In a Vase on Monday: Ebony and Ivory

With October running away with itself, taking with it the remainder of the late-flowering blooms, I considered several different options for today’s vase, knowing that next week might be too late. Should I go (clockwise from top left) with a fresh crop of blooms on the keep-on-giving argyranthemums, grab zinnias while I can, pick a huge bunch of blowsy dahlias or add other stalwarts to the numerous persicaria blooms gracing the garden?

In the end, I opted for dahlias, not a big bright brash bunch, but these simple and demure white ones, actually two different varieties, the plain white ‘Onesta’ with just the faintest hint of green towards the centre, and ‘Pink Petticoats’ whose pink petticoats seem to have lost their pinkness in the wash and are now all but completely white. One reason for the choice, I must confess,  was my inadequate staking, which had left parts of both plants face down in the border – there’s mud in your eye! Looking at the resultant vase now, it must be  one of the most voluminous I have ever put together.

I didn’t consider if any foliage would enhance the overall effect, but did add a few short stems of Clematis rehderiana, the greeny-yellow blooms reflecting the centres of the dahlias as well as the creamy yellow of the Caithness Glass ‘Ebony’ vase. I have several vases from this range, made from glass but looking like pottery, all bought from the factory shop in Oban, but don’t think I have used this shaped one before. The props are, in the absence of ebony, a polished jet sphere, and a paper knife/letter opener which could be ivory but is probably bone. The handle is intricately carved with Chinese symbolic figures and artefacts, and is part of a collection made some years ago because they were a relatively cheap thing to collect at the time.

I am thrilled to say that my autumnal vase from a fortnight ago, enhanced by the addition of nigella seedheads purloined from a table decoration brought home from an event, is still looking as good as it did when it was created, despite having lost a few leaves. I am also enjoying an unexpected bonus from buds brought inside after beginning to prune climbing rose ‘Madame Alfred Carrière’, temporarily housed in a mug along with a leftover arum leaf. Meanwhile, last week’s nerines have only just begun to curl up their toes.

Those in the southern hemisphere may now have a choice of early spring bulbs to consider for any vases they might create, but for those in the northern half of the world what can you rescue from your garden to pop into a vase today? If you would like to share the result with us just leave links to and from this post.

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34 Responses to In a Vase on Monday: Ebony and Ivory

  1. Noelle says:

    Those Dahlias are perfectly matched to your title. I agree that just now because the weather has been so good, we have quite a choice of material. Here is my vase today:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Noelle, and yes, there have been some glorious autumn days here recently too, although yesterday was the wettest day for many many months – but we did have a brighter afternoon

  2. The vase is wonderful, I would not have guessed it was glass. So many shades of white and different petal textures in the Dahlias, simple and complex at the same time. Elegantly done. Nice to have a bounty of flowers in late October, enjoy the season. Thank you for hosting, here is my vase:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Amelia – I realise from the angle of the photo the vase is not very clear – but I have used others of my ‘collection’ before. This one has a wide open rim. The dahlias are especially wonderful at the moment – lots of buds on the zinnias, but I am not sure if they will open. Perhaps I should cut them and see if they wll open inside?

  3. Oh isn’t ‘Onesta’ a simply gorgeous dahlia Cathy! You have reminded me that I grew her a few years ago and was enamoured then. I like the little clematis flowers peeking out from underneath the dahlias. Your autumnal vase has certainly lasted well with a bit of touching up. We are being treated to some mild autumn days and it’s a pleasure to be in the garden when it’s dry 😂 For some frustrating reason I can’t copy and post the the specific post link here today but as always I’m over at :

    • Cathy says:

      I think officially it is ‘White Onesta’, Anna, and surprisingly the blooms seem to be bigger this year than last, when it was a new tuber – I don’t like my dahlia blooms too big, but these are just about tolerable! Pink Petticoats is stretching my tolerance a bit though. I suspect something is afoot with links, as I have not been able to add a link to my posts since last Monday 🙄 I will Google or search in WordPress later if I have time, but if you hear anything do let me know.

      • tonytomeo says:

        Okay, that makes sense. I would have remembered it better if ‘Onesta’ were that white. So, if this is ‘White Onesta’, is simple ‘Onesta’ rich pink? That name sounds familiar.

        • tonytomeo says:

          Okay, I looked it up, and ‘Onesta’ looks just like ‘White Onesta’ in form, but the color is rich pink. I think that I might have seen tubers of simple ‘Onesta’ before.

          • Cathy says:

            Thanks for checking Tony – I will have to remember to use the white version’s full name in future!

          • tonytomeo says:

            Now you got me wondering if I had ever seen ‘White Onesta’ before. If it was described as having that greenish blush, I might have ignored it. I can not see it in the pictures here.

  4. Kris P says:

    There’s nothing more elegant than a collection of white flowers in my opinion. White flowers are all too scarce in my garden at the moment. I’m glad to see you got some flowers from Dahlia ‘Pink Petticoats’, whatever their color. I gave up on mine when the buds refused to open and and dried up. A couple of my pinky-lavender ‘Karma Prospero’ turned white in my garden too. As I’ve already started clearing my cutting garden to prepare for cool-season bloomers, I cut just about everything that still looked presentable this week. Here’s my post:

    • Cathy says:

      I am not keen on Pink Petticoats myself, even tough it has flowered moderately well – too blowsy for me. I have certainly never had such a solidly white vase before, but am enjoying the effect

  5. Pingback: In a vase on Monday – Benched | Frogend dweller's Blog

  6. Timelesslady says:

    I’ve enjoyed looking at your vased bouquet, and also a few of those in the comments. I have a question, are the vases supposed to be exclusively from what is growing in the garden that week?

    • Cathy says:

      Hi there, thanks for popping in to IAVOM. Yes, the idea is that material is picked from our own gardens or foraged locally (if it is acceptable to do so) eg hedgerow or verge. It doesn’t have to be flowers and it doesn’t have to be an actual ‘vase’ though. The meme has encouraged many of us to pick flowers from our gardens when we were previously reluctant to do so – and discover the pleasure of enjoying them inside as well as out

  7. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday: Red and Gold | Words and Herbs

  8. Cathy says:

    The green tinge at the centre of the dahlia is very nice – I do like greenish flowers. In fact, I just love green! The rest of your dahlias are still flowering well too.
    Like the addition of the tiny clematis flowers at the base of the arrangement.
    Here is my link for today. Thanks Cathy!

    In a Vase on Monday: Red and Gold

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Cathy – the clematis hasn’t lasted too well and is quite droopy now – the stems were really short but I will top up the water and see if that helps

  9. The dahlias are a lovely choice and pairing Clematis rehderiana with them works brilliantly. Looks like you’ve got plenty to pick until the frosts start! We had pretty amazing thunderstorms yesterday, which battered much of the garden, including our sunflowers. My vase contains our most robust flowers 😉 :-

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Allison – we were promised thunderstorms here, but just had rain instead, nearly an inch of it. Probably the wettest day (well, morning, as it unexpectedly brightened up late morning) for many many months!

  10. pbmgarden says:

    Your dahlias are so gorgeous and the abundance is awesome. I agree with Kris white flowers are so elegant. Lovely to have plenty of choice for so late in the season. Thanks for hosting.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Susie. Apart from a bit of soil on some of them, these blooms were all perfect and the stems were not damaged by my lack of staking, so the choice wasn’t too difficult in the end!

  11. Horticat says:

    So elegant and refined, Cathy. I’m usually suckered in to buying bright coloured dahlias, but your vase has me thinking I may need to add a few white ones too. Lovely

    • Cathy says:

      I like the bright ones too, but do like to have a white one although I have probably not had exclusively white dahlias in a Monday vase before

  12. Hello Cathy, long time without writing on your blog. Too many things have happened in my life to count them, but I will tell you one: I have finally been in my country house from August to October.
    Cathy your white dahlias are so elegant and divine in the Caithness Glass ‘Ebony’ vase – I love the whole. The dahlia “Onesta” with its greenish center is magnificent. The “Pink Petticoats” dahlia with its soft pink color is formidable. The small greenish-yellow flowers on the branches of Clematis rehderiana look great among dahlias. In a magnificent bouquet, wonderful, I love it. I love the accessories, the jet dial and the ivory or bone letter opener. Cathy, I hope you and the golfer are in good health. Take care. My best wishes. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita 😘

    • Cathy says:

      I am so pleased to hear that you finally managed to get to your summer house – was your mother with you, and are you both back in Madrid now? I hope you have both been keeping as well as possible

  13. karen says:

    That white dahlia is gorgeous. I’m wondering if my white is Onesta too. The flower heads are so heavy they are drooping down. I didn’t stake them either, I don’t usually bother. Photos to follow. Thanks for sharing. Karen x

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