In (lieu of) a Vase on Monday: Opportunities Gained and Lost

IMG_7226-001Enjoying the occasion rather than looking for photo opportunities meant that this is the only photo, and a rather belated one at that, of the wedding flowers in action on Saturday – too late to remedy the situation by the time I realised! When I have access to other photos perhaps I can post an update?

All went well, apart from showers immediately after the service which restricted photos and a few minor issues which we shall keep to ourselves but which didn’t detract from the Bride’s Big Day. It was a lovely day all round and the Happy Couple are clearly besotted with each other. Thank you so much to my blogging friends for all the best wishes expressed for both Younger Daughter and myself on the occasion, and especially to Anna of Green Tapestry who sent an e-card the day before when I was deep in the throes of flower preparation. Your kind thoughts were both encouraging and supportive – and very much appreciated. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, learned such a lot from it, and would do it again if asked. So, this is how it went:

IMG_7171Firstly, on Thursday I brought down the folding picnic table from the loft and laid out labelled containers for all the different elements, along with approximate cutting lists. To wrap the stems of the bride and bridesmaids’ posies I plaited together red, white and blue embroidery thread – far more effective and practical than any ribbon would be.

IMG_7170IMG_7172Florist’s foam was recycled and cut to fit the Poppet’s basket (sourced through eBay), surrounded by a plastic liner and holes punched into the foam with a wooden kebab skewer to take the muscari that were to fill the basket. By counting the holes I knew before cutting began that as many as 60 heads of muscari were needed!

Cutting began in earnest on Friday morning, starting in true IOVOM foraging style, with periwinkle growing amongst car park planting at the centre where I have my regular swims. I was just leaving the car park with my wet swimming stuff and periwinkle haul when the bright red leaves of Photinia caught my eye and I stopped to snip some of those too. I had asked about the periwinkle earlier in the week but the Photinia was technically an ill-gotten gain and I will mention it out of courtesy when I am next there, not they will be in the least bit bothered!

With unavoidable distractions it was lunchtime before everything was picked and production could begin…

IMG_7180… and with further distractions it was into the evening before everything was prepared:

IMG_7181The buttonholes were similar to those practised earlier, but included red anemone buds for the Groom and his three Best Men and blue buds for Groom’s father and Bride’s father and stepfather, all with a sprig of photinia for added redness. Sadly the red buds were slightly too immature to open fully and indeed it was the anemones in all the buttonholes and posies that were the first to flag in a warm room without water.

IMG_7186The red, white and blue required for the two grown up bridesmaids’ posies came from red anemones, wild garlic and blubells with the same foliage as used previously – uncinia, luzula, pittisporum, honeysuckle and peony all such a great asset – and the posies were wrapped with their 6os ‘mod’ coloured ties on the morning of the wedding itself.

IMG_7183I was pleased to be able to include all three colours of anemone in Younger Daughter’s posy, alongside Narcissus ‘Bridal Crown’ (with its wonderful fragrance) and a single sprig of white sweet pea, all grown specifically for the wedding, and which were joined by foraged periwinkle with its pretty foliage, bluebells and three ‘Uncle Tom’ tulips which were just coming into flower for their second season. Foliage was as in the bridesmaids’ posies but with the addition of glossy red Photinia sprigs.


Over the next few days the clear-up will begin with pots of anemones planted out and others displaced from the cutting beds, along with the narcissi and an excessive quantity of muscari, to leave room for the summer and autumn residents. In the medium term, however, there will be a bias towards red, white and blue in my vases firstly with the anemones and then, once they get their act together, the sweet peas and tulips specifically grown for the wedding. What colours will be in your vases today, I wonder? I certainly look forward to seeing a different colour palette in many of them, but please share them with us, whatever the colour, by leaving the usual links.

IMG_7185-001* you can read the Wedding Sonnet here, or by clicking on the ‘In the Kitchen’ tab above


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80 Responses to In (lieu of) a Vase on Monday: Opportunities Gained and Lost

  1. What a wonderful array of different posies – they must have looked so beautiful and all so natural. So glad you had a great day – very special!

  2. Cath says:

    Perfect, I like the mixture of different reds as well. Forgive my brevity, I’ve been struck with the flu.
    Here’s my vase:

  3. Impressive what a mum and flower lover can do, isnโ€™t it? Best wishes to your Younger Daughter and to you,Cathy!

    My vase is here:

  4. Annette says:

    I’m so glad all went well and that the day was such a happy one, Cathy. How could it have been anything but a success with you and your fabulous floristic skills involved. You’ve been such an inspiration to me too. Bouquet and button holes are just delightful and isn’t it so much nicer that just buying things. Bet she’ll always remember it, your daughter. Here is my vase:
    Wishing you a great week ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Cathy says:

      Oh yes, I do indeed think these ‘informal’ ones are so much nicer – but after all these Monday vases I am increasingly biased! And to be honest there is no real skill in putting them together – it’s just looking for a pleasing combination with what is available. I thoroughly enjyed the challenge

  5. Absolutely gorgeous. Well done! I am sure that by the time any of the flowers were drooping the men had removed their jackets and the bride had tossed the bouquet and all was most appreciated and not a person noticed the droop. I am so glad all went well.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Lisa – I think you are probably right about the men’s jackets and I don’t know if Younger Daughter deliberately chose not to throw the posy but we asked staff later at the reception for water to pop it into and it perked up immediately

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  7. Christina says:

    Congratulations to you and the Happy couple. I do hope there are some more photos of the flowers in action so to speak but from your images it is easy to see that you have done brilliantly in creating all the flowers for the wedding. For my MIL’s 90th many people sent flowers and they were beautiful but somehow I just wanted them to be more natural looking – maybe I’ve just become accustomed to my less than perfect compositions. Here’s my contribution today
    Well done again!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks so much Christina – Younger Daughter had some flowers arrive from an anonymous sender before the wedding …white lilies and roses with coloured edges to the petals so pretty but definitely not natural looking. In hindsight I still can’t believe I didn’t even think about photos but I must have just been very much in the moment – and so used to photographing flowers rather than people!

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  10. Sam says:

    Many congratulations on pulling off such a magnificent collection of posies and buttonholes, etc. I’m full of admiration (I don’t think I’d have coped with the pressure). Glad to hear it all went swimmingly. Hope you’re having a well-earned rest. I’m skipping a week this week but will be back next Monday with a vase to share.

    • Cathy says:

      It did need the best part of a day – well, spread out over the day as there will inevitable be interuptions – but it was good to have the flexibility of putting in what was available alongside the overall red, white and blue theme. And of course it made it personal, which was nice for YD and myself

  11. pbmgarden says:

    Oh Cathy, so happy for you that things went well. I was excited myself all weekend with thoughts of the wedding. The flowers you prepared are beautiful, such a lovely gift to the newlyweds. The bridal bouquet is amazing–those anemones!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks so much Susie – I really felt the support of all my blogging friends in the weeks and days leading up to the wedding. Such a caring community ๐Ÿ™‚ I was really pleased that I had some of the anemones in each colour in the posy as they were the very first flowers that came to mind when she originally asked me, even if I was thinking at first they would need to be artificial ๐Ÿ˜‰

  12. It makes a wedding even more memorable to have flowers like this grown and arranged by the bride’s mom. What a wonderful treat for your daughter. My little bouquet is here:

  13. Elizabeth says:

    Gorgeous wedding flowers Cathy. The red, white and blue colour combination is simply beautiful and I’m so impressed that you coaxed a white sweet pea into flower for the occasion. Glad you enjoyed the wedding after all the preparations. I read your Wedding Sonnet with pleasure – wise words for the couple to take note of for their life together. Have had a bad time recently, the reason noted on my blog, and to make things worse woke up with a horrible cold today so no vase from me again today. However, I do hope to be back next week.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Elizabeth – the sweet pea was from an early strain and could have been flowering a bit earlier, but wasn’t ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Yes, it all went well and I am looking forward to seeing some photographs soon! Sorry you have not been too good and about you losing Bonnie

  14. I am so happy it all went well, Cathy. I am overwhelmed and impressed at how you organized it all and then how you put it together. I always learn so much. A lucky daughter too, as she has a most talented mother!

    We are still in the middle of early bulb spring, but most are dying back now to let other flowers shine.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Donna – and I in turn am impressed at all the creative things Younger Daughter did for the tables at the wedding (and which I have not got a photo of!!). Something has rubbed off, clearly! ๐Ÿ™‚ Look forward to seeing your other flowers coming through – aquilegias are so very nearly here…

  15. Congratulations to you and your family. Your posies were spectacular and what a lovely memory of Mum prepared floral arrangements for everyone. My favorite detail was the plaited cord. A nice and personal touch.
    Here is my vase this Monday:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks for your kind words Amy. I started looking at r,w & b ribbon but nothing seemed right and of course the embroidery threads were 100% cotton and I would much rather use natural fibres – I was pleased how effective they were

  16. Chloris says:

    Well, you really pulled it off didn’t you? Many congratulations on your beautiful posies. You must have helped to make your daughter’s day very special with these lovely flowers. I hope there were lots of photos taken.
    I have been away and got a bit behind with blogging, I missed your pre-wedding post. But I am off to see what has been happening.
    My vase this week is;โ€ฆnish-interlopers/

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks so much Chloris – yes, it all went well and the day was pretty much all YD could have hoped for

  17. Peter Herpst says:

    You did a marvelous job and everyone must have impressed with your skill. The wedding sonnet is wonderful! I hope you are able to relax and unwind after all the wedding preparations.
    I’ve used blue, orange, and a splash of pink in my arrangement this week.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Peter – it is quite strange not having that date as a goal as it has been on the calendar for about a year, although the request to do the flowers was only about 6 months ago. Certainly none of my usual rushing about for a day or two, especially as today is a Bank Holiday in the UK so my usual Monday activities are not on

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  19. Congratulations to all! The flowers look fantastic.
    Today, I’m arranging at all the little wild (weed) flowers growing in our grass.

  20. Well done, Cathy! My head was spinning just reading the description of events. You truly outdid yourself. And that wedding sonnet was beautiful – and so very true. Here’s my post this week:

    • Cathy says:

      Thank you Kris – did I make it sound hectic..? Sorry, it was slow and steady really, honest ๐Ÿ˜‰

  21. I am so impressed (and exhausted…and all I did was read about it). I think it’s fabulous that you only had the one (beautiful) image to share. In this day of incessant photo taking (e.g. No! Don’t eat that dinner until I’ve taken 12 photos and posted them) it’s refreshing to hear that experiencing the moment took precedence over photographing it.

    My Monday Vase post is lengthy, an interview with a friend who started a shop and and the end a birthday bouquet for her from my garden:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Loree – I do look forward to seeing some photos though! Also to the interview with your friend

  22. Anna says:

    Oh you and your assistant must have been delighted with what you were able to put together on the big day Cathy. Not only so attractive to the eye but so unique too. The advice about basing your marriage on “friendship and laughter” advice in your sonnet is oh so true. Thanks for your kind words. I thought of you when I first looked outside on Friday morning. I only hope that your weather was more clement than ours was. My vase is here :

    • Cathy says:

      Thank you Anna – and having practised some before, it wasn’t difficult at all to put them together once everything was cut, more a matter of being methodical. Younger Daughter had specifically asked if I could mention ‘friendship and laughter’ as it was already important to them both. Your e-card was such a lovely and thoughtful surprise and typifies how supportive our blogging friends are. There was rain as they were due to come out of the church which reduced photo opportunities, but it didn’t last too long and now we are due quite a pleasant week I think

  23. rusty duck says:

    You did a superb job Cathy, the flowers are truly beautiful. Glad to hear that the day went well, I was thinking of you on Saturday. Have you come back down to earth yet? ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Cathy says:

      Oh thank you Jessica – how could I have any qualms with all my blogging friends behind me like they were? It is so touching to know that you and others were thinking of us on the day… I am always down to earth, but I think Younger Daughter is still up in the clouds somewhere!!

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  26. Cathy says:

    So glad all went well Cathy! I thought of you on Saturday as we also had showers here, and hoped they would hold off for you. Your posies are lovely, and you even managed to photo everything as you went along! Congratulations to you for the flowers and your daughter and husband too of course!
    My vase is mostly yellow this week:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Cathy – I am far more used to photographing flowers than people, so that bit was easy!! Only about half an hour of showers here, but just as they were due to come out of the church – nothing you can do about that of course. I was pleased to have made this contribution to YD’s wedding and know that she and her husband had the best day ever ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. Julie King says:

    Well done Cathy!! Your flowers are gorgeous and your daughter must have been delighted! I am so pleased that everything went well & very impressed that you had time to walk around the garden taking photos on the morning of the wedding – I am sure I would have been rushing about in a last minute panic! I am sending my best wishes to the bride & groom and looking forward to seeing more of their lovely flowers in due course.

    My vase this week is at:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Julie – when it came to it it wasn’t too daunting a task, but I think that was due to the practice pieces I had done and the support from other bloggers. I would definitely do it again if asked, preferably with more notice! Thanks for all your good wishes

  28. Eliza Waters says:

    Impressive amount of work and it all looked so beautiful – kudos, Cathy! Enjoy your week as the dust settles!

  29. johnvic8 says:

    So very beautiful. I do hope you can find a bit of rest after the big occasion and your lovely flower contributions.

  30. jenhumm116 says:

    Many congratulations for such a superb job – you should be very proud, they’re all gorgeous.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Jen – haven’t had the chance to talk to YD about the flowers yet, but I think they were acceptable!

  31. Tina says:

    It’s all lovely–Bride, flowers–the works. Congratulations on all the beauty!

  32. Hannah says:

    Your color scheme is so lovely, Cathy, and how memorable the flowers will be for your daughter, what a special wedding gift for her. The inclusion of the Bridal Crown narcissi would add such a sweet fragrance, so important for the occasion. I admire your ability to organize the flowers and make the buttonhole and posey wraps. What special flowers they are! My link for today is-

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Hannah – you are right about the scent as it added another dimension. And yes, it definitely paid off being methodical about the whole process

  33. Eliza Waters says:

    Finally got my first vase of the season done and posted. Better late than never!

  34. homeslip says:

    Oh well done Cathy. They all look beautiful, but the bride’s posy with ‘The Bride’ and the red, white and blue anemone is especially lovely. I also like the plaited ties, which remind me of the friendship bracelets we used to make. So glad you all had such a happy day.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Sarah – it was good to be part of the experience in this way. I thought of friendship bracelets too!

  35. Renee says:

    Beautiful! Congratulations to everyone involved in the wedding. The bride’s post is quite beautiful. You did a wonderful job on the wedding flowers!

  36. Noelle says:

    Congratulations Cathy. You have created floral memories which will be cherished in your family’s hearts for at least a generation…and in pictures, and in your blog, for several generations.

  37. Amy says:

    So special, Cathy, and so lovely to be able to take things as they grow, so to speak! I am still smiling about the foraged periwinkle (a favorite in my first garden). But it’s your capacity to organize the growing and putting together that have me most impressed ๐Ÿ˜‰ Congratulations to all!
    And I loved the sonnet (I can’t “like” it, you know, not having a WP account ๐Ÿ˜› )!
    I went off on a tangent for this week’s vase, as the garden is in need of a tidying up:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Amy – I am usually pretty chilled about something like this, but you never know! It certainly needed the full day beforehand to allow for interuptions and taking it steady – but I would certainly do it again

  38. So glad everything went well and your flowers looked gorgeous. Well done. You will be looking forward to a well deserved rest now. It’s such a special thing to have done for your daughter and I hope it was a really lovely day x

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks – it was indeed a lovely day and I look forward to sharing thoughts about it when YD comes back from honeymoon

  39. rickii says:

    Not many mothers can give such a gift on this special day. Once the “besotted couple” have time to reflect, it will go down as one of the highlights of their wedding.

  40. rickii says:

    Oops..I got carried away and forgot to leave a link:

  41. That’s a lovely bouquet, I love all the different colours!

  42. Cathy says:

    Thanks SWG – there was a red, white and blue theme which fortunately all came together in the end, although the red blooms were not as easy to find in the garden. I enjoyed the challenge though!

  43. I feel so bad, Cathy, that my recent slow blogging activity, has resulted in your big event passing me by. I would have loved to congratulate you all at the time and send my best wishes to the couple on their special day. So sorry! I can see that congratulations were definitely in order for your flowers. Quite a labour of love! So many blooms to grow and source, and then to create these beautiful arrangements. You did Younger Daughter proud! I hope you all had the most wonderful day.๐Ÿ’

    • Cathy says:

      Thank you Ali for all your best wishes – Younger Daughter and I have only just been able to catch up ourselves! Yes, it went well and I enjoyed the challenge of the flowers and it was so good to be able to pick them from the garden even though timing was always going to be an issue – I could be making several red, white and blue sweet pea posies each week now but she only had a single white sweet pea in hers! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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