In a vase on Monday – New inspiration

Hello everyone. I’m back and very pleased to be participating again in Cathy’s challenge to fill a vase with material from our gardens. Having been in the UK for 2 weeks I returned last Sunday only to awake on Monday with fully blown flu!  I did venture out last Monday and di find a few flowers to pick but in the end felt too ill even to arrange them.

Plans for flowers to celebrate the New Year also failed to materialize as one thing after another was cancelled.  But at least I’d improved enough to host a lunch party yesterday.

There were no gardening gifts to open on Christmas morning but my husband did give me a greenhouse heater which was opened before we left for the holidays as sub-zero temperatures had been promised for while we were away.  I’m thrilled with the heater which has already been doing its job of keeping the temperatures inside the greenhouse above freezing.  My MIL came up trumps with a new book about flower arranging based around the seasons, using a mix of garden and bought flowers.  I found almost all the arrangements inspirational so I’ll talk more about the book on another occasion.

I have always had problems arranging flowers in the two rectangular, glass vases that I have.  I love their form and being narrow are good choices for the mantle pieces so I am happy that I will now be able to use them more often.

Rectangular vase filed with stones and topped off with red crab apples

Rectangular vase filed with stones and topped off with red crab apples

The book shows several arrangements using this form of vase so I used the idea of filling the vase with stones and then some crab apples (picked from the ground where the terrifyingly strong winds of last week had thrown them.

Large rectangular vase, I am very pleased with the result

Large rectangular vase, I am very pleased with the result

Amazingly the flowers of the Chiosya ternata that I also used before Christmas is still flowering; I had been worried that the sub-zero overnight temperatures would have turned all the flowers brown, it is in a protected part of the garden and doesn’t get the early morning sun so it long may it continue to flower.

Chiosya ternata

Chiosya ternata

Chiosya flowers and foliage, Salvia 'Indigo Spires' and berries from Cotoneaster

Chiosya flowers and foliage, Salvia ‘Indigo Spires’ and berries from Cotoneaster

Salvia ‘Indigo Spires’ is a bit of a surprise – the long wet but warm autumn meant that there was plenty of material for cuttings this year, these flowers are from those cuttings which are now forming strong plants in the greenhouse.

A cube shaped vase with stones topped with some frost damaged frigitellle (small chilli shaped peppers)

A cube shaped vase with stones topped with some frost damaged frigitellle (small chilli shaped peppers)

I don’t usually like to use food items in my arrangements as it seems wrong when so many people in the world are hungry, but these frigitelle had been left on the plants and weren’t going to be edible (I did pick others that I was able to use as part of the Mezze for yesterday’s lunch party.  As the frigetelle are always very prolific I may try drying some in future years as I have to admit that I like the colour in the vase.

final grouping with some over-sized vases that usually stand on the floor

Final grouping with some over-sized vases that usually stand on the floor

Do visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden to see what others have found for their vases today  or better still why not join in!  Thanks Cathy, its lovely to be back joining you this week.

41 thoughts on “In a vase on Monday – New inspiration

  1. I love your new arrangements. What a clever idea to use stones and berries in the vase. Sorry to hear you had flu this year. Our whole family had it about twenty years ago at Christmas and New Year and remember what a miserable time we all had. We were due to go on a skiing holiday which had to be cancelled so that made us feel even worse than we would have done. Thankfully the insurance paid up and we had a great holiday when we were better. I have been playing safe these last few years and paid for the flu jab. I didn’t want to go through that again.
    It does leave you down for a while afterwards, but I hope you feel more like yourself soon.
    Have a great 2015 with your lovely garden.

  2. First I am sorry to hear you had the flu. But good to hear you are felling better.

    And your vase is absolutely stunning Christina. I love how you accented it with the other vases…and using the stones and other materials in the vase adds to its beauty. What book did you receive on flower arranging…I am looking for more resources….and you have given me loads of ideas already. Now to hunt for some more vases and accent pieces.

  3. Sorry to hear you’ve been sick Christina, but glad you’re on the mend now. Welcome back. Your mother-in-law seems to have found a perfect gift for you. Looking forward to learning more about your book. I like everything about these arrangements. The use of stones and fruits adds a new dimension to the already winning combination of flowers and greenery, and the Salvia ‘Indigo Spires’ adds a perfect punch of color.

  4. I’m sorry to hear you’re under the weather, Christina – that’s no way to end a holiday! Your new compositions are beautiful. Adding a splash of color below the water line of the vase is a nice switch. Balancing your glass vases with the wood vases is also a nice touch.

  5. How awful to have been poorly like this Christina when you must have been eager to get outside and see what was happening in the garden – glad you are on the mend, but do take care. I love this arrangement (even if I did have to look up frigitelle!) – using the pebbles is a brilliant effect in this rectangular vase which has an overall layered look. I am amazed at you having flowers on your salvia cuttings already – but I guess it surprised you too. Great to have vases from you again and we shall be looking to you to raise the bar now!!

    • Not so sure about raising the bar, but I will try to share some of the ideas from the book which isn’t a step by step guide but does give enough info on how to achieve the ideas she proposes. There are hardly any flowers now so invention is going to have to be the name of the game. I must look back to see what I did last year.

  6. I love it. That is such a great idea filling the glass vase with pebbles and crab apples. It looks wonderful and the apples pick up the colour of the berries. I have Choisya out in the garden too. It seems quite impervious to the cold.
    Hope you are feeling better now, keep warm.

    • Thanks Liz, l’m feeling much better but not 100% yet. I like that the apples create a kind of glow in the vase. I must try to think of things other than stones to fill the vase.

  7. Wow! Very impressed with your new vases and the pebbles with the fruit. Dual purpose, providing support as well as a layered decorative effect. I have seen similar effects done in similar vases, using whole/sliced citrus fruits, with co-ordinating coloured flowers. Really keen to give this a go. (Well, I’ve got the vase!!) And then you arranged the arrangements!!

  8. I Love this Christina, its so modern and stylish, I have some old fashioned marbles and glass stones for my glass containers but I like your idea much more, the stones are perfect, maybe the water will turn a gentle pink from the crab apples too. Your oversized floor vases are gorgeous, I could certainly find a home for them! I am sorry you had flu, thats not much fun at any time of year and am glad to read your husband is taking care of you.

    • Thanks Julie, the shape of the vase is modern and so needs a re different treatment, I just needed a bit of inspiration from the book, I hope to use it lots more now, I have a larger one which I’ve never used successfully but I love its shape, I will try to use it soon.

  9. I really like those arrangements Christina, especially the splash of colour of the berries and the crab apples and peppers. That’s such a good idea, putting stones and other things in the vase first. Sorry to hear about the flu and do hope you are on the mend. Take care, and I shall look forward to hearing about your flower arranging book too. 🙂

    • It’s funny how you don’t think about something for ages (like the fact that the vase and stems make up maybe a third of an arrangement) until your attention is drawn to it by a comment or book and then you begin to look for solutions. As flowers become non-existent, the book might become the subject of the post!

    • Yes, you did promote the stones ages ago didn’t you? but they only seem to work well with woody stems and not so well with the soft stems from earlier in the year. I hope you can rescue your vase.

  10. Welcome home. I’m sorry to hear about the flu, though, and hope you will regain your strength soon.

    Those vases are gorgeous. I love the way you stacked the rocks with the crab apples on top. Delightful.

  11. I love the effect of the pebbles and crabapples, Christina! I’ve often preferred to use opaque vases because I don’t like the bare-stems-magnified-by-glass effect. The red of the crabapples (and chilis) really makes it special. So sorry you’ve been ill; what a way to come back from a holiday 😦 Hope you will be able to stay well now!

    • I’ve always preferred opaque vases too, but I have a lot of glass vases I need to use so I’m now actively searching for ideas for hiding the stems. Thanks for you kind words Amy, I am slowly feeling better.

  12. Sorry to hear you had flu. I caught a cold at New Year and we were away which is never great. I’d always rather be at home if I’m going to feel unwell. Still it’s fairly inevitable to catch something at this time of year, particularly if you’re travelling. That sounds like an interesting book so I look forward to hearing more about it.

  13. The layered look underwater is eye-catching. My mom always tried to get me to clean my plate by guilt-tripping on the “starving Armenians”. I couldn’t see how those green beans in my tummy were going to help them out. Sorry: I don’t mean to undermine your social consciousness…it’s just the image that leapt to mind.
    Looking forward to the tips you will no doubt share from that new book. What a thoughtful gift.

    • I had parents who said the same thing, and you’re right but it is still a habit hard to break free from. But of course there is nothing to stop me GROWING the things to use, then they wouldn’t have existed if I hadn’t wanted to use them – I know, I’m just kidding myself!

  14. What a stylish and elegant arrangement Christina – it looks good enough to grace the pages of a gardening magazine. So sorry to read that you returned home under the weather – I think that the plane journey may have played a part – all those germs cooped up in a small space. My salvia cuttings are making amazing growth too and I think that I will soon have no option other than to pot them on. Hope that you are feeling stronger by the day. Happy New Year! xxx

    • Normally I would agree about the flight but on this occasion I think the germs were picked up from family while we were in the UK. I became ill only hours after arriving home and flu usually takes a few days to incubate. I’m glad you liked the arrangement, I am very pleased with it.

  15. So sorry to hear you had such a rotten start to the year Christina, but wow, fabulous arrangements, the pebbles with the crabapples look amazing, and so practical. You are setting a high standard for the rest of the year. Encouraging that Indigo Spires has rooted so readily, I have one I want to take cuttings of once spring arrives.

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