In a vase on Monday and a bit of catch up

Having been away for the best part of a week followed by a busy weekend this post has to be a catch up on what I missed.

So I’ll begin with the long view, linking with Heather at Xeric Style. Lots of colour from the Eschscholzia californica and Cistus in today’s view from the top room window.

The Long View

The Long View

Lots of colour in the Large Island

Lots of colour in the Large Island

Edge of Large Island

Edge of Large Island

Upper drive border

Upper drive border

This is the cyprus that I stand by to photograph the images of the Slope on Thursday

This is the cyprus that I stand by to photograph the images of the Slope on Thursday

Here’s the view of the slope which you usually see on Thursday, again there’s lots of poppies both orange Californian ones and red European (there are more of those now so the balance of colour is changing). The star of the slope has to be the nearly black Iris ‘Before the Storm’, which is probably my favourite Bearded Iris (until I think another one is!), these are forming a wonderful clump now and so may need dividing to make more clumps and there may even be enough to spare for a ‘in a vase….’ next week.

The usual view

The usual view

Iris 'Before the Storm'

Iris ‘Before the Storm’

Iris 'Jane Philips' with red and orange poppies

Iris ‘Jane Philips’ with red and orange poppies


My cistus cutting is flowering so well, I'm thrilled

My cistus cutting is flowering so well, I’m thrilled

So to the vase this week; I have two to share with you; the first I made last week as a table decoration for my MIL’s birthday lunch. It was fun picking flowers from her garden – such a different choice of plants. I used some beautiful Heuchera leaves around the base and included some Cornus foliage and un-open flowers with pure white flowers of Spirea.

I found it much easier using oasis for this arrangement

I found it much easier using oasis for this arrangement

The variagated leaves of the dogwood added lightness to the arrangment

The variagated leaves of the dogwood added lightness to the arrangment

Much easier to photograph in the lighter room of my MIL

Much easier to photograph in the lighter room of my MIL

Back home I used some more Dutch Iris, but I have to say I don’t like the colour of these either in the garden or in a vase so I have decided to pull them out when they’ve finished flowering this year and plant more blue or possibly yellow one . I planted these I.‘Bronze Queen’ in autumn 2010 and have always found them a difficult colour to combine with other flowers or actually to like at all. Do you find it difficult to dig up something you don’t like in the garden?


Iris 'Bronze Queen' in the vase you last saw with dried grasses

Iris ‘Bronze Queen’ in the vase you last saw with dried grasses

Iris 'Bronze Queen'

Iris ‘Bronze Queen’

Thank you Cathy for hosting again this week, Like you I was thinking of using Aquilegea this week but decided they were looking better in the garden than the irises I finally chose.


39 thoughts on “In a vase on Monday and a bit of catch up

  1. Love your dark iris ‘Before the Storm’ but like you not so sure about the bronze one. I was once tempted to buy a bronze iris from the garden centre, but it didn’t flower before it died, so I didn’t have to make the decision to chuck it out. I have no problem getting rid of things that I don’t like, especially if they are too invasive – there is never enough space for things I do like. Sometimes, though, if they are well behaved, I manage to find a corner somewhere for them.

  2. It was lovely to meet you Christina and thank you for my lovely orchid.
    You must be glad to get back to your garden. It is all looking wonderful. The Iris and poppy combination is gorgeous. I love Bronze Queen and I think it looks lovely in that vase.

    • What a shame that I didn’t know that when I came to visit you, I could have dug the up and brought them to you. It was lovely to meet you too, having a cream tea in the warm sunshine in your beautiful garden was bliss.

  3. love the bronze iris…( may be I took pity on it )…I have no problem digging stuff out I don’t like …I always have things in the wings waiting to go in …(may be too many )…love the look of the garden at the moment.

  4. Christina, I know that feeling of favourite until another one is, I haven’t seen ‘Before the storm’ before, its very inky! I really like your MIL arrangement too, that would definitely be my choice for this house.

  5. Your garden panorama looks spectacular, Christina! Your wide shots always make me wonder what my own garden would look like from above – one day I’ll have to climb up on the roof to find out. Your MIL arrangement is really pretty. The bronze Iris are nice too. Maybe you just need to move them somewhere with a different background? – they would be nice surrounded by a similarly toned grass.

    • Becareful if you do climb on the roof, I would hate for you to fall! It seems to be just me and one other who doesn’t like the Bronze Queen, even my husband said he quite licked it!

  6. Hmm! Not sure about Iris “Bronze Queen” . It may just need careful placing, maybe grasses would do it. Love the others, though! I also grow “Jane Phillips” which is just unfurling now. And I love the white arrangement! What a view you have from upstairs!

    • The bearded irises are early here this year, it it early for you to have them in flower? The Bronze Queen are near a very beautiful Stipa gigantea that is just throwing up its flowers and even that does nothing for the iris.

  7. Your garden seems to be shouting HEAT in all your photographs! ‘Before the Storm’ is an amazing colour – i wonder if there is an ‘After the storm’ equivalent…..? Your ‘mil’ arrangement is just so fresh with the combination of green and white – I love it 😉 I found the heuchera leaves I used last week in mine lasted the whole week and longer than anything else in the vase – something worth remembering. I’m not sure about the Bronze Queen – as others have said perhaps they need carefully chosen partners, but sometimes there are things we are just not going to get on with, although i remember the fuss when I said I didn’t like mahonia!! At least giving your iris away to someone who likes it would please both parties 😉

    • It actually isn’t hot. The north wind is blowing and the temperatures have been lower in May than March or April. But night time temperatures are warmer.

  8. It is lovely to see two such different vases Christina. I think the white and green is my favourite and it is a good idea to be thinking about favourite vase combinations when planning what we grow in our Cutting Gardens next year. I love the bronze iris – it reminds me of Joe Swifts Chelsea garden in 2012. I need to look back at my photos to see what he combined it with. It was so nice to meet you last week and I would certainly like to plan a visit to Italy in the peony season next year.

    • It was lovely to meet you too, I’m really looking forward to seeing your garden next time. I think the iris in Joe Swifts garden (which for me was the best in show) was more like I. ‘Kent Pride’ which I have and like even though that can be difficult to mix with other plants but I have found a couple of combinations I like.

  9. The bronze iris looks like it would be a difficult colour to combine with much else… white or cream flowers maybe? ‘Before the Storm’ is just gorgeous though – definitely one to keep.

    • …and the Iris has grown a lot during the last year so there really are lots and it’ll be ready to divide after flowering so I need to decide where I’d like more.

  10. I love your wonderful poppies, and your long views are inspirational. They remind me of why your garden is among my very favorite in all of blogdom! That bronze iris is difficult, but I also have a hard time pulling up perfectly good plants just because I don’t like them; though I am becoming more heartless. I would try combining it with something peach or orange, along with something lavender and something white. If that doesn’t work, then out it goes!

  11. P.S. Christina, I forgot you asked about Japanese beetles. I am fortunate that this critter has not shown up in my garden. Most Japanese beetle infestations in the U.S. are north of me. It will skeletonize a plant in a hurry. It is a small, metallic green beetle with white hairy tufts on its side. I don’t know if it exists in your area. You would probably know it if it did. Deb

    • Thanks for that Deb, it isn’t that eating the centre of my roses, although thinking about it some of the roses did get heavily damaged last year but I didn’t see anything on them.

  12. your garden is so lush and colourful Christina, I hope you had a nice holiday away, I prefer blue, purple and white iris, but that’s just personal,
    I haven’t got to the stage of removing plants I’m not keen on as I am just grateful for anything that survives and it always looks better than the horrid tough grass, I’m not keen on pink so I have been moving some of the pink plants to one area, a sort of out of the way pink zone, also I value plants I don’t like against how wild life like them, for instance the reason I keep that pink erica in my front garden is because the pollinators love it and as it flowers early there is not much else around for them it has an importance, Frances

    • Thanks Frances, I did enjoy my time in the UK and it was fun to meet with fellow bloggers. I know what you mean about plants that survive but all irises do well so I could have a colour that complimented the other planting or the house if I cut it. Christina

  13. The bronze iris is very striking, but i can imagine it needs a space all to itself. I have got to the stage in my garden where I will remove anything I don’t like… I have enough plants to divide and fill spaces now, so two small shrubs have gone! I really love that first vase – a beautiful late spring feel to it!

  14. I chuckled at your question ‘Do you find it difficult to dig up something you don’t like in the garden?” I don’t normally Christina but I’ve been the recipient of some unsolicited plant gifts over the years which I do have qualms about pulling out. What a beautiful flower arrangement to grace a birthday lunch. Our sky has had a look of ‘Before The Storm’ this morning but without any signs of that magnificent purple beard.

  15. It really is difficult to remove a plant but sometimes I have been glad I didn’t because I change my mind about them. Either they improve with age or look better when I re-locate them or I find the bees like them. Amelia

  16. Hmm, that orangey iris is very awkward, I’d dig it up and compost it too. I’m ruthless with things I don’t like or which don’t work, I’m trying to learn to be more patient, though happily I have no regrets about what I have removed from this garden. I love the large Island, really vibrant. “Before the Storm” is going on the list…

    • It would be better if it was orangey Janet, it really is metalic bronze which actually only works for metal. Thank you for thinking like me, I was beginning to think it was just me that didn’t like it, the compost bin it is!

  17. I adore the table decoration you made earlier in the week. I find white flowers a delight and could imagine that looking very special for any occasion.( Love the table cloth too).
    And then by complete contrast, those moody bruised Iris. They are so exotic looking in those tones, yet for me they remind me of the 1970’s, all a bit too brown and orange. No I will take the white arrangement please.

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