In a Vase on Monday: A Pair of Snips

I have to confess that this vase was not created especially for IAVOM, but when the time came to create this week’s vase I liked the existing one so much that I decided to share it with you. The contents literally are a ‘pair of snips’, having been snipped from their parent plants because of their over-exuberant growth:

I don’t think I realised quite how large Inula magnifica and aconitum (probably Spark’s Variety) were going to grow when I first bought them, and they certainly make more than just a normal statement in their respective borders. I am always very respectful of aconitum because of its reputation as a poisonous plant but love its fresh emergent foliage in spring and, in this instance, the deep violet blue blooms. The inula is in a class of its own with its huge leaves, long flowering season, and multitudinous blooms that are a joy at every stage from bud to seedhead, and I have become very fond of it.

The two offcuts were popped into one of my Zeller pottery jugs and accompanied by a pair of snips, a nice compact pair that suit not only my small hands but my pockets as well. I have recently mislaid another pair of snips somewhere in the garden, a cheap but nevertheless useful pair that were kept in the bottom greenhouse, and was wondering whether to ask my garden visitors this week to look out for them… This thought reminded me of  playing the ‘Wide Game’ as a child in which my siblings and I were sent out (on the streets: no parental cosseting in those days) with a list of things to find – it might be a certain kind of leaf or flower or any of a number of things, but I particularly remember my Mum adding, in a tongue-in-cheek way, ‘washing up bowl’ to the list, hers having blown away from where she had left it on a balcony, and her not surprisingly being dumbfounded when I returned later with a piece of the aforementioned bowl!

Many of us who partake in IAVOM were reluctant to cut blooms from our gardens to begin with and although we progressed beyond this a long time ago this snipping vase shows how excess growth can be readily harnessed to make a simple vase which will bring just as much pleasure as anything more elaborate, but without detracting from the our gardens in any way. If you are reluctant to pick for a vase, try thinking of it as a pruning or tidying up exercise – even a just a stem or two will look good in a little vase or jug or jar so do give it a try. If you would like to share with the rest of us, just leave links to and from this post in the usual way.


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68 Responses to In a Vase on Monday: A Pair of Snips

  1. Pingback: In a vase on Monday – let’s hear it for the girls! | Duver Diary

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  4. jenhumm116 says:

    What a striking arrangement Cathy – love it! – and also love the very chirpy jug.
    Here’s mine – more pink froth!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Jen – I love this pottery collection and as well as the chickens the colours are perfect for our kitchen

  5. That is exactly how I started…cleaning up after a storm and adding the snips to a vase. Now it is a ritual or habit much like meditation. Love the choices in your vase….I too look forward to my aconitum blooming.
    This weeks vases were a bit of snipping and a planned vase too:

  6. Christina says:

    I sometimes think of my vases as a means for making more compost! If I didn’t grow these flowers to pick, I wouldn’t then have them to chop and add to the compost when they are finished. Pruning or early dead-heading is another good thought to have. Here’s my link:

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, all great ways of looking at it, Christina – I certainly get plenty of compost from this inula when I cut it back!!

  7. karen says:

    Everything has grown so enormous this year. It must be something to do with the winter and late spring. Plants seem to be on steroids. So sorry we couldn’t come to your open gardens Cathy. We have a crisis with our elderly relatives involving injury and illness. Such a sad time. I’ve managed to put flowers in every window and hope this brings some comfort to us all at the moment. Here’s my IAVOM today. Sorry I haven’t been able to join in for several weeks. Karen x.

    • Cathy says:

      Oh I am so sorry to read about your family problems, Karen: my best wishes to all of you. It is this week that the garden is open so you haven’t missed anything but of course your priorities are elsewhere. Take care x

      • karen says:

        Ah, sorry for the confusion. It’s a bit hectic here. But we are all pulling together. We won’t be able to come. We are back and forth to hospital. I expect things will soon improve. Fingers crossed. Good luck with your preparations. But your garden is such a glorious gem, you don’t need to worry. It has a special atmosphere and a surprise round every corner. Love karen x

  8. Annette says:

    Things are growing so abundantly this year with all the rain that I can cut freely too, mostly bits that block paths or views. Love this jug and your snippets especially the swan-necked Aconitum. The jug’s design is very similar to a theme I saw at another (German) pottery. Hope your open garden day was a success – pity, I couldn’t come along! Here’s my wild contribution: Have a great week 🙂

    • Cathy says:

      Open garden is this week Annette – so there’s still a chance for you…!!! Things are growing well here without the rain – none forecast in the nxt fornight either! Zeller is a German pottery, I believe, isn’t it?

  9. I don’t really have any flowers to cut in the garden right now but your blog making a simple point has inspired me to pop out and cut a few stems. A good thought, thanks for that.

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  11. I agree wholeheartedly about making use of thinnings, trimmings and tidyings to fill vases, salads (not Aconitum!) and so forth.
    I’m terrified of monkshood, ever since I read an article about a gardener who dropped down dead after brushing past one. Later discovered that delphiniums (which I grow in abundance) are just as poisonous, being very closely related. Oh well.
    Here’s mine: … very brief this week for reasons that shall be apparent.

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  13. Amazing what a lovely display can be created from simple snippings. Like you I am respectful of aconitum and have cut it down in previous years because of the children, but this year I let it grow and have loved the purple blooms. I am still wary of bringing it into the house for this reason though.
    Here is my vase for this week – having a go at an Instagram trend:

    • Cathy says:

      I suppose there are so many things in our gardens that wouldn’t be good for us if we ingested them, but there are some really scary stories about aconitum, aren’t there?

  14. Noelle says:

    I enjoyed reading your post, and seeing how luxuriant your garden looks. Little snippings are the way to go…or picking fairly mature blossoms, which I see as deadheading three or four days early. Compared to last week’s offering, this one results from one of my Alice in Wonderland moments:

  15. I often scout for prunings and snips for my vases.Such a cute vase, I like the Monkshood and am constantly amazed at how many plants we love are deadly. Both of my dogs will have a bite of anything, so I try to keep their area non toxic. Here is my vase

  16. pbmgarden says:

    Your snippings are most effective Cathy. I love Monkshood but haven’t managed to keep it living in my garden (reversing the danger of Monkshead to people. In my garden it is the plant which should be fearful). Have a happy week.

  17. Love your snippings! Inula is essentially a prairie plant and many of them are giants but I had not thought of Aconite in the same way. Obviously I’m not growing it but I keep thinking about it. Can’t tell you how many expensive snips I’ve lost in the garden — even after attaching hot pink ribbons so I would see it! I found one a year or two later completely rusted open in a cutting position. My offering is here:

  18. Joanna says:

    Wonderful! I appreciate plants with exuberant growth, but have never seen these before. And I need to get a pair of snips like yours! 😀
    I didn’t prepare a vase this week unfortunately, but I’m planning an extra special one for next week in honor of one of my favorite celebrations. 🙂

    • Cathy says:

      These snips are by Darlac; I have a pair of their secateurs too, similarly compact. Look forward to seeing your celebratory vase next week!

  19. Oh what good use of those snippings. Yellow and blue are such an attractive combination. I would like to try acononitum but it’s those toxic qualities that have deterred me. I think that your inula is making a bid for world domination Cathy. Perhaps it has swallowed your snips up in its stride. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this comment goes through having already given up on Blogger earlier this morning. My offering is tinged rosy this week with a sound bite thrown in too for good measure :

    • Cathy says:

      Yup, here you are, so that avenue has worked OK. Hmm, perhaps I should check out the inula for hidden snips… 😉

  20. bcparkison says:

    I really should do this but my simple mind isn’t sure how to post . On another hand,,I love a garden by a brick wall ,new or very old doesn’t matter. Brick or rock just makes the plants stand out beautifully.

    • Cathy says:

      If you google or search within your blog admin it will tell you how to add a link to your post – I can only explain for a WordPress one. I love to see brick in a garden too – and bricklaying!!

  21. Peter Herpst says:

    Your snippings make a sweet arrangement. My vase this week is also composed of cuttings saved from going to the compost heap.

  22. Kris P says:

    What you call a “wide game” we called a “scavenger hunt.” Sadly, those seem to be artifacts of the past here too. I lose snips and trowels with some degree of regularity, although I’m not sure I’d want children tromping through my garden looking for them – I usually send my husband out as a fresh set of eyes and, if that doesn’t work, I tip over our green bin (used for garden waste pick-up) and sort through it. In any case, your exuberant plant growth makes a pretty vase! Here’s my post:

    • Cathy says:

      Oh yes, a scavenger hunt! And increasingly a thing of the past, I think. I certainly wasn’t suggesting children looking for them – and don’t suppose there will be many, if any, on my open days! Glad these others were just a cheap pair, although I daresay they will turn up in due course

  23. Cathy I love her vase with a painted rooster. It is magnificent with the Inula magnifica and the Aconitum. And the pruning shears are the ideal complement. I love how everything is together, but especially the bouquet. Have a very good week. Take care. Greetings from Margarita.

  24. tonytomeo says:

    In the garden (in the second picture from the top), it looks like foliage of big sunflowers! I am not familiar with either of these. The aconitum is available, and I have heard of other growing it, but have never worked with it directly.

  25. Elizabeth says:

    Hi Cathy, I’m back after a prolonged absence (see my post of last Wednesday for further explanation) and glad to see you’re still sharing your vases each week. Though I don’t have Inula in my garden, it grows in the borders of the sunken garden at Culzean Castle. It’s a huge plant which looks fantastic when in flower. Love the vase with the rooster decoration – perfect! My vase can be seen here:

    • Cathy says:

      Just had a quick look and I am so sorry to read about you losing your brother. When people who regularly comment on our blogs suddenly ‘disappear’ we always wonder why, especially when it’s for a sad reason. Good to hear from you again.

      • Elizabeth says:

        Thanks, Cathy, I’m still coming to terms with losing Douglas but he would be the first to say that life goes on and, thankfully, our gardens still grow and give us so much pleasure, I, too, often wonder what has happened to make a regular blogger ‘disappear’ – we just have to have faith that they will return all in good time too.

  26. ks says:

    I think including prunings is a great idea-although the vase is always my first task and the pruning comes later-I never quite know what I’m going to cut back. I might need to take a more proactive approach ! Here are the goods for this week.

  27. Cathy here you have my first vase done seriously. It’s the first time you’re my host at IAMOV and I’m a little nervous. I do not have flowers, except for an Iris from Holland, but I’ve still dared to do it. I’m waiting for your opinion. The link is Greetings from Margarita.

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  29. Cathy says:

    A lovely little arrangement and encouraging for those still hesitant to cut flowers from their gardens. Thanks to your meme that fear has vanished completely for me and I eagerly go out with my secateurs at least once a week! My vase for today is here:
    Thanks Cathy. Oh, and I vaguely remember that game and being sent out with a list once when I was small. I think it included a freshly laid egg so it must have been at my Auntie’s farm! LOL!

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  31. I think prunings make the best vases – it feels so much better than sending the off cuts to the compost heap and you never know what you might end up with! I sympathise over those lost snips though – I think I need to tie mine to my wrist I have lost so many. I thought you might like to see the vases that the participants on my Gather & Grow courses produce so I am including a link to my post about last weeks course. I have to say that I am always amazed that all these flowers can be picked for a course without the garden seeming to suffer in any way. Brigitte and I do cut the flowers beforehand though – I would not be comfortable to let everyone loose with a pair of snips.

    I hope you are well and I wish you luck with your gardening open day – it must be soon.

    Julie xx

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Julie, first opening down, second on Sunday and ll going well! Yes, it’s shame they don’t all come with a hole for attaching a cord – it would be a useful asset!

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