In a vase on Monday – Purple and Blue

After a week away in warm sunshine I expected that there would be more flowering in the garden on my return home; but no, it has been cold with temperatures hovering around zero centigrade at night and a cold north wind blowing during the day keeping the temperature in single figures for most of the week.


Ami majus

Ami majus

Some of the Ami majus is from the greenhouse and some from plants I planted out into the cut flower bed to test their hardiness.  Acanthus leaves are from the small vases of a few weeks ago so it is good to know they last so well as cut foliage.

These purple irises are the same as I used a few weeks ago, they are shorter than all the other bearded iris and the beard isn’t very pronounced; I had thought they were more or less species Iris as they had been given to me so I don’t really know what they are.  They haven’t flowered early in this way before so I am still unsure of what they are exactly but it is nice to have some large irises for a vase so I’m not complaining.



Also included are some larkspur that are flowering in the greenhouse, the seeds sown too early, but I have already planted a few outside and they seem happy enough so I may plant the rest out to slow them down.  The seed was sown in October, I think a January sowing would be better.



Today's vase, actually a lined basket

Today’s vase, actually a lined basket

Finally I added three stems of Antirrhinum which have been in the bed since last year, these have had buds for months but the cold weather has stopped them from actually opening, maybe inside the house they will actually open!

With many thanks to Cathy for hosting ‘In a vase on Monday’ where she challenges us to find flowers or anything else worthy of being placed in a vase.  Do visit her to see her clever arrangement and what others have found in their gardens today.

40 thoughts on “In a vase on Monday – Purple and Blue

  1. My it has been chilly there Christina….here too, but above freezing now for 2 days in a row…mid 30s. I love seeing so many purples/blues. I miss them. I love the Ami majus flowers…so delicate and a wonderful texture and filler.

    • While our temperatures aren’t very low they have been consistently hovering around zero during the night for what seems like ages. The sun makes it feel pleasant but the wind chill keeps it from truly feeling like spring.

  2. Welcome home, Christina! You must have been so pleased to explore the garden on your return and I suppose the colder temperatures will have prevented things racing ahead too much. It’s a useful exercise experimenting with sowing times, isn’t it? Today I made sure I noted down when I sowed everything, so I can reassess at the end of the year – you wouldn’t believe how many seeds I have on the go now! I love your plain blue iris – it looks all the more dramatic because of the lack of contrast – and how impressive to be including annuals in your vase now! The larkspur and ammi work really well with the iris and the basket adds to the effect. Do you have a vase inside the lined basket? Thanks for sharing it, and your seed sowing experiences too

    • The basket came with a plastic liner so I just filled it with water, I used a piece of chicken wire to give the stems some support. I like the contrasting textures and weights of the different flowers, it gives it quite a different feel to my usual efforts. I’m so glad I started a spreadsheet with the seed sowing data; it is already proving invaluable and I think it should build up into a very useful resource. I try to note when I prick out, pot on (if necessary) and plant out. I need to note when I first pick but I haven’t been very good at that part so far! Really the garden didn’t look any different at all which at this time of year is really surprising.

      • I had dated all my seed labels so I knew when I sowed things, but some sort of a spreadsheet would be a good idea as it will be useful to know how quickly things progress. I think I would want to print off a copy of it so I could add things by hand as I did them otherwise I might get behind. Do you put your info straight onto your computer?

        • The spread sheet works realy well as I can refer to previous years and am already getting to know how long the germination is for different plants, which means if something takes a great deal longer I know there was a problem and need to sow more. Also tomatoes for instance always germinate within a couple of days so I am aware I need to keep a close watch on them.

          • The germination speed is so variable and noting this too would also help me decide which to make room for first on my contraption next to the Aga. Good idea, thanks for sharing!

            • Germinating times and the time from germination to planting out is so different between different plants and is something few seed packets actually tell you. It is dependent on light and heat but some things just grow faster!

            • Most of mine are germinating within 2 or 3 days at the moment so I have almost daily journeys with seed trays from house to greenhouse!

  3. You’ve got cold, while we’ve got record heat – over 80F (27C) in early March! Your arrangement is lovely. It makes me think of sunny countryside roads. I hope you enjoyed your trip and that it warms up now that you’re home.

    • A little more warmth would be nice but too much would push everything forward to quickly so I can be patient Kris. The Ami does give that lovely wild, country-lane look which I find very appealing.

  4. Your arrangement in the basket is lovely and airy Christina, I think it’s the floaty Ammi and the Larkspur that make it so light. The iris are a nice focus too. Are they perhaps Iris sibirica? They don’t flower till May here though..

    • I don’t think the Iris are sibirica as they need more water than is available here, none of my irises usually flower before May so these are just very confused!

  5. Such lovely colors in your vase this week 😉 A shame you came home to such cold after a warm holiday, but you’ve pulled together a beautiful arrangement in spite of it 😉 Best wishes, WG

  6. What a lovely variety of material you have this week Christina and it all looks so perfect arranged in your basket. You are lucky to have ammi and larkspur already in flower – your greenhouse must be a very warm place for them to have grown so well. I am also very jealous of your bearded iris – I will have to wait until June for mine to flower! I hope you had a good holiday and are refreshed and ready to tackle your spring garden.

    • The Ami have been flowering for ages, I’ve already planted most of them out and think I’ll plant the rest out now too as I have made a second sowing which have already been pricked out. During the day the temperatures in the greenhouse are in the high 30’s even with the door wide open and the roof lights open automatically and the internal shade netting has been partially in place since January.

  7. A week away in warm sunshine sounds a most welcome experience at this time of year Christina. I hope that you enjoyed your break. It sounds as if a pause button has been pressed in the garden in your absence. That’s good as you will not have missed out on anything 🙂 That larkspur is a glorious colour.

    • You’re spot on with the idea of a pause button, Anna, I really expected things to have changed a lot; there are more tulip bulbs pushing through though so that’s rather nice to see.

  8. Very attractive Christina. Nice to learn the Acanthus leaves are so long-lasting. The larkspur blue is pretty with the purple iris and the openness of the Ami majus fits well. Hope your spring warms up a bit soon.

  9. I like vacations best when the weather you leave behind is miserable 🙂
    The vase looks quite summery considering the cold weather. I hope it warms up nicely this week since it’s so hard to go back to cold and grey after enjoying warm sunshine!

    • Actually the day we left was amazingly warm and I was worried that things might die through lack of water but then I heard that it had become very cold again with icy winds. It was quite breezy where we were too but that was pleasant in the heat.

  10. A beautiful combination of material! I love the simplicity of the irises. They remind me of some which I purchased at a garage sale while we lived in the Midwest. I think perhaps they had been given to the woman who sold them to me – at any rate, I don’t think she knew what sort they were, other than “old-fashioned”! But they were vigourous and beautiful and survived even in too much shade for years. Proving that simplicity is a virtue…
    I hope the weather warms up now you are back…!

    • In the sun it doesn’t feel too cold but it would be nice if spring really began now. As to the Irises I don’t think I’ll ever know exactly what they are.

  11. Your irises may be confused, but they are certainly gorgeous! I love that deep purple alongside the Ammi. In fact, I like anything alongside Ammi! Like you, I love the “Country lane ” look it portrays. I’ve bought some seeds to try this year, so, with some luck, I may have some of my own this year. 🙂

    • I sowed these Ami in September because Sara Raven recommended an autumn sowing but I should have done it much later or even in January for the climate here. they germinated very easily and a good percentage grew so I’m sure you’ll have some this year.

  12. I like the lacy look surrounding the bulkier Iris. I have a bunch of those very early purple iris and no idea where they came from or what they are called.

    • There’s early (which the wild ones I have in the garden are) and there’s crazily early which these are! I don’t suppose I’ll ever really know what they are, but who cares, I’m really enjoying them.

  13. Iris is one of my favourite flowers. I planted quite a few near the stone walls here in ‘her French garden’ and the plants have multiplied greatly. I have had to dig some out perhaps for replanting elsewhere. Your flower arrangements are magnificent. – Kourosh

  14. I love that blue larkspur,what a colour to home to. Here the weather alternates between cold winds and warm sunshine, daffodil weather, plus little flashes of blue from lungwort and violets- add sounds of grumbling from the gardener who has discovered that mice have eaten some tulips. Your basket looks great Christina, with just the right lightness from the ammni.

    • More of the Ami flowers have opened now so I think it looks even prettier. Our weather in cold at night and until about 10, then it warms up and seems quite hot, but it certainly isn’t the early spring we had last year!

  15. It is always so nice to get back to the garden after being away. How nice that you haven’ t missed anything. I love irises and I am mad on that lovely one. It is a dwarf Iris Germanica, they always flower earlier than the tall bearded ones, but not in March in the UK.
    The arrangement is so pretty, I love the Ammi with it. Julie very kindly gave me a tray of seedlings that she had grown, so I am looking forward to being able to use it in arrangements too.

    • The Iris might be large dwarf I germanica, they’re much taller than the dwarf varieties I’ve bought and you’re correct they always flower before the others but not in March here either. The Ami has opened even more now, it is lovely, this is the first time I’ve grown it and will certainly continue to do so.

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