In a vase on Monday – variations on a theme

Monday has come around again and it is time to find material from the garden to put in a vase to join with Cathy’s, Rambling in the Garden meme.  Mondays have become slightly more difficult for me as I now teach on Monday afternoons and often spend the morning checking my preparations and presentation.

Today I awoke to bright sunshine and as yesterday had been beautifully warm I was half expecting it to be warm again today; but only half thinking that as I had heard the wind blowing hard during the night.  In fact today may have been the coldest during the day so far this year; 4°C was the high today!  Already, as it gets dark the temperature is dipping below freezing.

Last week’s vase lasted really well and is still gracing the kitchen; I remembered to check and change the water and my treatment of the Euphorbias had been successful as there was no milking sap in the water.  The buds have opened more so I decided to pick more today but mix them with different foliage in a basket rather than the blue jug for a different effect, it would have been lovely to have a few dwarf daffodils to add to the basket but there aren’t any yet and with the cold wind forecast for the rest of the week, I doubt there will be any for a while!

I like the very different textures of the Euphorbia and Acanthus foliage

I like the very different textures of the Euphorbia and Acanthus foliage

The Acanthus leaves are very lush and a good shiny dark green; I would like to try manipulating them like Susie at pmbgarden but there wasn’t enough time today, so they provide the base foliage for the arrangement.

Acanthus leave with Ami majus

Acanthus leave with Ami majus

The Ami is still growing like crazy in the greenhouse, as soon as the freezing weather comes to an end I will plant some out.  They do grow like topsy meaning that Sarah Raven is correct in saying they will need staking!

I like how the inflorescence of the Euphorbia are all slightly different colours

I like how the inflorescence of the Euphorbia are all slightly different colours

Initially I picked 9 Euphorbia stems intending to place them in threes to give more impact, but this more were needed.  I have a lot of Euphorbia rigida in the garden where they have seeded themselves, I have been raiding the plants that haven’t placed themselves very well and need removing, it’s great that they can be useful.

You can just see a glimpse of the basket I used today

You can just see a glimpse of the basket I used today

One last touch was to add a stem of Italian cypress which the wind had pulled from its position and therefore needed pruning.

I used one stem of Buddleia ‘Silvery Anniversary’ to add a point of light

I used one stem of Buddleia ‘Silvery Anniversary’ to add a point of light

The vase is standing on the sideboard in the sitting room

The vase is standing on the sideboard in the sitting room

This week’s arrangement has a totally different feel even though Euphorbia rigida has been used for two consecutive weeks.

Thank you Cathy for hosting; do visit her to find out why she has sheet music as one of her props!

33 thoughts on “In a vase on Monday – variations on a theme

  1. All that texture is thrilling. I went outside with the intention of cutting some Euphorbia but, as is so often the case, was sidetracked by other sirens calling out to me. Once again, I have gone small, but sure do like your big, generous arrangement.

    • I noticed a lot of Acanthus seedlings (see my comment to Jason above) their tiny leaves would make a nice small arrangement so perhaps I have an idea for next week! Thank you!

    • In summer the leaves can look a bit dusty, but in winter there foliage is wonderful. Given that they are quite invasive I may try to remove all the flowers before they set seed and concentrate on enjoying them in winter.

  2. Aren’t acanthus leaves gorgeous? As you say, the euphorbia really shows off its different colours and textures and I like the way you have used the stray ones! Your vase really shows how effective foliage is – thanks for sharing, and I hope you still find time to post your vases with your new Monday afternoon commitment

    • Don’t worry Cathy I will always try to join in with you each week, I may have to be more organised and actually arrange the flowers on Thursday or Friday and time the post to appear on Monday. I really can’t imagine NOT doing a vase each week. In some ways the fact that there are no flowers to pick in my garden at the moment shows two things, one I should plant more things that can be picked at this time of year and two that the foliage is almost stand alone, just a few flowers would have made it amazing, if I say so myself. In summer I was often producing arrangements with no foliage and this week’s vase proves that is a mistake.

      • You are right – and after having been through a winter of vases previously I know that I too am looking for potential contents in a completely different way from a year ago. And really enjoy the process of doing so!

        • I need to look more seriously at bulbs that will flower early (or just flower) in the greenhouse. This year hasn’t been an issue but often the lack of cold weather delays as many plants as it pushes to flower early.

  3. I love the shape of your arrangement this week Christina, and the different shades of greens. That Acanthus is leaf really is lovely. May I ask what you teach?

  4. I have just read your replies to both Cathys, I agree with that, this meme has been a great way of highlighting whats missing in my own garden and I really like the textures and shapes you have used too in your vase today. Your Monday classes sound very interesting too, that must be a very rewarding subject to teach Christina.

    • Winter flowering plants apart from the obvious Elaeagnus (whose flowers are too small to make an impact) are fewer here, I think because they need a period of cold before they flower so many things just flower in spring! For instance my Viburnum tinus is still just a mass of buds rather than flowers. My teaching is very enjoyable and I take them on field trips to all the famous historic gardens in the area.

  5. It’s fascinating seeing the different effects you can achieve using the same plants. And it’s a good feeling that, what would otherwise be thrown away, whether broken stems, prunings or unwanted seedlings, can have a second lease of life in a beautiful arrangement. I call these my “A + E” arrangements – most satisfying! Your teaching job sounds really interesting – I trust you enjoy it?

  6. Wonderful foliage combination, Christina, and the focal point of Buddleia works so well! My mother has always claimed some kind of allergic reaction to acanthus – for which reason I’ve hesitated to consider growing it, though I haven’t run onto any other references to that problem. Are you aware of any difficulties of this sort commonly?
    Your teaching sounds marvelous – for teacher and students both…!

    • No, I’ve not heard of an allergy associated with Acanthus, but that doesn’t mean some people don’t have a problem. A. spinosus as its name suggests has spines which are an irritant.

  7. I really like this vase, with the contrast between the acanthus and the euphoria foliage. You do an excellent job with what your winter garden gives you!

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