In a Vase on Monday: Tubular Belles

IMG_6991I have admired test-tube vases, occasionally appearing in Monday vases, for some time but had not come across one to purchase myself. After the appearance of another one recently, remedying the absence of one in my vase collection became a necessity and another visit to eBay came up with an absolute bargain and the potential for hours of creativity…

IMG_6976… a nominal 30 (I received 36) flat bottomed test tubes in 4 sizes – 2″, 3″, 4″ and 6″ – all individually wrapped in pink tissue paper. Wow! Not only could I wire them together in an infinitely variable number of ways, but the potential options for using them in stands were similarly infinite. I already had blooms in mind for today’s vase so rather than get bogged down in selecting one of these creative possibilities I asked the Golfer to drill shallow holes in a section of the plum tree which had been cut down recently and which hadn’t been sent to a friend for firewood.

Five test tubes were inserted into the holes and stems of Narcissus ‘Grand Soleil d’Or’, Tulipa turkestanica and green stemmed  Cornus flaviramea were popped into each. The IMG_6992narcissus were planted in a pot in the greenhouse in mid December and have just come into bloom; likening themselves to a ‘Large Golden Sun’, however,  shows they have ideas above their station as each little bloom on the multi-headed stem is barely and inch across. Interestingly, the coronas on each head vary in colour from orange to yellow. The tulips are odd remnants from a planting several years ago and may well have seeded themselves around a little as they are not all in the same bed.

The first batch of photographs were taken outside in a rustic location at the base of the apple tree, but editing them showed this position did not do them sufficient justice so they were retaken, more successfully so, against a black background. Like many of my Monday vases it was so quick and simple to put together but with a surprisingly stylish result – I shall enjoy looking at this vase over the next week or so and shall enjoy smelling it too, for both narcissi and tulip have a delicate fragrance.

I shall also enjoy seeing what you can find in your gardens or nearby to pop in a vase or test tube or jam jar, or to stand naked on their own. Do share your findings with us by including links to and from this post.



This entry was posted in Gardening, Gardens, In a Vase on Monday and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

74 Responses to In a Vase on Monday: Tubular Belles

  1. Anca Tîrcă says:

    I love those test-tube vases, they allow so many creative possibilities of flowers arrangements. And yours is a beautiful example, Cathy! Have a great week! My vase is here:

  2. Pingback: In a vase on Monday – Bringing spring indoors – Creating my own garden of the Hesperides

  3. Christina says:

    I’m inspired Cathy; I’ve never bought anything on Ebay but you find some amazing treaures; I’ve also admired the test tube vases others have used and have been keeping my eyes open when shopping but so far I haven’t seen any. I love your flowers this week, and the perfect way you’ve displayed them. Here’s my contribution this week: thanks for hosting and have a great week.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Christina – the best thing about eBay is that is such a vast marketplace and as such as ideal for sourcing something you don’t know where to buy, or even whether such a thing exists! I am SO chuffed with this purchase and look forward to using them in various different ways 🙂

  4. pbmgarden says:

    This is a creative design Cathy, great use of the test tubes. Tulipa turkestanica is beautiful among the narcissus. My contribution this week is

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Susie – I wasn’t sure if the narcissi were going to be on their own and then I found the tulips which were perfect to join them

  5. Wow I love how you created your own test tube vase. I had never considered it as I do find I am just not so crafty….but you never know. The various stem lengths makes a wonderful bouquet from the side and above…lovely Cathy!

    This week I have a simple posy found when getting out in very cold weather to see the almost frozen garden for a few minutes.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Donna – I especially liked the versatility of the different sizes too. Drilling the holes in the tree section wasn’t difficult, and I plan to use copper wire to wire some together too which I anticipate being straight forward too

  6. Hannah says:

    The stone base is so lovely to support the test tubes. They are great to hold all the flowers so they don’t flop, I seem to be always trying to separate and prop flowers. That’s a cute daffodil, I like the darker orange cups particularly.

  7. How pretty. I like the way you have used your tubes. These daffs are so sweet. They scream Spring. Happy Spring.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Lisa – I thought these narcissi might have flowered earlier than they have although the greenhouse wasn’t heated so perhaps that was expecting too much!

  8. Brillant container! I love test tube vases also and that is such a clever way to use them and a nice remembrance of your tree. Not much up but tips and buds in my garden but I managed to find a few things to make a vase here:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Linda – I have kept quite a few pieces of the plum tree to place around the garden. Look forward to seeing your tips and buds!

  9. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday – Jerusalem Artichokes – Absent Gardener

  10. Cath says:

    It’s wonderful to have tulips which will seed themselves. I really like the shape of them as well, and they look great with the Daffs. I’ve just started planting bulbs yesterday, Daffs ‘Thalia’ and more Dutch Iris. Here are my flowers:

    • Cathy says:

      I am assuming they have spread by seed… I agree they were perfect to go with the daffs – I especially like the way the stems curve

  11. I love the trunk base, that is a great idea. I don’t have any test tubes, yet! I think stylish is a very apt description for this vase. How wonderful that tulips reseed! Where I have gardened, they are an annual at best. Here is my vase:

    • Cathy says:

      I suspect it is the smaller species tulips that are more likely to seed and spread around, as they naturalise well. Full size tulips are more variable in their staying power in the UK

  12. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday: Ding Dong! | Words and Herbs

  13. Cathy says:

    I love this Cathy! The daffodils are really pretty – and they look very effective in the test tubes. I would like to make my own base for future test tube vases too – finding the right piece of wood will be on the agenda when it starts warming up outside. Here is my vase today – also with bells!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Cathy – I look forward to seeing what you make from your timber and test tubes in due course… Bells were going to be included as props originally in my post, but then I thought of it as ‘belles’ and there was then no need! But what sort of bells are yours…? 😉

  14. Sam says:

    I love this tulip, Cathy. Such a gorgeous shape. And I like your use of the test tubes – very inventive indeed. I look forward to seeing them in future posts. My vase is of the more traditional variety this week:
    Have a super week.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Sam – the tulip was one of the first species ones I grew, before I realised there were all sorts of pink and purple ones too, and rather unfairly it must have rather fallen out of favour here. I had forgotten how pretty it was – and how much earlier it blooms – perhaps I should plant some more this autumn…

  15. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday: then and now | acoastalplot

  16. johnvic8 says:

    How very creative, but, of course, I’m not surprised. I like the idea of test tubes. We have used one we received as a gift last year, and you have inspired me to think about it again.

  17. I have an arrangement of assorted glass bud vases this morning, as well as pink grape hyacinths in tiny clay pots:

  18. You’re rich! (in test tubes) What fun you’re going to have, heck, you’re already having. My vase this week was an attempt to enjoy a bit of the garden when I was too sick to be gardening…

  19. Kris P says:

    Clever use of both the test tubes and the scrap wood, Cathy! The Narcissus and tulips complement each other well too. Oh, to have tulips self-seed! Here’s my post:

  20. croftgarden says:

    Lovely flowers. Not a daff to be seen here yet. Nevermind I shall enjoy yours, especially the tulips.
    I cut down the last of the Calvolo Nero this afternoon as it was starting to flower. The thought did cross my mind, but I was not feeling that mischievous, so you were spared.

  21. Pingback: In a vase on Monday – The usual suspects | Frogend dweller's Blog

  22. That’s such a result! What an excellent design and great execution. I love Tulipa turkestanica. I have only one pot of them and I am not prepared to cut any, but they look brilliant with your narcissi.
    My vases are made from decorated eggshells in an Easter arrangement:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks – and I am rediscovering T turkestanica so will plant more in the autumn. I was thinking eggshells for next week so perhaps you have beaten me to it… 😉

  23. Elizabeth says:

    I’m late to the party as usual, Cathy, but glad I got here at last. Love the test tubes, and my DH, a retired scientist, would be tickled to see them too. The tulipa turkestanica is striking and look lovely with the grandly named narcissus and they all look just fabulous tucked into that chunk of wood. Your ingenuity never fails to impress.. Here’s the link to my much more humble effort for this week –

    • Cathy says:

      The test tubes date to the 70s, I think the seller said, and she seems to be disposing of boxes and boxes of them! They were such a good buy 🙂 Glad you liked them too

      • Elizabeth says:

        I should have said my DH is a retired research chemist and these test tubes date back to the time he was probably working in metallurgy at Manchester University. Considering how easy they are broken it’s a wonder the seller has so many to dispose of 🙂

        • Cathy says:

          Apparently the seller is splitting up boxes and boxes of them, so it must have been a large unused cache somewhere!

  24. Pingback: one vase was not enough | sprig to twig

  25. rickii says:

    You and the Golfer are quite a team. Nice job going totally tubular. My vase takes a different approach to the effect you get using the tubes…see if you agree:

  26. What a marvelous vase you’ve created, Cathy. It allows for such an elegant and open arrangement. You could have a cottage industry blooming in no time! I love your combination of golden daffies and white tulips. What says spring more beautifully? We have enough flowers again to cut, so I am joining you again today: Happy Spring!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks – and I am so excited about the opportinuities the test tubes will give…watch this space!

      • You are inspiring me to order some test tubes, Cathy. The pairing of clear glass and lovely wood makes an especially elegant base for single stems. It has an Asian feel to it. I was given a single tube mounted on a stained glass work many years ago. It hangs in my kitchen window and is my best spot for rooting cuttings. Great fun to watch it each day as the plant roots. I will definitely watch for more creations from you ❤ ❤ ❤

  27. Peter Herpst says:

    A very clever idea! Using the wood as a base for the tubes is quite nice. I admire how you’ve come up with something new each week for so long! My contribution is here:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Peter – it worked out exactly as I had hoped! Admittedly I enjoy the challenge of doing something different each week 🙂

  28. Jackie says:

    Just lovely, so clever, Thank you.

  29. Anna says:

    Oh that really looks most stylish and elegant Cathy. A great example of less is more too when it comes to the flowers you used. I’m now hankering after a chunk of silver birch and some test tubes too. I should have asked himself to scout the lab before he retired. I may well just have to take myself over to eBay later 🙂

  30. I’ll have to keep my eyes open for one of these. You are so creative! I’m on at

  31. Noelle says:

    Just what the doctor ordered….doctor of flowers awarded to you, great alchemy again this week Cathy.

    • Cathy says:

      Aw thanks Noelle – the test tubes made it a doddle for me this week, so let’s thank eBay for providing them!! ps hope you are not in need of a medical doctor, Noelle, and that all is well…

      • Noelle says:

        Away….from the possibility of home cut blooms, but enjoying a large bunch of freesias bought from a lady in bright costume, in hotel glass.

  32. Yay, you have test tubes. I think you will be using those in all sorts of combinations. Looking forward to seeing them. Next week I will join you.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Dorris – yes, ideas are hatching (although it will probably be eggy ideas for next week and not test tubes) 😉

  33. Lovely, Cathy! You’re going to get a lot of enjoyment out of those. Us, as well! Loads of permutations! Like you, I’ve admired test tube vases for a long time. Must check out eBay!

  34. Annette says:

    Love this, Cathy, such a creative idea, well done. Suits the daffs and tulips very well. The flowers seem to dance…guess they do 🙂

  35. dianackirby says:

    Love that test tube vase! I’ve seen them and even bought one for a friend, but not myself. I might have to think about crafting one myself – I’d never even thought of that idea. Thanks for the inspiration. Our spring wildflowers are going crazy here in Central Texas, since I didn’t have a single actual freeze this winter. A stroll through the garden yielded these beauties in my vase:

  36. You’re going to have loads of fun with them…

Comments are closed.