Rudbeckia ‘Cherry Brandy’ doesn’t seem to be as reliable as other annual rudbeckia, and germination can be poor, but they are dark and dramatic and make a real statement in a good year. I only managed to produce a couple of plants this time round and snipped all the flowering stems for this vase, whilst they were still looking pristine. It would have been a shame to have put them in anything other than a brandy glass, from which I seem to have chopped the foot in the photo below:
Keeping it simple, the blooms are accompanied by stems from one of the Japanese painted ferns, probably ‘Ursula’s Red’, which has a hint of red in the stem and veins. It does have a label, but is growing in the narrow streamside bed which desperately needs an overhaul, peppered as it is with couch grass, Geum rivale and a smaller relative of rosebay willowherb. Tackling it would involve painstakingly removing everything, not easy with plants growing between the rocks and with the butyl stream liner somewhere below the surface – a job for a mild winter day, methinks, or one to keep putting off…
I have used the prop before, a little fridge magnet in the form of a miniature half case* of wine – sadly not cherry brandy: with a magnifying glass you can see that two of the bottles are Bordeaux wines, and the labels seem to be replicas of real labels, which is a nice detail. Holding the stems in place are glass pebbles, reminiscent of ‘beaded bubbles winking at the brim’, as described by Keats.
Many parts of the UK have been blessed with varying amounts of rain over the weekend, but hopefully it won’t deter the IAVOM community from finding material in its gardens to pick and pop in a vase. Wherever you are and whatever your weather, do consider joining in and leave links to and from this post if you would like us to share the pleasure your vase will bring you.
*If you would like an earworm, I found myself singing ‘A case of you’ by Joni Mitchell whilst I put this vase together:
Oh, you are in my blood like holy wine
You taste so bitter
And so sweet, oh
I could drink a case of you darling, and I would
Still be on my feet
Oh, I would still be on my feet