In a Vase on Monday: the Old and the New

Last year I grew some ‘everlasting’ flower from seed for the first time: helichrysum, limonium (statice) and gomphrena. I hadn’t realised until they bloomed that gomphrena was a tactile everlasting flower too and although germination was patchy and I will be growing both it and the others again this year. I had no success, however, with helipterum which has a daisy type flower similar to helichrysum.

I was especially delighted with Helichrysum ‘Bright Rose’ which flowered continuously from June till well into the autumn, with buds remaining on a stray plant until after Christmas. These buds opened immediately they were brought into the house and placed in winter and have retained their shape well, unlike most of those in today’s vase – I learned early on that if they were picked when blooming was far advanced the centres would just disintegrate into a  mass of seeds, and these are probably in an in-between stage. Cutting them whilst still in bud seems to be the best way to go but I would welcome further advice. There was no such going-to-seed issue with the statice I have used, Limonium ‘Rose Light’ and L Purple Attraction’, but sadly L ‘Rat Tail Pink Poker’ did not thrive at all and there were no blooms.

The ‘new’ contents of the vase are stems of twisted hazel Corylus avellana ‘Contorta‘ with their fresh catkin tassels and the vase itself, although similar to last week’s Caithness Glass, is slimmer and with purple rather than pink detailing. The prop is a 2019 diary, in which I aim to record what I have been doing in the garden along with weather and details of what is emerging or blooming. It was a post from Joanna of Edinburgh Garden Diary that prompted me to start this; having been meaning for ages to record the first blooming of, for example, witch hazels and snowdrops, but never remembering until dates were forgotten, the start of a new year was a good time to get into the habit. I dithered over choosing a diary that felt ‘right’ and although happy with this one which is a week to view I am unsure as to whether I would rather have a page a day or even a 5 year diary like the one I see Avon Bulbs are offering; at least I have made a start, and it is not too late to change to one of these formats if I feel that is the preferable way forward for me.

The vase was photographed yesterday in the sitooterie – it was quite a grey day with a little light drizzle and temperatures not dropping below 10°C from morning till night, so the sitooterie was a dry and tolerably light location with an uncomplicated background. It would certainly have been too dark in the house itself and  I hope those of you posting a vase today can find a suitable location for your photographs. Pickings may be lean in the winter months in the northern hemisphere but there can be many options other than fresh blooms – so think creatively!  Please leave links to and from this post so that we can see what you have come up with.

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52 Responses to In a Vase on Monday: the Old and the New

  1. croftgarden says:

    Lovely bright colours to brighten a January morning.

  2. Noelle says:

    The colours have held up well during the drying process. Keeping a diary with observations a good idea too.

  3. Beautiful flowers and it they preserved beautifully. I got a diary from the Royal Horticultural Society that I just love, and looking back at the last season, it is great to remember all the things I did in our little garden 🙂

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks, it is the first time I have preserved things other than poppy seedheads and sedum bloom, and I always had IAVOM in mind when I grew the statice and helichrysum

  4. Amanda says:

    Pretty colours to cheer a grey day Cathy! Funny you should mention keeping a garden diary – I was reading Joanna’s post about her diary for 2018 only last night and thought that it was really a lovely idea. My garden is not yielding much at the moment, so I have resorted to the hedgerows this week! Amanda

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Amanda. I only intend to keep brief notes in mine, because I know from experience I would just get involved in the joy of words otherwise – but early in the year is the time to start before you think it’s too late to be worthwhile!

  5. Chloris says:

    it is great fun to grow flowers for drying and they don’t take up too much room. Your arrangement is lovely and colourful. A pretty vase too.
    It is a great idea to keep a garden journal, I have been doing it for years but my handwriting is so appalling, I wish I could do wonderful calligraphy and pretty sketches too.
    My vase is here:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Chloris – I must look out more varieties. How did you get on with helipterum last year? I nearly showed a page from the diary, but thought better of it. Mind you,I wouldn’t have the patience for calligraphy (my words come too fast – like Mr Darcy!) but a talent for pretty sketches would have been good… ps your links are often not quite right but I usually change them for you. You seem to be copying and pasting the wrong thing – it needs to be the complete address from the address bar

  6. Wow, I thought the flowers were fresh (Asters, ha) at first glance. They look amazing, my mother tried to grow Strawflowers for decades, to no avail. Interestingly, I have a different Helichryseum in my vase today. I keep a vegetable diary (sort of) although I need to record what I am doing with the flower seeds. Most direction involve a frost date and we have none.Or I will never figure it out.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Amy – there will be no asters at all this season so you won’t be fooled again! 🙂 I do keep a record of sowing/germination (and sometimes flowering but that tends to tail off as the garden gets even busier!) already which has proved really useful. The helichrysum were completely trouble free to grow – perhaps I will pick some with longer stems this time?

      • Yes, I find myself wondering what bloomed when and the blog is a great reference in that regard. I am not prone to keeping notes. We need a vaser in China for Asters!

  7. Those flowers have really retained their colors. Amazing! I use index cards for a few things that I keep track of each year like the first snowdrops, when the ducks arrive, when the pond freezes in the winter and when it thaws in the spring. For other things I’ve been keeping garden journals for many years. If you are interested, you can click on “journals” on my blog contents page to read a number of entries on that subject. My vase today is here:

    • Cathy says:

      Oh thanks for that, Linda, I will take a look – one of my issues was not knowing what sort of format I wanted. I may still do a chart of flowering times of major things like witch azels and snowdrops, and the first rose perhaps

  8. Christina says:

    You’re right that a little brightness from the everlasting flowers is a real lift in the dark days of winter. I didn’t grow any this year but still have the arrangement I did last Christmas 2017. I had intended posting that today but really it is old and I’m very bored with it so I will have to wait until I have something pretty to share.

    • Cathy says:

      For some reason Sunday when I prepare my vases was one of those especially grey days, so in hinsight it was indeed a bright and cheery choice! Hope you are still getting pleasure from your garden despite lack of anything pretty to share. Have you been affected by any of the severe continental weather?

  9. tonytomeo says:

    Helichrysum used to be a common cut flower crop where my Pa lived in Montara. I sort of miss them. Limonium was another cut flower crop down in Monterey County, where it escaped and naturalized in some spots.

  10. Peter Herpst says:

    A sweet combination of old and new. Keeping a garden diary is a great idea but I’m not disciplined enough to keep up with one. I cheated a bit today and gathered a few things that were already inside and at a local nursery to make a vase.

  11. Kris P says:

    I tried growing Helipterum last year myself (albeit not from seed) and was sad that it didn’t hold up well in my climate either. While I do grow a perennial form of Limonium, I’ve not tried any of the other straw flowers you’ve mentioned but will have to do so this year. The diary is a great idea but friends have bought several for me over the years and I’ve yet to make use of them. I suspect you’re better disciplined. Here’s my post on what I’m happy to report is a perfectly soggy morning in coastal Southern California:

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, discipline can be a useful trait, Kris – and it’s one of the reasons I only want to write brief notes in this. Good to hear you ahve had more rain – hurrah!

  12. The colours seem so vivid Cathy. My vase is all brown today, yes I am joining you today.

  13. Oh balmy summer breezes are drifting in with that vase Cathy – what vibrant colour. Helichrysum ‘Bright Rose’ certainly lives up to its name. I sowed the ‘Rat Tail Pink Poker’ for either the second or third time. It germinates but I can never get them past the seedling stage. I will try one last time this year. I read Joanna’s post and only wish I was diligent enough to keep a gardening diary. All attempts seem to fizzle out by late spring. I did have an Avon five year one at one point 🙂 I do have a undated garden journal though which serves as a memory jogger to some extent and in which I record snippets of interest to me. Still I could do better! You will no doubt guess what’s in my vase this week from the title :

  14. Alison C says:

    You were better organised than me and now you reap the reward. They look very colourful and cheerful. I will see if I can find out when it’s best to cut Helichrysum. I had some lovely Rat’s Tails/Pink Pokers last year until they were scorched. I would recommend trying again if you still have seed. I have two stems still, that I dried. About the only things I did dry. Here is my link:
    I must get better at keeping records. I think a diary is a good idea. I fear I am not organised enough to keep it up.

    • Cathy says:

      Hmm, perhaps I will if I have seed left but I know others have found them difficult too… I guess dried flowers could be useful for your business – and a record of sowing/flowering times too!

      • Alison C says:

        Floret says harvest Helichrysum when they are half open and before they are pollinated. She often says that so I suppose you have to stand over them and waft the bees away. 🙂 I hadn’t realised how popular dried flowers have become again so, yes , I will be growing more this year and drying them, I hope. Records are vital.

        • Cathy says:

          Thanks for that. Did imention that I left one plant standing as it still had a number of buds, but cut them rcently and they opened from bud in water? That way we can be sure they are not pollinated, I guess! I hadn’t even considered growing them before I saw some on other blogs and IAVOM a year or two ago

  15. I have tried with little success in the past, and admire your growing abilities!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Jayne – my confidence in raising plants from seed has grown in recent years, much of this due to spending more time and being more diligent with it

  16. Happy New Year 🙂 been MIA for a bit as work got in the way. These colours are so vibrant. I’ve grown helichrysum before but I had no idea you could dry them.
    I photograph when first snowdrops, daffodils etc come up – but I need to be a bit more organised about it. It’s one of the reasons I started a gardening blog to note what was going on each month – InAVoM definitely helps this. I’ve been closing off 2018 and planning 2019 – and I’ve got a new blog theme too :-)Here’s my three vases :
    lots love Bec 🙂

    • Cathy says:

      And of corse you don’t need to actually ‘dry’ them as they are already dry and papery. Although for me too the blog is a record of timings and things, I would still need to search posts at the appropriate time of year, so a journal will be alittle easier in that respect but from it I will probably chart of ‘firsts’ too. Glad to know that IAVOM helps you

  17. Annette says:

    Oh what a sight on a grey January day 😀 Great idea with the garden diary, I really should be doing it too as it’s so valuable. The challenge is to be disciplined and do it regularly, and when you write a lot anyway like I do it’s even more difficult. Happy January days, Cathy xx

    • Cathy says:

      That’s why I am only going to write brief notes, Annette, and continue to use the blog for wordy thoughts and observations. Happy times for you and Monsieur too

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