In a vase on Monday and a book review

Monday is the day to join with Cathy at Rambling in the Garden and share a vase of flowers picked from our own gardens.  I use the word flowers loosely, in my Garden in January there are few flowers and those that are there are needed to add that extra spark to the borders.

In the cuttings bed the only plants remaining are the Antirrhinums and they are stubbornly refusing to actually open their buds, maybe if I picked them they would open.  So wandering around the garden I was beginning to feel a slight sense of panic, what could I use and not repeat the vase produced last week for which there would have been more material.

I am regretting not having any forced narcissi this year, but no good complaining I must find something to use.  The birds seem to have discovered the Cotoneaster berries I used last week so I will reuse the ones those with some tightly closed buds of Viburnum tinus, which never seems to open its buds here until spring unlike in the UK where it flowers reliably for most of the winter.  The prostrate rosemary at the top of the drive is full of flowers and bees too enjoying the sunshine today.  For some perfume the Eleagnus is still producing masses of sweetly scented flowers.

I've since filled the vase with more water and the crab apples look better.

I’ve since filled the vase with more water and the crab apples look better.

Rosemany flowers add some subtle colour

Rosemany flowers add some subtle colour

I removed all the foliage from last week's Cotoneaster as it was a bit dried out

I removed all the foliage from last week’s Cotoneaster as it was a bit dried out

The finished arrangement with a ceramic pomegranate, which is supposed to bring good luck

The finished arrangement with a ceramic pomegranate, which is supposed to bring good luck

I reused the Salvia ‘Indigo Spires’ to add more movement to the design.

Do pop over to Cathy’s to see what other have found in their garden’s today.

I mentioned last week that I had been given a book by my MIL for Christmas; I am thrilled with it, it is full of inspiring ideas that all seem easily achieved.  The book is “Flowers Every Day” by Paula Pryke with excellent photographs by Rachel Whiting.

The book's cover

The book’s cover

This book aims to inspire you to have flowers in your home every day of the year; as Paula writes “Expense, lack of longevity and a shortage of time can often prevent us from enjoying flowers as much as we would like.  But by using your garden as a resource, in addition to carefully selected purchases from the Florist or supermarket, you can enjoy flowers in your home every day of the year.”

The book is divided into seasons, showing us what it is easy to have in our gardens plus listing flowers that should be available to purchase at reasonable prices.  Each season is sub-divided into early and late.  Paula is an internationally known florist but this book is about the arrangements she achieves for her own home.  So the flowers are often simple and inexpensive or from her own garden; but it is her ideas for arranging them are refreshingly modern and different (to me anyway).

She has used my rectangular shaped vase for several arrangements, one reason why I like the book so much

She has used my rectangular shaped vase for several arrangements, one reason why I like the book so much

Between the pages about the seasons there are pages devoted to containers, raiding your store cupboard, conditioning the flowers etc.  The book doesn’t pretend to be a ‘how to’ book for growing your own flowers only one double page is devoted to growing a cutting garden from seed; although there are also notes of evergreens and other shrubs that it would be useful to grow.  I liked the fact that she always introduces all the flowers using their Latin Names and only uses common names after that.

One of a few pages about what to grow for each season

One of a few pages about what to grow for each season

What to buy in different seasons, I won't be using this but I think it is a good idea as she chooses flowers that aren't too expensive in any particular season

What to buy in different seasons, I won’t be using this but I think it is a good idea as she chooses flowers that aren’t too expensive in any particular season

Showing what could be good in the garden for each season

Showing what could be good in the garden for each season

Simple ideas

Simple ideas

There wasn’t anything in the entire book that I thought would be difficult to achieve even for a complete novice.

I like many of the treatments for wrapping or covering vases

I like many of the treatments for wrapping or covering vases

P1140222

Paula has a wonderful eye for colour and form and there wasn’t one arrangement that I didn’t like in the book or feel that I could achieve.  Not every arrangement has step by step instructions but I didn’t feel this detracted from the books usefulness as she covers most of the techniques that can be used.

I would certainly recommend the book to anyone wanting to arrange flowers for their home and think that everyone would find her ideas inspiring and creative and the instructions helpful in achieving the look you want.  I especially liked the many ideas for covering containers and using the ‘below the waterline’ as part of the arrangement.

As I mentioned the book was a gift to me and no-one has asked me to review the book, my comments are all my own response to the book that I wanted to share.

26 thoughts on “In a vase on Monday and a book review

  1. Just popped on Amazon and bought the book…just what I have been looking for so thanks for sharing it Christina….I like how you reused the vase…still so many lovely features and all that wonderfully blooming rosemary!

    • The rosemary is a treasured joy, the bees were really enjoying it too so I won’t pick too much and deprive them. I hope you enjoy the book, I’m sure you’ll be as inspired as I was.

  2. Adding the rosemary changes it quite subtly doesn’t it? I liked it last week and I still do! The book looks really interesting as you said before and some of the snippets you have shown us include some brilliant ideas, albeit simple – which is great for the likes of most of us. I think I shall be off to Amazon later…. 😉 Presumably mil knows about your Vases on Monday?

    • Yes, MIL follows the blog it is a way for her to see progress in the garden. The Chiosya flowers were faded so couldn’t stay in the vase and I didn’t want to replace them with the same thing, but next week will be a challenge, maybe it will have to be some seed-heads.

      • I was hoping my Mum would do the same with this blog, but I don’t think she really understands how to access it. She has loved the two Blurb books I have given her though, with the poems and the vases. I too am already wondering about next week, but seeing other people’s use of foliage this week is a real eye opener, so who knows?!

  3. Thanks for the review Christina, I have just looked this lady up on you tube, where she has posted a demonstration of one of the arrangements from this book. Love the addition of Rosemary in your vase, the textures and colours look really lovely together.

  4. The soft blue of the rosemary enhances the arrangement Christina. Very lovely. Enjoyed seeing examples from your new book and reading your opinion. I’ll have to look for this one.

  5. This is one of my favourite flower arranging books Christina – as you say the ideas are fresh and modern but very achievable. Paula Pryke lives in a village quite close to me and I have been lucky to see her demonstrate a couple of times at Roger Harvey’s nursery. I love the different elements you have put together this week – the Cotoneaster berries are stunning and I love the flowering rosemary – what a treat for the bees – ours are all still asleep.

  6. I was hoping to see some of your rosemary flowers at some stage so glad you used them today, and they go beautifully with the orange shades you have used. Actually it is quite a complex arrangement with all the different elements, but looks very natural. I like it very much! Your book sounds like what we could all do with… I just need an excuse to treat myself now! 😉 Thanks for reviewing it in so much detail.

    • GardeningJules Julie alerted me to some demonstrations by Paula on You Tube. They’re worth a look. I feel my arrangement today lacks a focus, one beautiful large something?

      • I’ll take a look at them – thanks! And I don’t think your arrangement lacks at all… those rosemary flowers would not get the attention they deserve if you added a larger “something”.

  7. Oh now that’s a splendid reloved vase Christina. I wondered whether the crab apples would go wrinkly underwater but they still look fresh. Your comment about viburnum tinus not flowering with you until spring is interesting. Maybe it’s our colder winter temperatures that trigger earlier flowering. I no longer have this shrub as the leaves were turned to lace by the dreaded viburnum beetle but I remember that some years it was making welcome flowers in November. Thanks for the book review. Our local library has a copy 🙂

    • Yes, I was surprised the apples still looked fresh, especially as they weren’t freshly picked but gathered from the ground when I used them last week, the friggitelle (peppers) on the other hand went mouldy, partly because the water level fell and again they weren’t in perfect condition. How lovely to have such a well stocked library.

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