In a Vase on Monday: On a Slow Gravy Boat to China

Without a clear plan in mind, I cut a few stems from Echinops bannaticus ‘Blue Glow’, just beginning to colour up, before moving onto the cutting beds where I was drawn to white-bloomed Dahlia ‘Twyning’s After Eight’ from where a vague plan began to take shape.

Staying with a solely blue and white palette, these two were joined by blue and white cornflower, Cosmos ‘Double Click Snow Puff’, Ammi visnaga, Clematis heraclifolia ‘New Love’ and rogueish Japanese anemone. Not only have all the cosmos suddenly shot up in height, despite flowering since June but on fairly stunted plants, but both ‘Snow Puff’ and ‘Double Click Cranberry’ are producing more double flowers, instead of their earlier singles. I haven’t grown any ammi for a few years due to previous mixed success, and this year’s A visnaga is still struggling to flower and certainly would have looked better in the vase if it was more white than green. This year I have tried hard to deadhead the cornflowers to keep them flowering, with some success, but like many people I find them ungainly and straggly – how can we keep them more compact?

When thinking about a vase for these assorted blooms, I checked my random blue and white china pieces for a possible contender but when first picked the stems were a decent length and

there was nothing tall enough for them; by then, however, my mind was doing its usual thing and coming up with props and titles so the stems were duly cut down to fit in this china gravy boat (is this just a UK term?). The props were 3 little Chinese sampans made of shells, bought from a ‘Chinese shop’ in the late 70s, a shop no doubt filled with stuff in the Chinese ‘style’ and produced purely for an export market.

Rarely coming up with a vase wider than it is tall as there are no vases of that shape in my Vase Wardrobe, this gravy boat was an interesting diversion from my typical vases. The chunkier stems of the echinops, ammi and herbaceous clematis were affixed in a metal frog in the base of the vase and the lighter ones gently inserted between them, and although in hindsight the ammi could have been cut shorter to hide the airy gap in the centre, it will still bring me pleasure for much of the week. Could you take a few minutes to pick something from your garden to pop in a vase and bring you pleasure at the start of the week? If you would like to share it with us too then please add links to and from this post.

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54 Responses to In a Vase on Monday: On a Slow Gravy Boat to China

  1. Prue Batten says:

    Love the flowers but love the little boats even more!

  2. jenanita01 says:

    Lovely selection, those blue cornflowers really sing!

  3. Noelle says:

    Again an amusing title, and great range of blooms. I’ve been deadheading cornflowers, and have been getting a little bored as I have a long row. Maybe the trick is to have only two or three plants, and plant for succession, just pulling the whole plant when it is past its first flush. Here is this week’s IAVOM

  4. the running wave says:

    Love the ammi! I have grown it before in my last garden, but this year seedlings took forever to appear and grow, and then the plants haven’t amounted to anything much. Well, nothing at all actually! Isn’t the blue of the cornflower just glorious! A lovely collection Cathy! I photographed my vase outside yesterday in the hope that the light would be better, but it has been so grey and rainy that it didn’t work so well in the end, but here it is anyway! Amanda

    • Cathy says:

      When I have grown ammi, I do find A visnaga more successful than A Majus, but this time it really is slow to bloom and I don’t think I will bother again. I have something wild that pops up in the garden which I will use instead in future, I think!

  5. Pingback: In a Vase on a Monday: Velvet and Lace / Montagsvase: Samt und Spitze – Annettes Garten / Annette's Garden

  6. Annette says:

    Your lovely meme and your creations always bring a smile to my face, Cathy, and today I’d like to hop on that beautiful boat of yours and let the wind take me away! Echinops is a fab plant which doesn’t need any water and is such a bee magnet. I shall plant lots more! Have you ever tried the dwarf cornflower “Dwarf blue midget”? It may be less straggly but as for untidy, I think that’s just how they are. Here’s my humble contribution: Very pleased to be able to offer something today πŸ˜€ Have a great week! PS: I must add we had some rain…this might explain my boosted energy! πŸ˜‰

    • Cathy says:

      Good to think of you smiling, Annette, after your troubled summer πŸ™‚ I haven’t come across a dwarf cornflower before and will seek it out – thank you

    • Cath Moore says:

      I had difficulty commenting on your page but would like to say: incredibly beautiful display of dahlia and Queen Anne;s Lace…..just perfect for each other!

  7. Yes, we call them gravy boats here too! Yours is perfect with the blue and white flowers. Your Ammi reminded me of our Queen Anne’s lace – and when I looked it up they are both in the carrot family. Is Ammi a cultivated plant, though? I have a group of mainly native perennials this week:

    • Cathy says:

      Interesting to hear they are gravy boats to you too, Chris – the title would be less appropriate otherwise. Yes, there are cultivated varieties of both Daucus carota and ammi readily available as seed, certainly in the UK

  8. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday: Mixed Vase – August 12, 2019 | Chasing the Blooms

  9. jacqueline says:

    Coucou Cahy
    A nice fresh bouquet in an old container that is in harmony with colors;
    Good journey

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks for your kind words, Jacqueline – although I had to google ‘coucou’ and was told it meant ‘hello’ – is that a new form of greeting in France?

  10. A beautiful arrangement, Cathy. The blue and white flowers look perfect in the gravy boat – an unusual but successful choice. I’m chuckling at the idea of having a ‘Vase Wardrobe’ – must remember to use the term next time hubby complains about how my collection is taking over the dining room cupboard. You will see that your arrangement is so much more subtle and classy than mine this week. Don’t be too shocked – here’s the link:

    • Cathy says:

      Aw, thanks Elizabeth! The vase wardrobe is actually a wardrobe (strictly speaking a vase and jigsaw wardrobe!), as we have a downstairs bedroom which rarely gets slept in except when I am on Grannie duty (starts again this week, but two of them this time…); it is a half restored vintage one and is a useful space for vases but for use as such rather than just as decorative pieces. As for your dining room cupboard, if there is space for your vases there then why not? πŸ˜‰ I promise I will try not to be shocked when I see your contribution today…

  11. bcparkison says:

    So nice. Blue and white with a pop of green couldn’t be any better. Refreshing.

  12. I have a couple of blue and white gravy boats, so I love them. We call them gravy boats as well, but I have no idea why. My husband is a huge gravy fan, so I have used them frequently. Not sure as a vase, though! Love your Chinese shell boats. I tried growing Batchelors Button last year and they didn’t even come up. Oh well. They may still be out there. I found some Zinnias yesterday I planted seeds months ago. Here is my vase

  13. Kris P says:

    Blue and white is the perfect color scheme to offset the heat of summer. I love the bright blue cornflowers but have never tried growing them. The gravy boat (we use that term in the US as well) makes a great vase. I’ve got a couple of new flowers this weeks but dahlias still command the stage:

  14. pbmgarden says:

    The gravy boat is beautiful in and of itself and perfect for the flowers you assembled today. Happy to rejoin you this week albeit with a quick post. Thanks so much for hosting!

  15. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday: Silvery Charm | Words and Herbs

  16. Cathy says:

    I do love the blue and white theme, and of course your clever use of props once again! Cornflowers are one of my favourite flowers, but I don’t grow them precisely because of their untidy growth. I saw that Chiltern Seeds has many different types, although the dwarf variety might be a bit short for a vase. The shape of your arrangement is also lovely. It is odd that we call them gravy boats isn’t it! I have a vase today: Thank you Cathy and have a good week!

  17. Pingback: In a vase on Monday – A pair of Queens | Duver Diary

  18. jenhumm116 says:

    I love Echinops and have been trying to get a plant established for ages – partly because I’d love to have it for cutting. What an elegant ‘slow boat’ with spiky Echinops accents!
    Here’s mine – back to pink again….

    • Cathy says:

      I recently dug out a root of one of mine that had been left behind when I changed its location; if it takes I could always bring it with us when we visit?

  19. Perfect. The arrangement is lovely, and I’ve always enjoyed that cornflower blue.

  20. you have a ‘vase wardrobe’! I love that. A wonderful collection of blooms.

  21. Tracy Perez says:

    I grew up in Maine, USA . We call them gravy boats too.

  22. Loving the blue and white theme – esp the cornflower, dahlia, cosmos combination – love the gravy boat – vases really can be anything – So sorry I’ve been missing in action – things mostly good/ridiculous busy – but arthritis is a pain in more ways than one.
    Hope all is well with you and the family Cathy
    Love Bec πŸ™‚

    • Cathy says:

      I was checking my spam box and found your comment there, Bec – very unusual for a genuine comment to be spammed. So good to hear from you again – I was aware you had not contributed for some time and was hoping you were OK

  23. Sorry for the late comment Cathy but I just wanted to say that’s an absolutely beautiful vase of flowers. Do let me know if you find a shorter cornflower – even my Malvern munched by bunnies plants still needed much propping up.

  24. tonytomeo says:

    It took me a minute to recognize the white cornflower. That is pretty sharp. The whole composition is pretty sharp. I happen to be quite fond of both cornflower and Japanese anemone.

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