In a Vase on Monday: Gilding Not Required

IMG_5915When there are still plenty of blooms available in the garden it can be difficult to resist the temptation to stuff a vase full of them, as I did last week. Sometimes, though, the simplicity of a beautiful flower stands out amidst the colour and variety of its compatriots and demands my full attention. Looking at this vase of Colchicum ‘Water Lily’ now, I am glad that restraint was exercised this week.

IMG_5903Having focused on the bright and beautiful of late summer in recent weeks, I had already determined to seek out softer colours, picking accordingly for a vase to grace the table when friends came for lunch during the week – sweet peas, astrantia, diascia, scabious, clary, geranium, fuchsia and Ammi visnaga. I considered the colchicum then, but was unsure how they would last in a vase. However, our lunch guests brought a reciprocal posy with them which included colchicum from their garden; three days later it still looks fresh, tucked in a vase with sedum and amaranthus. Yes, worth picking.

IMG_5917My colchicum are a double variety, ‘Water Lily’, and were planted near the stream between 5 and 10 years ago. Peter Nyssen sell the bulbs in 5s and there is a smaller clump in a different spot, so I guess this clump originally consisted of 3 bulbs. They flower in late September/October, the flower stems emerging pale and deathly white like blanched chicory, the petals quite quickly taking on their pink or violet colour (I don’t know how quickly as they always seem to be one or the other, with no clear in-between stage) with leaves following many months later when the flowers have long since gone. Interestingly, the stems often seem to be twisted:

colchicum Nine blooms were picked and placed simply in one of several Caithness Glass vases I have in this colourway, the perfectly plain and subtle receptacle for the blowsy exuberance of the blooms. Having sometimes regretted the almost over-the-topness of this variety because of the bedraggled petticoat look they take on after exposure to rain, in fine and dry weather they are indeed something to behold and all regrets are gone. Their showiness was enhanced by an additional decapitated bloom, floating in yet another Caithness piece, accompanied by a small piece of raw amethyst. Amethyst occurs in various shades of purple, according to the mineral content of the rock it is formed in and the degree of heat or radiation it is subjected to; irradiated amethyst is transformed into brown smokey quartz, whereas iron impurities and excessive heat changes it to the yellow of citrine. Amethyst is believed to be a powerful and protective crystal, calming the mind, opening intuition and enhancing psychic awareness.

Simplicity was indeed the key today and somehow the vase also appears to be deeply spiritual and calming, the amethyst being a serendipitous choice. What will you choose for your vase today – simplicity or abundance? I look forward to finding out – just leave links to and from this post as usual.


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65 Responses to In a Vase on Monday: Gilding Not Required

  1. So beautiful! I did not have any success with colchicums, but you have inspired me to try again.

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  3. Hannah says:

    The double Colchicums look so much fuller than the single, very lovely, even by themselves. They go so well with the colors in the ceramic vase, Cathy.

    My link for this week is-

  4. Christina says:

    Beautiful Cathy, I should definitely try to grow these, they always seem so expensive in comparison to other bulbs so I’ve resisted them so far. I went for simple exuberance this week!

  5. Ann Edwards Photography says:

    The Colchicums are such a pretty colour and so lovely to have something that flowers later in the season too. I agree that simplicity can be very calming – I have gone more for a little abundance this week …

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

  7. Cathy says:

    Simply beautiful Cathy. They definitely deserved being given a vase to themselves! I went for abundance this week:
    Thanks, and have a nice week!

  8. Noelle Mace says:

    I would have never thought of putting these in water in a vase…and yes calming and very pretty. How interesting that they should last so long. I grew them in a couple of gardens ago, and think it is time to try some again. I’ve tried to capture the early morning sunshine with my little arrangement, at the same time trying not to include the abundance of flowers in the garden at present.

  9. I look at these flowers daily now and wonder if they would hold up in a vase…and the answer is yes thanks to you Cathy. What a stunning display in that beautiful vase….I will have to give them a try and I have just the right vase I want to try them in…thanks for the push!

    Here’s my link:

  10. Anca Tîrcă says:

    What a beautiful colour, Cathy! And the perfect image of ”less is more”. Here is my vase:

  11. Every year I see this and think I will buy some bulbs and somehow do not do it. But in a vase — how beautifully extravagant. My vase is here

  12. Pingback: In a vase on Monday – long stems at last! | Duver Diary

  13. jenhumm116 says:

    That’s just lovely. You’re right, there’s something very calming about the colour.
    There’s purple in my arrangement this week, but hardly calm!

  14. Kris P says:

    The flower is absolutely beautiful, Cathy, and the simple presentation is just perfect. I can’t recall having seen these bulbs for sale locally in recent years but, after seeing yours, I’m deeply regretting that I have none in my own garden. Thanks, as ever, for hosting “IAVOM.” Here’s my post:

  15. I’ve never particularly cared for Colchicums, I think it’s because their perky-bright looks are at odds with autumn, at least in my warped mind. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate them in other people’s gardens (or vases). I’ve also never seen this double version, it’s quite fabulous.

    You asked if we were going with simplicity or abundance this week. I went for abundance but think I would have been better to stick with simplicity.

  16. Cathy says:

    Susan Troccolo’s Monday vase can be found here:

  17. Elizabeth says:

    Hi Cathy, the autumn crocus are stunning – gorgeous gathered together in a posy and the Caithness glass vase is simply perfect for them, Just by coincidence, I’ve chosen to concentrate on one type of flower today too.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Elizabeth – I knew straight away it would need a CG vase in that colourway, just a matter of deciding which one!

      • Elizabeth says:

        Thanks for your comment on my post, Cathy. Regarding collecting seeds from geraniums, it is possible though given the method of dispersal it can be tricky, the best description I can find is the following, ‘After blooming, the seed head develops into a structure that looks like a crane or heron’s bill (hence the common names) with 5 of these forming the seedhead. You will not be able to see the seeds. After flowering, but before the seed heads open and drop the seeds (when the seedheads have opened, you’ll see the outer part curling up) , cut off a couple of stems and put them in a paper bag and let them continue drying in the house. When the seedheads have dried, the seeds will be ejected but will fall into the bag where you can collect them.It’s pretty difficult to collect seeds otherwise, as the splitting of the seedpod when it dries makes a tiny catapult that flings the seed away from the plant.’
        Read more:

        • Cathy says:

          That is worth knowing Elizabeth as I had never thought of trying to save seed from my geranium. I have been using some little net bags to tie round other seedheads this year so I will try it on some of my choicer geranium too, Thanks so much

  18. Eliza Waters says:

    Your colchicums are gorgeous and certainly deserve the spotlight this week. A lovely way to say ‘hello’ to autumn! I’ve gone with more traditional autumnal hues this week:
    Thanks for hosting. 🙂

  19. Hi Cathy, your arrangement is just beautiful and I love that Caithness glass. I’m still into my reds, golds and oranges, with just the right amount of deep cobalt blue. It’s my end of summer treat: Thank you for hosting!

  20. Chloris says:

    So pretty, I am surprised how long they last in a vase as the waterlily Colchicum collapses so quickly in the garden. I love Colchicums and grow quite a lot of differernt ones but I had never thought of picking them for a vase. They make quite a statement. Quietly elegant.
    My contribution this week ishttps: //…urs-of-corsica/

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  22. Wasn’t sure if I’d make it this week, but here is my vase:

  23. I have this beautiful colchicum in my garden too. It is a beauty and is blooming at this time. They have been in the ground for 2-3 years and haven’t reproduced yet. They aren’t in a damp area. I hope to have a clump like yours one of these days. When I do I will take some for a vase. Happy Vase day. I don’t have one to show this week. Perhaps next week I will. Until next time…

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Lisa – and I hope your colchicums continue to thrive. I don’t know if mine have developed new bulbs adjacent to the parent, but at some stage over the years the clump has got bigger! Perhaps I will check out if it would be worth dividing them…

  24. pbmgarden says:

    Simplicity is a virtue I think Cathy. You’ve captured a lovely spirit of quiet and reflection and it was interesting to read about amethyst. I have only recently become aware of colchicums and I admire them.

    I gathered flowers yesterday but couldn’t find time to get them ready until late this afternoon. “Abundance” this time for me.

  25. homeslip says:

    This is such a lovely colour. I often think colchicum look a bit washy washy but yours are perfect and simply but beautifully enhanced by the Caithness glass vase (whose twin I have!) and the amethyst. I enjoyed reading your interesting notes about amethyst Cathy. My daughter has a favourite amethyst pendant (which came from the same junk shop in Emsworth where I bought my Caithness vase) which I would love to borrow if she was at home more often. I am very late with my vase tonight and it’s a bit disjointed, but it’s been that sort of day. I’m hoping for a quieter day tomorrow and perhaps a chance to go tulip bulb shopping.
    Here is my link:

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  27. rickii says:

    I thought I was going with a limited palette this week, but you have gone me one better in that regard. Your lead photo is stunning. I feel calm and serene just looking at it.
    Here’s mine:

  28. Abundance for me!
    I just love the colour of that Colchicum in your beautiful Caithness vase. What a lovely, simple choice, and it works so well. I must try growing some of these one day.

  29. Cath says:

    Absolutely lovely. There seems to be a blue light around them like the quiet of oncoming winter. (I grew up in Alberta 🙂 – a lot of blue in snow). My vase this week is the complete reverse reflecting the the full-on-over-the-top Chaos of Spring.

    • Cathy says:

      I see what you mean – although they were photographed outside against a piece of white felt! Look forward to seeing your chaos of spring – good to compare with the current autumnal chaos!

  30. Amy says:

    For once my colour tones go in the same direction this week – but totally different flowers! I love your Colchicums; definitely serentiy and simplicity were perfect here 😉 with the colours of flowers and vases blending so beautifully. Quite a classy choice! My vase is up at and I hope this comment will go through all right; I’m still having mixed results with that!

  31. The simplicity of your vase this week is very appealing, and the colchicums are such an original subject. I had no idea they would last so well in water. My patch (planted by a predecessor) gets mowed off if I forget to mention that they are there, so it’s really nice to see you have a thriving colony. Maybe I should move mine ….

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Kate – and yes, their unexpected arrival could be an issue if they were planted in grass that needs to be mown… Yes, do consider moving them…

  32. vwgarden says:

    Oh, I have ‘Waterlilly’ colchicum blooming right now as well! The double form is so extravagent, and yours looks very happy and prolific. I’ve been thinking of joining your fun meme but didn’t get around to posting until a day late . . . better late than never, eh? Thanks for hosting. Here’s my vase:

  33. Anna says:

    Oh definitely a case of less being more Cathy! The vase and amethyst (such a pleasing word) are exquisite too.

  34. The soft purple color is amazing…Absolutely stunning.

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