In a Vase on Monday: Glow-in-the-Dark

The appearance of a jar of turmeric as a prop in a Monday vase may seem a little incongruous, but in the absence of anything like a ‘glow stick’ or watch with luminous fingers I Googled ‘household items that glow in the dark’. ‘Black light’ is the technical term for UV light, I find, and everyday things that would glow in this sort of dark include not just certain items of clothing that fascinated or embarrassed us at 1970 discos, tonic water (glows blue), Hennessy VS Limited Edition cognac bottle (bright green), vitamin B12 (bright yellow), chlorophyll  (red) – and turmeric (green-yellow). It’s down, it seems, to the chemical substance phosphor  which can be energised  by one type of light to emit visible light; if such items only emit light while the are being energised, they are called ‘fluorescent’.

Here endeth the science lesson and here is the vase again, opalescent rather than fluorescent, but without the turmeric. In it, and thus triggering the title, are Dahlia ‘ Nuit d’Été’ and luminous (but not, I think, luminescent) green Nicotiana elata ‘Nicki’s Lime’. Having read recently that the latter lasts well in a vase I thought I would give it a try; finding it a little hard to distinguish between new buds and spent ones I have not been very good at deadheading and hope that stems picked for the vase include the former rather than the latter! I have previously mentioned that this is my first successful foray into growing nicotiana although I agree with Anna that emergent seedlings are tiny and growing them on into full size plants seems a remarkable achievement in the circumstances!

All my dahlias are now flowering, whether tubers saved from previous years, bought-in rooted cuttings, or plants brought to fill gaps and provide some extra colour for group visits to the garden. The hot and dry summer, however, has slowed the process down and most are only flowering sporadically, with just a bloom or two at a time, but I am more hopeful now we have had some REAL rain! ‘ Unlike the  other dahlias, Nuit d’Été’ obligingly provided me with these 5 stems for today’s vase, fitting the intended bill perfectly,  but we can soon look forward to a varied selection of dahlias in future vases.

As I prepare my IAVOM posts on a Sunday I have no idea what to expect in other bloggers’ vases and this heightens the sense of anticipation as Monday approaches and the weekly vases begin to flood (well, at least trickle steadily) into the blogosphere. For many of us it has changed our Mondays in ways we never thought imaginable: try it and see if you haven’t already done so! Just find some blooms or other material from your garden or foraged locally, pop them in a vase or other receptacle (or present them naked, with no vase) and write a post for your blog including links to and from this post so that we can share in the pleasure you have found for yourself at the start of another week. WARNING! It is addictive!

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38 Responses to In a Vase on Monday: Glow-in-the-Dark

  1. I learn so much from you Cathy!

  2. Pingback: In a vase on Monday – home grown? | Duver Diary

  3. jenhumm116 says:

    i echo Wild Daffodil’s comment – we always learn something from you! And here’s mine – where I also learnt something!

    • Cathy says:

      Gosh, I didn’t realise people felt like that – and indeed we all learn from each other in different ways, one of the joys of blogging!

  4. Pingback: this week’s bouquet – in my spare time

  5. I look forward to seeing what everyone has posted and seeing such beautiful bouquets that bring delight to our Mondays.

  6. Alison C says:

    A lovely contrasting combination. Love the dark dahlia and I certainly didn’t know all those things glowed in the dark. I highly recommend Nicotiana. It lasts really well in a vase, at least a week and sometimes more. I have a pretty pink one too. The flowers open up the stems and more keep coming. I had a bucket full in the bath last week, in an attempt to keep them cool, and the room smelt very sweet in the evening. Also some seeded themselves this year, happy day. I was surprised especially, as you say, the seeds are so tiny. Thank you. My vase:

  7. pbmgarden says:

    Beautiful dahlias. It’s nice your nicotiana is doing well this year. Fascinating science behind how you chose a title. You go to such lengths for us! Thanks Cathy!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Susie – although it was the title that came first, from the shade of green of the nicotiana 😉 Serendipity that the dahlia was Nuit d’Ete though!

  8. Love the vase as well as the science lesson. I remember painting some black light art murals with some art student classmates back in the 70s for a disco. My vase is here:

    • Cathy says:

      I can see I need to have a glow stick on hand for future vases, just in case! Google showed a picture of someone’s teeth in UV light – scary stuff!!

  9. FlowerAlley says:

    My dahlias are behind this year. I am still waiting for blooms. This rain should help. Lovely arrangement.

  10. Your post reminded me of my little island of Puerto Rico where we have various beaches work the water glows at night microscopic that contains the substance you speak about.

    My dahlias are also flowery and I am in heaven it is my favorite flower. Actually sharing obese with some of them today:

  11. I love the luminous color combination. My Dahlias tubers have roasted, I think. I shall have to enjoy yours. The Nicotiana as well, there is a bug here called tobacco bud worm that loves them a little too much. Fortuately, it rained here and I have some new flowers, too.

  12. Peter Herpst says:

    Loved the science lesson! Who knew that tumeric was fluorescent? Oh the seventies, such a fun decade. The combination of deep purple and lime green/white is fabulous! You’re right, IaVoM is addictive. Thanks for being our enabler. My vase is here:

  13. Kris P says:

    I’m so glad you got some rain! The science lesson was fun and unexpected. Those dark flowers do need the contrast of something more luminous – the combination makes the best of both. Coincidentally, I combined dark and glowing flowers in a vase this week myself:

  14. Christina says:

    Love the combination. The Dahlias should love the heat and flower all the more. I’m far from home again but have posted a vase of ‘found’ flowers. I’d appreciate it if you could add the link as I seem to be Ivan able of doing it when I post from my phone sorry. Thanks so much for hosting.

  15. Noelle says:

    I had to keep myself from snipping and posting. As it is so cool, well in comparison, I put a bit spurt on finished preparing the new beds and they look pristine with a deep dressing of compost…planting will start only after significant rain. In the meantime, I am adding to the list of plants I am likely to grow next year. Your dahlia looks dark and mysterious…..

    • Cathy says:

      Well done for getting your beds prepared, Noelle; like you, I have various additions waiting in pots for ‘normal’ weather to resume!

  16. Alison says:

    Your ‘Nuit d’Ete’ looks a lot like a cactus-type Dahlia that I bought recently without a name. It’s such a beautiful dark color. I have an Agave called ‘Blue Glow’ that I keep in a pot with a handful of stick-on fluorescent stars that you’re supposed to stick on a child’s bedroom ceiling. I did a few arrangements this week. My post is here:

    • Cathy says:

      Ah, those stars would have been good as a prop!! I have seen artificially enhanced glow in the dark house plants in garden centres….suppose somebody must buy them…

  17. Debra says:

    Beautiful colors in this vase! And I love anything opalescent. Thanks for the science lesson, too. I actually enjoyed that! 🙂

  18. Oh yes, it IS addictive! Your Dahlias are stunning, and especially wonderful with the Nicotiana. Here’s my post: Thanks for hosting!

  19. Cathy thanks for your science class. Your vase is divine. The Dahlias “Nuit d’Été” I like them a lot: their dark color is beautiful. The Nicotiana elata “Nicki’s Lime” is very beautiful. The two make a wonderful contrast in the bouquet that I love. I’m glad it rained. Greetings from Margarita.

  20. tonytomeo says:

    That is why I do not do it. It is too addictive!
    I have been tempted to try on occasion, just because there are sometimes flowers I want to show off. I have no dahlias though, and nicotiana is uncommon here. That nicotiana looks more white than greenish. I think it looks odd in other pictures, but yours is more of a pale white.

  21. Oh I’m off to find my jar of tumeric forthwith Cathy. What fun! I can see the dahlia and nicotiana combination in my mind’s eye and think that they make for excellent companions. Glad to hear that the rain got down to you. We were in Cumbria over the weekend where the heavens opened and poured and poured ….. 🙂

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