In a Vase on Monday: Asteroid Explosion

It was a joy to be picking blooms from my own garden to pop into today’s vase, but of course it was also a joy to have Brian’s dahlias to admire last week, albeit for only a few days, leaving Mum with a full week of them before their demise.

My bargain, chipped-at-the rim Caithness Glass vase holds two out of the three different ‘Chinese’ asters (Callistephus chinensis) I am growing this year: Lady Coral Dark Blue and Star Violet. The latter is one I am trialling for Which? Gardening and I am unsure yet how I feel about its scruffiness, or its attempt at violetness – or the five months it took to get to flowering stage, for that matter. Lady Coral Dark Blue, on the other hand, has been flowering since the end of June and definitely makes a big impact in the cutting beds, despite being a shade that is really more purple than blue. The third variety, Strawberry Crush, is only just coming into flower and thus failed to make its debut in today’s vase. Joining them is distinctive and supposedly fashionable annual grass Panicum ‘Frosted Explosion’ which certainly lives up to expectations in appearance but was very conservative in its germination, providing me with only 4  plants; with its explosion of grassy flowers surely I should be able to collect enough seeds myself this year? Has anyone any experience of saving seed from this sort of grass?

For an appropriately astronomical prop I headed for my crystal collection and decided that this polished sphere of pyrites looked suitably like an arid planet or asteroid. Iron pyrites is commonly known as ‘fools’s gold’, because of its superficial resemblance to the real thing. Believed to be good for memory and thought processes, it also aids spiritual protection and counters negativity.

I think I manage to belatedly catch everyone’s vases last week, although sadly I wasn’t able to reply to comments but as always they were a pleasure to read; hopefully normal(ish) service is resumed this week! What can you find in your gardens to cut and bring inside to give you pleasure during the week? Please share it with us if you can be leaving links to and from this post.

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83 Responses to In a Vase on Monday: Asteroid Explosion

  1. I do love that grass and it sets off the flowers so perfectly, the vase is a perfect companion – all very space-y.
    I went a bit spacey too – but in a different direction –
    Thank you hosting Cathy.

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  3. Alison C says:

    I like these frothy flowers. I’ve only ever grown a mix before so I’m interested in what you say about shades and scruffiness. They look beautiful here and are perfect with the grass heads. I have not saved these seeds but I find grasses in general are generous with their seed and germinate well. I’ve grown quite a few from saved seed. Hopefully you’ll get a few more next year. Here is my link:
    Enjoy the sunshine. x

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Alison – I am not confident of choosing when to collect seeds, particularly of grasses…

      • Alison C says:

        With grasses I wait until the seeds come off when I brush the heads or when shaken into a paper bag. With some things it’s a fine line between when they are ripe and when they have self dispersed. I’ve found that many times with hellebores, I watch them closely then suddenly one day they are gone.

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  5. Christina says:

    I do like the Callistephus chinensis, the colours work very well together. I grew some the first year I had the cut flower beds but I haven’t been able to get them to germinate or if they do grow-on successfully since then. I like the grass; I think you’ll probably get good germination from your saved seeds, they nearly always germinate better than bought seeds in my experience! Here’s my link:
    Thanks for hosting.

  6. Chloris says:

    I love this Cathy and Asters are certainly on the list for next year, specially that lovely pink one. Lovely grass too.
    I have some fluffy stuff this week.

  7. pbmgarden says:

    This combination of Lady Coral Dark Blue and Star Violet with Frosted Explosion makes a lovely statement. Love the grass. Star Violet is so fancy I am taken in by it but I prefer the other aster in form and color, especially since its been blooming so well for you. Thanks for hosting Cathy. Glad you had a good trip. My vase today is

  8. I grew some Chinese Asters last winter after seeing yours and realized mine were about half as big. Yours are lovely and I love the Fool’s Gold . Here is my vase

  9. These asters are fabulous! They remind me a lot of those wafty sea anemones you get in sea life centres. (I’m still in that underwater groove as you can see!) Interesting that you are trialling flowers for Which?. Thinking it through, that must be a lot of hard work. I’m wondering how they unify the growing methods of the triallers to make sure all the plants get a fair test. And do they use several gardeners across different locations of the country for the same plant, and that kind of thing? I’d be most interested to hear more, along with and how – and why – you became involved. My post is here: although I know you already saw it first thing this morning… and I thought I was an early riser!

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, definitely a look of sea anemones about them 😉 Which? trial them at their own sites in north London and Glasgow too and subscribers get the chance to appply for seeds early in the year to trial alongside them. The feedback from us amateurs adds an extra level to their research. There are usually about a dozen different seeds we can apply for but I now only apply for things I would be happy to have in my garden and would have space for

      • Ah, that’s very interesting about Which?. And good to know that ‘real’ gardeners test the seeds under non-trial conditions too. I didn’t know there was a separate Gardening catalogue from them. I must look into it.

        • Cathy says:

          Yes, 10 issues a year, on subscription like Which? itself. I like it as it is almost always all relevant and the reviews are really useful – they do a compost review every year and I will always go for one of their best buys

  10. The grass in this vase really tickles my fancy. Sweet. Happy IAVOM.

  11. Wow Cathy these asters are one of the most beautiful flowers I have ever seen. I have not grown them here but do grow our native asters….and they are made even more stunning in that vase and among the grass. As always your props are so creative they truly inspire me….popping in today with a post and some vases.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Donna – I am still not sure about the ‘violet’ ones myself but at least looking at them in my vase this week will focus my mind a bit more 😉

  12. You vase is perfect for the blooms! Looks like hundreds of stars are flying through space! I’ve never seen these asters but love how fluffy they are. Almost like pompoms. Beautiful.

    Today I’m sharing more dahlias but I love my new vase so much that had to use it! 😊

  13. Eliza Waters says:

    Wonderfully descriptive title with this explosive arrangement. ‘Star Violet’ definitely earns her name.
    I love it!
    My vase this week:

  14. Peter/Outlaw says:

    The vase is perfect for these flowers. A beautiful explosion it is and the airy grass is delightful.
    My vase:

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  16. Cath says:

    The two colours are great together, I like them both, and the grass is lovely. Here is my vase :

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  18. jenmac13 says:

    Hi everyone, Happy Monday!
    Cathy, your vase of purple flouncy blooms is just perfect. I’m going to try more dahlias next year and those varieties are on my wishlist. My vase this Monday includes roses, sweetpea and rudbeckia, and in a slight cheat was cut a few days ago, but I also have some edible garden delights to share this week.
    Thanks as always for hosting this lovely meme.

  19. Living Soils says:

    Beautiful flowers Cathy. Thanks for sharing!

  20. Rebecca says:

    That vase is perfect for that arrangement. I love the airy grasses. My vase can be found at:

  21. johnvic8 says:

    Cathy, I think your vase this week may be among the best you have done. Just simply gorgeous.

  22. I must agree with John above. it is stellar and the grass really contributes to the theme and also lightens those flowers. Another winner. My offering is here:

  23. From the flowers and the grass to the vase and the prop, I don’t think this arrangement could be any more perfect, Cathy! I love the slight scruffiness of the flowers, which fit your theme to a “T.” There’s no more drama on my end, just flowers doing their thing:

  24. Anna says:

    Oh I like both those asters Cathy and the vase is exquisite. It picks up on the colours and the swirliness of the flowers. The orbiting pyrites planet is a just the perfect prop. I’ve also grown panicum ‘Frosted Explosion’ from seed this year with a similar germination rate, moullusc damage since and no sign of any explosion as yet. I will try again next year as it looks well worth the end result. Not a vase of my own flowers this week but I’m sure you will understand :

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Anna – I remember you mentioning your dubious FEs earlier. Mine have only just explided, so perhaps there is still hope…

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  26. Annette says:

    Most delicious fireworks, dear Cathy, the dahlias are so unusual, and it almost seems as if the vase has been made just for them. I know I’ve said it before but your vases are taking off to another sphere, your creations are so awe-inspiring 🙂 Here comes mine in a haze of pink clouds… Have a good week and thanks! 🙂

  27. The grass seeds as a filmy background couldn’t be any better, well played! My vase this week was just an excuse to have some fun:

  28. As usual, you are demonstrating so much creativity with your weekly arrangement! My vase:

  29. Sally says:

    Once again, amazing Dahlias! It surprises me that there are so many beautiful kinds, Here is my vase:

  30. Cathy I love these feathery flowers and so beautiful colors. The vase is perfect for the bouquet of flowers and the pyrite sphere is the perfect asteroid for this spatial floral arrangement! Beautiful. Greetings from Margarita.

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  32. jenhumm116 says:

    Cathy – lovely to see your ‘explosions’. I’ve grown them for the first time too this year – shall we both save seed and see how we get on?
    Here’s mine, short and sweet –

  33. Just in time I am joining you Cathy. HTTPS://

  34. Peggy Riccio says:

    Very cool photos, mine is a simple passion flower because stems too short to put in a traditional vase.

  35. Debra says:

    Your photo is stunning! The color combination is a real standout!

  36. Sam says:

    Such a pretty vase shown to lovely effect with the black backdrop. I grew this Panicum last year and while I didn’t save seed, it has plonked itself in random places around the garden and made an appearance in the past couple of weeks. If it self-seeds, it must be possible to do it intentionally! Sorry I’ve been absent from IAVOM recently – summer holidays, visitors, etc. Hoping to be back next Monday 🙂 x

  37. smallsunnygarden says:

    Those asters are so perfect with the Caithness vase 🙂 I shall have to look into annual asters for this region; with annuals, sometimes it’s only a matter of figuring out which season one can slip them in here. You and Kris are convincing me that a cutting garden should be in my future plans anyway… 😉
    The roses continue to smile, so here is this week’s vase from me:

    • Cathy says:

      Good to experiment – and I hope you can find the right season for them. They germinate well for me here but take at least 4 months to flower

  38. Noelle says:

    I do admire gardeners like you who have grown their Asters from seed…your arrangement photographed against that black backdrop is stunning. Here is my contribution…but not in a vase, not on Monday, and not my flowers…those of Alison C!!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Noelle – these annual asters are easy to grow from seed, honest! And I am intrigued about how/why you have flowers from Alison! 😀

  39. in says:

    Puffy colorful splendor!

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