In a Vase on Monday: Flags

Flags on flags with flags…or rather iris on paving slabs with a couple of Union Jack flags!

If the ‘Tête-à-tête’ hadn’t been in flower for the first time last week and therefore automatically destined for Monday’s vase, these iris would have been there instead. Fortunately still good enough for cutting a week later, these redundant Iris reticulata potted in readiness for our cancelled February garden opening will probably now be composted, as they don’t consistently perform in open ground and, at a few pounds per 25, are cheap enough to be disposable. There are three varieties – Clairette, Blue Note and Painted Lady – and once picked I decided rather than mixing the colours I would just plonk them in the vase, a vintage willow pattern gravy boat, as they were. A few wayward sprigs of witch hazel Hamamelis ‘Zuccariniana’, stunningly beautiful this year, were added to bring out the soft yellow in the patterning on the iris, but I am not sure they really bring much extra to the display.

Irises being sometimes known as ‘flags’, including these two little flags (retrieved from party food way back in the days when I was still working, most probably during a celebration of William & Kate’s royal wedding in 2011) was always on the cards, and not the first time they have been pressed into service as props for a Monday vase. Photographing them on flagstones in the garden just goes to show how what a curious thing language can be, often with several meanings for the same word – no wonder playing with words can be great fun!

Playing with vases can be fun too, and popping something from your garden into a vase on Mondays  is a most enjoyable game. If you would like to join in, please leave the usual links to and from this post.

This entry was posted in bulbs, corms and tubers, early spring, Gardening, Gardens, In a Vase on Monday. Bookmark the permalink.

47 Responses to In a Vase on Monday: Flags

  1. These iris are way too beautiful to be composted, or did you just mean the flowers?

    • Cathy says:

      They may be pretty, but as the bulbs don’t reliably come back it’s not worth the £5 or so keeping them just in case. If I was growing them to sell again next year I would need to ensure they were fresh anyway

  2. Linda Casper says:

    Stunning. A cheerful start to a Monday morning.

  3. Noelle M says:

    I’ll be sure to flag up such a lovely arrangement to my friends on facebook as well. Here my miniature vase this week:

  4. the running wave says:

    Language is a curious thing – diverse and wonderful. I think your lovely irises look far from ‘plonked’ and maybe I would use the word ‘zoned’ as they have wonderful blocks of colour and so much detail within their groups! Delightful. The witch hazel is such a favourite of mine and certainly one of my plants has also been brilliant this year. The other two not so much. I think they need planting out in the ground, fed up with pot life. The new garden beckons! Amanda

    • Noelle M says:

      The link comes up as ‘you are not allowed to edit’

    • Cathy says:

      OK, I agree they do look ‘zoned’, but they were still plonked! Perhaps even bigger pots for your witch hazels if you haven’t space to plant them out? But they are not dense trees, and things will grow below them if you do choose to plant them out. I will change the link in your comment, which is trying to link with your editing function!

      • the running wave says:

        Oh crumbs! Thank you Cathy! Still haven’t graduated beyond basic yet so no idea what that was about! Thank you very much! A

        • Cathy says:

          When you have published your post, click on ‘view post’ and copy the URL from there – you must have copied it before that stage for today’s post. You can click on ‘get short link’ but I can’t remember at what point that option comes, as I don’t use it

  5. pbmgarden says:

    Oh gosh, how gorgeous, Cathy! The irises are spectacular. The container is perfect and keeping them massed together by type, color is really effective. Thanks for hosting and have a wonderful week.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Susie. It’s nice to have something bluish in a vase too – although I see I have some blue Anemone blanda in bud now

  6. bcparkison says:

    That blue is a Wow!

  7. Heyjude says:

    These are lovely colours, I must try them next year. The bulbs I removed from pots and then replanted came back. The ones I left in pots or the ground didn’t do much at all.

    • Cathy says:

      Lifted and dried?

      • Heyjude says:

        Yes. Moved the pots into sunny spot then lifted once the leaves had died. Stored in the conservatory.

        • Cathy says:

          Perhaps I should try it then, although I would usually order the packs of 25 from Peter Nyssen and plant 9 in a pot for the Coop and 4 pots of 4 for sale at the Feb opening – but I need to ensure the latter are viable, so perhaps it is a bit risky

          • Heyjude says:

            They’re not expensive so best buying new I think, though you could reuse the bulbs for your own use. George seems reliable, Iris histriodes not reticulata so maybe that’s why.

          • Cathy says:

            I will experiment with planting some deeply , though – I have already composted the bulbs of the ones I picked, but have others in the Coop so will try them in a discrete place…

  8. Blue Willow is my favorite, I have a similar gravy boat and what a wonderful use for short stemmed blue iris. The Witch Hazel is having a banner year! Do you use the term ‘flag someone down”? Older flagstones here are as large as flags, I wonder if that is where that came from? Thanks for hosting, here is my vase

  9. Kris P says:

    I hate to think of those plants ending up in a compost bin. I love Iris reticulata, even though I’ve never grown them, an omission I must remember later this year when it’s time to order bulbs. Here’s my post as I’m on my way out the door to do the grocery shopping:

    • Cathy says:

      They are pretty in pristine bloom, but less so when dog-eared by the weather and even less so when they are all leaf and no bloom – so I have no qualms!!

  10. I love the three varieties of irises, they are fantastic, adorable, divine; its colors are very beautiful. I especially like whites a lot, they are dazzling. The small branches of the spectacular witch hazel “Zuccariniana” look great with irises, I love them. I love the sauce boat that you have used as a vase and it is the most delicious vase for flowers. It is magnificent, wonderful, divine, I love it. The little Union Jack flags look adorable as an accessory next to the vase, I love them. It’s a shame you compost the bulbs, why don’t you put them away and plant them in the fall? If they don’t come out, then nothing, but if they come out they are wonderful. Take good care of yourself and the golfer, and keep yourself safe. Enjoy your magnificent vase, it is so beautiful! Have a great week. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita.

    • Cathy says:

      Thank you Margarita. I would still need to order more in summer in case saved ones failed, so it is not really worth keeping them just in case

      • Cathy then please plant new Iris reticulata bulbs in the fall so that others can enjoy them in your magnificent garden. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita.

  11. Anna says:

    An attractive arrangement Cathy most beautifully set off by the willow pattern gravy jug. I love the markings on iris reticulata and their colours too. I was chatting about them with a friend the other day and she said that the secret is to plant them deep. Will have to remember that in the autumn! I imagine that whoever laid your flagstones could well have been flagging afterwards 😄 Language is indeed fascinating. I wonder if there are as many multiple meanings for the same word in other languages.

    • Cathy says:

      That’s interesting – and yet they seem to do well in relatively shallow pots…but perhaps only for one season. I have realised I prefer them in pots, so will perhaps factor extra for a big pot into my purchases for later this year.
      When we first laid the flagstones (mostly about 20 – crikey!- years ago) we seemed to easily handle the bigger ones, but we have found them much heavier these days when we have changed the position of some of them…wonder why…? Certainly would be a degree of flagging would be involved if we had to relay a lot of them!

    • Noelle M says:

      I know that in French they love to have words that sound the same but mean completely different things, but they are often spelt differently, often as a tongue twister etc:
      Il était une fois,
      Une marchande de foie,
      Qui vendait du foie,
      Dans la ville de Foix…
      Elle se dit ma foi,
      C’est la première fois
      Et la dernière fois,
      Que je vends du foie,
      Dans la ville de Foix

  12. Cathy says:

    Lovely flowers and vase/gravy boat, and a great play on words! Until recently I thought such puns were only possible in English, but there are many words in dialect here that can be ‘played’ with and it is fun constantly learning more about the German language even after all these years! I have a ‘vase’ again today:
    Thanks as always! 😃

    • Cathy says:

      How long have you been speaking German Cathy, and how long have you lived in Germany? It is not a language I have learned but I remember helping one of my girls once with their German homework just using knowledge of English and Latin and logic! The use of ‘compound’ words really intrigues me 😉

      • Cathy says:

        Oh yes, the compound words can be really really long and we often make them up just for fun! I studied German and after a few years abroad I ended up here (1993) and had forgotten a lot, AND the dialect here is tricky. But having a Bavarian partner helped, and I learnt a lot from my students and colleagues when teaching. I got a few extra qualifications and eventually taught mainly business English, correspondence, translation and interpreting. I still have problems with some dialects though! It is certainly a logical language, but I still prefer to read novels (especially poetry) in English. 😃 And I love the old British comedians who used the English language so effectively like the Two Ronnies and Les Dawson!

  13. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday: Afloat | Words and Herbs

  14. Eliza Waters says:

    So pretty and the vase is perfect!

  15. tonytomeo says:

    Are all iris flags? I think of flags as the Iris xiphium and similar types. They are tall and lean. Cannas might also be flags.

    • Cathy says:

      You keep asking me these technical questions, Tony! The dictionary definition of ‘flag’ is
      noun: flag; plural noun: flags
      ‘a plant with sword-shaped leaves that grow from a rhizome’
      Botanically this may not be strictly true though, but I am not a botanist!

  16. Oh no, don’t compost them! What have you got to lose by planting them? Deep is a good suggestion and would mean you don’t end up chopping them accidentally. They are a great trio. I’ve got Clairette, but will be looking for the other two.

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