Well, I managed it! A year of continuous vases in the house, cut from the garden! It’s been a delight, both in the doing and the viewing! I did think I might fall by the wayside, especially towards the end of the year, as material becomes more scarce, but I was surprised by my own imagination. And I was helped by the inspiration from fellow bloggers who contribute to Cathy’s weekly meme “In a Vase on Monday”. Cathy’s blog is “Rambling in the Garden” – most enjoyable and inspirational, so please, do go and have a look! Seeing what others achieved gave me many ideas. So thank you all!
My December vase had to be the Christmas one. I had to include the Christmas necessities of Holly – both green and variegated – and Ivy – again variegated, complete with their berries. I chose to also include some Christmas Box (Sarcococca). Sadly, the traditional red element was lacking. I struggled to find many red berries in the garden. They must have all fed the birds, since they had been there earlier in the month. The only red element I could find were two holly berries and a couple of sprigs of Skimmia “Rubella” buds. Never mind, I had the props to finish it off, in the form of some Christmas pot pourri and a beautiful hand made card. And our colour scheme helps too! I must confess to using the language of flowers, in a bit of a sentimental moment, by adding a sprig of Myrtle for good luck and one of Rosemary for remembrance.
Earlier in the month, the vase was decidedly more pastel, using the newly blooming flowers of Coronilla “Citrina”. These flowers are beautifully scented and their leaves are a lovely glaucous blue, so I chose some creamy lemon variegated evergreen leaves to set them off, in the form of Pittosporum “Silver Queen” and Elaeagnus “Limelight” to accompany them.
As the last vase faded, I was faced with a bit of a problem. It would be several days before I could get into the garden in daylight to concoct the next vase (I’m no lark!) and no way could this vase last. Then inspiration struck! What could I pick from the doorway? Our front porch is overwintering our olives and myrtle, the latter sporting some magnificent juicy, black berries. So by the light of the hallway, the follow-on vase was concocted! Ok, a modest little number, but a pleasing little vase nonetheless!
To round off the year is the “Full circle” vase I showed in my last post. It’s based on the first vase I did, in my little milk bottles, using sprigs of Sarcococca, but this time with a few added winter blooms. Standing proud at the back, are scented sprigs of fresh Lonicera fragrantissima and spicy Chimonanthus praecox alongside the delicate Coronilla again. On the sidelines are a beautiful sprig of Mahonia japonica with its tiny daffodil-like flowers and the ever flowering blue Campanula. In centre stage are some berries, including the cheeky tongues of the Euonymus berries – I just love them!
And this time I found a suitable prop in the form of our brass armillary, displaced from its normal site by the Christmas decs. Somehow it seems appropriate for a New Year vase!
And finally, the proof!
My Cuttings Calender for 2014!!
Here’s to 2015’s!
Congratulations to Cathy, at Rambling in the Garden, for one year of her most enjoyable meme, ‘ In a Vase on Monday”. Her posts are so informative and encouraging – not forgetting beautiful, too!
I, too, strive to have a continuous stream of cut material in the house, having set myself a target of achieving this for one year, at least. Unfortunately, I have rarely taken part in the meme myself, mainly due to working on a Monday, and now coming home in the dark, but I really wanted to join in this week to celebrate Cathy’s achievement. So, I have to spill the beans! As in good old Blue Peter style, “Here’s one I prepared earlier”! My thinking is, that, even though my vase was collected yesterday, it is still in a vase on Monday! Do you agree? I do hope so!
As most of you who join in will probably agree, material is starting to get scarce. I could also name this post as “The Last of the Summer Flowers”, as that was my starting point. I scoured the garden for blooming stragglers, and came up with some Astrantia “Buckland” and a surprise spray of Alchemilla mollis. So they started it off and dictated the colour sceme. Foliage was needed to pad it out and I chose some variegated Ivy to pick up the lemon, and some silvery leaves of Phlomis fruticosa. Our long flowering Coronilla “Citrina” has just started again, (definitely not a summer flower!), so their lemony flowers added scent as well as colour. All that was needed now, was a touch of blue, courtesy of a campanula which is happily self-seeding itself around the garden, and blooming well just now. They add contrast and a trailing element to the composition. Oh, and a solitary Ox-eye daisy, just ready to flower, was added in the centre for good measure.
All that’s left now, is to thank Cathy for her inspiration, and encouragement. Well done on 1 year!
We’ve now had our first frost, so that’s it! I know summer has been hanging on for as long she could, but we can’t deny any longer that autumn is well and truly here and heading towards winter. Please don’t think of me as a merchant of doom! On the contrary, autumn and winter are just as beautiful, with magnificent fiery leaf displays and frosted skeletons. So much to enjoy! But I do miss being able to spend as much time outdoors.
This realisation was re-enforced on my recent walk around the “Estate”, while idling along the scented shrub border. After the flowers of summer and leaves of autumn, this border starts to take on greater importance again. Some of our winter flowering shrubs, are already starting to flower, although one of our summer shrubs is still bravely soldiering on.
I was amazed to notice quite of a few of its lily-of-the valley flowers still nestling among its glaucous leaves. Its aniseed scent was, sadly, not so obvious.
But the main shrub border is definitely showing a wintery trend.
Viburnum is a stalwart of the winter garden, especially where scent is an issue. V. farreri is a large, sprawling, deciduous shrub, lovely at this time of year, when it starts flowering, coinciding with the last of the reddish tinted leaves. The clusters of tiny, white flowers, like miniature “cottonwool balls”, sporadically appear over the shrub throughout winter. This one started in October. The flowers, although small, emit a sweet scent reminiscent of baby powder!
In the flowering hedge, in the front garden, we have another example, the well known Viburnum x bodnantense “Dawn”. It’s a very similar shrub, the flowers being more pink. Here, the blooms are somewhat lost in the mass of dense foliage, but the powdery scent definitely is not!
Back in the Scented Shrub border, Skimmia japonica “Rubella” is revving into gear, providing colour with its ruby-red flower buds. It’s not, as yet, treating us to any of its sweet perfume – that, it’s saving up for spring. This small, evergreen shrub, another winter favourite, courtesy of its flower buds, needs little introduction. I’d go so far as to say it’s the buds rather than the scented flowers, that makes this such a favourite for winter, being widely used as a component in winter pots.
Moving on, and this is where we almost come full circle.
The Mahonia japonica’s sprays of flowers, are just starting to open. And it’s beautiful, tiny daffodil blooms, perfumed like lily-of-the-valley, was the first subject I wrote about, way back at the start of the year!
And keeping it company….
….our Coronilla has started flowering again, having only stopped blooming in early summer. How’s that for longevity!
But despite the promises of winter scent, let’s carry on enjoying autumn, with the burnt orange tones of Cotinus, glowing in the sun, at the start of the post, to another “Stolen Pleasure” of pink forsythia leaves in combination with flowering ivy, at the end.