It could so easily have been in-your-face brights in my Vase on Monday today as the dahlias are shouting out to be picked; however, they will be there for many more weeks whereas the clarkia that triggered the final choice will not.
This is the first year I have successfully grown clarkia since I was a young teenager (will leave you to work out how many years ago that was) when it was one of my regular choices from the limited range available back then, along with mesembryanthemum and clary sage. The pack of ‘Double Mixed’ seeds produced healthy stocky seedlings that were planted out less than 8 weeks after sowing and have made a lovely clump in the cutting beds; a second sowing has recently been planted out to fill a gap where oriental poppies have been cut back. Although mixed, they seem to be flowering in only two shades, magenta and salmony-pink, and as the flowers open from the bottom upwards the lengthy flower spikes told a tale of two halves, so in the end I nipped the not-yet-flowering ends from some of the chosen spikes to reduce the height of the potential vase.
Joining the clarkia are Dahlia Happy Single Juliet’, clary sage ‘Pink Sundae’, Cosmos ‘Double Click Cranberry’, Helichrysum ‘Silvery Rose’ and dangly Amaranthus caudatus. The latter has not grown as tall as usual this year nor are the dangly bits as long and dangly, but I will check my seed source when I come to plan seeds for next year as they may be from an elderly packet. All except the dahlia are seed sown and all are picked from the cutting beds which are now fully productive and looking glorious. Just gazing at the abundance and colour will forever remain one of the unexpected benefits of dedicated cutting beds which are to be highly recommended, however small they might be.
The clarkia were a little droopy when first picked but seem to have picked up again, thankfully; however, looking at the vase now I can see there is somewhat of a gap on the left, perhaps where one of the amaranthus stems has drooped, so I will tweak it in due course for my own satisfaction but you will have to put up with it as it is in the photographs! The blooms were popped into a simple white vase proclaiming their origin, ‘handpicked with love’, whereas the vase itself was given to me, no doubt with a degree of affection, by dear blogging friend Anna. The props are a Caithness Glass perfume bottle and a single head of last year’s Helichrysum ‘Bright Rose’ which has been sitting on a shelf in the kitchen since last year, as bright and rosy as ever and just as pretty.
I know some of you are too busy in your gardens to post a vase of blooms or other material, or are suffering along with your gardens in the enervating heat prevalent in some parts of the world this July, but if you are able to pop only a single bloom in a vase please try to do so, even if just for your own pleasure. If you do then have time to add it to your blog and link it to and from this post so we can share your pleasure, then so much the better.