In a Vase on Monday: a Degree of Ambivalence

There is nothing auspicious about today’s date that might have merited red, white and blue blooms and a patriotic ‘vase’: it is just the way things turned out.

Salvia Amistad was my ‘go to’ plant for this vase – indeed not just one plant, but several. The main plant was grown from a cutting sneaked from a municipal planter just prior to its disposal last autumn (I emailed the local council and found that they no longer operating their own nursery so all their plants are bought in and binned at the end of the season). Other cuttings were sold as young plants on my garden open days and further cuttings were taken from my own plant at the beginning of August this year, growing ridiculously quickly and all now flowering themselves.

Rather than just a small vase with a handful of blooms, I decided to enhance the salvia with some other good performers – long flowering scarlet annual Alonsoa, and equally prolific Cosmos ‘Purity’. In doing so, I am reminded to include the unabashed brightness of alonsoa in my borders as well as the cutting beds next year.

Even with red, white and blue blooms I wasn’t looking for a patriotic vase (but maybe a patriotic prop) but a search of a vase stash proved fruitless and I began to think out of the box instead, glancing around the kitchenalia on the shelves. This one-off Marmite jar (Ma’amite – get it?! produced for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012) caught my eye – and reminded me of the challenge I thought I might pose for IAVOM’s next anniversary in November… no further clues though! For those who don’t know what Marmite, a very British product is, it is a spreadable yeast extract (originally a bi-product of the brewing process) that people traditionally either love or hate.

Unlike my mother and sisters who love it and probably use it daily I have to confess to a degree of ambivalence – I don’t dislike it but it plays no part in my culinary routines and I am sure the empty jar will have found its way onto my shelves courtesy of my mother. The little Marmite knife and spoon will have come from a boot sale or similar and now live in the jar.

Sadly, a few hours after creating this vase I realised that, having forgotten to put any water in it, the blooms had all wilted! Its belated addition may breathe new life into the blooms or they may be destined for an early grave. Please don’t forget to add water to any vase you choose to create today – or do at least take your photographs immediately! Just find something from your garden or foraged nearby to pop into your vase or jar or other receptacle to bring you pleasure during the week, and share it with us by leaving links to and from this post in the usual way.

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63 Responses to In a Vase on Monday: a Degree of Ambivalence

  1. Pingback: In a vase on Monday – White or Pink – Creating my own garden of the Hesperides

  2. Alison C says:

    I’m a lover of marmite and also putting things in vases. Thank you for inspiring us with your fun take on things. I’ve eyed up Amistad but not bought it, it does look like a great plant. The colours work off each other here and I guess you can be patriotic whenever you feel like it. I did remember water, here is my post:

  3. Christina says:

    As you can imagine Marmite is unknown here in Italy; luckily it is something I can live without – unlike a vase of flowers which is now a permanent part of my life, in part thanks to you, Cathy. Here’s my link to this week’s offering:

  4. jenmac13 says:

    I too am ‘meh’ about Marmite, but I do love your collection this week. Such a shame you forgot the water, but also an easy mistake to make – I hope the blooms spring back for you.

    My collection for this week is a bit smug, because I grew a massive dahlia and I’m well chuffed with it. No doubt my hubris will be rewarded with an extra-massive slug attack, but I’m enjoying the moment nonetheless.

    Thanks, as ever, for hosting this lovely meme!

    Jen x

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Jen, and yes, most of them are fine and dandy again, thankfully! Well done on your ‘massive dahlia’ achievement and please don’t inadvertantly wish a slug attack on the rest of them! 😉

  5. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday – Purples – Absent Gardener

  6. Cath says:

    I used to have lots of the bright red Alonsoa and loved it – it grew well from cuttings. There was a salmon coloured one too. I bought seeds as I haven’t seen it around recently, but haven’t planted them yet. (And they are probably past the date now) Cute little Marmite jar, I think ours have a yellow label… it’s not my favourite either. Here is my vase:

    • Cathy says:

      I came across alonsoa by accident but love it now – must have been flowering since June and seems to have got better as the season has gone on. Don’t fancy a salmon version though…

  7. Eliza Waters says:

    A NZ friend introduced me to both Marmite and Veggiemite(sp?) and I found both rather unappealing. It must be an acquired taste, like Stout. 😉 The collectible jar makes a fine vase, however.
    I do love the Salvia with its black calyxes, C. Purity is always lovely and Alonsoa is a great plant that doesn’t get enough time in the spotlight.
    Here’s my vase:

    • Cathy says:

      They are very salty (well Marmite is) and of course such a unique (and acquired, as you say) taste. Yes, I notice the calyxes more since I’ve cut thr salvia, Eliza – such a contrast with the purple

  8. Love Marmite! Love your post today – you have so many interesting props and I really enjoy seeing them.

  9. pbmgarden says:

    Cathy, you always manage to delight and educate us into a bit of your world each week and that’s so fun and appreciated. The flowers are lovely. I don’t know Alonsoa so will have to make a note of it as I like its effect. The salvia is great also. Thanks for meeting like this each Monday!

  10. Joanna says:

    Never heard of Marmite before! But it seems to make a nice vase! I’ve never forgotten to add water before, but I have accidentally spilled it! Your arrangement is so pretty! I’ll have to look up Alonsoa.
    Here is my contribution this week:

    • Cathy says:

      I had put the blooms in just to see how they looked before I decided if I was going to use the jar – the forgot about the water when i decided they looked good in it!

  11. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday: Alma and Co. | Words and Herbs

  12. Cathy says:

    I am a Marmite baby and I often bring back a small jar from the UK (along with teabags!). I love the colour mix in your jar, and it doesn’t actually strike me as patriotic anyway. Alonsoa is something I often use in summer pots, but never knew its name. Here is my contribution for today Cathy. Thank you as always!

  13. I have always been intrigued by Marmite, but have never tried it. It sounds awful! I love it as a vase and the Alonsoa is new to me, very pretty. Here is my vase

  14. Pingback: In a vase on Monday: October sunrise | acoastalplot

  15. Sam says:

    I’m the only one in our house who likes Marmite – I keep a small jar for emergencies 🙂 The Alonsoa is a new plant to me; I’ll have to look it up. I love this salvia and the cosmos. Very pretty. It’s funny what inspires our vases – mine was the sunrise this morning:
    Thanks, as always, for hosting Cathy. Have a good week x

    • Cathy says:

      Emergencies?? When you need a Marmite fix?! It’s good to hear what inspires each others’ Monday vases ps the sun still hadn’t risen when I first started my swim this morning, the first day this season it was still completely dark when I went out!

  16. Though I have heard of Marmite, I can’t quite imagine its flavor or that I would like it. But one never knows … I had to laugh that you forgot to put water into your vase. That is so like all of us who make Monday vases. We’re thinking so hard about the plant choices, containers, props that we forget the most important ingredient. I usually put water in and then for get to top it up or check it later to see if the plants are drinking it up! My vase is here:

    • Cathy says:

      I wasn’t sure if I was going to use the jar, Linda, but the blooms looked good so I stuck with it, forgetting I hadn’t got as far as adding water! First time I’ve done that though, so that’s not too bad 😉

  17. Sally says:

    Cathy, You have a wonderful eye and put together such unique arrangements. This one is lovely. The story about Ma’Mite is interesting. I’m not sure it would be on my list of favorite foods but, the jar is pretty. I don’t feel so alone in forgetting to put water in the vase!
    Here’s what’s in my vase this Monday:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Sally. This particular jar was a play on words, as the Queen would be addressed as Ma’am, if you were speaking to her (as if we would!)

  18. Peter Herpst says:

    What a fun vase! I’ve never tasted Marmite but love yeast and am contemplating heading over to a British specialty food store to give it a try. My vase this week didn’t need any water.

  19. Spreadable yeast? I’d heard of Marmite but never knew what it was. Your vase ingredients make a lovely combination. I wish I had your luck with Salvia ‘Amistad’. I’ve tried it 3 times – in different locations – and it never takes off here. Here’s my contribution this week:

    • Cathy says:

      I will be interested to see how my plant from last year’s cutting fares. I don’t know whetehr to lift it or just well-mulch it. The one I bought a couple of years ago didn’t make it through the winter – but now I know how easy it is to take cuttings!

  20. Pingback: In a Vase on a Monday: Hello autumn | Annettes Garten / Annette's Garden

  21. Annette says:

    Hi Cathy, ambivalent it may be but it’s so very much “Cathy” too. What a nice idea. Amistad grows in my garden too. Didn’t know Alonsoa so thanks for introducing me to this one. Never quite understand the passion for Marmite but I think it’s a matter of love it or hate it. Happy autumn days!

  22. Anna says:

    Oh ‘Marmite’ brings back memories of childhood breakfasts Cathy – I liked it on my toast then but way too salty for me now. There’s always a jar in the cupboard though as himself is rather partial. Had to chuckle not only over the ‘Ma’amite label’ but also the ‘Toasting The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee’ strapline. Those salvia cuttings will make really substantial plants for your plant sale next year. A quick snip and plonk from me this week here :

    • Cathy says:

      Oh I didn’t pick up on the ‘strapline’ Anna, although I must have noticed it when my Mum first gave me the empty jar – well spotted! 🙂 My Salvia ‘Neon’ has rooted well too, but nothing like as easily as Amistad

  23. No water, oh no! I’ve never completely forgotten to fill a vase, but I have neglected to top it off, which has caused quicker wilting than I would have liked. I look forward to learning more about your anniversary challenge! Here’s my post:

  24. Cathy did not know the Marmite despite having been several times in the UK. As a Spanish saying goes “You will not go to bed without knowing one more thing”. The bottle is very nice, matching the knife and spoon. As for the flowers, the bouquet is beautiful. The scarlet Alonsoa is beautiful. Greetings from Margarita.

  25. hb says:

    Your vase is so fun! I took a taste of Marmite once. Oh, my!

    I too have ‘Amistad’ and Alonsoa. it is a huge and vigorous plant in my region and the hummingbirds are simply mad for it. Alonsoa not so happy–too warm for it perhaps. Beautiful in yours! Thank you for hosting this great meme.

  26. smallsunnygarden says:

    At any rate, I can’t see any reason to be ambivalent about your vase – it’s lovely! I was thinking perhaps I should try alonsoa, which I know only from seed catalog photos, but I see HB’s comment above. Perhaps I’ll wait to try it… or might it work as a winter annual here? Hmmm…
    Do you have trouble with Salvia flowers dropping quite quickly when cut? Many of autumn sages do, but I don’t know whether it might be less common with other varieties.
    Here is my post for this week:

  27. Noelle says:

    You won’t find a marmite jar in our household, but love the designs on golden syrup tins! Each of my sisters love marmite, and love flowers. So although I have yet to made an arrangement in time for IAVOM, I shall venture into the garden and try very hard.

    • Cathy says:

      I had a lovely special syrup tin which I recycled by mistake when the syrup was finished… 😦 Hope you are not fretting about timely vases – I am just glad you are enjoying seeing everyone elses’s and sometimes managing to post one of your own 😉

    • I always remember the lion on the gold Lyle’s syrup cans — we’d stare at it trying to figure out what “out of the strong came forth sweetness” meant as we ate our porridge. I still love those cans.

  28. Cecilia says:

    This picture with the jar and flowers … a beauty!

  29. Pingback: Thanksgiving flowers and revasing – Toronto Gardens

  30. Our dad used to ask for Marmite for Christmas, making him easy to shop for! But I never developed a taste for it. Late to the game, but getting into the swing of things, here’s my vase this week:

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