In a Vase on Monday: Calming Ciara With Zen

The UK has been having a battering from Storm Ciara, with high winds and, at times, torrential rain, causing all sorts of damage and localised flash flooding (and worse, I hear later, having written the post on Sunday). Our garden is relatively sheltered, unless the wind comes from the north, and damage has fortunately been minimal, involving the loss of twiggy growth from some trees and a couple of artefacts blown from their moorings. We are fortunate, I know – not just because we have escaped anything major, but also, as several people have already said to me, that it was not yesterday that we were opening the garden!

Unlike some, I like hearing the wind, especially in the trees, and there is something magnificent about the power of this force of nature – but hearing it from inside the warmth and comfort of the house is one thing, having to be out in it is another, even in the relative security of a vehicle, and that force then feels anything but benign. As my vase is prepared on a Sunday, there was a point when I thought a pot of crocus or iris might have to act as a stand-in, but the torrential rain didn’t last long and the afternoon dried up as the 40 and 50mph gusts weakened, so not only was I able to cut the planned material but also to photograph it outside.

Flowers at this time of year are precious and some I am reluctant to cut, but the bright pink blooms of Japanese apricot Prunus mume ‘Beni-chidori’ had just begun opening and there were at least a couple of wayward sprigs that wouldn’t be missed so it was an easy decision. Suiting a minimal arrangement, I had my tiny blue rectangular ikebana vase in mind for them, but even that seemed too big so instead I took the black cap of an aerosol spray and cut it down to a little over an inch in height and popped a metal pin frog inside, adding a little moss once the stems were inserted to hide the gubbins inside.

So many of my Monday vase props seem to be spontaneous and serendipitous, and today was no exception – a tiny Zen garden, a gift from Elder Daughter some years ago and certainly pre-dating this blog and IAVOM so I am surprised I have not used it before. A mere 4 x 3″ in size, it was the ideal partner for Benny not only in terms of its Japanese origins but also as the perfect calming antidote to the storminess of Ciara from which the bloom was plucked.

It would not surprise me if UK Monday vases were small in number today, but I know how much they mean to a lot of people and I am sure every effort will be made to post at least something, even if it is just salvaging some storm-damaged plant and popping it into a jam jar. Do share what you can, when you can, by leaving the usual links.

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39 Responses to In a Vase on Monday: Calming Ciara With Zen

  1. the running wave says:

    What an inspired idea Cathy – to use an aerosol lid for your vase! And what delightful contents – those blossoms are perfection. So lovely to see on such a miserable day as this. We have sleet and rain lashing against our windows in the latest pulse to zoom across the skies towards us. I am looking forward to seeing everyone else’s vases today, as a happy diversion from what’s going on outside. Your lovely vase has been a brilliant start! Thank you. Amanda

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Amanda – it’s good when ideas just pop into my head, like the canister lid! I gather Scotland is having a tough time of it today but perhaps Ciara has weakened somewhat by the time she gets to your side of the country – hope your garden survives relatively unscathed

  2. Alison C says:

    How pretty, let’s hope it does the trick! That is very inventive to use a cap but is perfect. They will be very cheering in this weather. Bit of a battering here but no real damage (so far) I don’t think. But I really don’t like it. A bit of indoor Zen gardening is just right for today. Here is my link:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Alison – your part of the country has been knocked about again today and I hope you get through that OK too. I am enjoying my Zen garden today instead of the one outside!

  3. Chloris says:

    This Japanese Apricot is a fabulous tree. I’d like lots of them all over the garden. I love your Japanese theme today Cathy. Here is mine.

    • Cathy says:

      I quite agree Chloris – and I had forgotten about ‘the flight of red plovers’ name but mustn’t do so in the future because it conjures up such a lovely image.

  4. Braving the elements and vase engineering! with beautiful results. I love the little Zen garden, I had a gravel area similar to that and the weeds were not very zen! Florida can be fairly windy – after a couple of days it starts to get on my nerves. It is blowing 15-20 mph for the next couple of days. Glad you are faring well with Ciara. Here is my vase

  5. Your arrangement for today is lovely, Cathy. The pink blossoms are a sign of what’s to come, after Ciara has done her worst, of course. And I love Elder Daughter’s gift – it’s as if she foresaw IAVOM. Sadly, I have had nothing to offer for several weeks and today is no different. A virus, and it’s aftermath, has stopped me in my tracks so my husband has been keeping me cheered with bouquets of bought flowers instead – today’s is a gorgeous bunch of tulips. I’ll be back just as soon as I’m able but, in the meantime, I’ll keep popping in to see what you’ve found to put in a vase every Monday.

    • Cathy says:

      Oh it’s good to hear from you Elizabeth – I had been thinking about you recently, aware that you had not posted a vase for a long time. Sorry to hear about the virus – there has been a nasty one going around here too, affecting people in different ways. Good to know that you have still been popping in for a peek at our vases

  6. Heyjude says:

    The tiny Zen garden is so cute! And the pink so pretty. Wilder than ever here today, not one to be out in. I keep checking on my pots from the conservatory and so far, touch wood, there are none MIA. I feel sorry for all those people who have suffered from flooding and power failures.

    • Cathy says:

      Isn’t it just! I heard the SW is having another battering today, as well as Scotland – hope you continue to survive unscathed. We have got off kightly I think in the Midland, athough today we did have a snow shower which was not expected!

  7. Kris Peterson says:

    Your apricot stems are lovely. I heard about that storm – it sounded ferocious! Are you getting powerful storms more often of late do you think, or am I simply hearing of them more often because they’re now named? We had a much tamer storm come through here although I still managed to get myself somewhat soaked collecting flowers yesterday; however, wind was more of the problem than rain, which we’re low on this year. Here’s my post:

    • Cathy says:

      I think we possibly hear about them more, Kris. I have only had this prunus for a year and I am so pleased I managed to make space for it, as it is looking glorious – and blooms in February will always be welcome! I am pleased to hear you got some more rain 🙂

  8. pbmgarden says:

    Cathy, glad you’ve been able to quell the storm with your beautiful branches of ‘Beni-chidori’ and zen garden. Great combination. I’m starting see flowering trees opening up around town. Daffodils for me today:

  9. Noelle says:

    Its the worst weather we have had since moving here, and the large oak tree is swaying around. It sounds like a raging sea out there. Focussing on the an arrangement and reading your post with the most beautiful of flowering apricot brings peace and calm. Just had to get out for a few minutes to get a little vase sorted:

    • Cathy says:

      It must be scary with a large tree near you, Noelle – the Midlands has been free from wind today, unlike the SW and Scotland. We had some blue sky today – but also a snow shower! Hope things quieten down for you by tomorrow and I’m glad IAVOM brought a little respite

  10. tonytomeo says:

    How delightful! Even though they are more popular there than here, Flowering apricots seem to me to be more associated with the culture of the Santa Clara Valley. Of course, all but a few of the apricot trees I grew up with produced apricots out in the orchards. The few flowering sorts were in home gardens in Japantown in San Jose, around San Jose City Hall, and in the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden. I do not remember the cultivar of the most popular sort. It might have been the only cultivar here.

  11. Anna says:

    An indoor Zen garden has appeal on a day like this Cathy. What an ingenious vase and beautiful blossoms within. I did not get my act together to come up with a vase this week. It was way to wild to venture out yesterday and plans to pick a few flowers this afternoon were sabotaged by darkening skies and a rather dramatic hailstorm. I thought it wise to stay under cover.

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, they really are beautuful, and it has been a pleasure watching the buds gradually swell. I am not surprised you didn’t venture out today – did you get some sunshine inbetween the hailstorms? We actually had a sprinkling of snow instead of hail here!

  12. Eliza Waters says:

    Glad you weathered the storm with little damage, Cathy. Your blossoms are quite lovely!

  13. Very pretty cuttings. I’m glad you aren’t too affected by the storm/winds. Some bloggers seem to have experienced quite a bit of damage.

  14. smallsunnygarden says:

    This is so delightful! I love your creativity with the “vase”, and the tiny zen garden is indeed the perfect accompaniment. Very happy to hear you escaped much storm damage!

  15. Anna | Yes, Little Hummingbird? says:

    I had a friend lose two of their solar panels to the storm. Thankfully they have city utility as backup. But eesh. Glad y’all’re fairing much better- and you have some gorgeous flowers.

  16. Brian Skeys says:

    The blossom is a lovely colour. Ikebana is a beautiful form of flower arranging.

  17. Cathy says:

    I should have looked at this on Monday to calm me when the storm was raging here! No damage to the garden except for a bit of fence squashed by a huge pine tree from the woods. Your blossom is lovely and gives me hope that spring must be on the way!

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