In a Vase on Monday: A Shot in the Dark

img_8720‘A young woman is shot in cold blood, her lifeless body dumped outside the stadium at the height of the US Open…’ Not my choice of reading material, but Harlan Coben is one of the Golfer’s favoured authors and lacking a book with an appropriate cover illustration for my title  (which is perhaps just as well), this suggestive blurb relating to Drop Shot will have to do instead.

You will no doubt be puzzled about the title and would never guess the reason for it in a month of Sundays – but it is in fact very simple, just like the vase. Realising that a gifted but somewhat neglected kalanchoe (in the UK grown as a houseplant) was producing a crop of flower buds on its very straggly stems, I took a shot in the dark and combined judicious pruning to encourage new shoots with the hope that the buds on the snipped stems would actually open in water. Two days later and they possibly are beginning to open, albeit slowly, and will perhaps reveal their pale yellow blooms in due course. In anticipation of this they are accompanied by glorious winter stems of Cornus, this one being the lime green C sericea ‘Flaviramea’ which will complement the colour of the blooms when they arrive. The vase is a small conical shaped jug from Prinknash Pottery, no more than 4″ tall and , like so many others, came from a car boot sale for next to nothing.

The kalanchoe has extraordinarily glossy leaves but is not a house plant I would have out of choice although I have been gifted two during the last year – but at least they are preferable to poinsettia! To be honest, despite having a houseful of plants in the 70s once my passion for the outdoor garden was reignited my collection of houseplants dwindled along with the interest and sadly any gifted houseplant would now face the threat of neglect, although having grown up with a clivia in my parent’s house I am currently nurturing a tiny clivia grown from the seed of a mature plant.

It is not compulsory to include props with any vase you prepare for IAVOM although it adds another dimension to the post if you do. With or without, please share your vase (or jam jar or other container) in the usual way by leaving links to and from this post.

img_8724ps  there have been no takers yet for the roses I no longer have need of which are free to a good UK home – see this post for more details

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68 Responses to In a Vase on Monday: A Shot in the Dark

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Morning Cathy, love your eye-catching title today. I have yet to master the art of choosing an interesting one for mine, although I did search my bookshelves to see if I had a copy of the one mentioned in today’s post. We’ve both used indoor plants today but I think yours is the more interesting, especially with the addition of the cornus. Here’s the link to mine:

  2. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday – the same but different – Creating my own garden of the Hesperides

  3. Chloris says:

    Enterprising and inventive as ever. I think this is a lovely way to display kalanchoe. Somebody gave me one and it got leggier and leggier. I never thought of giving it a good haircut and putting it in a vase. Perfect.

    • Cathy says:

      So either you have neglected yours too or they just grow naturally leggy..?! 😉 It was a bit of sink or swim moment as well as a shot in the dark, as it would not upset me if it turned up its toes after the haircut

  4. Brian Skeys says:

    Our local In Bloom group are always pleased to have unwanted garden plants to go into areas they look after. Would there be a similar organisation near you that would be interested in your roses?

    • Cathy says:

      Quite possibly – although if I have no takers I will pot them up for the plant stall for my NGS days. Just thought I would offer them to my blogging friends first

  5. Anna says:

    Cathy, initially I thought that your post title was a reference to the gloomy weather which is not at all ideal for taking photos. Definitely good reading weather though. I’ve surprised myself and managed to keep three kalanchoes and a veritable forest of orchids in my Mum’s house ticking over since August. I quite like the flowers but I’m not sure about those leaves. My va-va-voom is slowly returning so there’s a vase from me today at :

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, it’s rare for me to take my vase photos inside these days, but it was definitely merited yesteday. Sadly my photos are never entirely satisfactory when I have to take them inside. Well done for looking after the forest at your Mum’s – will they be heading northwards with you in due course?

  6. I have to say I really love your tile in the photo! All the colors and the shiny Kalanchoe leaves look wonderful together and the vase is a treat. I agree with you about houseplants, I had some around for the holidays and the cat ate them! I grow Flapjack Kalanchoes in my garden. Here is my vase:

  7. I haven’t had a Kalachoe for years but those leaves are gorgeous. Makes me see the plant in a whole different way. Had to laugh at the first lines from the book! Gloomy Monday here but I’m keeping my mind off politics with a some books from Persephone that I treated myself to. My vase is here:

  8. croftgarden says:

    Not sure about the reading matter, but I do like the contrast of the vase and the tiles.Oh yes and the glossy leaves!

    • Cathy says:

      Couldn’t avoid reflections though, even though you wouldn’t expect such a grey day to be producing enough light to create the reflections

  9. Eliza Waters says:

    Not my type of novel either! I’ve found kalanchoe perseveres in the home, despite mishaps with the pets breaking pieces (which inevitably root), mine have blossomed for years.
    Though my garden yields little this time of year, I wanted to share a vase this week:

  10. Ronnie@Hurtledto60 says:

    I love the kalanchoe with its glossy leaves against the pewter. I never have any success in keeping them going so they flower again. Thank you for helping me kick start my blogging in 2017. Here is my contribution

    • Cathy says:

      Well I have certainly not done anything to encourage them to re-flower 😉 Glad you feel IAVOM is helping you to get back into blogging again

  11. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday: A Small Collection | Words and Herbs

  12. Cathy says:

    I also have a rather leggy yellow kalanchoe that has been in bud for what seems like weeks now. Hope those buds open wide for you Cathy. The leaves really are pretty in any case. My vase for today is here:
    Thanks Cathy!

    • Cathy says:

      Oh it’s interesting to hear about your leggy kalanchoe, Cathy – do keep me posted. I kept these in water above the Aga for a couple of days before I used them but I am not sure it made any difference!

  13. We call these supermarket Kalanchoe here but, common as they are, I have a certain fondness for them. Their shiny leaves; bright, long-lasting flowers; and general toughness, whether grown inside or out here, are admirable. All that said, I don’t currently have any. Do you think the very commonness of certain plants puts us off? I avoid petunias and other bedding plants as well and that’s the only explanation I have for doing so. Here’s my post:

    • Cathy says:

      I wrote a reply to this Kris, but don’t know where it went – was saying that I suspected this was the case, and perhaps not not just because we have a wider knowledge of other suitable plants to use instead…

  14. What a great way to use the Kalanchoe, I hope it flowers in the vase for you. This is my first In a a vase on a Monday so here goes.

  15. Peter Herpst says:

    Your thoughts about houseplants gave me a chuckle of recognition. The only things I can seem to keep alive are those that aren’t fussy about being watered on a regular basis. Some grow in my greenhouse because they can be watered with a hose and allowed to drain on the concrete floor. Your shot in the dark certainly paid off as your arrangement is lovely. Those flowers should last a long time and perhaps the cuttings will root and you’ll have even more kalanchoes! My Monday contribution is here:

  16. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday – Entanglement Theory | Frogend dweller's Blog

  17. Alison C says:

    This has reminded me of when I was first married. We lived in a tiny house with not even a yard. I had dozens of house plants and a window box! I kept a bag of compost in the cupboard and did all my potting on the kitchen table, vacuuming afterwards. Now I only have a few, they thrive on neglect and are always in the way. You’ve been very creative showing we can always find something. I don’t fancy the book though. Here is my surprise

    • Cathy says:

      Harlen Coben is very popular amongst those that enjoy Lee Child and Ian Rankin and the Golfer devours them all eagerly – I will pass on them though! Iam pleased that your houseplants now thrive on neglect (well, Im pleased if you’re pleased!). I do a lot of my early seed sowing on the kitchen table where it’s warm and there is more space than the greenhouse – and keep a bag of compost inside by the back door!

  18. The only kalanchoe I have is one of those hairy ones (K. tomentosa) and I am quite fond of it because it takes such abuse! I’d forgotten how glossy they are normally. I love the addition of the lime green cornus.
    Here is my offering:

    • Cathy says:

      I would actually like to be confident of maintaining healthy houseplants again (well, some of them) but fear that they would inevitably be as neglected as the kalanchoes… 😉

  19. Hi Cathy, I think your vase is simple but stunningly elegant. The shiny leaves of the kalanchoe are truly beautiful and the way you photographed the vase truly highlights this fact. Love the ornate tiles in the background!
    Interestingly it is the same story with me and houseplants. Since I have a garden they are severely neglected and I am down to one or two orchids that I get as gifts every now and then.
    Unfortunately, I didn’t get it done to produce a vase for this Monday, but I did a post about the roses that bloomed in December in my garden yesterday. Maybe you would like to come over and take a look?
    Warm regards,

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Christina , and I have a couple of gifted orchids too (the result of a December birthday) one of which has dropped its flowers and leaves and certainly haven’t neglected it, not this time…

  20. Pingback: In A Vase On Monday – Forced Blossom – Peonies & Posies

  21. What an ingenious vase this week – both by using a flowering house plant and also by pruning said house plant to improve its performance! I am with you regarding houseplants though – I usually find they die under my care as I am much more interested in the plants outside. Having said that houseplants are very trendy again and trends have a way of infiltrating our preferences so perhaps I will once again start to see a roomful of ferns and spider plants as a good thing!

    My vase is at : – you will enjoy seeing my viburnum stems this week!

    • Cathy says:

      What you say made me wonder whether houseplants were ‘trending’ in the 70s and 80s too – certainly garden centres were few and far between and we weren’t exposed to garden plants in the way we are now. Interesting thought so thank you for prompting it…

  22. Another excellent title Cathy! I do hope your Kalanchoe will bloom. A recent happy coincidence saw a friend of mine buy one for his wife for their anniversary (fruit and flowers). She contacted me for advice on looking after it and I was able to tell her that the common name for it was ‘Flaming Katy’ which is very apt as her name is Kate. I’m sure her husband didn’t know this (and I’m not sure the ‘flaming’ part would be a compliment if he had!) Here’s my contribution this week:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Eleanor. I suppose kalanchoes are artificially forced into flowering prior to sale so heaven knows what their normal flowering pattern is. This came to me in April last year so I suppose it has formed buds again nearly 12 months later. Had to smile at Flaming Katy!

  23. johnvic8 says:

    Good cheer for you Kalanchoe. It WILL bloom. I am seeing buds around but not any that look like they are about to open. Have to be very creative over the next few weeks.

  24. rickii says:

    Very resourceful of you…and pretty too. We have been under 16″ of snow for a week, with no power and no internet. Is that a good enough excuse for no vase today?

    • Cathy says:

      Hmm… 16″… well, perhaps on ths occasion, but don’t make a habit of it rickii 🙂 Are you managing to keep yourself gainfully occupied alongside all these deprivations…?

  25. smallsunnygarden says:

    I’m another who likes your tiles, Cathy 🙂 The vase is wonderful in its simplicity, even with the flowers unopened, but I do hope they open for you! The gloss to the leaves definitely adds a dimension I don’t usually think about for a vase. It seems there are forms of Kalanchoe that I should be using in the garden here, but frankly I find it a rather mystifying genus – not sure what I should try… My only attempt to grow one of these indoors ended in inevitable failure, as my success rate with indoor plants is checkered at best! My own vase this week contains some newcomers that I am glad to see…:

  26. Annette says:

    Your titles are as intriguing as your vases, Cathy, and never fail to make me smile. I quite like Kalanchoe and have one in the conservatory, brave little thing that copes with extreme heat in summer and little TLC.

  27. Great title Cathy. I don’t know why but your feed has not come through my reader list. Anyway I forgot to tell you of my vase yesterday.

    • Cathy says:

      I believe some quirk sometimes drops people out of these notifications and they need to resubscribe, but do see my comment on one of your posts. Has today’s post appeared in your reader?

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