In a Vase on Monday, Ninth Anniversary: the Phoenix and the Carpet

Nine years ago, I began posting a vase of flowers or other material from my garden every Monday, in a bid to encourage myself to get into the habit of doing so. Encouraging others to join in if they chose meant it soon became a recognised meme, and although numbers have dropped from those first heady years there are still a number of contributors every week, along with others who just enjoy seeing and commenting on the various vases. Nine years means there have been 468 weekly vases from me, and many thousands between us. Here are my own monthly favourites from the last year, chosen quickly and on impulse without too much deliberation:

To mark today’s occasion, I set the small challenge of creating a hand-held posy. I wasn’t sure until I started snipping blooms yesterday what my posy was going  to include, although I had planned to start with Argyranthemum ‘Grandaisy Pink’ which have experienced a surprising revival in recent weeks, having suffered from lack of watering during the latter part of our extreme heat. From there, I rambled around the garden adding snippets here and there and coming up with a surprisingly varied collection. Joining the argyranthemum are Persicaria ‘Inverleith’, a smaller variety, Verbena bonariensis, Salvia nemerosa ‘Serenade’, annual Scabious ‘Snowmaiden’, Viburnum tinus, a random unnamed achillea and pinky white diascia from a pot of annual bedding plants.

Many of these have undergone a similar revival as temperatures cooled, rising like a phoenix from the ashes – so hence my props, a scrap of hand-knotted rug and a well-worn copy of ‘The Phoenix and the Carpet’ by E. Nesbit. E Nesbit wrote a number of classic children’s books (including ‘The Railway Children’) in the early 20th century, all early favourites of mine, although the Edwardian setting and language would surely prove largely incomprehensible to today’s children. My edition was printed in 1959 and as an avid and probably precocious reader it wouldn’t have been much later than this that I received my copy. I would like to think that others, not just of my generation, also periodically revisit their childhood favourites, as I do (Narnia, anyone?)…

As a little twist to the anniversary, I offered bloggers the opportunity to join a virtual meet-up on Zoom yesterday, and I was joined by nine others (how appropriate!) who shared their gardening locations and background as well as their posies for today. What a joyful event it was and what a delight to put faces to the names! It was noticeable that smiles abounded throughout, and again I have to confess that I felt privileged to be hosting the meme, a meme that seems to bring pleasure to many people for their own very individual reasons.

If you have reason to join in today or any other Monday, you would be made very welcome; all it takes is snippets from your own garden or garnered locally, popped into a vase or jam jar or made into a hand-held posy as was suggested for today…and links to and from this post.

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63 Responses to In a Vase on Monday, Ninth Anniversary: the Phoenix and the Carpet

  1. karen says:

    How lovely to see you all on zoom last night! I enjoyed seeing everyone’s preview flowers. Your Phoenix and the Carpet brings back happy memories. I lived the book when I was a child, and read it to my daughters when they were young. I’m hoping to read it to my grandson – although he’s only a year old at the moment. He takes a great interest in the pile of books I keep on the coffee table specially for him. Congratulations on your anniversary Cathy. I think I’ve only been joining in for half that time, but I do love IAVOM and the community you have created. It’s so fascinating to see what everyone is growing and picking for their vases and arrangement each week. Mine is a re-vamp of my flowers given to my mum 7 days ago. I thought everyone might like to see how long they last. Thanks for hosting the meme, and I look forward to seeing you all again on zoom. Karen xx

    • karen says:

      Loved…not ‘lived’

    • Cathy says:

      Glad to hear you read it too 👍 I did read Nesbit to my girls too, and did record myself reading some of the Narnia books for The Poppet during lockdown, but she was possibly a little young for them then 😉 So pleased you enjoy IAVOM and last night was so exciting!

      • karen says:

        Yes wasn’t it good. I really enjoyed seeing everyone. I felt a small sense of achievement as I managed to get on the zoom and hear everyone. Internet is still very poor here. However the farm a mile away has just had cable installed, so there’s hope. What a good idea to record the reading. I might try that too. Karen xx

        • Cathy says:

          So pleased you were able to join in Karen 👍For meetings I have attended I have always used my laptop so it really threw me when I had to use my tablet to begin with – on my laptop all the ‘controls’ are visible all the time (including the ‘record’ button!) I need to check out how to get a link to send the recording to those I had apologies from – all part of the learning curve!

  2. alison41 says:

    I always enjoy IVOAM. Today’s post is very pretty, and I enjoyed your mini-pics of past vases. Do continue – I don’t post, but do enjoy yours.

    • Cathy says:

      Good to hear you always enjoy IAVOM Alison. The collage is created within Picasa and although I can shuffle the pictures they never seem to be just how I like them, and trying to do it manually would be time consuming. I just tried to make sure that the most striking ones were dominant 😉

  3. Cathy says:

    Good morning Cathy, and thank you again for the meet-up yesterday. 😀 The last photo of your posy today is fabulous – you have captured the delicate flowers of the verbena so well. I always find it so hard to photograph V. bonariensis. I am sure I read the book, but have no recollection of the story. I did read some of the Narnia books, but I must have been very ‘girly’ in my taste as my favourites were anything about horses, Milly Molly Mandy, Heidi and Little Women! Congratulations on nine years. Look forward to another year of flowers and friendship!

    In a Vase on Monday: Ninth Anniversary!

    • Cathy says:

      It was great last night, wasn’t it? And definitely worth repeating 👍 I suppose at a young age the books you read are the ones that happen to come your way, although it wasn’t long before I was going to the library and making my own choices – rereading the Narnia books as an adult are a revelation, as there are things that completely passed me by as a child!

  4. Horticat says:

    Hi Cathy, congratulations on nine years of IAVOM! That’s a LOT of bunches! Although relatively new to your meme, I have enjoyed participating and seeing your creations and those of other participants. Thank you for hosting. Here’s to another nine?!

    Here’s my bunch for the week:

    • Horticat says:

      Sorry Cathy, I got so caught up in wishing you a happy 9 years that I didn’t include my comment on your lovely hand tied bunch! I love the addition of the verbena in there- is it well-behaved in your garden? I’ve heard in some climates it can get thuggish. Do you find it hard to contain? It sure is pretty.

      • Cathy says:

        The verbana seems to have done well this year as I have struggled to establish it previously – I do find seedlings around the garden though, even when I didn’t have plants myself – I gave some plantlets to a neighbour and they have gradually made their way back! Unfortunately I have now decided it is ‘too tall’ for my garden, looking out of place in my smaller (but numerous) borders, so I plan to try and establish the shorter ‘Lollipop’ variety instead

    • Cathy says:

      Thank you – and we always like to see your seasonally contrasting vases, a point mentioned last night 😉

  5. pbmgarden says:

    Cathy, your posy is charming. I’m unfamiliar with the book but the phoenix reference feels true here as well, with stronger blooming of a few plants brought on by cooler weather and a bit of rain. I appreciate your dedication to hosting our vases each Monday and enjoyed seeing you and others yesterday. What fun! Thanks.

    In A Vase On Monday – A Posy For Nine

    • Cathy says:

      I think the E Nesbit books were very quintessentially British, Susie, although did The Railway Children film get to the US? It’s a real heartwarming tearjerker! Last night didn’t take a lot of organisation and it’s a shame we didn’t do it sooner – and it was striking how smiley everyone was! Thinking of you this week, Susie 🤞

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  7. Annette says:

    I have thoroughly enjoyed your meme over the years, Cathy. Although I’m not contributing as regularly as others do, it always gives me pleasure when I do. It was so lovely to see some of you last night. Isn’t it touching and encouraging how gardening and gardens unite so many people? I always think the world would be a better place if there were more gardeners. I also revisit childhood books by the way. Here’s my posy and again happy birthday, here’s to the next 9 years! 🥂

    • Cathy says:

      I am so pleased you could make it last night, Annette – I know you have been eager (?) to meet up for some time. Good to know you revisit childhood books too!

  8. Cathy, thanks for the zoom event yesterday, it was great fun to meet everyone. I like the posy, especially the argyethemum (probably spelled wrong). I have not seen these in the US, another horticultural mystery. I am not familiar with the book though I like the phoenix idea and the magic carpet. A memory just popped up on my computer from six years ago with a vase…Here is my vase, Happy Anniversary

    • Cathy says:

      It was indeed – glad you could make it 😊 I think argyranthemums are sometimes called margarites, Amelia. The book was very much of its time and place so It doesn’t surprise me that it didn’t seem to make its way to the US. I am curious about your memory….?

  9. johnvic8 says:

    Cathy, Congratulations on your ninth anniversary of In a Vase on Monday. It has brought me a great deal of pleasure over the years, and I miss my garden and the opportunity to share from it to join you each week. This has been a challenging year for me, but I have looked forward each week to IAVOM from you and those following your blog.
    Here’s to another nine years. And my regards to The Golfer. Just keep him off the ladder.

    • Cathy says:

      Oh John, it is so nice to hear from you and I am glad IAVOM still brings you pleasure, although I am sorry it as been a challenging year for you. As always, I shall pass your best wishes on to the Golfer

  10. bcparkison says:

    congrats again and yes it was a fun time on your zoom meeting. Everyone’s “hand full” of flowers was lovely to see . Your small snippets just shows how colorful the year has been and aren’t we blessed to be out in God’s natural wonder daily.
    Oh pooh…I can’t remember how to post a photo but my Josephs coat rose bloomed just for your occasion. If it were to show up there would be a toy train alongside as this is the caboose flowers for the year. Carry on girls…Spring will be here in her time. Thanks again to every one. It was a good thing to enjoy.

  11. bcparkison says:

    I forgot to tell you about my new book. Not mine ,but one by John Meir Laws. The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling. Goodness it is complete…303 pages telling it all. I’ll let you know how successful I am at doing this.

    • Cathy says:

      And you are artistic to begin with, Beverley. so who knows what you will be capable of once you have waded through this tome 😉

      • bcparkison says:

        Thank you for the complement. I did study art in college but after starting a family art supplies were not really i the budget so I fell out for a time. Several years later I got introduced to hand made greeting cards and jumped in full force. Then careing for my late husband and 90 yr. old parents side tracked me again. Slowly getting back ..ever so slowly is working but time will tell. If you would be so kind to send me a mailing address I would love to send you a Late Blooming Design card. Until then…Happy Gardening.

        • Cathy says:

          You sent me a lovely card as a thank you when I sent the book last year, but I can give you my address again, if you like – will email it. Good to know you are able to pick up your art studies again after a long break caring for others

  12. Timelesslady says:

    As someone who just found an old book at the library book sale, I am a great admirer of your vintage read. Some of my best treasures are my antique/vintage books. I’m preparing my post now for the handheld posy challenge. Hopefully, I will quick about it. Be back soon. Oh yes, congratulations on your 9th anniversary.

  13. Kris P says:

    Many thanks for your wonderful meme, Cathy, as well as yesterday’s meeting. May the practices and camaraderie instilled by IAVOM continue for many years to come. My day is starting in a rush this morning as I’ve an outing with a friend so I’ll let my post speak speak for itself and catch up with everyone else’s later today:

    • Cathy says:

      It was such a friendly gathering wasn’t it? And I was thinking that you have been part of IAVOM for most of the 9 years too, haven’t you? Hope you enjoyed your outing 👍

      • Kris P says:

        Like Susie, I followed Christina in the door to join IAVOM. According to a quick check of my blog, it looks like I came aboard on March 31, 2014. I didn’t look any further but, by my recollection, I think I’ve only missed perhaps once since then 🙂

        • Cathy says:

          Yes, Christina was the first regular participant, from about the second week, so the fact that she opened the door for you and Susie was a blessing, as you are my two most faithful contributors and I would always notice if either of you hadn’t posted. Thank you for all those years of support 👍

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  15. soberbunny says:

    LOVE ❤

  16. Noelle says:

    Congratulations and many thanks for nine years of In a Vase on Monday. It anchors my week perfectly, and love reading about the bouquets an the intriguing props you use. Seeing our contributors’ arrangements, receiving comments on mine etc. A touching zoom meeting last night too. During that we got a good glimpse of your posy and I thought the annual scabious looked charming.

    • Cathy says:

      You are very welcome, Noelle – I will always feel it a privelege to be hosting IAVOM. And meeting blogging friends from far and wide was wonderful 😊 I am looking out for new colours of annual scabious – I did have a pale pink one this year too, but it didn’t do as well as mydark variety nor this white one

  17. A most special posy Cathy – beautiful flowers and the scraps of carpet are just the perfect background colour matches to show them off. I chuckled at the price of the book! I have a handful of my childhood favourite books including ‘Little Women’ and the ‘Katy’ titles. I must have been a wayward child as I have coloured in one of the illustrations of Katy on that swing. I also read more modern children’s literature from time to time for sheer pleasure. Well with not having children or grandchildren I’ve got to make up for lost opportunities 😂 Thanks so much for all the vases over the years and for enabling some of us to meet virtually yesterday which so enjoyable. It was like meeting a group of old friends. My tiny posy cut by the secateurs which have been rescued from the green bin is here :

    • Cathy says:

      I am thrilled with the overwhelmigly positive response to the virtual meet-up! 😊Glad to hear you have retrieved your secateurs, Anna – I am sure I have lost more than one pair that way! Children’s books that adults enjoy reading too, with or without children, demonstrate the quality of the writing I suppose – I would happily read a number of books my girls read themselves, like those by Dick King-Smith and Anne Fine, as well as my own early favourites – and I have read all the Harry Potter books but wouldn’t choose to read them again

      • Anna says:

        The secateurs have red and white handles which is most useful. Now there’s two authors I’ve not heard of Cathy so will have to investigate. I’m quite partial to the odd book aimed at young adults too. I probably read the first three Harry Potter books too but then came to a halt – not sure why 🤔

        • Cathy says:

          I found most of the HP books unnecessarily long, and one was particularly scary, I thought, considering they were aimed at children! I have just ordered a secondhand copy of Flour Babies by Anne Fine, which I recall Elder Daughter and I especially enjoying reading about 30 years ago – it must have been a library or school copy as I am pretty sure it wasn’t ours.

  18. tonytomeo says:

    Goodness! Nine years is a lot of flowers. I have not been watching for that long of course. Congratulations.

  19. Su says:

    Your mention of childhood reading and comments by several have prompted me to look for the “little women” books. I first reread them as a teenager.

    • Cathy says:

      Oh how lovely that this has prompted your search, Su! 😊 Interestingly, it wasn’t till I was an adult that I forgave Jo for turning down Laurie, and could understand the reasons behind it..! 😉

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  21. So well done Cathy! Thanks for your dedication and inspiration. Don’t think I ever read that book, but I feel like I recognise the book cover! Three and six! Those were the days 🤣.
    Here is my posy for your anniversary post:

  22. Eliza Waters says:

    Congratulations on your 9th IAVOM anniversary, Cathy! Your dedication is admirable. I’ve enjoyed the meme over these many years, and while I’ve not participated of late, I am an avid follower. 🙂 🌹

  23. Very nice, and congratulations on your anniversary! I so enjoy following the Monday vases. It’s been a busy couple of years, so I haven’t joined in as often as I’d like. But I hope to participate more often in 2023. 🙂

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Beth, and it’s lovely to hear that you enjoying following the vases, even if you are not able to participate with your own

  24. Sharon says:

    I’ve no vase this week – was busy painting the front of the house! I wanted to stop by to congratulate on your meme anniversary and for collecting such a diverse and pretty group of blooms for your posy.

    • Cathy says:

      Aw thanks Sharon – that’s kind of you 😊 Are you painting all the exterior? The last time I did ours the paint was supposedly good for 15 years, so it is unlikely I will climbing a ladder to do it again…but who knows!!

  25. I’m delighted to read of your Zoom gathering, and I love the nine-guests coincidence to coincide with your anniversary. It must be lovely to have come up with an idea that caught on. I’m so impressed with you and the others that do this week after week. Congratulations.

    • Cathy says:

      Aw, thanks so much. In hindsight I am surprised no-one has come up with a Zoom meeting before, especially after our lockdowns when using Zoom became more widespread. I have made an effort to visit a number of my UK blogging friends but it was a wonderful experience to meet those from further afield too.

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