Ina Vase on Monday: Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory…

…of dahlias, that is. Hard to believe that it was only in 2013 that I tentatively dipped a toe into dahlia waters, only to have it nibbled off by earwigs. Things were not much better the following year until blogging friend Janet of Plantaliscious suggested dahlia tubers from Peter Nyssen, and from 2015 my summers and early autumns have been enlivened (nay! emboldened) by as many dahlias as I can cram into cutting beds and pots – and I haven’t seen an earwig since that first year (except perhaps occasionally in the bath). However, entering the kitchen with today’s blooms the Golfer shuddered, exclaiming “Ugh! Earwigs”, so the myth clearly continues, which is a shame – for us, for dahlias and for the poor earwigs who just go about their creepy-crawly business as they are fully entitled to do.

With this vase being taller than most of my efforts, thus making a blank background outside harder to arrange, I rigged up a spot in the back sitting room which was bathed in sunlight at the time of the planned photographs, propping a large picture up on this plant stand to drape the curtain over without cutting out any light. However, despite my efforts with this albeit successful improvisation when I came to upload the photos the results washed away all the colourful and jewel-like glories of these late-season dahlias and my eyes instead saw a faded pastel confection, which is a shame…for you, that is, as I have the real thing here. But I am generous, so on seeing the FPC I swooped on the original and whisked it outside for an impromptu second shoot in the usual location, sans drapes and thus avec mish mash background and Shock! Horror! avec a smidgen of me reflected in the mirror behind it… Alas, my cover is blown…

Now you can see how rich the colours really are, the colours of Nuit d’Etรฉ, Blyton Lady in Red, Dorothy Rose and Glow, popped into this 50 pence car boot jug which turned out to be made by Denby despite being bought purely for its size and blueness (and cheapness). Even the fern, Asplenium scolopendrium, looks brighter and the wonderful little caterpillars of spores (botanists will tell us they are ‘sori’, clusters of spores) are, well, wonderfuller. This more realistic version doesn’t require a prop, but the original photo needed a miniature crate of wine (grapes of wrath…get it?), normally a humble fridge magnet, to enliven the subdued atmosphere.

How much brighter life can be if we are able and motivated to spend time outside in natural light, a philosophy those of us who are gardeners adhere to without necessarily being conscious of the benefits. Those of us who are also in the habit of finding something from our gardens or foraged locally to pop into a vase on Monday know of the unexpected and deep-seated benefits of doing so – perhaps IAVOM should be prescribed on the NHS…? If you would like to explore these benefits for yourself please join in and share your vase with us by leaving links to and from this post.

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69 Responses to Ina Vase on Monday: Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory…

  1. I don’t think I’d spot you in a crowd Cathy!
    Lovely bright blooms – having seen so many gorgeous dahlias this year I’m tempted to dip my toe in next year. Any idea why the Nyssen dahlias do not attract earwigs?

    • Cathy says:

      Haha – no, I am too short for that, Sandra ๐Ÿคฃ Had not intended to imply that that PN dahlias were earwig free, just that they were better tubers – I was probably just unlucky with earwigs the first time. And digging them up is not as onerous as one might think, especially if you have only a few – do try them

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  3. Your dahlias are beautiful and that fern is most unique. I’ve never seen one like that with its caterpillar spores all hanging out on the backside.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Cindy – it’s a very common fern in the UK but I suppose we don’t always look at the underside of leaves, especially as the fronts of these are so glossy and green

  4. Alison C says:

    Gorgeous and so vibrant ( I know they are IRL). Funny how everyone loves them now, I wonder what will be the next revival. I often find myself looking at websites and making lists for next year! Do you dig yours up for the winter? Thanks for encouranging us to enjoy our gardens in a different way. Here is m link:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Alisob – they have such a long season which is always a good trait. I do lift mine and although at first the thought of it was off-putting it isn’t really very onerous and just becomes another seasonal task

      • Alison C says:

        I dig up mine too and find they do better that way. I only left one in last year as it was huge. It hasn’t done well so it’s coming out to be divided this autumn.

  5. Oh my, i Love dahlias as you may remember but this fern is so interesting. Iโ€™ve never seen anything like it. I really love the jewel tones of your dahlias. Just trying to stretch that summer palette a bit more into fall. Today Iโ€™m sharing dahlias tooโ€” the last ones officially. To my surprise these three blooms survived the first frost and I was surprised when I found them!

    Thank you for always being a gracious host, Cathy!

    • Cathy says:

      You are welcome, Angie, and I am sorry to hear about your first frost – although admittedly there is a tiny bit of me that looks forward to cutting mine down and lifting the tubers for winter…the urge to tidy the garden I suppose, even though the dahluas are mostly still wonderful ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. Noelle says:

    What’s not to like about those Dahlias? And I know the jug will be used over and over. Perseverance has many gardeners achieving wonderful results…I use it to help me achieve my goals too in life…here is my contribution this week:

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, there is such variety of styles and colours that there surely must be something for everyone. In these ‘instant’ times, I suspect perseverance is an underrated virtue, so well done for sticking with it!

  7. Lovely Dahlias! Believe it or not, I planted some tubers last year about this time and they have come up for the third time. Never flowered, they just sprout leaves, guess I need to look for earwigs. The spores are really interesting. Here is my vase

  8. Heyjude says:

    I HAVE seen earwigs in my garden and I haven’t got Dahlias! Perhaps best for me to simply admire those in other people’s gardens. The S&S get enough to eat already.

  9. Joanna says:

    The colors of those dahlias are so brilliant! I too, prefer photographing in natural light, as indoors rarely does the flowers justice.
    I still have a few brave flowers to gather yet…

    • Cathy says:

      I am sure a better photagrapher than me could make appropriate adjustments – but where possible I will always take my IAVOM photos outside

  10. Elizabeth says:

    Hi Cathy, your dahlia’s are gorgeous but, as my first attempts were so abysmal, I’ve yet to be persuaded to try growing them again. It wasn’t earwigs that were the problem for me – that would have been bad enough – no, it was poor performance. I do love them though and may try again another time. The texture of the asplenium is fabulous – it looks rather other-wordly, I think, and sori is a lovely word to describe the clusters of spores too. Here is my vase for this week:

    • Cathy says:

      Some of my dahlias in the cutting bed care actually in big pots (perhaps 12″?) so perhaps that might be worth trying – but a quality tuber will invariably be better than anything that might have been lingering in a packet in a garden dentre for months

  11. Ali says:

    That is a beautiful vase of dahlias! I havenโ€™t ever had earwigs in this garden, where I grow dahlias in a raised bed, but did in my old one, where they were in the ground.

  12. pbmgarden says:

    I also wouldn’t recognize you in a crowd from this photo Cathy! The natural light gave us a clearer glimpse of these beautiful dahlias so the second photo shoot was worth it. I skipped planting any this year so appreciate yours all the more. The vibrant container enhances the blooms.
    Thanks for hosting!

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  14. Cathy says:

    I am so glad you have discovered dahlias Cathy! They are beautiful in your blue vase, and I did enjoy reading about the photgraphy endeavours. We have so many earwigs this year, but not a dahlia in sight! I have never had much luck with dahlias and am far too lazy to choose a plant that needs digging out and storing over winter! I have a recycled vase this week, and how I do agree with you on the effect flowers can have on our feeling of wellbeing!
    Thanks as always Cathy. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Cathy – I used to think digging them up would be a faff, but now it is just an autumnal rite of passage ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  16. Sam says:

    Hi Cathy, no earwigs here or dahlias! The colours of yours are glorious. I’m very happy to be joining you this week, thank you:
    Sam x

  17. Peter Herpst says:

    Glorious dahlias indeed. So THAT’S where the grapes of wrath are stored. I always wondered. Congratulations on you stunning success with dahlias. I was lazy this week and used things that were already indoors.

  18. Pingback: In a vase on Monday – it feels like autumn even if it doesn’t look like it – Creating my own garden of the Hesperides

  19. Christina says:

    Gorgeous rich colours; I do so agree with you about Dahlias, they have been a complete revelation. Even most of the very cheap tubers I can buy locally reward with so many huge blooms each year. I do intend ordering a few special varieties from the UK next spring but I will find it very difficult to decide which to choose! My vases today are yet again Dahlias and Zinnias but I’m not complaining. I’m happy to have found the tome today to post the vases. I hope to read all the other posts a bit later in the week.

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, apart from some mislabelling you have done well with your local buys. I will probably add 2 or 3 more varieties next year but dahlia space is becoming limited! I have a change of plan for zinnias and sweet peas though…

  20. Kris P says:

    Light does make a huge difference. I’m glad you found the right amount of it to make your beautiful dahlias shine. Dahlia-growing has made a big difference for me too – in the past, I’d have resorted to succulent cuttings to fill my vase by now. As to earwigs, they are the most disgusting creatures, aren’t they? I haven’t yet found them among my dahlias yet but my memory of them crawling out of an artichoke I’d just cut now has me carrying a bucket of soapy water whenever I harvest any of those. Here’s my post, a featuring dahlias:

    • Cathy says:

      I am not especially bothered about earwigs and in hindsight it was just as likely to have been slugs or snails that had my first efforts – and they all have to eat, I guess… There’s certainly plenty of dahlia foliage to go round for all of us now ๐Ÿ˜‰

  21. Cathy your vase is magnificent. The Dahlias are divine I like them very much, they are beautiful. His colors are wonderful. I like the Fern a lot, I’ve never seen one so beautiful. The detail of the fridge magnet with the wine bottle box is lovely. You are absolutely right there is nothing like natural light and we look for it: even with cold if there is sun, I wrap well and go out to take it to the garden until I go to Madrid. The three tubers of Dahlia that I planted this year two have given only leaves and one has given two buds in mid-September and only one cocoon is opening since then, but it is coming on Wednesday a cold and safe front that goes at night Frost has fallen. In the end things that happen. Have a happy week. Greetings from Margarita.

  22. I’m glad you took your vase outside because the color difference is amazing. I thought your first picture was quite beautiful until I saw the true colors in natural light. Lovely.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Linda – it brought it home to me just what a difference it makes, as I thought the light levels in the room would have been fine

  23. rickii says:

    I confess to admiring mostly the drapery in the first photo (thanks for telling how you did it). Since the flowers are meant to be the stars, it’s good that you took them outside for a clearer picture of their dynamic colors.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks rickii – I have a lot of bits and bobs inside and am a fan of (small) patterned wallpaper, so finding a plainish background inside is hard enough anyway

  24. smallsunnygarden says:

    Those really are glorious colours, Cathy – thanks for posting both photos AND the close-up of the fern leaf with those velvety sori. I wonder how often we do actually look at the backs of leaves! ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I tried a few dahlias when gardening in the Midwest but was always hampered by the lack of a cool, frost-free place to store the tubers. Must they be kept above freezing in storage?
    My vase is a simple threesome and was mostly about the smallest of them all, little Salvia reptans; but then a rose slipped in again… as they do!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Amy – and I wonder why this fern produces spores in this fashion, unlike others? There must be a good biological reason, I am sure! And yes, the tubers need to be kept above freezing

  25. tonytomeo says:

    Ceux qui sont beaux!

  26. Your Dahlias are gorgeous, such wonderful colours. Photographing vases is such a struggle sometimes, trying to get the right light, I always end up back out doors trying to get a clean and neutral back ground as the light in my house is so bad.

    This week I’ve gone for all those lovely Asters in ful flower here in my Scottish garden.

  27. Amanda says:

    Those colours are enough to knock your socks off! They are fantastic! I had a couple of dahlias in my Monday vase. One tiny little single one, which is the plant’s last gasp this year, and a big shaggy tangerine coloured one which I have absolutely no recollection of planting! Anyway, yours are a joy! Thank you.

  28. You must be so glad that you persevered with dahlias Cathy. I remember you past tales of woe ๐Ÿ™‚ That car boot sale find of a vase is a gem and oh what a bargain!

  29. karen says:

    Beautiful, Cathy. Iโ€™ve got flower pots stuffed with straw on top of all my support canes . Each morning I tip the contents in the daylily bed where the earwigs can chase the vine weevils. They are the sharks of the horticultural world and kill all kinds of pests for us, especially vine weevils. Sorry no vase in this week from me. Iโ€™m just catching up. Again x

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