared it. I think I was trying too hard and should have gone for more ‘plonking’! You’ve relaxed me wonderfully now. Thanks again.

    • Cathy says:

      You are very welcome, Cathy. We all thought ‘roll on spring’ when we started but posting through winter really made the challenge even more rewarding as we were able to find all sorts of things to include, sometimes flowers, sometimes not. And there is no pressure whatsoever to ‘arrange’ – most of us basically just plonk, but often you wouldn’t think so to look at many of our vases, something we soon learned with the meme. It’s probably one of the reasons why people are put off picking their own flowers because they feel they would be ‘rubbish’ about arranging them. Besides this, it’s the picking and bringing into the house that brings so much pleasure, regardless of whether they are plonked in a jam jar or formally arranged in a cut glass vase 🙂

  15. Chloris says:

    Well done Cathy, what an achievement, a whole year! You can see what fun everyone has had and how they have enjoyed the challenge. I am looking forward to seeing how people manage through the winter.
    I like your black and white this week, very sophisticated.

    • Cathy says:

      The picture was of my ‘first ever’ vase, Chloris – I have had a rest from making one this week! As you say, it is quite clear from the comments on each others’ vases how much we enjoy sharing them and how much we have learned. Thank you for your kind comments and for joining in today ps you have been blogging for about a year now, haven’t you?

  16. I’ve participated in 2 prior memes centered around home-grown floral arrangements. Neither was as enduring – or as much fun – as this one. I appreciate the camaraderie of the participants and your commitment to the theme (and I remain impressed by your ability to come up with clever post titles). Best wishes on your meme-versary, Cathy! Here’s my contribution this week:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Kris – and I have enjoyed the meme as much as anybody, and learned such a lot too. I am hugely grateful to all those who have supported the meme and you were one of the early joiners. Thank you for your continued enthusiasm

  17. Pingback: In A Vase On Monday – A Year Of Vases!! | Peonies & Posies

  18. Julie says:

    Congratulations Cathy for reaching a whole year of vases and a very big thank you for letting us all join in – it has been great fun!! What a lovely idea to put all your vases into a book – I will be keeping my fingers crossed that my name comes out of The Golfer’s hat and I might do the same thing with my vases – I like the idea of a paper record of the year.

    This week I have published a review which you can find at:

    I will be back next week with a new vase.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Julie – and for all your support from the very beginning. You can actually transfer a blog directly to a Blurb book, but if you have more than one photo in a post it doesn’t work very well – and I write too much anyway! I have done one of some of my poems too. Look forward to reading your review

  19. One of my dad’s favourite jokes! Another lovely vase, Cathy. Congrats on your one year anniversary – looking forward to the second! I had to join in this week, to help to celebrate. That’s if I get this link thing worked out! 😉 Should be found on

  20. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday: Celebrations | Words and Herbs

  21. Cathy says:

    Congratulations Cathy, and what a lovely post too! I can see you have so many lovely different containers for your flowers – it must be fun choosing which one to use each week! Have really enjoyed joining in with this meme and look forward to another year of fun. Thank you!
    My vase this week:

    • Cathy says:

      And thanks Cathy for all YOUR support and regular contributions – our enthusiasm seems to be infectious! I am a little ashamed to say that I have various small vase purchases that have not yet been used yet, not to mention a houseful of other possibilities…perhaps I ought to challenge myself to use a different one every week….;)

  22. The world could stand a few more special things like this…I have really enjoyed this, thank you.

  23. johnvic8 says:

    Let me add my voice of congratulations on the one year anniversary of In a Vase on Monday. Cathy, as a relatively new blogger, I ventured into this effort in May, and it has been grand treasure to be part of the meme. It has given me a new view of my garden through the year and enabled me to see what other gardeners are doing throughout the world. Also, it has been fun to work with my Arranger in pulling together our offerings each week. Once again, it reminds me that I have never known a selfish gardener; what fun it is to be part of the sharing that happens because of your initiative. A heartfelt thank you.
    My offering for the week:

    • Cathy says:

      Thank you John – and I feel privileged to have ended up in the position of having started this meme as I had no idea how empowering and enjoyable it would prove to be. I am sure most people will agree with all you have said in your comment about viewing and doing things a bit differently since joining in. Thanks to you and the arranger for your regular support.

  24. rickii says:

    Since I came to this party fashionably late, I really enjoyed this post with some history of the meme and its inspiration. And so a new year begins!

    • Cathy says:

      It doesn’t seem a year ago, rickii, and it has been an interesting journey to see how the meme has spread from blog to blog and captured imaginations. We are in the company of such lovely and inspirational people, are we not?

  25. Elizabeth says:

    Hi Cathy, many congratulations on your year of running this wonderful meme. I didn’t join in until your year was well underway but I’m so glad I discovered you. With your encouragement, I’ve set out every Monday morning to see what I can bear to pick and plonk in a vase. My husband is delighted too – he no longer has to spend his pocket money on shop bought bouquets 🙂 Oh, and that is one of his favourite jokes … he has a wealth of them and always maintains that it’s the old ones that are the best 🙂 I think it is a lovely gesture to put the photos of your beautiful arrangements into a book for a draw – it will be the perfect keepsake for the winner. Thank you, once again, my contribution for this week can be viewed here:

    • Cathy says:

      Thank you for your kind comments – and I am glad the old joke has gone down well!! It is strange how the vase has become a Monday routine for us – which is exactly what I intended in the first place, well initially just for me so I am thrilled that so many have joined in and developed the same habit 🙂

  26. Cathy, it must feel wonderful to have inspired so many. Congratulations on this amazing accomplishment. I’ve enjoyed the times I took part and hope to do so again from time to time. xox

  27. Happy Anniversary, Cathy! I’m so glad I found this weekly party and started to participate. When I have some free moments, I want to look at your winter arrangements for some inspiration. I’m thinking about our January weather and snow cover, and thinking the best I may be able to do for much of the winter is bare twigs!

    This week, though, in spite of several heavy frosts and a few snow showers, I still found some flowers!

    Thank you for the inspiration you’ve given me and so many other bloggers, and for the new friendships we’ve all formed because of you!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Kimberley – and blogging friendships were something I had not anticipated when I started blogging in the first place. The support and empowerment that bloggers have given each other through this meme have been lovely to see and experience. Thanks for all your support and vases over the months 🙂

  28. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday-Mumday « sorta like suburbia

  29. bittster says:

    Congratulations! It’s been a lot of fun to follow and participate in this meme and all the best for the upcoming year! Beautiful collage and you deserve a break this week 🙂
    Here’s my contribution for today, I’m glad to be a part of the anniversary edition.

    • Cathy says:

      So you didn’t feel I was cheating by not producing a new vase…? Thanks for all your kind comments and making sure you posted a vase for this ‘special’ day!

  30. This is a wonderful meme, Cathy. Here’s my post for today: Thanks, and congratulations!

  31. Happy Anniversary Cathy! And thank you, I know I am an infrequent contributor, but I do love it, and it has changed my habits. Just with glacial speed!! And I have done a post…

    • P.S. And the Golfer is STILL not a convert?! Maybe after another year…

      • Cathy says:

        He accepts it is a Monday routine now and when he told our lunch visitors last week that he didn’t like cut flowers – they brought lilies – he also said that I had been explaining that flowers will just go to seed quicker if they are not cut, so perhaps he will eventually change his tune. May need more than another year though…

    • Cathy says:

      Thank you for your support whether or not you have posted a vase, Janet – I know I can rely on you to tell it exactly as it is! Isn’t it strange how many habits have been changed because of the meme – but that was the original intention of course, or at least for my habits.

  32. Anna says:

    Many congratulations on the first anniversary of ‘A Vase On Monday’ Cathy – you deserve a gold star! I know that I have not come up with a vase often but I’ve learned so much from those who contribute regularly so many thanks for being such a brilliant enabler. I did look round the caravan yesterday but could not find suitable pickings – maybe next year, but have filled a diddy vase on my return to base :

    • Cathy says:

      And diddy vases are always lovely, so I am pleased you specially treated yourself to one on your return. Are you allowed to cultivate any of the plot that your caravan is on? You might be able to have a little garden there! The option of posting a vase is always there, whether people post regularly or occasionally – and comments from people who haven’t posted their own are just as supportive. It has been such a rewarding thing to do and little did I know how the meme would grow!

  33. Hi Cathy, I just couldn’t do it this week (too much going on). But I want to say congratulations to you! I so enjoy this meme, whether partaking or just browsing! Well done on starting up something so wonderful. 🙂 Dana

Comments are closed.