In a vase on Monday – Now for the Greens

I hope I will be forgiven for making this vase a day early as I wanted to take an arrangement as a small gift for our hostess for Sunday lunch.

The basket actually belongs to the hostess herself, she brought it filled with fresh eggs from her chickens and delicious homemade orange pickle which I must remember to ask for the recipe; it was perfect with the gammon joint I served that day.  So I felt it should be returned with something from my garden.

The cuttings bed has nothing of note, there is a single pink Cosmos, a small seedling from the plants that have been producing many flowers over a long period, and antirrhinums that refuse to open their buds.  So it is time to use some of the evergreens around the garden and some more of the Choisya ternata that is now covered in blooms for all the world as if it were spring.

P1140070 blog

I lined the basket with cellophane and used a coffee tin and 2 Campari bottles filled with water to hold the flowers.

Cotoneaster berries, there are lots this year.

Cotoneaster berries, there are lots this year.

To make the arrangement seem a little more seasonal I used orange/red berries of Cotoneaster and foliage and fruits of the Arbutus that needs pruning, so I will happily use pieces I need without feeling guilty.

Chiosya have lovely shiny green leaves but sadly they smell a bit of cats, I'm hoping the perfume from the flowers will be stronger

Choisya have lovely shiny green leaves but sadly they smell a bit of cats, I’m hoping the perfume from the flowers will be stronger

White flowers and red berries seem a good seasonal mix

White flowers and red berries seem a good seasonal mix

I’ve also been pruning (yes it isn’t the best time, I know) the Quercus ilex that are at the top of the slope protecting the garden from the hot summer winds.  One piece seemed perfect to bring into the kitchen and put on the mantelpiece with a candle, a nod at the festive season.

Quercus ilex, with acorns, the food of the gods in 'the golden age' - I always wonder why as they don't look very appetising to me!

Quercus ilex, with acorns, the food of the gods in ‘the golden age’ – I always wonder why as they don’t look very appetising to me!



I’m linking with Cathy, at Rambling in the garden who asks us to fill a vase with material from our own gardens each Monday; do visit and see what she and others have found in their gardens today.

35 thoughts on “In a vase on Monday – Now for the Greens

  1. Lovely flowers on the choisya – again I don’t think mine ever flower. I must have the wrong varieties or the wrong climate or both! The whole arrangement looks beautiful.

  2. I’m not really sure if I now what choisya is. I know my mother-in-law has something similar, but I believe it’s not the same. I like it though – how large does it get? I also like the idea of using baskets for arrangements – yours is beautiful and very well balanced. I might have to copy that idea, although right now I don’t think I would have enough to fill it with from my garden!

    • Choisya is very common in the UK but is seen less often here even though the growing conditions are perfect for it. Final dimensions are about 1.8 x 1.8 metres. There is a yellow foliage version but that might not do so well in Spanish sunlight, I’ve never seen it here.

    • I think I’ll look for some baskets to buy as they are a nice way to arrange flowers to give to a hostess. I have a huge number of coffee tins that I need to find a use for!

  3. This is lovely Christina, I love the Choisya flowers and foliage you have chosen, both festive and very fresh too. I really like your Mantlepiece arrangement, I have some oak twigs and acorns here but could not think how to put that together with a candle, your idea looks very original and stylish.

  4. And very lovely it looks too, your basket of Choisya. I love it with the red berries. Mine always blooms in winter too. I don’ t think it is supposed to. I dislike the smell too, I don’ t know why its common name is Mexican Orange Blossom. It doesn’t t smell like orange blossom at all.

    • Maybe the flowers smell of orange blossom so maybe they just look a little like it, but it smells of cats pee to me close up but not from a distance so I think its OK in an arrangement, I didn’t notice the ones I used last week.

  5. What a lovely basket of goodies to have received and how nice to be returning it with a gift of your own – and of course it is fine to prepare it on Sunday which is when I prepared my last two vases because of travelling on both Mondays. Did you have to apologise for the smell to your host when you presented her with the basket? I can’t imagine what the choisya smells like, but the overall effect is lovely with all those berries too. Can you point out your quercus ilex the next time it can be seen in one of your views? Such pretty leaves and acorns too – some people do make flour from acorns don’t they, or so I believe?

  6. Yet another beautiful gift Christina – your hostess must have been delighted with her returned basket! I love the cotoneaster berries – very festive!

  7. I was always taught that one must not return a dish or basket empty. You have taken that rule to new heights. I’m sure you will continue to receive offerings from friends (not that they will do it for the payback, but well…)

  8. What a lovely way to return that basket, Christina! The white flowers and red berries do combine beautifully, and I’m grateful you explained about the coffee can and water bottles! I don’t think very far outside the vase yet 😉 I’m happy to see your choisya flowers haven’t been nipped by the cold so far 🙂

    • I rather like baskets for displaying flowers and I’m moving away from using oasis foam so I needed to find something that would hold water; I have a lot of these coffee tins and am always looking for ways of using them.

  9. Those Campari bottles certainly have their uses Christina. My mum has a couple of choisyas in the garden but I’m not sure when they flower with her. Your friend must have been delighted with such a thoughtfully replenished basket.

    • Choisya should flower twice in spring or early summer and again in September but from the comments here it seems it is a plant that can flower at almost any time, It would be interesting to know what exactly triggers the shrub to bloom.

  10. The basket looks great and the cotoneaster fits in perfectly to give a seasonal flair. I like that the container is being returned, with luck it will come back your way filled with goodies again!

  11. I had to chuckle when you listed the Campari bottles – they do have their uses 🙂 And your flower basket is beautiful. Our cotoneaster is also covered in lovely clumps of berries this year – it was smothered in blossom in early summer so I just knew it was going to be a good year for berries 🙂 I don’t understand that acorns being the food of gods either, I believe they taste bitter though I’ve not been tempted to put it to the test. The pruning looks perfect on your does look perfect with the candle on your mantelpiece.

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