In a Vase on Monday: Shaking the Blues Away

I am grateful that there have not actually been any blues to shake away here, although there was an almost palpable feeling of relief when the hardest part of one of our current projects was safely achieved yesterday, ending the edginess that had hovered during the last week as it progressed.

No, it was another of those often wretched earworms, which popped into my head as soon as I began collecting blue blooms for today’s vase. Some of you may recall from previous mentions that I belong to a women’s barbershop choir, and ‘Shaking the blues away’, an Irving Berlin song which appeared in several musicals including ‘Easter Parade’ and ‘Holiday Inn’, is one of the songs in our repertoire. This was a more welcome earworm, however, one which I toyed with over the course of the next few hours, news our director-and-often-reader-of-this-blog would no doubt be pleased to hear. Sadly, choirs of any description are one of the many casualties of Covid-19, and we have no idea when we might be able to sing together again…

The musical blues I picked and shoved into this blue glass bottle are Echinops ‘Blue Glow’, Clematis heracleifolia ‘New Love’ and dependable annual clary ‘Oxford Blue’. This clematis is one of the shrubby varieties, very unlike the majority of other types, and grows to around 120cm and has a slight fragrance. One of our visitors was still struggling to be convinced it was indeed a clematis, even when I went to get the catalogue to show her!

I am not completely happy with the bottle as a receptacle, apart from the tight squeeze, and felt something shorter would have been more in proportion, but there was no happy medium to be found. The prop is sheet music for the earworm, although in truth most of us don’t use the sheet music to learn our songs as we have digital teaching tracks to learn from and, once learned, we don’t use words or sheet music at all and, like all barbershop singing, we sing unaccompanied.

Are there flowers or other materials in your garden you could pick to pop in a vase today, with or without an earworm? If you would like to share them with us, please leave links to and from this post.

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43 Responses to In a Vase on Monday: Shaking the Blues Away

  1. Oh I love your blues today and I think they look rather good in the blue bottle. It will be a happy day when choirs and bands can play together again in front of a live audience. Keep singing Cathy

  2. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday: August Jewels | Words and Herbs

  3. Cathy says:

    I love the Echinops and am definitely going to grow some next year after seeing several lovely ones on blogs recently. Good to hear you havenβ€˜t got the blues Cathy, but it must nonetheless be frustrating not being able to meet up in your choir. Here is my vase for today. Have a great week!

    • Cathy says:

      They are pretty unfussy too – and easy to grow from seed. I could send you seed but it would take at least a couple of years to get to flowering size. Just let me know, though

      • Cathy says:

        Thanks Cathy, but I am not patient enough and with no greenhouse yet…. I have to restrict my seed-growing to what fits on my windowsills in winter! πŸ˜‰ The online nursery I buy from has an excellent selection, organically grown, and their plants are always well-rooted and fill out within a season. So Echinops is on my autumn wishlist! πŸ˜ƒ

        • Cathy says:

          In Germany? Do you still have Lunaria rediviva, by the way? I just haven’t been able to find any seed or plants (they always seem to be out of stock) and would welcome some seeds if you were able to harvest any seed from yours…

          • Cathy says:

            Yes, the nursery ( is in southern Germany. Their website is a wonderful source of information! My Lunaria is in the old garden in front of the house, so if it hasnβ€˜t been snipped for flower arranging by local ladies Iβ€˜ll see if any seeds are worthy of saving next time I am there. πŸ˜ƒ

          • Cathy says:

            Aw thank you – still no plans for what you will do with the property?

          • Cathy says:

            Long-term yes. It will be completely done up and possibly made into two separate units, for renting out. But getting tradesman and builders at the moment is impossible here. It can wait!

          • Cathy says:

            Yes, and getting material for building jobs has been difficult too, I believe.

  4. the running wave says:

    Cathy I really love your Oxford blue clary! It such a beautiful clear blue. Clear clary! You grow that from seed or find plants in the garden nursery? They may be blue but they look like a pretty happy collection to me! Amanda

    • Cathy says:

      The clary is an annual and very easily grown from seed – mine from last year self-seeded too. I suppose I could collect some seed but I can’t even visualise the seedheads so will need to investigate…let me know if you would like me to try and get some to you

      • the running wave says:

        If you are able to do that it would be wonderful – if it turns out to be easily done of course! I just love that blue. It is really lovely! Thank you Cathy! A

  5. pbmgarden says:

    I too love the blues in your Monday offering Cathy. The overhead shots show off the textures and subtleties in color so well. That’s a wonderful color for clematis. I just looked it up and think I could find it here, but your flowers look richer and darker in color than the one I found. Have never grown clary either but it’s a gorgeous color. Hope you can be back together singing soon!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Susie – sometimes the overhead shots can be most effective. There are other heracleifolia clematis, but there have been some mix-ups at nurseries with some being incorrectly labelled. I have tried to get one of the others but had 2 mislabelled ones first before probably killing off the correct one 😁

  6. Ah, I love your blue flowers and would not have recognized that as a Clematis either… I have been seeing a lot of Echinops lately and am wondering about some for my garden as well. Hopefully your barbershop limbo is over soon, I have also stuffed a bottle full of flowers

  7. Noelle M says:

    You are so talented Cathy. Hope you get back to singing in your group soon, but I am sure you are keeping your singing voice well oiled. That is a lovely blue vase full. Here is my contribution:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Noelle – blue vases seem to have a charm of their own, don’t they? The singing is much easier than you might expect, because of the way we learn, and the sooner you can sing without words in front of you the easier it is.

  8. Kris P says:

    Blue flowers are my favorites and I’d be happy to have any or all of those you’ve shown today in my own garden. I’m especially taken with the idea of a shrubby Clematis, although I’m had limited luck with plants in that genus thus far. I too hope you’re able to get back to singing in your group in the not-too-distant future. I have a sudden image of you singing to your beautiful garden in the meantime. My dahlias have arrived at last, although their numbers are still small:

    • Cathy says:

      I suspect I have got out of the habit of breaking into song at any time, as it was mid March we last all sung together – although we are encouraged to keep using our voices. The intention is there, of course!

  9. Pingback: In A Vase on Monday – Uplifting | Eliza Waters

  10. Eliza Waters says:

    This is so pretty! I am intrigued by the bush clematis and will have to see if I can find one here.
    You are ‘shaking the blues’ this week and I am ‘uplifting.’ πŸ˜‰

  11. Anna says:

    Oh there is something so tranquil about blues Cathy. I do like that clematis. I am looking for one to grow up an obelisk. Is that one that needs any support? The echinops certainly glows. No danger of an earworm here this week as I have to confess that I don’t know the song. One of my friends belongs to a choir which has managed to get together singing via Zoom and they have also had the odd weather dependent socially distanced meeting in a park. I’m sure that your barber shop group has considered that though. In the meantime you can sing in the garden to your heart’s content and the occupants will appreciate it πŸ˜„

    • Cathy says:

      No, this clematis wouldn’t work on an obelisk as it is a big dense shrub in its own right. It does need a bit of reining in sometimes, and in fact this year I cut it back at about 3 feet as starts to get top heavy otherwise, and I usually gently corall it. Our type of singing is dependent on timing and the slight delays on Zoom would cause a problem, sadly

      • Anna says:

        Oh thank you Cathy. I think that the heat must have been having an adverse effect on my my brain when I posed the question. The word ‘shrub’ should have been enough πŸ˜‚ I see why Zoom would not meeting your choir’s needs. What a shame.

        • Cathy says:

          Yes, the heat has probably done a lot of brain addling recently, but at least it’s much cooler now, albeit still humid at times

  12. tonytomeo says:

    Nice blues! (as others have said.) Real blue is an uncommon color. Most blues are somewhat purplish.

  13. johnvic8 says:

    Delightful. I used to be…in my younger days…in a barbership men’s chorus. Loads of fun. I miss it, but my voice has changed to low gravel.

    • Cathy says:

      I remember you mentioned before that you used to sing, John – the low gravel is quite possibly just lack of use. What part did you sing? I sing Bari (women’s barbershop use the same terms but of course it is relative) – love the bari part! 😊

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