It was definitely uncharted territory today, both in using a ‘vase’ of this type and a bloom of this size so there was a touch of nervousness involved as I prepared the material, especially in cutting the flower stem – but as the whole bulb had tipped out of its pot when I picked it up (unsupported) and broken off an unopened trumpet and damaged one of the others after that there was nothing to lose!
The vase, which is definitely what it is as it contains a pinholder (‘frog’) is about 14cm in diameter and was bought from eBay a couple of weeks ago for the princely sum of 99p plus postage – and as the frog was made from stainless steel it was very much a bargain as I had recently treated myself to two expensive stainless steel frogs from Sarah Raven! I was actually searching for something else when I found the vase, so was pleased to have found it and could particularly visualise using it for narcissi and other bulbs. Today though, it was the turn of an amaryllis/hippeastrum.
I have to thank Anna of Green Tapestry for alerting me to the presence of unusual amaryllis (sorry!) in Lidl, another discount supermarket, where I ventured poste haste and acquired this pink ‘Neon’ and greenish ‘Luna’ which is lagging behind. Neon isn’t quite such a vibrant pink as the packaging suggested but I am nevertheless pleased to have wavered from the usual Red Lion that I normally favour. I might have been reluctant to cut its flower stem if it wasn’t for an article in December RHS’s publication, which suggested that cut stems last nearly as long in water as on the plant. Unless the plants are surrounded by twigs or greenery or grouped together they are not especially attractive apart from the flowers, so this seems a good compromise – the article also recommended inserting a stick up the stem and plugging the end with cotton wool to prevent it leaning, and placing a rubber band around the base to prevent the stem splitting and splaying. As this stem was cut short and held in place by the pin holder I haven’t actually followed those recommendations this time although I do have the stick ready!
But how much to trim the stem?
It could possibly have been cut a little shorter but I didn’t want to take that risk! The next decision, of what to use with it, had already been made as the slightly tropical look begged some kind of foliage that would complement this, and leaves of Asplenium scolopendrium, hart’s-tongue fern, fitted the bill with a few Luzula sylvatica ‘Marginata’ leaves added as well. The original intention of photographing outside was quickly abandoned as a stiff breeze was whipping up the black felt fabric chosen as a background and could potentially threaten the whole vase, but the first indoor photos were too dark so white felt was retrieved from the loft and sets the vase off far better.
Pink may be a strange colour to choose so close to Christmas, but it is good to see a mix of flower and foliage in these leaner months – although I still find it strange looking at the end result as it is unlike any of my other vases so far! It would be lovely to see Monday vases from anybody else who can spare the time and find or forage material for the contents, so please do join in if you can – just post links to your vase from a comment on this post and a link from your post back to this one. That way we can all share in your pleasure.
Wishing all Monday vase-posters a very pleasant festive period and an exciting 2015!