In a Vase on Monday: Neon Light

IMG_3780It 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!

IMG_3768The 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?

neon.vaseIt 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.

IMG_3777Pink 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!


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34 Responses to In a Vase on Monday: Neon Light

  1. Cathy I am adoring this vase and read the same RHS article as my amaryllis are just starting to grow. I hope to use them in a vase in mid winter. And I love the actual vase as well. I have a feeling I will be rummaging at thrift stores for some unusual finds.

    I did forage and hope you like my vase.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Donna – it was touch and go what I included in today’s vase, but the amaryllis won and I know what next week’s is going to be, unless disaster strikes!

  2. Brian Skeys says:

    I think the finished arrangement looks good and is well balanced for leaf, colour and size.

  3. pbmgarden says:

    What a great purchase–I really like your new vase Cathy. The amaryllis is a gorgeous color and makes a wonderful arrangement. Thanks for the info about how to care for a cut amaryllis. My vase this week is

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Susie – I shall definitely look out for more unusual amaryllis for next year, although I might even make the effort of keeping them going… πŸ˜‰ The vase certainly has lots of possibilities with that distinctive shape, doesn’t it?

  4. jenhumm116 says:

    A truly voluptuous bloom! Lovely to see it displayed with the added foliage.
    Here’s mine, rather tongue in cheek today….

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Jen – and having cut the stem I think it looks so much better in a vase πŸ™‚ Hmm… tongue in cheek….twigs…..;)

  5. Chloris says:

    How lovely it looks. Very elegant and much better than left growing on the plant with a giraffe neck. I like your vase, you can get some bargains on eBay.
    I did the same as you after reading Anna’ s post about Lidl and I bought 2 nice plump bulbs and how cheap they were. A real bargain.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Chloris, and I hadn’t realised quite how much better the stem would look OFF the plant – once the excitement at the speed it grows wears off the plant is indeed very ungainly and giraffe-like. I wonder which ones you bought?

  6. Elizabeth says:

    Hi Cathy, your arrangement is gorgeous. The colour of the amaryllis is stunning and it looks perfect with the chosen foliage and in that fabulous vase. Must check out eBay more often πŸ™‚ Coincidentally my post also features an amaryllis this week but it’s the more traditional red. It’s a gift from my husband – he finds one every year for me and I love them. You can find my post here:

    • Cathy says:

      I was really pleased how effective this was – needn’t have been nervous about it at all! Watch out for another eBay bargain soon, Elizabeth – just waiting for the right blooms… πŸ™‚ I would not be surprised if I had another bulb for Christmas – but I need to let drop that I am happy not to have a red one now!

  7. I agree that amaryllis look better with foliage accompaniment and think you did a great job with this one. I’ll be interested to hear what kind of vase life you get from it – I’ve often been tempted to cut the stems. I have one blooming by the front door which looks geeky with its tall stem soaring above the foliage below.

    Here’s my contribution this week: Thanks, as always, for hosting and have a very merry Christmas!

    • Cathy says:

      Oh thanks Kris – I am optimistic about vase life, but will try and remember to keep you posted. There is a second bud just coming through from the bulb, as they so often do, so I shall have a second spike to put in a vase in a few weeks if it proves to be successful!

  8. Christina says:

    I love this Cathy! The vase is very elegant and works amazingly with the Amaryllis. Thanks for all the tips, I hope to post a vase tomorrow as I am now with my MIL.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Christina – after reading Words and Herb Cathy’s comment I am going to use the stick after all, to be on the safe side. It will be interesting to choose vase contents from someone else’s garden – a different sort of challenge all together! hope you are enjoying your visit – how long will you be there?

  9. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday: a Candle for the Solstice | Words and Herbs

  10. Cathy says:

    Wow! Gorgeous! I love both the colour and the vase Cathy, and hope it lasts well for you. I would recommend some support though, like you suggested, as mine from last week’s vase collapsed overnight a couple of days ago and I was barely able to rescue it! Here’s my contribution for Christmas week.
    Have a wonderful Christmas Cathy!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks so much Cathy – it is lovely to be able to share advice and learn from each other. I shall be adding a stick now I have read about yours. Look forward to seeing your solstice candle…

  11. Amy says:

    It was wonderful to see your arrangement with amaryllis, Cathy! Please do keep us posted about how it lasts. Mine is coming along a little more slowly but should open in a couple of days now πŸ˜€ Not sure if I can bring myself to cut a stem – we shall see…! At least I have saved your instructions above. I am lucky enough to have some material from the garden for today since our plants are very happy just now. And I added one flower that was a surprise even to me…
    Wishing you a very happy Christmas!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Amy – and after seeing how well the amaryllis looks I think I might be tempted to cut every amaryllis stem in the future… we’ll see! I wonder what colour yours is…?

  12. johnvic8 says:

    A delightful arrangement, as expected. Very creative use of the amaryllis. Please see my offering at

  13. Pingback: sprig to twig » Blog Archive » not exactly a vase on monday

  14. rickii says:

    Those are some good tips about how to treat the Amaryllis as a cut flower. I bet the same would apply to other flowers with fleshy, hollow stems. And now for something different:

    • Cathy says:

      I have heard of wire or a stick being inserted into stems before but not yet done it myself – sounds very surgical somehow! Oooh, something different…..;)

  15. Anna says:

    I’ve never heard of ‘frogs’ in this context but your new purchase seems to be the ideal candidate for such a bloom. I’ve never deliberately cut an amaryllis flower but after the odd accident or two they’ve ended up in vases and have lasted for a good while. Thanks for the mention Cathy. I was only doing my civic duty πŸ™‚ I like the colour of ‘Neon’ which I don’t recall seeing at the time. Funnily enough my purchase was also ‘Luna’!

    • Cathy says:

      Luna and Neon were the only two types left in our Lidl that were different enough to tempt me – the picture showed Neon as glowingly pink whereas this has more white, which is a shame – still pretty though

  16. Merry Christmas! Thanks for your vase on Monday inspiration.

  17. Annette says:

    Most unusual vase and it fits the amaryllis perfectly – thank you for being such an inspiration through the year, Cathy. I wish you and the Golfer happy days (not only this xmas) and look forward to keeping you company on your ramblings next year.

  18. The photos are such an amazing bit of beautiful on this cold winter day.

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