In a Vase on Monday: Wake Up and Smell the…

…viburnum, the sarcococca and the lonicera!

Suddenly the fragrances of these winter flowers are becoming evident, even though they have all been flowering for a few weeks. Many stems of Lonicera purpusii ‘Winter Beauty’ are all but over, but the generous shrub keeps producing more and as well as snipping them for vases or posies a judicious pruning (aka chopping back) will be required once spring arrives. Next to it in the shrub border Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’ is now showing off some blooms undamaged by the weather, unlike the previous brown and soggy lumps – and how sweet they smell! Just outside the back door Sarcococca is back to its old tricks, confusing the passer by about the origins of the fragrance that hangs in the air. I have realised I don’t know which variety of sarcococca this is, something I will need to look into to.

Using just two stems of each of the above three seasonally scented shrubs, I chanced upon this set of 3 matching vases on a high shelf in the back sitting room, probably bought at IKEA some years ago, and popped the two stems of each variety into a different vase. I had cut some cornus stems as well but the vases looked better without them and in hindsight the vase with the sarcococca would have been better positioned at the back as the leaves are so very green and dark and seem to dominate the other stems. The little coffee pot is a fridge magnet and would you believe that the background fabric is maroon and not the bright red or dark that the photos suggest!

You may be interested to hear how last week’s hippeastrum is bearing up to having been cut as a bud and placed in a vase. Another thing I learned from Sarah Raven’s book ‘The Cutting Garden’, apart from using a cane to internally support the stem, is how easily damaged the stem is – and this seems to have happened with Dancing Queen, probably from the pressure of the witch hazel stem as it was pushed between DQ and the narrowest part of the vase. Within only a few days the lower few inches of the stem had decayed completely so were cut off, and the clean cut edge of the stem rested instead on glass pebbles added to the base of the vase, along with fresh water. Today, all but one of the 4 buds on the stem were nearly open.

At this time of year I never know from week to week what I may find to put in my Monday vase, and I know it will be the same for many of you: this uncertainty is just one of the many enjoyable facets of IAVOM. If you are able to find something in your garden today (and it does not have to be floral) to pop into a vase or other container then please share it with us too by leaving the usual links.

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78 Responses to In a Vase on Monday: Wake Up and Smell the…

  1. Love your combination of vases, flowers and the dinky coffee pot, and really love the smell of viburnum, but my daughter hates that smell and would complain loudly if I brought it into the house when she was little.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Sandra – but have yu and your daughter smelt this variety? It is nothing like Viburnum tinus which does not have a good reputation smell wise… Dawn is sweet and has a, hmm, maybe candyfloss smell? Actually that is a wild guess as I haven’t tasted candyfloss since I was a child!

  2. Alison C says:

    They must smell wonderful and how uplifting in this grey month. Beautifully arranged and described as ever. I must go and check my Viburnum though it is very small. The hippeastrum looks very beautiful and I’m amazed that it has opened so well. A good thing to know as the plants get so top heavy. Here is my link:

    • Cathy says:

      When I came into the kitchen today I could smell the viburnum from across the room; I am really pleased as ithis is te first time I have actually had attractive and healthy looking flowers on it

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  4. jenhumm116 says:

    What an elegant display – love the three matching vases and bet the scent is fabulous.
    Here’s mine – amazing what you can find when you look!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Jen – I really like these three little vases as a group and I am not sure if have used them before, which would be a shame

  5. Cath says:

    Those winter and early spring scents seem to be the sweetest. I love the little vases. Here’s my vase today.

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  7. Christina says:

    Strong fragrance is one of the pleasures of the winter garden and better still when brought into the house. After seeing your backdrop (correct colour or not), I realised that my vase today would have benefited from some strong colour behind it. Here’s my contribution

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, it oftens takes me by surprise when I catch a hint of it, stopping me in my tracks. I almost always take my vase photos outside to take advantage of the light, and a plain backdrop makes the task much easier for me – a better camera and better photographic skills might be a different matter, but that is not a priority for me

  8. LisaDay says:

    Death. I have death in my garden! But I have yours. So thank you.

    • Cathy says:

      Oh Lisa – I had to smile at your comment …. it was just the way you said it! ๐Ÿ˜‰ UK winters would only very rarely bring a completely dead period to the garden, so I really feel for you in your loss…

  9. I love the vases and wish I knew what Sarcocca smells like! Planning a trip to Aldi for chocolate today. The Dancing Queen is amazing. Here is my vase

  10. Chloris says:

    Snap Cathy! I have gone with lovely smellies today, but then it is the obvious choice for this time of the year. My link is:โ€ฆscents-of-winter/

  11. Love the multiple vases/stems and the fragrance must be lovely. Last year I took a chance and planted Sarcocca which is marginally hardy here. Our lack of snow and very cold temps may have put paid to my experiment. We’ll see. But we finally had a good snowfall last night so I am happy. My vase is here:

    • Cathy says:

      I always thought sarcococcoa was fairly tough so it is interesting to hear that it is not fully hardy with you. How much snow did you have? I am guessing that snowfall means it is now less cold

  12. pbmgarden says:

    I’m curious about Sarcococca Cathy. Someone gave me one about 5 years ago and I used a piece in my vase today. I’ve never detected a fragrance but it’s not planted close to the house where I can get a whiff. Anyway your matching vase set is lovely and perfect for your fragrant trio. Thanks for hosting.

    • Cathy says:

      Strangely it doesn’t smell when you are standing next to it but the fragrance drifts and you find yourself smelling it some distance away. I wonder if different varieties are less fragrant?

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  14. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I guess I could fill a vase with snow to share. Nothing as beautiful as your little vases hold.

  15. I can almost smell your vase this week Cathy. We have a Viburnum bodnantense, but it is at the end of the garden and grown quite high so it is difficult to smell the flowers. I pass a Sarcococca on the school run though and its scent is quite heavenly and uplifting in January. Here is my tiny vase for this week

    • Cathy says:

      My Dawn is still relatively young but has still under-performed up to now – mind you, these stems were at the tip of branches so in a year or two might be out of reach, like yours!

  16. I love those uniquely shaped vases. Charming.

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  18. Sam says:

    I’m sure those smell absolutely delicious. We have one small Sarcococca here that earns its keep from the lovely scent. It’s great to be joining you again this week, Cathy. My vase has a few surprises! Sam x

    • Cathy says:

      I first came across sarcococca in a big council planted bed without knowing about the fragrance – once I knew, it seemed an ideal plant to provide flowers, glossy green leaves and later black berries as well as that elusive fragrance

  19. Peter Herpst says:

    I’m drinking my morning coffee while reading your blog and the title of today’s post made me smile. How delightful to know that, even though our gardens are thousands of miles apart, the same sweet winter fragrances are wafting through both of them. My vase this week is here:

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  21. Cathy says:

    I can imagine how lovely those flowers smell Cathy. I think I will just light another scented candle and pretend! My post is short and sweet this week, simply through lack of materials, but a post nonetheless! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Cathy says:

      It is the first time I have had the benefit of the viburnum fragrance and was beginning to think it wasn’t worth its place in the shrub border ๐Ÿ˜‰

  22. tonytomeo says:

    Ah, lonicera. We have only Japanese honeysuckle here, which happens to be my favorite, but a few more would be interesting. Burmese honeysuckle is sometimes seen, but is not much to brag about.

  23. Hello Cathy, and a very belated Happy New Year to you too. Your viburnum and sarcococca are ahead of mine though I did notice a few promising buds today so maybe next week. Even if we hadn’t had severe frosts for weeks here there’s been nothing much in the garden to pick – well, no flowers anyway. But we’ve had a change in the weather this weekend – hurrah – and I have a vase to share. Here’s the link:

    • Cathy says:

      Hello Elizabeth and thank you for my surprise card at Christmas. This blogging community feels like one big happy family somehow. The viburnum has had flowers off and on for a month or longer, but all weather damaged. Glad you are looking forward to a change in the weather – it seemed a tad milder here today but we had a lot of rain late morning

  24. Are warmer temperatures releasing those wonderful scents, or is it that the volume of blooms are mounting? Scent in the garden is wonderful and I have all too little of it in my current garden. As it’s also GBBD, I mashed together IAVOM with that post:

    Thanks, as always, for hosting, Cathy!

    • Cathy says:

      The warmth in the house is certainly bringing out the fragrance of the viburnum, and I’m sure the ambient temperature outside works its magic too.

  25. My blog post today is primarily celebrating Garden Bloggers Bloomday, however a few blooms were put in a vase indoors so I think it qualifies as a IAVOM post too…

  26. Heyjude says:

    You know so much more than me about plants so I am going to pick your brain once again. I have a winter honeysuckle, but cut it back hard last summer as it was blocking a pathway. It seems to be a very old plant – thick truncks – and hasn’t flowered much at all this winter. Do I take it that the flowers develop on old wood? My winter jasmine didn’t flower either which is odd, and no, I didn’t chop that down ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Cathy says:

      I think you flatter me a little, Jude, but I will do my best. I rather suspect thay they flower on newer wood, and that pruning should be done after flowering so that new shoots will grow before the following winter. I neatened up my newer lonicera last spring because they are not the prettiest of shrubs and when I had a winter jasmine I used to hack that back quite severely so it didn’t get out of hand – but that never flowered especially well anyway. So that’s not definitive, just how I see it

  27. Cathy her three little vases are beautiful and what they have inside even more. The Sarcococca did not know it, but it is divine and if it is perfumed better. I love the Lonicera and the Viburnum. The tiny coffee pot is cute. Greetings from Margarita.

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  29. Anna says:

    Mmmmmm – oh that’s smells good I’m sure Cathy and how good it must be to have a source of scent just outside the back door on these cold days. I often wonder about photos and colour. My vase today looks more grey on the screen that the eau de nil it appears to my eyes. I suppose the light on the day or lack of it when taking a photo must play some part. I have some smellies in my vase today too :

    • Cathy says:

      In the days of film cameras some makes seemed to have different colour balances but I don’t logically see why it would happen with digital photography – but perhaps there is a technical reason, or maybe it’s just our eyes that see things differently! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  30. Bet you house smells lovely. Your viburnum looks much more generous with its flowers than mine! I remember discovering turkish coffee and investing in a little pot like yours … well maybe slightly bigger ‘cos it made real coffee. My vase is here:

    • Cathy says:

      The viburnum is definitely the dominant one of the three, indoors anyway – although I have a hyacinth just coming into bloom at the other end of the kitchen so it will be competeing with that soon!

  31. Brian Skeys says:

    We have the Christmas Box outside the front door, the scent is fantastic and so powerful from so small a flower. I guess the house is filled with the scent from those three.

  32. smallsunnygarden says:

    These are scents I have never smelled, Cathy – I would love to, as clearly I’m missing a lot! ๐Ÿ™‚ I love your vase trio; it’s so nice to have them in multiples.
    Well, I thought I could get up two posts yesterday, but had other things to manage too and just couldn’t quite do it! So today…: Not much fragrance, but we’re doing ourselves proud on color! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Cathy says:

      Shame that it’s hard to describe scents accurately, Amy, but I am preparing myself to face the colours of your vase… ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  34. I have all three in the garden. Must get the secateurs out and bring some in to enjoy indoors. Maybe try out my new set of dinky vases!

  35. Bec says:

    Your vase is lovely ๐Ÿ™‚ I really like the vibernum – we got given two vibernum as standard bushes for our wedding but they’ve only got a few buds on at the moment and I’m v reluctant to cut anything off them.. And it’s great to see the flower from last week too ๐Ÿ™‚ here’s my rather solitary effort.
    lots of love Bec xx

    • Cathy says:

      What a lovely wedding present, Bec! The amarlyllis/hippeastrum is still looking good afer its stem was recut, I’m pleased to say

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