In a Vase on Monday: a Cooling Off Period

IMG_5174Oh what a difficult decision it was – hot and fiery or cool and calm…? There is an increasing amount of material to choose from and the cutting beds are not even in full swing yet – every ramble is a joy. In the end it was the cool and calm that won the right to fill today’s vase, perhaps appropriate following Saturday’s rain which refreshed the garden and brought with it lower temperatures. Despite June’s trend towards hotter reds and yellows and oranges and the pink of sun-kissed roses, the blue & white beds bring a cooler contrast and a ready supply of blooms for the vase. First to be picked was Papaver somniferum ‘Swansdown’ whilst still at its feathery peak and accompanied by autumn sown centaurea, both ‘Black Ball’ and an unnamed white. I learned today how easily the latter’s stems are damaged, folding at even the slightest pressure, so be warned! The dark ‘Black Ball’ has been producing flowers since the middle of May and was an instant hit, but the more recently flowering white version has a delightfully pure simplicity to it and the plants are slightly less straggly – I shall grow both again. IMG_5180The same beds provided stems of the Siberian iris I showed a week or two ago and some spikes of self seeded campanula which were in bud when picked but quickly began to open when brought inside. The cutting beds produced the blue flowered cerinthe with its glaucous green foliage, clary sage ‘Oxford Blue’ and the first few pale green dangly flowers of Briza maxima, greater quaking grass. I grew these last year too, albeit not successfully, but nevertheless a few have self seeded although not grown as tall as this year’s counterparts. I wasn’t sure if the blue hyacinth glass would be stable enough to accommodate all these blooms, but with foliage removed and the stems tied to hold them in place it seems to work quite well. A backdrop of blue and white china in the form of a large vintage platter was an easy decision and out of a large selection of potential props I chose this sacred Chinese water buffalo which used to belong to my grandmother, acquired whilst a missionary in the Far East, and a gemstone sodalite tree. Sodalite is believed encourage rational thought and intuition, open spiritual perception and bring emotional balance and calmness – a good way to start the week! IMG_5177 IMG_5178Leftover side stems of the centaurea, a short stem of iris and some unused Allium cowanii were shoved into a tiny bottle rather than waste them, and a further poppy flowerhead and last week’s honesty seedpods joinedย  a batch of sweet peasย  on the kitchen window sill – I was still smelling the remnants of last Monday’s sweet peas even when the flowers had dried and shrivelled and am determined to prolong flowering by cutting frequently, something everyone else has done for years I am sure. Their fragrance is indeed divine. IMG_5181IMG_5182Sweet peas may well be featuring in other vases this Monday – and I am sure there will be roses too, as they seem to be at their best in many of our gardens at the moment. I wonder what else people will find in their gardens to pick and pop into their Monday vase – it is so exciting to see such a wide range of blooms and foliage and who-knows-what-else at the start of the week. Do join in either by posting your own vase or by checking out the links to everyone else’s – either way you will be most welcome and will quickly realise how addictive it is! IMG_5179

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68 Responses to In a Vase on Monday: a Cooling Off Period

  1. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday – Yellow | Wild Daffodil

  2. Oh so cool!! Really lovely Cathy, and thank you for the Sodalite (great name), I could do with some of those elements today. Here’s mine:

  3. Hmmm… rational thought… spiritual perception… where do I get some of this sodalite?
    The blues reflect the change in weather very well. What a lot of calm, well matched colours. Mine is here:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Joanna – and most shops that sell crystals will have sodalite as it is not uncommon. Or eBay of course.

  4. Christina says:

    Love your blues, so elegant and great that the cutting beds are now producing so much bounty. It is so strange to wake up early and find your posts already up and stranger still that I am not joining in.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Christina – it must have left a big void this morning… ๐Ÿ˜‰ The cutting beds have still got a long way to go but I do at least have buds on the sunflowers and on one of my dahlias, which is very exciting!

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  6. Cathy says:

    Those blues are super Cathy – and I agree with Joanna, I could do with a bit of sodalite here! Hard to single out stars, but I loved the white poppy (don’t usually like the double ones – yours is perfection) and the ‘Black Ball’ centaurea. You must have sowed very early. I’d say we are well ahead of you in the season, but mine haven’t flowered yet. Rather excited to see them after your coolly pretty vase. Here’s mine:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Cathy. The centaurea and poppy were sown at the end of august, the first time I have overwintered any annuals apart from sweet peas. I made a second sowing of the centurea a few weeks ago to see how quickly it flowers when sown at this time of year. No idea how long they will continue flowering for either – one of the reasons why I am keeping records now. The poppy is gorgeous, but makes you wonder if it is the worth the effort, small though it is, for such ephemeral beauty. Perhaps it will self seed?

  7. Pingback: In a vase on Monday: flowers everywhere | homeslip

  8. Sarah says:

    So refreshing and I love the blue and white with just a hint of violet. My vases are a little sugary today but hopefully tempered by some blue and white, not to mention the zest and juice of lemons. Your props are always a delight Cathy and I’m now starting to enjoy the staging and story-telling too. Thank you!
    Here’s my link:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Sarah – but don’t apologise for sugary vases, assuming you mean pink. We don’t mind a bit of pink ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. I do not know how you do this week after week, but you hit a home run today. Gorgeous.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Judy – each week I can hardly wait to put my vase together and the meme has proved to be so popular that it is a privilege to be hosting it, even if it does take time responding to comments and looking at other vases

  10. Noelle says:

    Isn’t it just wonderful to be able to go into the garden, collect some flowers and ‘pose’ them. I love your colour themes. Today there were so many flowers I made two arrangements.

    • Noelle says:
      I shall get up to speed with the staging etc., I am loving reading all the posts linked with the comments.

      • Cathy says:

        We have all learned a lot about ‘staging’ and adding props as we have gone on – it’s certainly not compulsory but I enjoy the personal challenge and it adds another dimension

    • Cathy says:

      It is indeed Noelle – every week I get excited about the possibilities and decisions on what to pick, and of course I then have the vase for several days, which is the reason I started it. How lovely to have you joining in.

      • Noelle Mace says:

        Thank you very much, the clematis is even better today, Thursday. I shall put a picture of it up on my blog. I shall be ‘absent’ for a couple of weeks, so am madly cutting flowers and giving them away. Its so nice to share and from this I am also learning about new planting possibilities.

  11. Cathy what a delight to see all the blues…we are showing off some similar colors although mine is more of a purple theme….love all the blue pieces surrounding the vase. I wish I had sweet peas but I plan to next year. Irises are a delight here while peonies are just starting to show up. A bit behind here as we are drowning in rain but at least it is not too hot.

    Here is my link to vases for this week:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Donna – I was pleased to be able to find so many blues still in the garden. Would you normally expect June to be rainy or is it just a really odd year for the weather? Hope it is not damaging your garden – we had a day of rain on Saturday but gentle and persistent and just what the garden needed.

  12. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday: Tall and “Willowy” | Words and Herbs

  13. Cathy says:

    What a gorgeous mix of blue flowers Cathy! They do all look lovely together with your blue and white props too. I especially like the Centaurea. Here’s my vase today:

  14. Eliza Waters says:

    Love your cool blues this week, Cathy, and your props are charming – love the story of the water buffalo’s origin. I esp. love the Centaurea ‘Black Ball’ and P. ‘Swansdown.’ Your garden is filled with wonderful delights! Thanks for hosting. Here’s my vase for the week:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Eliza – and I have to confess that using and reacquainting myself with these bits and pieces has been good for the soul (apart from reminding me how much ‘stuff’ I have!)

  15. Kris P says:

    How I wouldn’t love to still have sweet peas to pick! Your cool blues and white make a peaceful display this week, Cathy. As usual, you’ve set off your arrangement with perfect staging – the water buffalo is an especially handsome fellow. I’ve made things easy on myself (if not for viewers) by combining my vase post with my GBBD post this week:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Kris – I would like to find out how old the buffalo is as it was clearly not made for the export market. Elder Daughter has staked her claim on it! Now that I have succeeded with growing sweet peas I really do want to keep them going as long as possible – which could be all summer, unlike in your part of the world.

  16. johnvic8 says:

    You know how much we like blue and white. I particularly liked the plate with the blue rim. What a grand setting.

  17. I simply love blue flowers and your vase is so โ€coolโ€! And those props, lovely as usual. Thanks, Cathy, have a good week! This is my vase:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Anca – it would have been too easy to use hot colours or more pink again and I am so glad I decided to cool off a bit!

  18. Pingback: In A Vase On Monday – British Flowers Week | Peonies & Posies

  19. Anna says:

    Now that’s a most soothing vase Cathy. How lucky you are to have inherited such a special memento of your grandmother who must have been a strong character to be a missionary so far away from home.

    • Cathy says:

      Well, she went with my grandfather so probably had no choice, Anna. He was interred by the Japanese during the war but she did not have to suffer that herself. She was gallivanting around the world to visit friends in the 1970s when she was in her 80s and must have been what I realise now was a good ‘people person’

  20. Julie says:

    You have surprised me Cathy – I was expecting roses (probably pink ones!). The blues look so cool and refreshing – I noticed that my annual clary is flowering today – earlier than last year I think. You have a great selection in your vases this week and it is only early in the summer – so much to look forward to!

    My contribution this week is a t

    • Cathy says:

      Haha – it could so easily have been roses, Julie, but they will be in my ‘late’ GBBD post tomorrow instead! It is the first time for many years I have grown clary and I thought I remembered them having more colour than these – but they are still very distinctive and I do prefer the single colour named variety.

  21. Chloris says:

    I love your blue and white colour combination and the Centaurea ‘ Black Ball’ looks great with it. How lovely to have so much to pick.

  22. Pingback: In a vase on Monday – on a desk! | Duver Diary

  23. jenhumm116 says:

    Hi Cathy, I love your cool blue, and the serene water buffalo tops it off!

    I’ve just made it on Monday with my rather tardy vase. Thanks for hosting.

  24. I love your cool color combos. Most of my cut flowers are in the “hot and fiery” realm this time of year – with many shades of pink in abundance. I had so many pink flowers this week, that I had to make three vases – all with a similar theme, but unique look.

  25. Pingback: In A Vase On Monday: Callas | Forest Garden

  26. Cathy, I’m so glad you chose the cool blue and white scheme today. So soothing and lovely! Yours is a garden to covet at the moment, so full of lovely flowers. And you still have Iris! Everything works towards beauty today. Lovely antique water buffalo and Sodalite tree, too. I’ve always gotten excited to see these miniature gemstone trees. I’ve stuck with simplicity today : I hope you enjoy them ๐Ÿ˜‰ Best wishes, WG

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks WG – it is indeed refreshing to look at the cool colours. Some of the gemstone trees can look a bit ‘naff’, but I really like the style of this one

      • Bonsai meets jeweler? Ours is quite tiny, and was a gift ๐Ÿ˜‰ I just discovered that bright red Monarda are blooming over that pot of orange Dahlias. Now that is a ‘hot’ combination in the garden! Everything hot must stay out of doors this week! Thank you for allowing your vase to be refreshing eye candy for all ๐Ÿ˜‰

  27. Christina says:

    Hi again Cathy, here’s a vase after all, not my flowers but I think you’ll agree that this is s fun idea. Maybe you could add the link to this for me, thank you!

    The link to Christina’s first iPhone post (well done!) is

  28. pbmgarden says:

    You’ve outdone yourself Cathy. I love the blues. I’m late posting, but wanted to join in too. Thanks.

    • Cathy says:

      Don’t worry about ‘lateness’, Susie – with the time difference I wouldn’t know when Monday started or stopped in the US anyway. And it wouldn’t matter if it was Tues/Weds either ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. Amy says:

    So glad you made it cool, Cathy; things are certainly warming up here, making the blue tones all the more refreshing ๐Ÿ™‚ I had no real chance to get a vase together today – tomorrow, if I’m lucky, I might slip one in before taking the minivan in for its oil change ๐Ÿ˜‰ At any rate, it was wonderful to see your vase so loaded with all those soft, glorious blues and whites – poppies elude my gardening techniqes for some reason but I love seeing them… and centaurea is always a delight!

  30. Pingback: In a vase on a Monday | gardening hands

  31. That poppy is a beautiful center piece for your arrangement! I wanted to join in, the time difference makes me a little late sorry. Here is my link:

  32. Elizabeth W says:

    Lovely vase, Cathy. I love all those beautiful blue flowers and the white poppy is simply stunning. Your props are fabulous too – the water buffalo you inherited from your grandmother is so special. I did post my vase yesterday but I was so tired by the time I could that I just had to go to bed, forgetting to leave you a comment … how awful is that of me! Here’s the link now:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Elizabeth – and after a few days it looks different again as the campanula and clary open further and the poppy has dropped its petals

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