In a Vase on Monday: Could it be Magic?

IMG_3955Well, any blooms appearing in winter or a low season are, of course, magic – but my witch hazels have been absolutely bloomin’ lovely this year, with ‘Magic Fire’ proving to be a real star. Only purchased last year, she is smothered in fiery blooms, clustering tightly on the shortest little side stems and thus restricting what could be cut for a vase – but having been made to feel really daring by cutting witch hazel last year I was more than prepared to throw down the gauntlet yet again.

IMG_3962IMG_3964Pressing my nose against its shreds, I am half-convinced I can detect a slight fragrance, but the warmth of the house will soon bring it out if there is one – no such issues though for the accompanying winter flowering honeysuckle, Lonicera fragrantissima, which is now beginning to waft around as I pass the shed. Searching my store of little vases it was easy to pick out a Caithness Glass one I have used before, with its russet and white stripes picking out the colours of the witch hazel and honeysuckle perfectly. For the first time in ages floral foam was used to hold the stems in place, with sphagnum moss recycled from the basket which provided last week’s hyacinths pushed down between the glass and the foam to disguise the latter.

IMG_3960Now, the props – thinking along the ‘magic’ line, rabbits in hats come to mind, and failing rabbits in any other shape or form we have what is probably Barbie’s lost slipper, picked up from a pavement years ago and kept with other miniature ‘objet trouvΓ©s’. No hats (a Monopoly top hat would have been perfect!), so the classic 3 cups (vintage thimbles) were included instead (I’ll leave you to guess which one had the ball under it…). The magician’s ubiquitous black sheet was pressed into service for a backdrop and of course his handkerchief too – not silk, but one I found tucked in a drawer and probably (with its thistle and heather) given to me by my Grannie 50 years or more ago.

So, Abracadabra! we have this week’s vase, and I have enjoyed putting it together – thinking about appropriate props just adds that little extra spice to the challenge. Will you join us this week? Just post a vase or container with pickings from your garden or something you have foraged and share it with us by leaving a link to this post and a link in a comment on this post back to yours. Look forward to seeing you!


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32 Responses to In a Vase on Monday: Could it be Magic?

  1. pbmgarden says:

    Lovely arrangement Cathy. I can understand why you’re enamored of Magic Fire and now so am I. Winter is making it hard for me to put together a vase and I am envious of your Hamamelis. My vase is
    Coincidentally we both used rabbits today. Thanks for hosting!

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  3. Christina says:

    Definitely magic Cathy, The Witch Hazel is a lovely strong colour, I really like it. here’s my post:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Christina – I was pleased to see that it was a distinctly different shade from any of the others, and definitely fiery

  4. Well I love the vase, the props and the whole clever theme Cathy. My witch hazel has grown from a tiny sprout to about your plant’s size, but it has yet to bloom so I hope this year it will. I had to dig down, literally, to find my vase although my bulbs will produce a surprise by next week. I do have to find more containers, vases and props as I am sorely lacking in that department. Hope you like my little offering….

    • Cathy says:

      Oh thank you Donna – I had forgotten quite how much I enjoyed adding props! And I love the hint of a clue I get about other people’s vases when they leave a comment like this – really gets me thinking about what theirs might be like!

  5. Chloris says:

    How lovely, I love the Hamamelis ‘Magic Fire’; it’s such a gorgeous rich colour. And very brave of you to pick it. It is good to be able to enjoy it in the house though, specially on a day like today.
    I have joined in with the meme this week

    • Cathy says:

      I am indeed thrilled with Magic Fire, Chloris – and I am nearly convinced it has a faint slightly spicey smell. But I can definitely smell the honeysuckle, just across the table as I write!

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  7. Cathy says:

    Magic Fire really is lovely Cathy. Such a gorgeous colour. And I love all the props to go with it! I had to think out of the box today…
    Have a good week!

  8. johnvic8 says:

    Cathy, I love the props. We don’t see thimbles much anymore. The witch hazel color is delightful. My offering is at

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks John. I don’t know how many people use thimbles these days, but there is certainly some types of sewing where they would be highly recommended, like with a thicker fabric – but then again not many people sew anyway. They are not hard to find at vintage fairs and flea markets though.

  9. Kris P says:

    You have quite a store of props, Cathy! Your storage cabinet brings to mind the magician’s black hat and it’s endless supply of interesting objects. I love the witch hazel and wish I could grow it. My vases this week were all about saving flowers that would otherwise be lost:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Kris – one of the advantages of ‘clutter’ I guess and I shall have to try and make sure more things get an airing! πŸ™‚ I am thrilled with the witch hazels this year and am sorry you can’t grow them 😦

  10. Amy says:

    Magic indeed! It’s wonderful to see your witch hazels coming into bloom. And always fun when you combine props πŸ™‚ I did at last succumb to a bargain purchase in the vase category… well, it wasn’t meant to be a vase, but it works well…

  11. Julie says:

    Your witch hazels flower very early Cathy – is it your site or the varieties? Mine are still in bud. I remember your brave decision to cut some witch hazel for a vase last year – they are a stunning ingredient and go so well with your winter honeysuckle – have you removed the leaves or do yours drop off? I thought this was a deciduous shrub but mine keeps it leaves every winter. As ever your props are perfect – a great bit of pre planning! I have your pot in the kitchen and have routed out brown paper and sellotape so will try and post your package tomorrow or wednesday – I will drop you an email when I do.

    You can find my contribution at I hope you don’t mind me using this hashtag on instagram – I will make sure I mention your blog whenever I post #inavaseonmonday.

    • Cathy says:

      Hi Julie – not all the witch hazels are flowering yet, but the ones that are are a few weeks earlier than usual. A couple of them I think have suffered from the dry summer last year and seem to have failed to produce flower buds, although they are still very much alive. Any leaves on the honeysuckle seem to be at the tips of the stems and I suspect they were late arrivals from last year as the rest of the stems are mostly bare – I think, anyway, but will check when tomorrow! Thanks for your kind comments about the props – it made for a fun challenge! Thanks for promoting the blog – I don’t used any of the other social media sites myself but don’t mind you if you use that vase hashtag. I am just thrilled that the meme has enthused people πŸ™‚ Coincidentally,I have your candle made and ready to send tomorrow – if I have time to parcel it up before I have to go out that is!!

  12. Hi Cathy, Wow that witch hazel is beautiful! Yet another item to get for my garden! I’m back this week! Here’s my link: Have a good week! πŸ™‚

    • Cathy says:

      It is indeed beautiful Dana and I am well pleased with it! I am amazed to see from your title that you have an anemone in flower and am off to look at it now!

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  14. rickii says:

    My ‘Early Bright’ Hamamelis is too stingy with its blooms (can’t complain, this is only its first year) to cut them, so once again I’m depending upon a variety of foliage:
    The story behind your theme and prop selection brings an added dimension to your arrangement. The black background is compellingly dramatic.

    • Cathy says:

      Don’t you feel unkind describing those few blooms as ‘stingy’, rickii?! Even a single bloom is gorgeous, surely, although there are not many stems I would have chosen to cut on any of mine – I try to stick to any that are slightly wayward. Thanks for your kind comments about the vase.

  15. Anna says:

    Oh ‘Magic Fire’ is indeed bewitching Cathy. I’m wondering whether her owner waved her wand as I got an invitation to Hodsock today πŸ™‚

    • Cathy says:

      Not guilty m’Lud (although when I completed the registration there was space to include several people, but I thought I better play safe and just include the Golfer)! Will you be going…..?

  16. jenhumm116 says:

    This is just lovely. I only have one witch hazel, which is yellow, I think Arnold’s Promise, but I just love them, and particularly like your ‘Magic Fire’. I wonder whether I could incorporate one into my new (still not dug) ‘bronze’ bed. Hmmmm.

    • Cathy says:

      You would certainly have several ‘bronze’ witch hazels to choose from – I don’t know if Magic Fire will always be as floriferous but it would be lovely if it did.

  17. I am tempted to sulk, as my witch hazel – my one, single, witch hazel – is doing nothing Nada. Rien. I love your orangey blooms, they make me smile, so I guess I won’t sulk after all…

    • Cathy says:

      Oh yours will be along when it is ready, I am sure – have you inspected it for flower buds? My Arnold Promise and Ruby Glow are covered in buds but no sign of colour yet, and Zuccariniana has only a couple of buds and seems to have suffered from last summer’s dryness

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