In a Vase on Monday: a Close Shave for a 4th Anniversary

Four years and 208 vases ago, IAVOM began and has since grown to the popular meme is today. I started the weekly vase as an incentive to myself so its popularity has exceeded any expectations I might have had. These days 3-400 posts are viewed on my blog every Monday, 100 or more viewers reading IAVOM with 30+ leaving comments and 20-30 posting vases. In addition, Joanna of Edinburgh Garden Diaries tells me that there is now a #In a vase on Monday on Instagram with well over 200 vases having been posted so far, originating from bloggers who also post their vases on Instagram but now extending beyond that; Joanna very kindly ensures the connection with Rambling in the Garden is emphasised when she posts (or whatever the Instagram technological term is!).

All these numbers are immaterial though because the concept is fulfilling its brief: for people to gain pleasure from picking material from their own gardens and bringing it inside. Alongside this success comes the support and knowledge and plant material that has been shared generously by contributors. For many of us, Mondays revolve in a strange sort of way around these vases and several admit to IAVOM changing their life in subtle ways too. As you know, as ‘facilitator’ of the meme I ensure I post every week, even when not at home, and follow up all comments and vases except on a few occasions when I am away, but that’s not expected of everyone. It’s an ‘as and when’ meme, but of course I am delighted that many of you also want to (or feel the need to) post every week – because I know what pleasure there is to be found from observing vases of our own blooms over the ensuing days. Here are a selection of mine from this last year, one from each month:

So, welcome to the 4th anniversary of IAVOM, on a day when I challenged bloggers to pop their material into something other than a vase. Having a houseful of bits and bobs I myself was spoilt for choice but, with availability of blooms increasingly a touch-and-go scenario, I decided on the title ‘A Close Shave’ so I could raid the Golfers’ shaving memorabilia (don’t ask!) and use a shaving mug as the receptacle. Looking at the rudbeckia barely hanging on in the garden it struck me that as the petals gradually dropped from the raised boss of the flowers, they were almost being ‘shaved off’ by the colder temperatures – and thus the decision to use just shaved remnants of blooms was made.

The rim of the mug encircles a concave enclosure where the shaving soap would have gone, with only a drainage hole or two, so semi-dry material that needed no water was ideal and stems were just inserted into a metal pin ‘frog’ which was covered with moss plucked from the garden. Joining the rudbeckia were remnants of heuchera, persicaria, teucrium, clematis (both viticella and an upright heraclifolia) andΒ  lychnis, with a few sprigs of last week’s Panicum ‘Frosted Explosion’, extracted before its companions went to be composted, added for good measure and to fill out the vase. The result is essentially monochrome (and in some ways similar to last week, but just the ‘works’ and not the ‘fire’), but I quite like it for the different structures it has brought together and especially the clematis seedheads – and also because it serves to remind us that we can have interesting vases at all times of the year, with or without blooms. Supporting the mug and shaved contents is, naturally, a vintage cut throat razor that might have, but hasn’t, shaved the petals from the blooms.

I wonder what other receptacles people have found for the Monday non-vases? All those who join in today, whether their chosen material is in a vase or something else, will go into a special anniversary draw to win a copy of Sarah Raven’s book, ‘The Cutting Garden’, in recognition of the enthusiastic support I have received from so many of you. Just leave the usual links to and from this post, and I shall announce the lucky winner next Monday.



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95 Responses to In a Vase on Monday: a Close Shave for a 4th Anniversary

  1. Pingback: In a vase on Monday – same but different | Duver Diary

  2. jenhumm116 says:

    Wishing you a very happy iavom anniversary Cathy! Your lovely meme certainly brightens up my Mondays.
    Here’s mine – sorry, missed the ‘no vase’ memo!

  3. Alison C says:

    Congratulations and thank you. How exciting to know your idea has travelled so far. This is a perfect picture of Autumn shapes and the beautiful remnants of plants. It’s lovely to see a selection of your vases to see the year we have had. My Monday morning does revolve around this as I scramble to post before I go to work, which is why I am often early (posting not work), and then look forward the visiting the vases when I come home.
    Not in a vase this week:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Alison – we have all settled into our different Monday routines as far as IAVOM is concened. I try to pace myself over the day to answer all the comments and see the vases πŸ˜‰

  4. Anna says:

    Many congratulations and a big thanks Cathy for kick-starting each week off in such a happy way! The EOMV stats make for interesting reading. I think that there could be scope for an IAVOM book. That shaving mug is delightful and just right for the more subdued and subtle shades within. My vase was picked yesterday ahead of today’s cold and frosty start :

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Anna – of course I am thrilled that so many people gain so much pleasure from the meme. You may remember I put together a photobook of my vases from the first year but the idea of a more general IAVOM has also been mooted and any suggestions would be welcome. Just below freezing here last night for the first time this season and my dahlias have definitely had it now

  5. Chloris says:

    Congratulations Cathy on the 4th anniversary of such a popular and successful meme. I love the Golfer’s shaving mug. Your house must be an Aladdin’s cave of treasures, every week you surprise us with something fresh. What an very fitting arrangement for the time of year. And I love the collage of vases throughout the year.
    My vase is here:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Chloris – and (sadly?) the shaving mug is just one of many, so yes, a bit like an Aladdin’s cave… πŸ˜‰ Having seen your alternative, I am so glad I went with the shaving mug because a *** was my first thought!

  6. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday: Fruit and Veg | Words and Herbs

  7. Cathy says:

    First of all, congratulations! And thanks too, for keeping this meme going and for being such a driving force too. If I do miss a Monday I always feel a little deflated, and even guilty, but it brings me so much pleasure bringing in flowers and has influenced what gets planted in the garden! I really love your Clematis seed heads in your vase today, and the overall monochrome effect. I have never seen such a shaving mug and have once again learned something new! My contribution this week was fun to make, and the receptacles have already been partially eaten up…
    Have a wonderful week Cathy!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Cathy – as you know, I am so glad that you feel the way you do about the meme. Shaving mugs come in all sorts of shapes and designs, but the essentials say the same, with an indentation for the soap and the spout would house the shaving brush. I guess those who still ‘wet shave’ would still use one. Edible receptacles today – I like it (as you presumably have)!

  8. Pingback: Anniversary Vase on Monday | Garden Dreaming at ChΓ’tillon

  9. Pingback: In a Kettle on Monday – Absent Gardener

  10. Cathy says:

    Oh my goodness Cathy, your vase is so very pretty! I’m afraid mine lets the side down rather! Apart from the container itself, I particularly love the little clematis seedheads in your arrangement. And so nice to have an overview of all the contributions and results of this meme over 4 years. It certainly has inspired me to grow more cut flowers, although I can’t say I’m any better at arranging! Here’s my concoction and happy anniversary, once again!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Cathy and from the sneak look I have had of your post you have certainly NOT let the side down! If anything, my vase is a little shabby today so everybody’s will be better than mine – but we don’t need to compare. You have been inspired by the meme and that is what counts, regardless of anything else – it’s definitely not about ‘arranging’

  11. pbmgarden says:

    Who knew saving mugs came in such lovely patterns! A striking presentation as always Cathy. Happy Anniversary. Thanks so much for sponsoring IAVOM each week.

  12. Cath says:

    Congratulations and thank you for another year of inspiration and enjoyment! What a delicate little shaving mug – perfect for holding anything I suppose, but especially good with the delicate seed heads. I guess the second β€˜mouth’ is for the brush? Here is my attempt, celebrating a new-old present as well as the anniversary.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Cath – it is good to know that people enjoy and are inspired by the meme. Yes, the ‘spout’ of the jug is for the brush – I should have mentioned that really

  13. I absolutely love the title and shaving things used for this vase. I was just made aware of the Instagram hashtag and will endeavor to use it. I can’t believe it has been 4 years, and I so look forward to Mondays. When I wasn’t blogging due to my injury last year, I was still making vases and will use many this winter in posts on my blog, even though that is a bit of cheating.

    So many congrats on a wonderful meme and thank you for the continued inspiration Cathy! Here is my vase in a tin this week:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks so much Donna – and you, like most of the majority of contributors have been there from the start. It’s strange to think how much we all look forward to Mondays in a because of it

  14. While I don’t always participate in filling a vase I am one that always looks in to see what you and everyone else is posting. I enjoy seeing what everyone has in their garden and how they put it together in a vase. Congrats on your 4th anniversary.

  15. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday: Chocolate Box | acoastalplot

  16. Sam says:

    Thank you so much for hosting this weekly gathering, Cathy. It brightens my Monday and even when I can’t contribute, it’s lovely to see what you and others have come up with. Congratulations on 4 years! That’s hugely impressive, especially considering you’re always here with your own vase and you take the time and trouble to visit and comment on ours. You are always so inventive with your titles and props and this week is no exception. Fabulous. Here’s to many more years! Sam x
    Here is my contribution this week:

    • Cathy says:

      So glad your Mondays are brightened by EOMV, Sam and enjoy the vases even when you are not able to post your own. A chocolate box sounds most intriguing…!

  17. I have said it before but I will say it again: I love this meme! Thank you so much for all your work each week. My vase for this week is here:

    • Cathy says:

      Oh and thank YOU Linda, for your enthusiasm – I too have to say over and over again just how thrilled I am that people get so much pleasure from the meme πŸ˜‰

  18. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday: a pint of purple – Carrots and Calendula

  19. Happy 4th anniversary to IAVOM. Thank you for hosting such a lovely meme for all this time Cathy!
    Here is my contribution, a pint of purple:

  20. Joanna says:

    IAVOM was such a wonderful idea! I love it! So congratulations and happy 4th aniversary! I’m looking forward to seeing what others find to put their flowers in this week! I wish I could join in, but have been too busy with preparing for company and practicing for an orchestra concert (which was last night) to prepare a post, even if I could find any blooms, which is doubtful. The ground is now frozen and it won’t be long before winter sets in in earnest here.

    • Cathy says:

      Oh thanks for your kind comments, Joanna and I am sorry you won’t be able to join in today. How did your concert go and what did you play (instrument, I meant, but pieces too now that i have asked!)? We had temperatures below freezing here last night for the first time this season but of course our winters will be nothing like yours

      • Joanna says:

        I’m looking forward to spring, when I can join you again! πŸ™‚ I’m finding myself looking at all the vases whenever we shop at a thrift store nowadays and thinking what flowers would look best in them!
        The concert went pretty well, although there was one terrifying moment when some of us got lost! But it is fun, and we are just a small community orchestra, nothing professional. I play in the 1st violins. We performed The Star Spangled Banner, American Salute, Irish Legend, and Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.

  21. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Happy fourth anniversary of IAVOM, Cathy! What a joy it’s been to join the fun! Your close shave arrangement brought a smile. Love the clematis seed heads. My contribution is here:

  22. Happy Fourth, thank you for hosting IAVOM! I look forward to it every week and enjoy seeing what gardeners around the world are growing. I have plants in my garden now I would never have heard of or thought to try because of the meme. Dahlias in South Florida! I am running behind this morning but have peeked at my WordPress reader, wonderful creative vaseless offerings so far, can’t wait to see the rest. Here is mine

  23. Noelle says:

    Congratulations, great combo and title and great that the golfer is also contributing this week. I may still come up with something…IAVOM is so positive and enjoyabe….Thank you.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Noelle – not sure if he would have noticed if I hadn’t said I was borrowing one of his collection, although he does sometimes make a comment on a vase or tries to second guess (never correctly, but not surprisingly) the title! Don’t worry if your ‘vase’ is not actually posted today – I am sure you will be able to comeup with something…

  24. johnvic8 says:

    Congratulations and many thanks for this wonderful idea. It has been so much fun to be a part of it.

  25. Eliza Waters says:

    Thank you for hosting this great meme for the past four years, Cathy. It has become the highlight of the week for so many.
    I like using seed heads in arrangements and you have selected some great ones, the clematis is always a favorite. Such a flowery and feminine-looking shaving mug, I guess men haven’t always been confined to drab ‘masculine’ colors. Maybe a reminder of just who they were shaving for! πŸ˜‰
    Looking forward to seeing what others have created this week – here is mine:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Eliza – I am so glad you feel that IAVOM is a highlight in your week. Interesting thought about the shaving mugs as many of those in the Golfer’s collection are quite ‘pretty’, but then of course many men can and do still appreciate pretty things

  26. Kris P says:

    I think I’ve expressed how much I appreciate this meme, Cathy, but I’ll do it again! I too have always loved to cut flowers from my garden (even my former teeny tiny garden). I signed on with at least 2 other blogs that sponsored floral arrangements before finding yours. Neither posted as consistently or spurred as much camaraderie as your meme has. So congratulations to you for starting something that gained such a tremendous following!

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a shaving mug before and the Golfer certainly has a pretty one. (I’d sneak it into the vase cabinet if I were you.) I avoided traditional vases this week too:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks so much for your kind words, Kris – it’s intriguing to know that these meme has flourished and taken on board a life of its own in a way that others haven’t. There are plenty more shaving mugs to choose from, so it can go back to its dusty shelf when I am done with it πŸ˜‰

  27. Pingback: Late autumn flowers in wellies on Monday – Doing The Plan

  28. jenmac13 says:

    Hello everyone! What a lovely collection this week, and thanks so much for hosting. It’s such a lovely idea, and great fun to share our collections with other gardeners around the world… This week, I have a rose in some wellies.
    Thanks again for hosting, and I hope you have many more happy Mondays, sharing vases.

  29. I love your introduction to this week’s post and I too have noticed the #inavaseonmonday tag on Instagram growing and think it’s a lovely tribute that your meme has jumped social media channels. Helping people to appreciate their gardens in a a way they might not of otherwise done is a wonderful legacy to have Cathy!

    I took your challenge to the extreme and decided to skip the container all together. Oh and please don’t enter me in the drawing as I already have the book. Great prize though!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks for your kind words, Loree – I don’t ‘do’ Instagram, so I had no idea it was happening πŸ˜‰ It’s certainly strange knowing I am the instigator of an idea that has grown the way it has… I wondered if anybody would skip a container today, so I am off to see what you have done!

  30. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday – For a few hours only | Frogend dweller's Blog

  31. Well done on this fantastic achievement and on its success.
    What a very pretty shaving mug! Seed heads are a great resource for vases and add lovely texture. I especially like the clematis, not quite fluffy, but such strong form.
    Here is my arrangement:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Allison – none of us could have foreseen how successful the meme would be. I especially these clematis heads because the stems were quite stiff and held their position wheras some can be quite floppy

  32. Congratulations and happy 4th anniversary! I have thoroughly enjoyed participating, if not every week then as often as I can, so thank you for facilitating that participation. It’s such a fun way of enjoying my less than skillful flower arranging. Your arrangement looks lovely in your husband’s shaving mug which is so, dare I say it, prettily feminine. Here is my offering this week:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Elizabeth – it is good that people feel able to dip in and out. The feminine style of the shaving mug has been noted by many, although the Golfer has a beard and has never used any of his shaving mugs for shaving – or as a vase either, for that matter!

  33. susurrus says:

    Happy Anniversary Cathy. I rarely post for this meme, but am a regular reader and get a lot of pleasure from seeing the flowers you and your regulars share each week. You can be very proud of introducing this meme.

  34. Cathy, congratulations for your fourth anniversary of IAVOM! What continue many more years! Mondays would not be happy without their precious bouquets. Although I do not participate with bouquets, I love seeing his and those of other bloggers. Today your bouquet of dried flowers or seeds is wonderful for the tonalities it has and the different shapes. I love. The vase is beautiful and very original: a shaving cup. I had never seen one. They form an arrangement worthy of a 4th Anniversary. Greetings from Margarita.

  35. tonytomeo says:

    Didn’t Chloris just do a . . . ? oh, nevermind.

  36. Congratulations Cathy on your 4th anniversary – such a great achievement to keep this going every week, especially when you are away. I love the monochrome feeling of your ‘vase’ this week and expect we will be using a great deal of dead and dying material as the cold weather takes a grip on our gardens. I have been away with my daughters in London this weekend, so was not able to join in this week but I hope to be here next Monday. The Sarah Raven book The Cutting Garden is a book that I bought from Sarah herself at a Country Living Christmas Fair (my copy is signed) many years ago and it was my inspiration to start my own cutting garden. My now dog eared copy is a book I still refer to and take inspiration from.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Julie and I hope you had a great weekend with your daughters – well, I am sure you will have had πŸ™‚ And I’m glad you have found Sarah’s book useful – it’s not one I have myself, but it seemed appropriate for IAVOM

  37. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday: 4th Anniversary | Wild Daffodil

  38. Congratulations Cathy! You have created a wonderful community – thank you from the bottom, top and middle of my heart! I would have created something more fitting with more time, but I know you accept our efforts with open arms so here is mine:

  39. Anca Tirca says:

    Thanks a lot, dear Cathy!Your meme has changed my Mondays and even my life!Many, many vases for the years to come!My very strange vase today..

  40. Pingback: Rosebud not in a vase | Edinburgh Garden Diary

  41. Congratulations on reaching another anniversary of the wonderful IAVOM! Indeed the #inavaseonmonday hashtag has been gaining popularity on Instagram, although not quite 200 tags a week — I’ll work on it! The not-a-vase theme is good fun and I do like your shaving memorabilia idea, along with the petals shaved off by the cold and wind to leave a monochrome design that is most elegant. I notice that it’s 23.58 on the clock as I write this, so perhaps ‘A Close Shave’ should have been my theme too! Here’s my link: and here’s to many more years of IAVOM!

  42. Lindy Le Coq says:

    How very exciting! I love anniversaries, especially of self-promises made and fulfilled!! I’ve been at the beach frequently and wifi reception is spotty there, so I’ve not been as regular as I’d like. Didn’t know you had a special “out of the vase” challenge. Maybe the pottery plate with rooster will stand in as my addition to the fun!

    • Cathy says:

      Good to have you back Lindy, even if only briefly and while wifi permits! The challenge was not compulsory but amazingly everyone who knew about it has risen to it πŸ™‚

  43. smallsunnygarden says:

    I’ve been really looking forward to this one, Cathy, but that lovely shaving mug still took me quite by surprise! πŸ™‚ Many thanks for your perseverance on this meme; I know it can’t always be easy to keep up with such a successful project, but it has certainly been a source of much inspiration. After all, were it not for your blog, I’m sure I would still be one of those gardeners who could never bear to cut anything to bring indoors… πŸ˜‰
    Your “outside the vase” theme encouraged me to finally do something I’ve been meaning to try for months…:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Amy – it’s amazing how something as ordinary as a blogging meme can change people’s thoughts and habits. Even the Golfer who has never liked ‘cut flowers’ can see and understand why we do it. I am SO intrigued to find out what you have finally achieved…. πŸ˜‰

  44. ladyfi says:

    How very lovely!

  45. Annette says:

    Happy anniversary, dear Cathy! What an achievement and I find it hard to believe it’s 4 years already!!! How time flies…I was meaning to post a vase but then I was so busy all day and only got home late. It’s great to see how you’ve inspired so many people and rightly so as your vases are very special and quirky. Love this one too, very apt for November when showdown is near.

  46. karen says:

    Happy anniversary Cathy. I love seeing what everyone is growing and arranging. Congratulations on your success with the meme IAVOM. I’ve only been following for a year, but I really enjoy taking part when I can. Sorry this is a day late. We have no broadband at home and I’ve come over to my in laws to take them for doctors appointments. While I’m here I can use my mum’s wi-if as she lives next door to them. I hope it doesn’t annoy anyone that it’s tuesday! Love karen xx

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Karen – and no worries about it being ‘late’. With the time differences it can be Tuesday here when some North American bloggers post theirs. Your broadband is such a pain!!

      • karen says:

        Thank you Cathy. If you know of any alternatives to BT please let me know. I’m so fed up having no broadband out in the sticks.

  47. Pingback: In a vase on Monday – Congratulations Cathy – Creating my own garden of the Hesperides

  48. Christina says:

    Many, many congratulations Cathy on the 4th anniversary of IAVOM. I couldn’t let the occasion pass by without joining in. I’m sorry it is so late! Well done on never missing a week and reading all our posts; not an small commitment. Thank you for all your good wishes too. Here’s my post:

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