In Mum’s Vase on Monday


Despite rapidly approaching 90, my Mum never fails to have a little pot of blooms on the chest of drawers in the guest bedroom when we or other visitors come to stay – a gesture that was one of the contributory factors to the commencement of the Vase on Monday meme, that and the desire to rekindle my own long-gone habit of picking and plonking at the start of the week. I am therefore pleased to be able to give her full credit for the above vase, which was waiting for us on our arrival here on Saturday. On checking she was OK with me hijacking her vase for my Monday post, she doubted its credibility compared to my ‘carefully arranged’ vases, and I had to reassure her that in truth ALL my vases were essentially picked and plonked, confirming just how effective an informally collected selection of blooms can be.

On a small island just off the coast of western Scotland my Mum’s largely untended garden suffers from a large quantity of rain, late springs and short summers, salt laden air and fierce winds at times, not to mention a very shallow layer of soil above slate bedrock – far from ideal conditions for gardening. However, amidst the neglect certain plants still maintain their presence, reliably flowering year after year with some, like the hebes, flowering pretty much all the year round.

IMG_5478In the vase, a stoneware creation from the local Argyll pottery, are two of these valiant hebes (a dark and a light blue), pink achillea, a gorgeous dark pink bud of honeysuckle, self-seeded ox-eye daisy, pink mallow, corn marigold, frothy alchemilla flowers and a lovely blue brodiaea  which so far resists any attempt on my part to establish it in our garden.

Placing the vase in front of an old mirror augments the beauty of the blooms, but made it a nightmare to photograph, and in its original location on the chest of drawers you would have seen the reflection of a pile of clothes and other travel paraphernalia as well as that of the vase! Careful manoeuvering of both mirror and vase onto the bed and judicious cropping eventually brought about an acceptable result, with the addition of a little tower of slate pebbles from the beach outside my Mum’s house as a localized prop. The tiny ‘up’ sticker with the arrow pointing downwards on the main picture always reminds me that this mirror used to be in my elder sister’s bedroom when she was a teenager, the sticker no doubt a freebie from a typical 60s magazine like ‘Fab 208’!

Whether you are at home or away, what can you forage to put in your vase this Monday? Do share it with us by adding a link to your post in a comment on this one, and include a link in your own post to this one too – we would love to see what you have included today. And thanks of course go to my Mum for allowing me to share her vase with everyone!


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80 Responses to In Mum’s Vase on Monday

  1. Beautiful!!! I particularly like – no LOVE – the deep dark pink honeysuckle – is it scented as well? Gorgeous! Hurray for your Mum and her gardening skills. (sadly I’m still functioning under par – so no vase from Dorset today). Looking forward to joining in again soon.

  2. Hannah says:

    I had a lot of ox-eye daisies self-sowing in my garden this year too. I like the dark pink of the honeysuckle blooms, and the Lady’s Mantle, I love to use it for a filler too, kind of like chartreuse baby’s breath.

  3. Sam says:

    Lovely – I much prefer a picked and plonked vase of flowers. What a gorgeous selection of blooms.

  4. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday – eye protection required | Creating my own garden of the Hesperides

  5. Christina says:

    Clever ‘your mum’; we can see where you get the talent from. how lovely to have a vase like this waiting for you when you arrive. Here’s my post for today:

  6. Ann says:

    such a lovely vase, how I hope to be able to provide blooms as beautiful in my twilight years. I am joining in again after a gap from my new blog, here is my link –

  7. Your mum has given you quite a gift of flowers in this vase, and the love of picking flowers and making such lovely vases….you are both gifted ‘plonkers’ as this vase is a stunning array Cathy! Her garden and her home sound lovely. It seems we both shared our frothy alchemilla flowers today. Thanks for sharing your mum’s vase….

    Here’s mine for post:

  8. AnnetteM says:

    Lovely. Well done your Mum.

  9. pbmgarden says:

    A beautiful bouquet. Thank your mother for planting the seeds for this meme through her example of flower arranging. Have a happy visit. Here’s my post:

  10. Pingback: In A Vase On Monday – Welcome Back!! | Peonies & Posies

  11. Julie says:

    I am glad to be back with a contribution this week Cathy – I have had a long break. You must say a big thank you to your mother for her dedicated vase making and this resulting lovely meme that has us all rooting around our gardens every Monday! It is so inspiring to see that even a largely untended garden in inhospitable conditions can provide such lovely summer blooms. I hope you have a good break together and that your mother enjoys seeing all the lovely vases that arrive on your blog every Monday!

    My contribution this week is at:

    • Cathy says:

      It is lovely to have you back again Julie – and you are right about the pleasure my Mum gets from seeing these simple blooms even when the rest of the garden is largely overgrown. She does enjoy plants and gardens even though she is not really up to any gardening herself and I have now signed her up to ‘follow’ my blog by email as she found it too difficult to try and access it before and already she is delighted to see the response to her vase.

  12. Gina says:

    Gorgeous vase. I love the HOneysuckle. It’s a poor effort for me this week I’m afraid

  13. Noelle says:

    We who have had such mothers are blessed. My mother used to say the same about putting a vase by a mirror…Enjoy your time together. My contribution this week:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Noelle – yes, both my mother and her mother had a very good knowledge of plants which will have rubbed off, or be in the genes perhaps….

  14. I was very touched by reading this Cathy. Moved by your mum’s traditions (and her lovely vase of flowers) and touched that you have followed in her footsteps. Beautiful story. This morning, early, with my cup of tea, I felt I touched upon a very special moment in your life far away (from me anyway!) in Scotland. Thank you for sharing this moment. Charming and very special. (My mom died when I was a teenager, but she left me a great love of music, our home was FILLED with music. I have that to celebrate.) Susie T.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks for your kind and thoughtful comments Susan, much appreciated. How lovely to have that legacy of music left by your own mother…

  15. A hand picked vase of garden flowers is so welcoming …. I like the offset stack of slate pebbles and sticker reminiscence too.

    • Cathy says:

      Yes – and I think more and more people are beginning to realise just HOW appreciated a handpicked bunch or vase of flowers is.

  16. johnvic8 says:

    It’s very special to be able to use special items that our parents treasured. I am delighted as usual to join you this week, although things are getting a bit sparse right now due to lack of rain and unusually hot weather.

    • Cathy says:

      Plenty of rain at home while we were away John, much appreciated by the garden – hope you get some soon, and more blooms to follow!

  17. Anna says:

    I wondered what you might come up with today Cathy but see your mother has beaten you to it and what a fabulous job she has done. I admire folk who really battle against the elements to make a garden. Creativity and green fingers must run in the family. My vase today was picked between rain :

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, her little posies are always a delight, Anna, whatever time of year we visit. We have had rain at home while we have been away – and for most of our journey back too!

  18. Eliza Waters says:

    Cathy, I see where your design sense comes from – your mother’s vase is lovely and looks so pretty reflected in the mirror. What a cheerful bouquet to greet you! Here’s my vase today:

    • Cathy says:

      Eliza – I have just found lots of your comments in my spam… no idea why as my blog should be recognising them but sincerest apologies for all those I have missed in the past, including your vase from last week I think. As far as possible I always reply to comments so I hope you don’t think I was ignoring you! But yes, it is always lovely to see a little vase when we arrive, and the mirror always gives them an extra boost.

      • Eliza Waters says:

        I’m really starting to wonder about WP, you are #4 to tell me my comments went to spam. Who do you suppose I contact to fix that?
        Hope you are having a nice visit!

        • Cathy says:

          It could just have been a one-off Eliza, even though it was several people, particularly if you have not dome anything different yourself. I have unspammed and approved your comments, so I shall keep checking my spam box.

  19. Kris P says:

    Ah, so you acquired your wonderful habit from your mother’s example! How nice of your mother to forage in the garden for flowers to observe your visit. Had my mother ever done that, I’d have keeled over in shock – I can’t say I remember any flowers in my family home that I didn’t bring to it. Oddly, I’ve never realized that until now. Thanks for posting even while on a family visit, Cathy. My post this week is evidence of what happens when you have too much Eustoma:

    • Cathy says:

      And now we are home I realise that I don’t know if my Mum ever picks a posy just for herself or if it is just for visitors – must ask her and suggest she brings herself joy every week too. Too much eustoma? Shame…. 🙂

  20. Anca Tîrcă says:

    A very touching post, Cathy!Thanks for sharing your mum’s vase.

    This is my vase:

  21. Pingback: in a vase on monday | sprig to twig

  22. rickii says:

    A bouquet in the guest room is such a loving gesture that your mum passed along to you. You then passed it along by sharing with all of us. It is always said that coastal conditions are difficult for gardening, but I am impressed by the overflowing beds and borders when we visit the coast here. The plant palette is different, but they grow many things we can’t, like phormiums.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks rickii -and yes, it is milder on the coast there but the downside can then be the wind. There are some amazing gardens to visit in sheltered spots on the west coast of Scotland though.

  23. homeslip says:

    This is just lovely Cathy and what I aspire to being able to do. Do you know this reminded me of those very beautiful stone pots of garden flowers that one sometimes sees in old country churches and that have been picked and arranged by the flower ladies who have a lifetime’s experience of arranging flowers.
    Here’s my link today:

    • Cathy says:

      Oh I know just what you mean – although like me, I know my Mum would never profess to have any experience of ‘arranging’ flowers 😉

  24. Tell Mum she did great and your readers applaud her flower choices, arrangement skills and container. 🙂 Now I’m off to pick some blooms to bring in myself so she also sent encouragement my way.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Judy – she has been very touched by all the comments. Glad that you have gone to pick some blooms yourself as that is what I always hoped the meme would do 🙂

  25. Pingback: In a vase on Monday – sweetpeas | Views from my garden bench

  26. Bec says:

    That’s a lovely vase and arrangement from your mum – have a wonderful time holidaying with her. It’s reminded me how much I love Scotland and need to visit again soon and also how much of my love of gardening comes from my mum… thank you.
    here’s my effort – lots of sweetpeas

  27. Pingback: Late Hydrangeas In a Vase on Monday | Forest Garden

  28. Cathy, your Mum’s vase of summer flowers is just delicious. I love how the mirror multiplies them. She must be quite a wonderful gardener to keep such a selection of flowers growing in such a challenging location. I see you inherited your gardening skill and your gift of cutting and plunking so wonderfully from her. I hope you have a wonderful holiday with your Mum. Here our vase for the week: I am happy to be joining in again 😉 Best wishes, WG

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Elizabeth – I always like the effect with the mirror too and I thought it looked especially effective with this generous posy. Good to hear from you again

      • I had to laugh when I read about your challenges in photographing your flowers this week with the mirror. I’ve struggled with that a number of times, limiting what else the mirror reflects and managing the extra light created by the flash. You did an elegant job with it. I was happy to contribute a vase again this Monday 😉

  29. Elizabeth W says:

    Beautiful! My favourite kind of vase … I love an informal bunch of flowers just plonkrd in a pretty vase. I can see where you get your green fingered talents from, your mum. She does well, at almost 90, to keep gardening in less than ideal conditions. Love the honeysuckle. My contribution for this week can be found here:

  30. Brian Skeys says:

    Thanks Mum.
    She is obviously your inspiration to garden, Cathy as was mine and grandparents, although I didn’t think so when young, too much weeding!

    • Cathy says:

      I am hoping that my Girls take it on board in due course too although at the moment Elder Daughter requires a largely dog-friendly garden and Younger Daughter is in a flat

  31. How homely and welcoming. I love everything about this: flowers, vase, stones, history and your sharing. Thanks.

  32. Pingback: In a vase…. | gardening hands

  33. lindachilton says:

    Very beautiful, and evocative, especially that honeysuckle. Your description conjures the place and your feelings about it beautifully.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Linda – and plants and gardens can be evocative in themselves, bringing memories of where or who the plants came from.

  34. Amy says:

    How wonderful to see this greeting your Mum made for you, Cathy! No wonder we enjoy all your weekly vases 😉 My own love of plants seems to have passed directly from my grandmother – bypassing my mother, who, however, enjoys the Monday vases a good deal! Many thanks to you and your Mum for such a lovely post on holiday!
    My post had to wait till Tuesday morning, but here it is… happily with a rose…

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, I always look forward to seeing what is in the vase that always greets us, Amy! My Mum has been thrilled to read all the positive comments 🙂

  35. That’s so beautiful, Cathy! Such a lovely mix of cottagey flowers! I can see where your talent, and love of flower vases, came from. Well done to your Mum! That’s what it’s all about!
    I decided to join in this week, tempted by my first ever dahlia! Mind you, I couldn’t do it till today, so many apologies!
    Have a lovely visit home!

  36. Chloris says:

    I love your Mum’ s posy. So pretty. So that’ s where you get it from. We all turn into our Mum eventually. My Mum always had fresh flowers from the garden in the house too. My father who was the gardener used to dread her going round with her secateurs.

  37. Well, so your Mum is the source of the wonderful vase meme, how brilliant. Does she know how much we all love it.? I get asked by friends why I haven’t posted one when I miss a week. Perhaps picking flowers from the garden is a key to her good health, and long may it continue!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Dorris – I ensured she read comments on the post while we were there and she was very touched. She also has a copy of the Blurb photograph book I ‘produced’ after the first year and does like to show it off – but I don’t think she cottoned on to the link with her own little vases. Oh, and I am sure you are right about the key to good health – ‘a vase a week and you won’t feel bleak’….

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