In a Vase on Monday: Sky

Although I decided last week that I would take advantage of the heavenly blue of this Caryopteris for today’s vase, its form and title went through many transformations before reaching the end result shown above. The soft grey green of the foliage and the sky blue of the blooms are reminiscent of a meadow in summertime, and I found myself searching for a photo I have of my maternal grandfather sitting in such a meadow (and looking very uncomfortable doing so, being an old fashioned and very straight-laced Church of Scotland minister, or so he seemed to me as a child). Being unable to find it, I changed tack, going from ‘Late Summer Meadow’ to ‘Late Summer Skies’ and other sky possibilities. However, we have had more than just glimpses of blue sky on Sunday (the autumnal equinox) when this post was written and there is talk of a fine October to come, so let’s not dress it up but just call it ‘Sky’.

The caryopteris is one of three bushes in a narrow bed on a boundary near the blue & white borders, so is an extension of these borders. The boundary used to be formed of conifers but these were (thankfully) replaced by our neighbours with a fence although the border still suffers from a fairly poor and dry soil, not helped by the Hydrangea petiolaris which grows at one end and overshadows it. Strangely (it seems) the caryopteris have still thrived, responding well to my tentative heavy pruning in early spring – until this summer, that is, when one seems to have succumbed to the drought. I will leave it in situ until next spring and remove it only if there is no sign of regrowth. Behind them I will be adding the white version of Lychnis coronaria, grown from seed provided by blogging friend Brian. Both pink and white forms are now amongst my favourite ‘good-doers’ and I have recently sown seed of a bi-coloured form.

However, I digress! The soft blue of the caryopteris is accentuated by the grey-green of the foliage and would make an attractive little posy with no additions whatsoever, but whilst still thinking along the meadow theme I began searching for little pops of colour but found nothing that fitted the bill. There was still a little life in long-flowering clary sage ‘Oxford Blue’ so this added a darker dimension to the summer sky, although the last vestiges of an adjacent larkspur were left to some busy bees instead. With the sky darkening, spent heads of Veronica hastata ‘Blue Spires’, heuchera spikes, grassy Panicum ‘Frosted Explosion’ and frothy clouds of clematis seedheads added another dimension and a variation typical of the skies provided by our British weather.

The perfect vase for depiction of sky is this ‘flowerstone’ from the Isle of Skye’s Uig Pottery with its two-tone mottled brown and sky blue glaze, a design appropriately entitled ‘Expressive Landscape’). This type of vase, with holes in a range of sizes in the upper surface, are never as practical as you might think as only the shortest of blooms stand upright in them without any support. This time, I improvised and fed gravel via a funnel into the vase to hold the blooms in place, although in hindsight it would have been easier doing so before I added the water! The chosen prop, serendipitously turning up whilst searching for the elusive photograph, is a postcard showing part of a tapestry created by Orkney artist Leila Thompson and entitled ‘Echoes’ and which echoes the colour of the vase. If you look closely you will see that some of the stitching is in the form of text, part of a longer quotation.

As well as this vase, I currently have a vase on the kitchen table with various wind victims – parts of the UK saw high winds mid week with damage and disruption in many places and in our garden it was poorly staked dahlias that suffered most (although it kept the Golfer away from his tree-felling tasks too). I hope that your gardens have not suffered greatly from this year’s weather – whether it was last winter’s cold, this summer’s drought, or later storms – and that you are still able to find something in your garden to pluck and bring inside to pop into a vase or other receptacle. Having a vase to inspect at close quarters as one moves around the house on everyday activities has proved to bring great pleasure to so many of us, so do think about joining us if you have not already done so and leave links to and from this post if you would like us to see what you have chosen.

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54 Responses to In a Vase on Monday: Sky

  1. Beautiful! Love the flowers and the vase and especially the postcard of that gorgeous tapestry. Thank you for the link.

  2. Heyjude says:

    Such a beautiful blue ‘Sky’ vase this week and a very interesting read too. I can practically see your grandfather sitting in the meadow, even without the photo. I also very much like the vase. but the star here is the postcard of the tapestry. Now that must be absolutely gorgeous.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Jude – I recall he was studiously reading something. Frustrating thing is, I used the little album the photo is in as a prop some time ago, so it is unlikely to be tucked away too deeply πŸ˜‰

  3. pbmgarden says:

    Cathy, this may well be my favorite vase of yours ever–It’s perfect. Love the blues and the clematis seedhead brings motion and interest. All the writing and details are interesting as well. You have put autumn off to a great start. Thanks for hosting.

    • Cathy says:

      Oh thanks so much, Susie , especially coming from you πŸ™‚ It’s strange the direction our vases take us sometimes, isn’t it? Defibtely feels autumnal today – sunny now, but a chilly night and another one forecast

  4. I am totally loving this vase. The flowers are perfect and the pottery vase is a beautiful way to display them. The vase reminds me of a pottery set my husband’s aunt gave us for our wedding three years ago. It is especially meaningful because she was dying of cancer and bought us the gift knowing that she would not be with us. So your post just brought back wonderful memories of the loving lady she was. Thank you for that, Cathy. For today, I am sharing my dahlias, which are going insane (and I apologize to you and any visitors in advanced, for tiring you with dahlias. πŸ™‚

  5. Joanna says:

    Absolutely beautiful! It reminds me of a stormy sky over a prairie! πŸ™‚
    I have a bucket of flowers picked just before the freeze last night…

  6. craftycreeky says:

    Beautiful arrangement, I lost my caryopteris a couple of years back, this has reminded how pretty they are, I must get another one πŸ™‚

  7. Cathy says:

    What a delightful vase Cathy! I love all the blues – and the vase itself – but your touches of clematis seedheads add something really very special. What a pity the ‘hole’ idea doesn’t work so well. (I’m still looking for a glass vase with holes for roses.) And what an amazing tapestry that must be in the life. I always enjoy your stories as well – and, although I did know that we both have Scottish roots, I wasn’t aware that your grandfather was a Church of Scotland minister. My father was a C of S minister as well. Sundays were horrid because at one stage I had to listen to him twice, in both of his parishes. Hope you find that photo of your grandfather. Here is my vase:
    Have a good week – now that it’s cooler, gardening has become a creative pleasure again!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Cathy. Cut glass rose bowls with a metal grid are easy to pick up at car boot sales here, but that’s perhaps not what you want. My grandparents were missionaries in China for many years and my Mum was born in the far east. Glad to read that gaeening is becoming a pleasure again – we haven’t had the searing heat since August and it has been pleasant to work in the garden (when time permits!)

  8. Well done,blue flowers are among my favorites. Love the Clematis seedheads. I think Caryopteris will grow here, yours inspires me to look into adding some. Completely different colors from me this week

  9. I haven’t had luck with Caryopteris but maybe I should try again as it is certainly gorgeous. It makes the beginning of autumn feel like high summer in your display! Should you come across the photo of your grandfather you will have to post it as you now have us intrigued. I can’t complain too much about my garden as our weather has not been as bad as many places here and around the world. My offering is here:

    • Cathy says:

      I am surprised at how acommodating the caryopteris is in this dry and poor border. I see I shall have to keep looking for that photo!!

  10. bcparkison says:

    Beautiful blues and throw in some green and what you have is perfect.

  11. Peter Herpst says:

    A gorgeous arrangement. The clematis seed head makes it extra special and the colors of the tapestry are a perfect echo of the vase. You always find the coolest props! Happy autumn!.

  12. Poetry in motion. I am absolutely loving your arrangement both in color and structure. A masterpiece!

  13. Clematis seed heads always remind me of Vincent van Gogh’s “The Starry Night”…and even more so against your blue flowers.

  14. Kris P says:

    It’s a lovely composition, from flowers to vase to prop, Cathy. I enjoyed the tale of the twists and turns in your process as well. Caryopteris is yet another of the plants I’ve tried and failed to grow here. If its flowers are blue you can bet I’ve almost certainly tried to grow it. There’s very little blue in my own garden at the moment and none in this week’s vases:

    • Cathy says:

      I must read up on what conditions it prefers as it certainly seems happy where it is (well, 2 out the original 3 are!). Your lovely lisianthus must have finished if you have no blue in your garden… 😦

  15. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday: flowers to the rescue | acoastalplot

  16. Elizabeth says:

    Hi Cathy, after the summer from hell I’m finally back with an arrangement. I love your blue arrangement – so much bluer than the one I had hoped to find material for in my garden – and the postcard is just the thing too. The link to my vase:

  17. Sam says:

    This is lovely, Cathy. I love the arrangement, the vase and the postcard. The colours are gorgeous. I’m very happy to have time to join in today as I’ve missed IAVOM. Here’s my vase:
    Thank you, as always. Sam x

  18. Debra says:

    The blues in your arrangement are so deep and intense they almost appear artificial! They’re absolutely gorgeous! I think nature outdid herself! Beautiful, Cathy!

  19. Pingback: In a vase on Monday – late again – Creating my own garden of the Hesperides

  20. Christina says:

    Love the strong blues in your vase this week Cathy; please excuse my tardiness this week, you’ll see why in my post;

  21. tonytomeo says:

    Again, there are so many flowers that I do not recognize. Blue is not an easy color to work with. There are not many flowers that are true blue, without purple mixed in.

  22. Pingback: another monday, another vase |

  23. rickii says:

    What a beautiful reminder that I must plant some caryopterus immediately.

  24. this is a stunning vase Cathy – beautiful colour blues. I’ve not been to Skye since before the bridge but I’d love to visiti again. Bringing back any happy memories of University in Stirling too. Here’s mine – I have the grandson of your vase and I wrote about pottery too. late as usual – life is full on at the mo, love Bec xx

    • Cathy says:

      The bridge makes a huge difference to visitors, and to locals too of course. Glad life is full-on for you Bec, as long as iit full-on good that is!

  25. Cathy, I love the different blues of your magnificent vase. The touch of the clematis seeds is very special. The tapestry is so beautiful and beautiful. I love the stories you tell, they are charming. Have a happy week. Greetings from Margarita.

  26. Really a lovely vase full this week Cathy, texture and colour, beautiful. I am pleased to read the golfer was let off tree felling in those winds we had, back to it now no doubt?

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Dorris – I have enjoyed seeing the blooms of the carypteris close up as they are exceedingly pretty and such an attractive shade, like Scottish harebells. Thank you for your concern about the Golfer – the two hazels are both down and branches cut up and either distributed to neighbours for ther woodburners or to the skip. He now needs to replace some of the tiles on the shed roof which were damaged in the process – and we need to rain to wash away all the sawdust! It makes SUCH a difference though, one that we will only really be able to appreciate properly next year (except for saving the effort of sweeping up their leaves in the meantime!)

  27. Cathy says:

    This is simply beautiful Cathy. I had some Caryopteris for a few years, but it is not terribly hardy here and succumbed to a damp cold winter. Oh, how the bees love it though! I am tempted to get another…. The storm reached hurricane force here on Sunday night, but we were lucky that it started to weaken by the time it got to us and damage was limited. πŸ™‚

  28. The Monday morning vase is a brilliant idea! I have just found your blog and as a lover of flowers, and my garden, I am going to start doing this myself. I am going to chat about your idea on my blog, the running wave, and post a couple of photos of my weekly effort, and see what happens! Your beautiful blue arrangement is glorious, thank you! Amanda

    • Cathy says:

      You are welcome Amanda – IAVOM has become such a friendly and supportive meme that has changed the way many of us think about our gardens and picking from it, and it is a privilege to host it

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