In a Vase on Monday: Knight in Shining Armour

The cutting beds are host not just to this season’s annuals, but some overwintered and self-sown plants too, like the scarlet antirrhinum I featured on IAVOM some weeks ago. Along with this year’s scabious plants, we also have two striking and handsome clumps of Scabiosa ‘Black Knight’ from last year, or possibly the year before. This year they are even bigger and better and are covered in a seemingly endless number of blooms, thoroughly versatile in that they look equally attractive in bud, full bloom or embryonic seedhead.

Today is all about this knight in shining armour, occupying a shapely Caithness glass (rose?) bowl in the iconic ‘heather’ colourway. I had planned to use a sprig of dark-leaved Pittosporum ‘Tom Thumb’ to fill the gaps between the stems, until I realised that it loses its dark colouring during the warmer months and is currently a mottled green. Alternative dark heuchera leaves were considered but rejected, and I have instead left the knight to speak for himself (no doubt very loquacious, in a gracious and old-fashioned sort of way). In Ye Olde Days, ladies used to present their favoured knights with a personal token like a handkerchief, and somewhere I do have an impractically small hanky with a teeny bit of lace and embroidery in one corner, once ‘de rigueur’ for us girls (they are still available, as

I bought some for my mother fairly recently), but I have no idea where. I have instead a red neckerchief, when or why it was purchased is a mystery, but it has occasionally been used for ‘dressing up’ purposes. I don’t think the Dark Knight would be impressed, but to be honest I am not overly impressed by his performance in the vase either, thinking a flat dish may have given a more appealing result.

There was a breeze for much of Sunday when this vase was prepared, and largely hazy sunshine, but temperatures have noticeably risen as the day wore on and we head towards the promised record temperatures in parts of the UK on Monday and Tuesday. Wherever you are, whatever your weather, if you felt able to find blooms or other material from your garden to share with us on IAVOM then please do so by using the usual links to and from this post.

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26 Responses to In a Vase on Monday: Knight in Shining Armour

  1. Rosie Amber says:

    I love the dark colour of this.

  2. Horticat says:

    A beautiful flower in a gorgeous shade, Cathy – no other material needed.
    Poor old Scabiosa. Such a pretty bloom deserves a prettier name!
    My arrangement this week is also arranged sans accompaniment:

  3. pbmgarden says:

    Compelling arrangement and your narrative as usual is so entertaining, Cathy. Such a rich color, scabiosa is an intriguing flower. I’ve had no luck growing them I must start over and try them. Have a wonderful week. I hope the temperatures will return to normal quickly.

    • Cathy says:

      I could have told you abour my memory of winnng a box of those little hankies at a children’s Christmas party when I was about 10, twisting to Chubby Checker’s ‘Let;s twist again’!! 🤣Strange what we remember, isn’t it… 😉 They seem to be an easy annual to grow from seed here and may prove to be perennial for you…

  4. Oh he is a deliciously dark knight indeed Cathy. What companions does he grow alongside? I have already made a note to sow some scabious in September so might include that chivalrous gentleman. My pickings on this way too hot and steamy Monday are here :

    • Cathy says:

      He is in the cutting beds Anna, where I allocate the planting spots by height and colour, so I don’t think about the combinations – but this year they have various helichrysum behind them (ironically shorter than usual!) and larkspur and calendula next to them. I think I will keep back some seedlings for the borders next year, especially if these ones overwinter again

  5. I think Black Knight is aptly named, dark, dramatic and handsome. What a wonderful foil for other colors in the garden..I think Black Knight might grow here, another experiment in the making. I like the vase and arrangement. Simple and striking. I hope your Florida weather leaves and summer returns to normal, it is so odd to me it is warmer there! Thanks for hosting, here is mine.

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, he really earns his keep here 👍 I find scabious a really reliable and annual to grow here – this year I have white and ‘salmon’ ones too. It’s meant to be a bit cooler (ie mid 20s) by Wednesday, but you can have your weather back at any time…! 😁

      • Okay, taking that nasty summer back! I was just reading about Scabiosa, Black Knight is recommended with Envy Zinnias. I have to try some. I think it will grow here in early spring.

  6. Noelle says:

    I’ve seen this scabious in the flesh before, and arranged like this it is stunning. Was it a bought in plant, or did you grow it from seed? I too staged one of my arrangements in my Caithness Vase:

    • Cathy says:

      They were from seed, Noelle, and easy to grow – I have grown this variety for a few years now and have added a coule of ithers this year. They do seem to regularly overwinter and yet Chiltern Seeds do class it as an annual. I think I will use some in my borders next year too

  7. Kris P says:

    ‘Black Knight’ is very handsome! I may try it here despite the fact that the only Scabiosa I’ve previously had success with thus far were in the S. columbaria species. My garden is reaching its summer doldrums stage but luckily the dahlias and zinnias are coming to my rescue. Here’s my post:

    • Cathy says:

      S. columbaria is hardy here, and I suspect there are other scabious classed as annuals here that would be more perennial in parts of the US. Interstingly, my dahlias are much later than usual, although I did pinch them out which will have delayed flowering a bit

  8. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday: There’s No Smoke Without Fire | Words and Herbs

  9. Cathy says:

    Black Knight is very dramatic and, as I would expect of a knight, rather an attention seeker too. 😉 I didn’t know this was a hardy one. Your collection of Caithness vases is enviable too. Here is my vase Cathy… with a little drama too. 😲

    • Cathy says:

      It’s not sold as hardy, Cathy, but I usually get a couple of plants that overwinter each year and of course they start flowering earlier. I have probably got far more Caithness Glass vases than will ever be seen on IAVOM – many predating the blog, some bought from the factory shop that used to be on the way to my Mum’s, and most from car boot sales. I am guessing you have had some forest or grass fires…? 😲

  10. Oh yes, the burgundy blooms are really special!

  11. tonytomeo says:

    Oh my, that is . . . dark!

  12. The Scabiosa Black Knight is divine and has a fantastic color. I love the gentleman’s bouquet and the Caithnes vase is wonderful. Cathy I hope that the high temperatures that you have in the UK due to the heat wave you have the best possible time: shade, a lot of hydration and not going outside in the middle of the day. Here in Madrid we have been at 40ºC for two weeks and what we have left! We already have climate change here with its consequences. I hope you and the golfer are in good health. Take good care of both of you. I wish you do not get hot. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita.

    • Cathy says:

      The 40+ extremes only lasted 2 days here, Margarita, and I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to have two weeks of it, although you will be more used to it, I guess 🥵 I am surprised you have not gone to your summer property yet…

      • Cathy at 40ºC I can’t get used to it: I feel terrible, my whole body shakes, my blood pressure drops and I get dizzy. But with Climate Change in 10 years, heat waves and their duration have increased a lot here in Spain: and in Madrid it shows a lot! We have not been able to go to the country house before because my dear Mother and I have had and have appointments with doctors: if we did not have them, we would already be there. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita.

        • Cathy says:

          Yes, it will have been even hotter in the cities. I hope you manage to get to your country house soon Margarita

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