In a Vase on Monday: the Pencil Pot

I have been looking forward to using this vase for some time, as I will explain in due course.

Into its shell-like interior I have placed Limonium ‘Purple Attraction’, ‘Rose Light’ and ‘Pink Pokers’, and clary ‘Pink Sundae’ and ‘Oxford Blue’. Having picked a similar grouping for a posy for my Elder Daughter during the week I knew the combination (chosen to survive a 2 or 3 hour journey back to her home) worked well, although I didn’t think to include the Pink Pokers in hers. I have sown the latter for the last 3 years but this is the first year I have actually had pokers and not pink worms that grovel around at soil level – all down to the netting, I believe. I even had to cut the terminal poker off this sprig as it was taller still than the others!

But, you may ask, why the pencil pot and why the pencil crayons? Well, the vase came from The Pound Shop (costing, not surprisingly, £1) but happening to glance at the till receipt I noticed that for some bizarre reason it was listed as a ‘pencil pot’…yes, really! Of course it could hold pencils just as well as it could hold blooms but, realistically, would anybody look at it and think ‘That’s a nice pencil pot, I’ll have that’? I of course looked at it and thought ‘That’s a nice vase (and it only costs £1), I’ll have that’, and I did!

So feel free to pop your blooms into your pencil pot or jam jar or any other handy receptacle and share it with us here at IAVOM, where the blooms will undoubtedly give you pleasure for several days or even a week or longer, as the zinnias, rudbeckia, amaranthus and scabious retrieved from last week’s vase are still doing, as you can see below:

ps as an afterthought to this post and to clarify, the ‘pencil pot’ is ceramic with a lustre finish

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57 Responses to In a Vase on Monday: the Pencil Pot

  1. I love your pencil pot arrangement Cathy! We don’t have that term here in the US so it is always fun to hear what others call things. I particularly love your clary sage! I grew some from seed this spring, and wasn’t expecting them to bloom the first year. They surprised me and sent up a few blooms, all of which I had to sacrifice and pinch back to produce a nicer plant. I so hope they will survive our winters as I’ve never seen them for sale here. They are the most delightful flowers and I have so enjoyed seeing them in your pencil pot this morning. Have a lovely summer week!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Cindy – Intersting I have just checked clary sage and honestly hadn’t realised it is meant to be a biennial, as it has always flowered the same year when I have sown it. I sow under cover with gentle heat in mid March or so, and they will have been flowering since June. I love them!

    • Cathy says:

      I have just found out there is a similar but biennal Salvia sclarea whereas what I grow is Salvia hominum

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  3. Love the pink and purple colours!

  4. Annette says:

    A lovely story and arrangement, Cathy, such an unusual idea to display flowers in a pencil pot. Limonium are such long-lasting cut flowers and drought-tolerant too. Never grew them, I should really give them a try. Here’s my vase: Wishing you and the golfer a good week xx

  5. pbmgarden says:

    Very nice presentation. I couldn’t recognize Limonium until I looked it up and saw it’s also called statice. Many years ago my mother’s cousin used to grow it and I always admired it. Looks great with your cleary, which I need to look up too. Pencil pot is a fun term but glad you recognized it as a great vase container. Thanks Cathy.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Susie – I should have mentioned that it was also known as statice, and the clary is Salvia hominum, although I have just found out there is a similar but biennal Salvia sclarea

  6. the running wave says:

    My first thought, when I saw your pretty arrangement, was of Botticelli’s ‘The Birth of Venus’ painting! It was a brief and random thought, but there is nothing random about your lovely vase. I do love the colours, and, like Cindy, particularly the clary sage. Your pencils team beautifully with your colour scheme! I have stuck to one colour today. On reflection I wish I had added in some newly flowering lavender, but it was too late to change things! Have a good week. Amanda

    • pbmgarden says:

      Amanda, now I don’t think my comments are getting through on your blog. Hmm… Gorgeous display. I love the oranges.

      • Cathy says:

        Do you click where it says ‘name’, Susie and then on name/URL, where you will add your name and blog name (if you don’t want to comment via Google)?

        • the running wave says:

          It is frustrating. I have the same problem with Susie’s blog and Chris Mousseau and now Susie can’t leave a comment on mine. Very odd because it all used to work fine! The wonders of technology – or not, as the case may be! A

        • pbmgarden says:

          Yes, I’ve done it many times successfully. She and I are on Instagram so may decide to just keep comments there. Thanks for your help Cathy and sorry for extraneous comments here.

          • Cathy says:

            Not to worry about the extra comments, it’s always frustrating when comments seem to disappear. I used to have problems on Google blogs but that was some time ago – and at least they don’t have all those pictures to click on now!

      • the running wave says:

        Thank you Susie! I fiddled about a bit on my blog settings and tried to comment on your blog but it didn’t happen! Weird. I am not proficient enough with all this stuff to understand why or how, but we can still chat on Instagram, so that’s better than nothing!! Have a good week! A

    • Cathy says:

      That [popped into my head too, Amanda, and you may be intersted to know I made avase based on this painting some time ago – see

  7. You’re right – this is a great colour combo in a lovely, unique vase. Is you Clary, Clary Sage – Salvia sclarea?

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, clary sage but S hominum (annual) and not S sclarea (biennial). Perhaps the annual variety is not common across the Atlantic and I certainly haven’t come across the similar biennial variety before

  8. Noelle M says:

    You certainly have the eye to turn a ‘Pencil Pot’ into a work of art. I’ve always been enthralled by Limonium, it looks lovely displayed like this. Here is my vase:

    • Cathy says:

      I have found that limonium is one of the easiest and most reliable annuals to grow Noelle – will you give it a try next year? I will look into how to collect seed and send you some if I manage successfully – it’s not something I have really mastered yet…

  9. Linda Casper says:

    Gorgeous and elegant arrangement

  10. Anna says:

    Definitely not an obvious pencil pot Cathy but what an attractive vessel to display flowers in. I have not been shopping since lockdown so am missing the bargains in Poundland, Aldi, Lidl as well as in the gardening section of Wilkos. I’ve never had any joy with that lovely limonium so didn’t sow any this spring. Rain has interfered with my vase plans today but I had a back up up my sleeve here :

    • Cathy says:

      Are you having your shopping delivered or is it a job for Himself? I have continued shopping, but just at Aldi, apart from a necessary visit to Wickes or B&Q for essential diy bits! How strange that you don’t have success with limonium as for me it has behaved impeccably – I start mine inside in early Feb

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  12. Cathy says:

    I never seem to come across finds like that Cathy, but I am sure even a non-gardener would have thought it a vase! I have never seen Limonium actually growing anywhere, only in dried flower arrangements. Lovely colours. And great props! Here is my vase today. Have a great week!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Cathy – it was very much an impulse buy, but at £1 it didn’t require any deliberation! The crayon props were easy of course 😉 I have found Limonium easy peasy from seed

  13. It finally happened, I don’t know any of the flowers in your vase! Googling shortly. I do love the colors and the pencil pot. I guess the pencils would be in a fan shape if you used it? The dollar store can be a lot of fun. You never know what you’ll find. Here is my vase this week

    • Cathy says:

      Haha – now you know how it feels!! I suppose they pencils would make a fan shape too, just as the blooms settled into a fan shape without much help from me. The vase actually reminds me of what we would have called a ‘spill vase’ – kept on the mantelpiece with spills (tapers?) in to dip into the fire to get a light for candles or cigarettes or old gas cookers I expect.

  14. I admit I was perplexed why you were calling the lovely seashell-shaped vase a pencil pot. What a great deal! I’d have grabbed it up too. Your flowers are perfect for it. Limonium ‘Pink Pokers’ is entirely new to me but I love it. Despite whining about my lack of summer flowers last week, I still managed to find some to cut this week:

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  16. Eliza Waters says:

    Good use of the pencil pot, I’d have thought ‘vase’ first, too. With a shell theme, it might be a toothbrush holder, too. 😉 Are you drying the Limonium for winter use?
    My vase this week:

    • Cathy says:

      That’s true, it could easily have held toothbrushes – perhaps we all need one in every room, just in case!! I did keep the limonium the first year and I grew it and have used it in a winter vase. It’s astonishing how it retains its colour

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  18. You’ve done so well with the limonium compared to my attempts over the last three years (I’ve not bothered this year). Mine were small and still managed to flop in every direction but upright. I put it down to dryness and slightly sowing late starts, but I am now inspired by your netted success. The pencil vase is fun and perfect for your selection of flowers.
    My vase is here: and has celebratory tones this week.

    • Cathy says:

      It’s really interesting to hear other people say they have not been successful with limonium Allison, as they have been completely trouble free for me – they germinate quickly with probably 100% germination rate (even seed that is 2 or 3 years old, as mine was), develop quickly and strongly and flower in about 4 months – and just keep on flowering. The netting seems to have made a huge difference to many things but it may be coincidence and due to the weather of course! It means plants don’t flop about and get damaged stems. Everything seems to have grown taller as well as straighter too. It was a very small outlay for the netting which will last for years (4″ netting from Knowle Nets – and the supports and hooks were bits and pieces we already had)

  19. tonytomeo says:

    Clary is interesting. I am not familiar with it. Well, pink poker is interesting too, since I do not recognize it either.

    • Cathy says:

      Makes a change to feature something that’s new to you Tony!

      • tonytomeo says:

        Oh, that is no easy task for me. I still grow some of the same flowers that I grow when I was a kid, and will not give them up. When I add something, it is something familiar. It is rare that I see something strange that I want to grow. Most of the strange flowers that appeal to me are old traditional sorts, sort of like clary.

  20. A ceramic pencil pot for a £1 . Wow. Someone somewhere has been totally ripped off and it most certainly was not you. What a bargain.
    And what a great little vase it makes. Really sweet shape makes me think of holidays and beach combing. Elder daughter must have been pleased to receive your flowers Cathy and of course to see you.
    I was a late post
    Thanks for hosting!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Dorris. Elder Daughter’s visit was as much to see her sister and nephew and niece as it was to see her Old Mother, but yes, it was indeed lovely to see her and The Poppet for the first time since pre-lockdown

      • It’s too long to have gone without seeing family

        • Cathy says:

          And we might be able to go and see my Mum now, but she is checking the local advice for overnight visitors – the community has been strictly adhering to the Scottish rules, easier when you are on an island

          • Oh it’s just so difficult to know what to do for the best. I hope you get to see her soon Cathy

          • Cathy says:

            Thanks – she is going to check with the community nurse. The thought of travelling all those miles after being close to home for so long is a bit scary and our usual stops would have to be modified too 🙄

          • It’s so complicated and stressful now. Hope it can happen

          • Cathy says:

            Thanks Dorris, surprisingly it hadn’t even crossed her mind 😁 (not that she wouldn’t love us to visit, as long as we fended for ourselves, her being 94 and all that!)

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