In a Vase on Monday : C’mon You Reds!

IMG_5697Despite the mixed success of the cutting beds in this experimental year, it is still a joy to be able to take advantage of the blooms that have been successful, augmenting them with material from elsewhere in the garden – and the combination of dahlias and hardy annuals this year has brought an abundance that has been missing from the end of previous summers so there is plenty to choose from.

Having decided to stick to reds, I began with Rudbeckia ‘Cherry Brandy’, Dahlia ‘Karma Naomi’, Amaranthus caudatus and dark leaves of a Bishop seedling from the cutting beds, with blooms of reliable ‘Parkdirektor’ climbing rose, Dahlia ‘Bishop of Llandaff’, Persicaria ‘Firetail’, foliage of Persicaria ‘Red Dragon’, flower spikes and leaves of Heuchera ‘Big Top Burgundy’, hardy Fuchsia magellanica, a precious flower stem of  Atriplex hortensis (red orache, which I have tried several times to grow from seed in the hope it will seed itself around) and honeysuckle berries from elsewhere. See them all closer up in the collage below:

cmonreds1Normally shying away from larger vases I knew showing these rich cardinal coloured blooms to their best advantage required more than just trimming their stems short and shoving them in a small vase with a large aperture. Scanning my shelves, I turfed some ancient pot pourri from this green glazed Bretby vase (bought for the decorative value of its greenness many years ago) and filled it with floral foam, enabling the longer stems to be supported at an angle and thus creating a wider vase than usual. I have avoided using floral foam for many months due to its non-recyclability but it certainly gave me the confidence to achieve this vase today and I am chuffed with the result which shows off the various shades and textures of the materials.


Props were a reproduction England football shirt and an incomplete sheet of ‘Penny Red’ postage stamps – the Golfer is getting used to strange requests to borrow items of his random paraphernalia!

I looked to see what was in my vase on the August Bank holiday Monday last year and it was a shabby chic vase of  soft pink roses, sweet peas, sedum, cosmos and clematis – very different from the rich reds of today, the only common factor being heuchera flower spikes. What will you find in your garden today or forage locally to pop in a vase – and was it very different from what you were plonking a year ago? Please share it with is by leaving links to and from post.


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66 Responses to In a Vase on Monday : C’mon You Reds!

  1. Pingback: A Vase on Monday – Loosestrife, Burdock and Marigold | Wild Daffodil

  2. Anca Tîrcă says:

    What a beautiful colour, Cathy! Such a pleasure to admire your Monday vase!This is my contribution:

  3. My goodness that is such a colorful vase Cathy. I love the variety of blooms and foliage. I don’t think I ever have that many reds at one time in my garden especially now. I have a more autumn themed vase today which is a bit different for me. Last year my vase was featuring all the yellow, especially rudbeckias, I had flowering in the garden. Hope you enjoy this week’s vase:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Donna – I was surprised by just how many reds there were to find, and I didn’t use the red Californian poppy I picked so that is in a teeny vase with some other blooms that weren’t quite red!

  4. Christina says:

    Again I love the richness of your vase today. From the images it is difficult to see the scale although from the size of the stamps it doesn’t seem very large. The main difference in my vases from a year ago is that I am more proficient and arranging without foam; for the same reasons as you, I prefer not to use if at all possible.

    • Cathy says:

      Oh, I didn’t think the size would not be apparent – sorry! Its maximum width is 24″ (60cm) and max height from the base of the vase is 15″ (38cm) and looking at it now I would certainly prefer a wide vase like this to a tall one – might be different if we had blank backgrounds in the house, but we don’t! I need to actively investigate the alternatives as it really did make it so much easier with the foam

      • Christina says:

        Susie often uses pins but I haven’t had any luck sourcing any, and the ones I have I don’t find easy to use. Chicken wire can work well and be invisible, or I try to use a base flower that has stems that will support the other flowers.

        • Cathy says:

          The pins I have found are quite small so OK only for a few blooms and I do wonder if they impede the movement of water up the stems sometimes. I will experiment with chicken wire as know you have used it successfully

  5. Wow – now that popped right off the page and said Happy Monday and get gardening. 🙂 It’s a lovely arrangement, and I picked up a couple of suggestions for next year’s planting and for that I say a sincere thank you.

  6. pbmgarden says:

    Elegant arrangement Cathy. I like your bold red theme. Sometimes floral foam is just the ticket for achieving the look you want. Congratulations on mastering the Atriplex hortensis this year!
    Looking back to last year I’m reminded we had good summer rains, so unlike this year; however, I awoke to the sound of rain this morning–so exciting as we’ve been very dry.
    Thanks Cathy. I’m joining in today with pink:

    • Cathy says:

      Likewise with rain here too, Susie – most welcome, although you probably need it a lot more than we do! Although this has been a dry summer we have had some occasional rain which makes such as a difference as last year we had almost 2 months without. The atriplex is meant to be so easy to grow but I think the slugs always got to it in the past. I ensured I left a couple more spikes with the seeds forming so I am hopeful… 😉

  7. Hannah says:

    Your reds really pop against the greyish background, Cathy. So many different flowers too. The trailing Amaranth makes me think strangely of an elephant’s trunk, and the football jersey is a nice colorful prop as well. My link has a red rose in it too-

    • Cathy says:

      You mightn’t believe the background was actually green, Hannah, albeit a sagey green! This is why I prefer to photograph outside but it would have been too wet 😉 The amaranthus is fascinating, isn’t it, and I especially like the green version.

  8. Chloris says:

    I love it. What a lovely vibrant arrangement. I haven’t grown that lovely red Love lies Bleeding, Amaranthus for years. I can’t think why, it is gorgeous. As ever you are inventive with your props. I don’t know how you think of them.
    By the way the Persicaria ‘Red Dragon’ that you gave me last year is thriving.
    My contribution is

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Chloris – my amaranthus did next to nothing last year but seedlings given to a friend did, so it was mainly for him I grew it again but the green one is more appealing I think and the tassels more imposing. Both look good in a vase though. I am glad the persicaria is doing well – he has been spread far and wide and I love it just as much as I ever did!

  9. The reds definitely have it here. I love the amaranthus. I have difficulty growing that plant. Love seeing it in an arrangement.

  10. Pingback: In a Jam Jar on Monday | Country Garden UK

  11. Gillian says:

    Wow. That’s a stunning bunch of flowers Cathy. I agree with Donna about not having that many red flowers in my garden at one time. I do have plenty of plants with a hint of red but it seems I am short of red blooms. I must do something about that! I’ve picked a simple bunch today. Thanks for hosting and here’s the link.

  12. Eliza Waters says:

    Gorgeous in red today, Cathy! I’m esp. drawn to the deep red dahlia, love-lies-bleeding and burgundy foliage. Rich and sumptuous!
    Here’s my vase this week:

  13. Those reds are wonderful. I think that is one of my favourite arrangements, really good tone, texture and shape as well as rich rich colour. My vase is a rich colour as well today.
    Let’s hope it dries up soon

    • Cathy says:

      Oh thanks Dorris – I do like the effect of a wide vase like this so must remember that for the future as I don’t usually have a ‘shape’ in mind when I begin

  14. simple zinnias from the garden and yellow chrysanthemums from the market…tucked up in a jelly jar on the sunny windowsill

  15. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Another beautiful arrangement from your garden! I love the thought that you give to your backgrounds and props! Thank you for hosting In a vase on Monday. I’ve enjoyed posts on other blogs but have not participated before. Here is my first offering: I’ve cheated a bit as none of the contents came from my own garden.

  16. Anna says:

    You should have been shouting “C’mon You Reds!” at the top of your voice a couple of days ago Cathy and a certain football team might have taken heed. Your vase has captured the jewel colours of late summer so well. My camera usually baulks at red flowers but your photos reflect the different shades of red accurately. Unable to play today but will no doubt enjoy vase visiting as usual.

  17. Noelle says:

    Love the theme Cathy, rich and resplendent. Someone led me down the rabbit-hole, please own up.

  18. Hi, so nice to find you from the link in Alison Bonney Lassie. Love to find blogs that speak to me & give a whole new source of evening reading material. Lovely.

    • Cathy says:

      Oh welcome, Patricia – there is so much joy and friendship to be found amongst the blogging community, isn’t there?

  19. Kris P says:

    I love the jubilant nature of this arrangement, Cathy! Reds vary so much but you’ve done a beautiful job of coordinating them here. And that Amaranthus! I didn’t even try growing it this year.

    I veered off in a new direction for this weeks vase: As always, thanks for hosting!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Kris, although in a way it was pot luck that they co-ordinated so well – perhaps the pinky red foliage helped?

  20. Helen Johnstone says:

    Very classy arrangement. Here is a link to my simple contribution which is really a cheat

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Helen – in the past I don’t think I could have achieved ‘classy’ but there are more blooms to choose form now and I suppose I am getting plenty of practice!

  21. Pingback: monday vases are cream & sugar | sprig to twig

  22. rickii says:

    I keep pushing for more red in the garden, with varying degrees of success. This post gives me heart to push on in that direction. My vase this week is in russet tones:

    • Cathy says:

      I suppose there are few permanent reds in the garden here apart from the roses and the fuchsia and persicaria – so positive discrimination in the form of red annuals and perhaps dahlias perhaps…?

  23. homeslip says:

    A wonderful vase to kick-off the new season, and what an abundance of blooms you have to choose from and all those gorgeous textures too. I’ve been foraging in my holiday cottage garden and have picked very lightly for today’s jug. Here is my link:

    • Cathy says:

      ‘kick off for the new season’ – I like it Sarah! I really notice textures these days as well as colours – one of the joys of having a vase to admire for several days

  24. Alison says:

    Oh, I love all the beautiful reds in your bouquet today! I’m participating for the first time, with a plethora of dead, dried flowers and foliage from my mostly dead garden (after a very hot, dry summer). My link is here:

  25. Pingback: In A Vase On Monday – A Rather Wet Affair | Peonies & Posies

  26. Julie says:

    What a great selection of reds you have found today Cathy and they look particularly good against that background fabric. I do love having a cutting garden at this time of year – when the rest of the garden is looking a bit sorry for itself a cutting garden provides all the colour that we need! Instead of using floral foam you could try a ball of chicken wire in the mouth of your vase – that works well to support flower stems.

    My link for this week is: Looking back at last year I can see that I also had a rather dreamy pastel contribution which you can revisit at:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Julie – and I agree it does make such a difference having cutting beds particularly at this time of year. I see I shall have to try the chicken wire approach – but I guess it will need some skill to prevent the wire from scratching the glass?

  27. Pingback: In a vase on Monday – four ways! | Duver Diary

  28. It is rainy and overcast here so your bold, joyful color choices in your post today are such a wonderful relief to the overall mood.

  29. jenhumm116 says:

    Wow, what a vase – that’s a stunner!
    I’m regretting not growing the Cherry Brandies again this year, even more so after seeing this.
    Here’s my tardy effort:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Jen – and there were a couple of oddments amongst the Cherry Brandy seedlings, pretty too, but not red! Certainly one for next year

  30. Amy says:

    What a lot of fine reds, Cathy! You’re making me think of trying Amaranthus eventually though I’m not sure where I would place it exactly – maybe a candidate for my own cutting garden in the future… Gorgeous Dahlias, and how nice that you were able to add some red foliage. Our Atriplex is, of course, desert grey and not particularly edible.
    My own post is up – with more material than I expected! – at

    • Cathy says:

      Oh thanks Amy – and I know this atriplex is meant to be edible but I can’t spare any until I know it is really making itself at home and self seeding around!

  31. Helene says:

    Beautiful combination of reds and dark leaved dahlias, it really Zings! My own vase is very muted in the ‘zing’ department in comparison, but because I moved house I don’t have as much flowers as I normally have. At this time last year I kept filling everything hollow I could find with sunflowers, this year I am not growing sunflowers. Next year I will 🙂

    I am joining with pink too, but in a rather subtle shade:

  32. Maria F. says:

    Beautiful background!

  33. Beautiful arrangement – red flowers are so lively and happy!
    Please come link up at

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