In a Vase on Monday: In the Hall of the Mountain King

IMG_6622IMG_6610Taking photographs for my recent foliage post when I was surprised by these spears of purple in the shrub border. Crocus have a habit of creeping up on you unannounced, particularly whereย  grown in grass, and after having noticed these one or two more were spotted in the adjacent streamside grass, their slim spiky leaves well camouflaged. These crocus are C tommasinianus ‘Barr’s Purple’ although I also added some Lilac Beauty ‘tommies’ in the autumn. Little did these January jewels know then that they had just earned themselves a place in a vase on Monday.

When the time came to pick blooms for the vase I did not have to look far for complementary material and snipped a couple of side stems from the nearby callicarpa, the berries just about hanging on after several months of purple-beaded glory. A handful of delicate Cyclamen coum flowers were added as they are so easily overlooked where they grow but a search for foliage was not as easy. Having found the only two green heads that were produced in the whole season on Dianthus ‘Green Trick’ I was going to include those but they looked too heavy and solid and were rejected, along with geranium and honeysuckle leaves. Visualising something light and feathery brought to me the long-lasting foliage of grown-from-seed bidens, which fitted the bill perfectly.

IMG_6623Petite blooms demanded a petite vase, so this purple crocus vase fitted the bill perfectly – has anyone ever managed to successfully grow a crocus in one…?! Despite snipping the crocus stems as close to the ground as possible they were still, like the snipper, on the short side so several amethyst crystals were dropped into the vase before the blooms were added – and thus the title and the setting of the vase was born.

As a crystal healer I have a number of crystals at my disposal, the most imposing of which is the amethyst geode in which the vase looks very much at home – so it was worth the effort of carrying this exceedingly heavy prop downstairs and into the garden!

Amethyst is a form of quartz that is found as crystals and masses and its purple colour is due to the presence of manganese and iron during its formation; heat from volcanic activity (or human intervention) would turn purple amethyst into yellow citrine. A geode is created where crystals form inside a hollow rock, revealed when the rock is split open, and because of their cavelike shape they are believed to both amplify and soften energy. IMG_6626Amethyst is a fairly common crystal and can be found in the UK, particularly Scotland. It is believed to have a range of healing qualities and be beneficial for overall protection and physical, emotional and mental balance.

Placed on the rocky amethyst bed inside the geode and nestled amongst the undergrowth at the edge of the woodland, a gentle harbinger-of-spring title no longer seemed appropriate for the vase – the setting hinted at something otherwordly and fairylike and In the Hall of the Mountain King who knows what might happen…

Strange things certainly happen in the world of pigs and birds though, as I was reminded when I was writing the post. Having downloaded ‘Angry Birds’ (as one does) when I first had a IMG_6628‘smart phone’ I particularly enjoyed the ‘Mine and Dine’ level, set underground in crystal caverns with gentle music and the sound of water dripping from the cave walls. I still enjoy the occasional game but found the Angry Bird spin-offs far from satisfying and have stuck with the original.

Compiling a Vase on Monday brings with it a range of experiences and memories but I never expected them to include Angry Birds! What experiences and memories will you be sharing with us today along with your vases?


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82 Responses to In a Vase on Monday: In the Hall of the Mountain King

  1. The angry birds reference made me giggle. I have never seen the game but have several friends that play. That Amethyst is gorgeous. The perfect foil for your surprise crocus. They are a perfect match.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Lisa, and the Peter Nyssen catalogue describes the colour of the crocus as ‘amethyst’ which is probably why I chose that variety in the first place, so it is indeed a perfect match

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  3. Utterly gorgeous. A truly majestic amethyst. Thank you for sharing. I have no crocus or snowdrops in flower yet. Here’s my vase:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Sandra – the crocus were certainly hot off the press but several special snowdrops are bobbing about in this milder weather although the common ones are still just pushing through

      • In answer to your question about growing crocuses in those vases – no – I have about 5 of them, bought in charity shops (of course!). I have tried, but firstly the corms are too small and have to be supported somehow and secondly all mine went mouldy – no flowers. The hyacinths have been ok this year, but they are beginning to flop now and the scent has gone – not brilliant – I wonder if the bulbs were different in Victorian times.

  4. Pingback: In a vase on Monday: Narcissus |

  5. Crocuses already!

    I am joining this meme for the first time today, with my repotted forced Narcissus bulbs in a vase:

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  7. Cath says:

    The callicarpa berries are a perfect accompaniment, they seem like little sparkles shimmering around fairies. The whole thing is magic. I picked a colour I find difficult today.

  8. That opening shot had me dancing….crocus! Usually my first spring flowers. Mine were coming up at the end of December…foliage peeking through the soil, but they are tucked up under 3 ft of snow now.

    And I adore amethyst. I had no idea you were a crystal healer. Placing this glorious vase in the Amethyst geode was perfection Cathy. And loved the touch of Angry Birds. Well you made my day with this special vase.

    Here’s mine. It will be a while before I have flowers from my garden, I think!

    • Cathy says:

      I was thinking about you when I saw the reports of all the snow – you were right when you mentioned last week about a storm coming and I trust you have hunkered down and not taken any risks. If your crocus were shoots were showing in Dec wht will happen to them under the snow? Will they just hibernate till the thaw? I am glad you enjoyed seeing the amethyst, Donna – the geode was probably the first crystal I bought, before I even thought about crystal healing and I am very fond of it.

      • I would love to spend a session with you in crystal healing Cathy! Maybe someday if I ever get over your way for a visit. Our storm actually came earlier off our great lake to the NW. I am planning to talk about our winter weather here in an upcoming post. It is quite fascinating how much snow we get here and how we just learn to live with it and enjoy it even.

        The coastal storm missed us mercifully as we are just a bit too far inland. Yes, the foliage of the bulbs will actually stay insulated by the snow which is why I like having snow covering the garden when the cold temps hit. Once it all thaws, the bulbs will jump right up and start to bloom pretty quickly.

        • Cathy says:

          You would of course be most welcome if/when you come to the UK Donna – and I was pleased to hear your bulbs will stay nice and snug under the snow!

  9. pbmgarden says:

    Wonderful to have Crocus for your vase today, set amid the positive amethyst environment. A peaceful way to start my day (Angry Birds and all). Thanks for hosting Cathy!

  10. AnnetteM says:

    Your vase today is gorgeous. I am still amazed how you come up with all these inspired ideas and titles. I have very few flowers in the garden yet, but I did notice some little anemone blanda poking though the soil earlier today. They start early and last a long time – maybe this year I will have enough to pick.

  11. Very beautiful Cathy! The Callicarpa berries look just like bubbles escaping from the vase. I can’t imagine crocuses being an easy subject for a vase, being, as you say, a bit on the short side ๐Ÿ˜‰ but you solved the problem beautifully. And, I too, kept with the tradition of downloading Angry Birds when I first got my iPad. I do still play from time to time!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Ali – and the crocus were all closed up when I cut them but started opening as soon as I brought them in. Not sure how long they will last in water

  12. Pingback: In a vase on Monday – clean and clear | Duver Diary

  13. jenhumm116 says:

    What a lovely combination. And interesting to see your callicarpa as I featured one in a planting plan I did for my college course recently. My pictures were, of course, hand drawn, and I took a childish delight in colouring in all the purple ‘spots’ with my colouring pencils!

    Here’s mine, rather minimalist for me this week:

  14. My father was a geologist (specializing in minerals and crystals) as a result, I have a lot of his rocks in my garden. I love your vignette and the purples, Crocus and Amethyst are two of my favorites. Well done and worth the rock lugging. Here is my vase

  15. Pingback: In a vase on Monday โ€“ Spring offerings – Creating my own garden of the Hesperides

  16. Christina says:

    Your Amethyst setting for the vase is gorgeous. I wondered what I would find when I read your title, but I didn’t imagine something as intriguing as a vase inside a crystal. You’re right about crocus, they sort of hide and then you suddenly notice them. I have some yellow ones that have been flowering for a time but they are so very short I know I don’t have a vase that would show them. But I do have some bulbs today. Here’s my link:
    Thanks for hosting Cathy, I know I would never have created today’s vases without this meme.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Christina – when the time comes ideas just suggest themselves, as we all know! These crocus stems were bout 4″ but they still needed something to fill the base of the vase and prop them up a bit!

    • Kris P says:

      I’ve been trying to comment on your site, Christina, but WordPress and Blogspot seem to be odds again. Anyway, I wanted to let you know that I love your spring preview in the zinc buckets!

  17. Even though I love the way the vase looks in the “mountain,” it is that last image that really sings when you see the contrast of the flower interiors. Lovely. My vase is here:

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  19. Cathy says:

    Quite magical Cathy! Beautiful colours – the amethyst really was a good choice. It is so good to see some colour – my garden is rather drab at the moment! I still managed to put a vase together though –
    I am so longing to see some crocuses here, but yours will do for now. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks!

  20. Wow, very creative, Cathy! And the first signs of spring, lovely! Lucky you, nothing of the kind here. Hopefully, I might pick some snowdrops next Monday! Today I have been saved by a tiny blue viola, look:

    • Cathy says:

      The crocus are a few weeks earlier than usual and really did take me surprise, Anca – and there are one or two Tete a Tete pushing through as well, but no sign of most of them yet

  21. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Your sweet vase of crocus is transformed here by the otherworldly setting of your gorgeous amethyst geode. I’d no idea that citrine could be created by heating amethyst or that you are a crystal healer. How interesting! Amethyst was my grandmother’s favorite gemstone and seeing it always reminds me of her and crocus bring sweet thoughts of spring. How delightful to experience these together. No crocus, not even tommasinianus, here yet so it’s nice to experience yours! My Monday arrangement can be found here:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Peter – it is always interesting to hear the background to vases and props so I like to do my bit so as to encourage others!

  22. From Crocus to crystals to Angry Birds (I’ve never played)…you do manage to connect a lot of unexpected dots! My weekly vase:

  23. Pingback: In a vase on Monday: Pink and Purple | homeslip

  24. Elizabeth says:

    I had never heard of Angry Birds … I clearly haven’t lived ๐Ÿ™‚ Your arrangement and its setting is beautiful – the amethyst is stunning. My career meant that I spent much of my time working on a PC so someone advised me to keep an amethyst nearby for protection; I have it here still even though I’ve been retired six years now. Coincidentally, my arrangement has mauves included today, but it’s a piece of rose quartz that is nearby –

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Elizabeth – your education may be lacking without having heard of Angry Birds, but you will survive! How intersting to hear about the amethyst by your computer – and then you have some rose quartz alongside your vase…!

      • Elizabeth says:

        I don’t know much about crystals but did work with a chemical engineering professor who was into to it. It’s down to her that I have accumulated a small collection though, in truth, most bought simply because the drew me to them … if I like it, it comes home with me ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. A beautifully coordinated vase as always Cathy, your geode is beautiful and the healing powers of crystals sounds fascinating.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Kate – at this time of year it is very rare for me to decide in advance what my vase will be like, so it’s always a bit of a surprise for me!

  26. homeslip says:

    Oh those crocuses are adorable. I have a small swathe of C. tommasinianus growing in the grass opposite my front door. I’ve been planting crocus bulbs here (sometimes with my boy Tom) for about 20 years and it has been an uphill task thanks to the squirrels and the badger – but that moment when you spot the first lilac blue crocus makes me so happy. I am not a gamer but I love your crystal and I really appreciate your vases every week and it is such good fun joining in.
    Here is my link: in-a-vase-on-Monday- pink-and-purple/

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Sarah – and please be assured that I am not a ‘gamer’ either, although I do enjoy the patience games on my laptop as well as the occasional Angry Birds still ๐Ÿ˜‰ Sorry about your badger(s) and bulb attacking squirrels – perhaps the hazelnuts in our garden are sufficient for the squirrels here? I wonder when you will spot your first ones this year…?

  27. Kris P says:

    Your props are always inventive and entertaining but this one is downright gorgeous. Those crocus are really getting the royal treatment! I love crocus but they never grow well here and usually disappear within 2 years. My flower choice this week was inspired by childhood memories:

    Thanks for hosting, Cathy!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Kris – surprisingly these crocus have survived the change from grass to shrub border although they are no longer in swathes but mostly singles or small groups!

  28. No croci here yet, but yours are fabulous. I’m pondering winter this week at

  29. Chloris says:

    I love your amethyst and what a good title- original as usual. I do so love the little early species crocus. It always surprises me to see it in bloom so early. I love your vase too.
    I have contributed a vase this week.:

  30. Yes, that is stunning, well done.

  31. Julie says:

    I really enjoyed reading your post today Cathy – did you study geology at university or does your knowledge stem from your healing studies? I have not seen any crocus in my garden yet, although I am watching closely as they do, as you say, have a habit of surprising you! I have never grown a crocus bulb in a crocus vase, but love the way that you have used yours.

    My vase this week is at:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Julie – I did do a year of Geology as part of my Geography degree and I suppose there has always been an element of interest in the physical landscape, but most of the detailed crystal knowledge is from my healing studies. I have never had any success with growing crocus in vases but I suppose they have always come as part of a gift and in those cases the bulbs are often not very fresh

  32. Noelle says:

    I have become used to something special when I open you weekly post…but this week I just gasped. Such a beautiful presentation of really pretty crocuses. I shall look out for the little crocus vase, as it would be fun to try to grow a bulb on the window sill…In the meantime my kitchen window sill is the site for contribution

    • Cathy says:

      You say such kind things Noelle – although I am now visualising you standing there open-mouthed! My crocus vases all came as gifts – supermarkets tend to sell them at Christmas with very dry bulbs, but I am sure you could buy them at charity shops and car boot sales

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  34. Hi Cathy, lovely purples from your crocus and crystals. I have managed a small offering this week,
    enjoy your week

  35. johnvic8 says:

    Cathy, forgive my absence this week. My garden is essentially bare (except for candytuft which appeared last week) and some damaged violas and petunias. The hellebores and jessamin are not quite open. I will try to be better next week. The sun is back, the ice is melting, and spirits are up.

    • Cathy says:

      No need apologise John, altough I am sure you must be disappointed at not being able to offer up a vase. I hope your spirits did not get too low in your bare garden but I am pleased to hear they are on their way up

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  37. rickii says:

    That music will now be playing in my head for at least the rest of the day but you are forgiven because the image is sublime. Miniatures seem to be the order of the day. Here’s mine:

  38. Hannah says:

    I love your musical theme, it makes me want to look up the music and give it a listen. The amethyst crystals in the marvelous geode are a magical surround to your lovely purple flowers and berries, in the cute little purple vase. I’m trying to imagine you playing Angry Birds… my gaming days had such things as PacMan and Bubble Trouble, long ago. My grandkids are currently into MineCraft so I put some of their Perler bead versions on my post from today’s babysitting-

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Hannah – it just started with finding the crocus and then all just fell into place as it invariably does for a Monday vase!

  39. Amy says:

    Perfect Purples!! (I did Rich Reds myself this week ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s been years since I’ve seen Callicarpa berries; I’ve always thought them simply wonderful. And mixed with Crocus (and the geode) – such a bright surprise when I got on your page!

  40. You’ve got such a wonderful imagination. The arrangement is sparklingly good!

  41. Anna says:

    Oh that amethyst niche is a splendid setting for those brave crocuses Cathy. Am I right in thinking that there’s some blue in the crystal too? I’ve never downloaded ‘Angry Birds’ – must investigate forthwith.

  42. Annette says:

    Gosh, I almost missed this one! So magical, all that’s missing is a witch…or Gandulf! You never fail to surprise me with your vases, Cathy ๐Ÿ™‚

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