In a Vase on Monday: Needs Must

We went for a walk yesterday morning and I found some comfrey* flowering on our route so decided to pluck it for Monday’s vase along with some nearby arum leaves. Having already passed an escapee branch of mahonia on the verge, I went back later with secateurs and cut some of their blooms too. Despite the potential in the garden itself, it suddenly seemed appropriate to have a ‘needs must’  or ‘make do and mend’ vase, given the far from ideal circumstances we are all finding ourselves in.

Joining the hedgerow offerings is a stem of my own Hellebore ‘Anna’s Red’, a casualty of thoughtless scaffolders who plonked a scaffold pole in the Coop Corner without so much as a ‘by your leave’. Our neighbour is having some roofing work done and such is the odd arrangement of land ownership he had asked us in advance if it was OK for them to have access in the strip of land I call the Shady Courtyard: fine, that wouldn’t be a problem. I don’t think he realised that they would also want to put scaffolding at right angles to this – and it may be that the scaffolders did not realise the Coop Corner was not his land, despite being directly behind his house. Even so, when it was looking as pretty as it was last Saturday, I find it hard to believe that even a non-gardener would put a scaffolding pole in the middle of a flourishing spring border, flattening and breaking plants, without seeking some sort of guidance first. When we looked out of the window and saw a post just to the left of Anna’s Red we flew outside and insisted it was moved. By then, Corydalis ‘GP Baker’ was flattened, several stems of the hellebore broken and the scaffolding base dumped on top of a geranium. Rather than risk further damage I removed some of the at-risk plants, but will replace them now the scaffolders have left – they have not heard the last of it!

The vase contents sat in a small galvanised bucket of water for a number of hours (something that doesn’t always happen, despite the perceived wisdom) before any thought was given to a vase, and liking the chunky proportions I wondered if one of my Caithness Glass ‘Ebony’ vases would suit: as you can see, one did. I love the tactile shape of it but it is rare I would have contents suitable to grace its elegance. I am luck to have all eight vases from this range, art glass that looks more like pottery, bought for their ornamental value rather than for use as vases; there used to be factory shop near where my Mum lives, and they were probably all ‘seconds’. You can see a close-up the typical decoration below, along with that of the citrine crystal point (looking very much like an extracted tooth!) that serves as a prop. Citrine is reputed to promote well-being and abundance, something we might all need for these uncertain times and their associated shortages…

Even if there seems to be nothing in our garden, please look in the hedgerows or on the verges too – a wild flower, a budded twig, a leaf, even the tiniest offering popped into a vase or jar will bring you guaranteed pleasure, a spiritual and mental boost at a time when the world may seem to lie heavy on your shoulders. All being well, IAVOM will continue to be here every week to remind you of this, so do join us and, if you like, please leave links to and from your post so we can see what is helping you through your week.

* My mistake, it has been correctly identified by Amanda as green alkanet, a plant I have not heard of before but will definitely remember in the future, although the piercingly blue flowers and rough green leaves are not dissimilar to comfrey

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44 Responses to In a Vase on Monday: Needs Must

  1. Pingback: this week's bouquet – in my spare time

  2. jenanita01 says:

    Very resourceful, Cathy, and the results are beautiful…

  3. Your vase is so pretty made from flowers from a walk. We have nothing like that growing along roadsides at this time of year, except maybe in the deep South of the U.S. When you said you used comfrey in your arrangement, I had to look hard for it, since the comfrey I have in my garden looks so totally different than yours. I’m assuming your comfrey is the large varigated leaf?
    As for work men in a garden – they are never to be trusted. They never look where they put their equipment or large feet and care less about what they trample. Thoughtless creatures they are, which is the main reason why I never have any work done in my yard unless everything is dormant. I know in this case, you had not a choice, but I commiserate with your loss of flowers. Enough said about that.
    Joining in today after a long winter:

    • Cathy says:

      I have different comfrey too, but this is the one with the sriking blue flower amongst dense foliage. I am pleased you finally have something for a vase yourself, as no douby you will be too!

  4. Alison C says:

    I’m afraid builders and scaffolders have no idea! We had the same thing a year or two ago, in spite of moving some plants, others were squashed needlessly. I hope yours will survive to flower another day. It’s a beautiful little vase in an unusual shape. I’m sure the Mahonia smells lovely. Here is my vase:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Alison, ironically, the builder will be another neighbour, but I don’t think he was at home when the scaffolders came. The mahonia does smell lovely and I can see the attraction like this – but not of the plant itself!!

  5. Cathy says:

    Oh, builders are so thoughtless sometimes! I do hope you have been able to minimize the damage. Your vase is lovely with the foraged Mahonia as a focal point. The bees love our Mahonia, but it won‘t flower for a while yet. Here is my link:
    All the best Cathy! x

    • Cathy says:

      This mahonia was facing south, Cathy, so gets plenty of sun when it shines! I am pleased with its effect in the vase , although it does drop tiny yellow petals everywhere!

  6. I also had to squint to find the Comfrey, but there they are in the second photo, sparkling up like blue sapphires in a rough see of green and yellow. Beautiful! Spring has finally sprung in my garden! A welcome distraction from the real world.

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, its foliage is definitely like a rough sea – but how blue are those flowers? Lovely, aren’t they? Good to hear spring has arrrived for you

  7. Linda Casper says:

    An elegant arrangement. You are helping to keep are spirits up at this difficult time.

  8. I don’t know Comfrey- thank Chris for saying it’s the blue one! Elegant is the best description for the vase and flowers. I am glad you salvaged the Hellebore, the variety of varities continues to amaze me. The painters destroyed a bed of perennials when our house was painted a couple of years ago – stomped the plants to death, I thought they would come back, they didn’t. Then they were complaining about spiders in there. Wolf spiders, harmless but it didn’t bother me a bit. Here is my vase

  9. Noelle says:

    Even builders on one’s own property with clear instructions are seldom careful. The resultant arrangement is evidence of your artistry in the face of difficulties. We all need a bit of this at present. Here is my weekly effort plus description of this mornings walk:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks for your kind comments, Noelle – I do think of myself as resourceful, but it sounds lie quite a skill the way you describe it!! Good to read we are all getting out for walks!

  10. Heyjude says:

    Builders are the same all over it appears. Despite me moving all my pots under the shelter of a large table when I had the roofers in, they still managed to trample plants and place ladders and boards against my ferns. Luckily ferns bounce back. I’d have been spitting feathers at what those scaffolders did to your border. I went looking for wood anemones yesterday. Seems like I was too early. None to be seen and I looked up my post from last year to find it was April 23rd! So I am hoping they are still lying dormant. Lots of lovely fresh gorse flowers though. Not in a vase, but I’ll post some photos this week. We certainly do need some distractions!

    • Cathy says:

      The Golfe has just (literally!) alerted me to the fact there is another pole ON TOP of the ceramic sink with ferns in it in the shady courtyard – the sink is on a raised brick plinth but not a solid one so may not even be stable. But we shall ask for it to be removed regardless of that – it beggars belief, doesn’t it? If you wanted any wood anemones for your own garden, let me know, Jude – I have just checked on my blog and mine were not flowering at the end of March last year, probably at their peak a month later, so very different this year!

  11. Kris Peterson says:

    You did a beautiful job with your makeshift composition, Cathy. I’m angry on your behalf for the damage done to your beautiful hellebore and other plants. Some people are just thoughtless, or so focused on their own objectives they fail to factor in those of others. We’re seeing a lot of that here now as our community tries to maneuver through the challenges of “social distancing.”

    As always, thanks for hosting! Here’s my post:

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, blinkered is the word that came to mind!! Generally the communities here are doing what they can for each other although that isn’t always the case with stockpiling I believe!

  12. Hi Cathy, your experience with the builder is a fairly common one. They have a job to do so, I believe, plants are just collateral damage. If I sound bitter, it’s from experience. Your ‘needs must’ arrangement is beautiful and looks just right in your chosen vase. Nothing so ‘make do and mend’ from me this week, here is the link:

    • Cathy says:

      I am not blaming the builder though, just the scaffolders! Sounds as if many others have had a similar experience… What are your rays of sunshine today, I wonder?

  13. Anna says:

    Oh what attractive pickings from your constitutional Cathy. It is certainly a case of make do and mend at the moment. How absolutely infuriating the scaffolder’s thoughtlessness must have been especially when that area of planting was looking so pretty and giving you joy. All will recover in due course but not what you wanted or deserved! Grrrrrrrrr….
    Just daffies from me today over here :

    • Cathy says:

      Worse things happen, Anna, as we know!! Lots of daffodils in vases today, which is not surprising – and I have been admiring a lovely clump of daffs here that were planted many years ago and seem to be spreading. I must check out the variety, a nice pale yellow one

  14. the running wave says:

    This is my third attempt at leaving a comment today – the other two entries didn’t stick for some reason! Lovely vase, and such pretty colours. I am wondering if the comfrey is green alkanet? Same family, beautiful sapphire blue flower. It grows in abundance at Gosford House which is where some of the flowers in my vase came from this week. Amanda

    • Cathy says:

      Hi Amanda – for some reason there were half a dozen genuine comments in my spam yesterday, including all three of yours! I do check fairly often, even though it is very rare that genuine comments get caught, but had especially checked last night as I could see from other comments you had made that you had posted, and you are invariably the first to comment on mine – too late for me to reply last night as I had already been online longer than I intended! I had never heard of green alkanet before but I have checked it out and you are right – thanks you for the introduction and I will amend the post in dues course.

  15. Evening Cathy. I’m sharing some blues with you today.

  16. Oh that is so annoying! Those scaffolders need to take more care. I hope they get the work done swiftly so they clear off.
    Sorry to read but not surprised that NGS has told us all to close our doors or gates

    • Cathy says:

      Oh well, the scaffolders came and went on the same day and it is another neighbour who is doing the roofing – I don’t think he is aware of the placement of the scaffolding or the lack of communication but we shall ask him to take it up with the scaffolding company. I am pleased the decision has been made for the NGS openings. We would have cancelled ours as they are in the next 3 months but have 2 groups in July which might conceivably have gone ahead. At least we can chill and just assess where the garden is this summer (or autumn in your case) and make changes without any time pressures. Glad we got our opening done in Feb though!

  17. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday: gratitude | acoastalplot

  18. Sam says:

    Lovely hellebore. I don’t think builders even see plants… Here’s my vase this week: Thank you, as always, Cathy. x

  19. smallsunnygarden says:

    That’s dreadful about the builders. Sadly, I’ve come feel the same way even about landscape and yard care people, who really ought to have some respect for plants. Hope you got to everything in time; putting them in water was surely a good idea.
    I love the way that big Arum leaf sets off both the mahonia and hellebore flowers. Not to mention that gorgeous vase!
    And at last I have one of my own this week… from the garden, as spring has finally arrived (though with a welter of rain and mud, which I could do without!). Here is my offering for IaVoM:
    P.S. Though I often say thank you in my posts in a rather casual fashion, I do want you to know how refreshing it is to find IaVoM coming up each week in spite of all the turmoil just now. 🙂

    • Cathy says:

      Well, there are certainly bigger issues than damaged plants at the moment, Amy, but I was not best pleased! I am pleased that IAMOV seems to provide solace and continuity in troubled times, whether personal or global – it will certainly help me remember what day of the week it is over the next few months! Pleased to hear that spring has finally arrived for you 🙂

  20. tonytomeo says:

    OH, you grow Mahonia. Is it the common Mohonia aquifolium? That is my favorite because it is what grows wild north of here, and is the state flower of Oregon. There is not much at work. If I were to grow it at home again, it would be the straight species

    • Cathy says:

      No, I don’t Tony! I wouldn’t want it in my garden and find them ugly – these were on an escapee on the verge

      • tonytomeo says:

        Yes, they are an acquired taste. Most that I see about are quite ugly because they have been shorn, much like shorn Heavenly bamboo. They really need to be in the right situation to look good, and even when they do look good, they are not for everyone.

  21. The builders and especially if a neighbor sends them, put the scaffolding on the best plants. I know this from my own experience. And then you can’t find the Neighbor to tell him “how delicate his workers have been and the incalculable losses they have caused you not only monetarily if not in unique plant varieties that they have killed”. At most you get a “Sorry, you’ll find those same plants again.” I know what humor you find. Your bouquet of flowers found on your walk in wonderful, I especially love mahonia and comfrey. It’s vase is divine. And the lovely citrine crystal accompaniment (even if it looks like a tooth hahahaha). Take care of yourself and the golfer. Greetings from Margarita x

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