In a Vase on Monday: Minimal Effort?

IMG_4100I set myself this particular  challenge after seeing Amy and rickii‘s vases last week, but in the circumstances it turned out to be quite tricky, particularly as I did not want to copy the pretty contents of the latter although I had the material to do so. Searching high and low, inside and outside of the box, I came up with some comfrey flowers, probably Symphytum ‘Hidcote Blue’ (which start pink before opening to white and blue), a couple of sprigs of one of the recent additions to the new shrub border, Eonymous fortunei ‘Silverstone’ whose variegated leaves currently have a pink reverse, and  red tips of Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’. So far, so deceptively simple?

The secret of my challenge, however, was to create a miniature vase, which is what Amy and rickii produced last week. Having lots of miniature ‘things’ about the house this really appealed IMG_4099to me and although it was easy to choose this tiny stoneware jug, a mere 1½ inches or 4cm high and its even tinier partner, filling it with ‘to scale’ material at the beginning of February was not. I had a back up plan of stripping the outer petals off some Paperwhite to leave their almost lily-like centres, but snipping the leaves and opening flowers from the comfrey produced an acceptable result. The leaves of the pretty euonymous were the perfect size and the pink and green colouring made them a great match, enhanced by the rhubarb red cornus.

I could have added all sorts of miniature props, but decided to keep it simple with the other little jug, and am quite pleased with the deceptive result. It brings back memories of when, as a 13 year old, for an Art exam we were asked to produce a scale model of a room in our house. Now, I may be creative but ‘art’ was never a good subject for me, particularly in the days when an art lesson did not involve teaching us how to paint or draw but just an instruction to ‘paint a picture’, something I was always rubbish at. Although I had never done it before, the model making concept really appealed to me and I produced a meticulous 1:12 scale model of my bedroom, perfect in every detail from the ‘candlewick’ bedspread to the vase of ‘London Pride’ flowers – my Art teacher used to enthuse about it for years afterwards, long after I had happily given up art as a subject and, according to my Mum, even after I had left the school at 18! These days we would have photographic evidence of something like that – but not then, alas!

Mine may be tiny this week, but the size of your Monday vase is up to you – as always it is a personal challenge to find material in the garden or foraged locally to bring inside and bring you added pleasure during the week. It doesn’t have to be flowers – we have had lemons, pebbles, vegetables, twigs and leaves over the months and thinking out of the box can add to the pleasure of the challenge. We have been inspiring each other with the meme, bringing pleasure to others as well as ourselves, so what could you find this week? If you would like to join in, just leave a link to this post from yours, and from this post to yours so that we can see what you have found.



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49 Responses to In a Vase on Monday: Minimal Effort?

  1. Pingback: In a vase on Monday – Grey or silver? | Creating my own garden of the Hesperides

  2. Christina says:

    Very dainty! The jugs are a very pretty shade of pink and your flowers are a great choice for it. I am not so happy with my choice of vase this week, here’s my link:
    Thanks for hosting Cathy.

  3. Jennifer says:

    This is so sweet, and pretty – I’ve just been planting up some tiny pots myself, but somehow missed all yours until now. Your little jug is reminiscent of the old saltglaze ones – did you make it?

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Jennifer and no, I didn’t make it – it will have come from a flea market or antique fair I think – and it I assume it is salt glazed

  4. Wow you have comfrey blooming? I have a large vase this week with indoor forced bubs….love the little jug how you were able to make it all work Cathy. We are being blasted with snow 1-2 ft and 3-4 ft drifts in the garden so glad I had these bulbs growing indoors.

    • Cathy says:

      That’s a lot of snow Donna – are you still able to get out of the house to go where you need to go? This comfrey (a low growing one) tends to have odd flowers throughout the year – there weren’t many and there are even less now! Glad you still have inside bulbs to enjoy 🙂

  5. johnvic8 says:

    Quite ingenious, Cathy. And also inspiring for a future option for these quarters. Thanks again for hosting. My most humble offering:

  6. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday: Snow White | Words and Herbs

  7. Cathy says:

    Lovely! And I really liked the tale about your art project too! I’m amazed you found some comfrey flowers in February. They have reminded me of my Pulmonarias which also change colour as they open. I didn’t realise just how tiny your vase was until I saw that was a penny you had put next to it! We have lots of snow today, so my vase is very simple this week:
    Thanks Cathy!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Cathy, and yes, this does comfrey seem to colour up in the same way as pulmonarias. If I hadn’t found these few flowers I would have had to change tack, I think, as I didn’t want to use snowdrops. I did look at the Amethyst witch hazel but the flowering stems were all too short, even for this jug!

  8. bittster says:

    Haha, I really only got an idea of the scale when I realized that was a little twig of dogwood in there. Cute!
    I braved the drifting snow for an arrangement this Monday…. I may not make it each week but always love seeing what others are up to. Thanks for hosting!

    • Cathy says:

      I am glad you were fooled for a little while! It is always good to have you drop in, with or without a vase, so thanks for braving the snow today!

  9. Miniatures are always appealing and your pink buds are especially sweet. I have a surprise vase at

  10. Kris P says:

    Now that’s tiny! I could tell it was on the small side from the first shot but, until I read the post and then saw the photo with the coin, I didn’t realize how small it really was. Very enterprising! Too bad you have no photos of your miniature childhood bedroom – I love that kind of thing.

    Spring comes early in Southern California and there is no shortage of floral material here so my post this week has multiple vases (again): . Thanks for hosting Cathy!

    • Cathy says:

      We are not envious of your multiple vases – honest! – and less material really focuses the mind sometimes…! Thanks for your kind comments – I enjoyed making it a little bit more challening today

  11. Chloris says:

    What a lovely idea to make a miniature arrangement. I love the Comfrey, it goes so well with the jug.
    I have joined in this week.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks – and as I have so may miniature bits I am surprised I hadn’t done it before. You were prompt with your vase, Chloris – I noticed it earlier but am off to look at it properly now.

  12. A perfectly lovely vase this week, and such comforting color! I love how you have miniaturized everything and set it against moss and stone. The geometry of the flowers is quite interesting. Here is my effort on a stormy February day: Best wishes, WG

  13. Pingback: Candlemas Monday Vase | Forest Garden

  14. Nothing like setting yourself a challenge to start the week off right. I’ve done a number of tiny vases in the past and it is a challenge, certainly at this time of year! I set my “vase” to post automatically early in the morning and then forgot to go link to you when I got up. Now I am just back from the eye doc and can hardly see with dilated pupils! Another “arrangement” from me this week that pushes the envelope:

    • Cathy says:

      I made that mistake the first time I planned to post automatically and couldn’t work out why at first! Hope your eye appointment was fairly routine.

  15. Pingback: In A Vase On Monday – A Mix of Old and New | Peonies & Posies

  16. Julie says:

    What a lovely miniature Cathy – I was confused about the scale at first thinking it was a normal sized jug, but as I read on and saw two pence piece I realised how tiny this arrangement is. Thank you also for the story about your miniature bedroom – I really enjoyed reading it and can empathise about the art lessons – I do wonder if we would have been more successful at art if the teacher had shown us a few techniques.

    My contribution this week is at:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Julie. It was only as an adult that I realised we were never actually taught anything in Art, unless the teacher thought I was a lost cause! My Mum and both daughters are arty, so perhaps it just skipped a generation!

  17. Amy says:

    Oh good – another miniature – half the size of mine! Love the comphrey – what is it about furry flowers and leaves…? Like others, I’m glad you included the penny “for scale”, as everything did combine so proportionately that I wouldn’t have realized how tiny it all was.
    I think using garden material every week helps one see how quickly colours can change. The pink in your Euonymous is lovely 🙂
    Here is my vase for today, the results of tidying things up in the garden and having a bit of foam in the house…

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Amy, and for inadvertently throwing down the gauntlet of a miniature challenge! I think the eounymous may lose some of its pink as the leaves mature but I am enjoying it whilst it is there 🙂

  18. Pingback: sprig to twig » Blog Archive » in a vase on monday: the yellow season

  19. rickii says:

    I am so flattered to have inspired your approach to this week’s vase. I, too, saw the jugs as pinkish…a result, I think, of the pink comfrey buds. I see more miniatures in future posts as I look around at all the little containers and anticipate things like violets.

  20. Pingback: In a Vase Monday: February 2, 2015 | Cosmos and Cleome

  21. How very sweet and adorable! I hope you’ll let us know whether those comfrey buds open! Here is my vase today, and a final report on an old one:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Kimberley – and the buds are opening already, even as I write it would appear, but that is perhaps a figment of my imagination!

  22. Pingback: Candlemas Monday Vase | Smith's Garden Center

  23. Great stuff. A bit Alice in Wonderland!

  24. I must agree with Christina about your vases. They may be brown, but they do have a pink tinge. It may be due to the pink shades in contents. It makes a perfect combination, whatever the true colour of the vase. The dogwood stems were a stroke of genius! I don’t envy you your Art exam – give me “Paint a picture” any day!

    • Cathy says:

      The Golfer, being partially colour blind, has made me realise how colour is always relative to how our eyes process it…. and not to trust him in any colour decisions!

  25. woodlandgnome from forest garden directed me to this post and I’m so glad she did. This is so lovely. I would have never guessed it was so tiny. Really great job.

  26. Cathy says:

    Minimal effort but maximum effect!

  27. Derek Yarnell says:

    Here is a link to three different arrangements from simple to complex that I pulled together for a party last weekend. The photos were taken a few days after they looked their best, but better late than never:

  28. Pingback: One Word Photo Challenge: Seafoam | Jennifer Nichole Wells

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