In a vase on Monday – Light and Airy or Dense and heavy

Cathy from Rambling in the Garden is away enjoying the Outer Hebrides and meeting some blogging friends, but this hasn’t stopped here request that we find something to pick from our gardens to enjoy inside the house this week; her post is already up, that’s real dedication.

Today I could have filled 10 vases there was so much in the cuttings beds and also other borders that could have been raided without loss to their overall look.

I wanted to use the Sweet William (Dianthus barbata) and thought I would try a hand tied bouquet and place it in a vase with just the flower heads showing; I’d seen this idea in a book, and having now seen it in the flesh I’m not sure I would d use this style again, in fact it is probably I will change this and cut the stems much shorter, add more flowers and make a table centrepiece but no time for that today.  I love the rich colours, but I’m disappointed they don’t have the strong perfume I remember from when my father grew them when I was a child.  The seed came from our local DIY store so was very cheap for a pack of seeds of mixed colours.  Does anyone know of a source of seeds where I could buy individual colours and would be scented?

Rich colours of Dianthus barbatus

Rich colours of Dianthus barbatus

Dense and heavy - not sure I really like this style of arrangement, but it's good to try something new

Dense and heavy – not sure I really like this style of arrangement, but it’s good to try something new

Strongly scented dianthus (pinks) are flowering around the garden and also near the vegetable garden where I’m happy to pick them for the house; these are intensely perfumed cloves.  In Italy there common name is ‘garofano’ and cloves for cooking are called ‘chiodi di garofano’ (nails of cloves).

Dianthus with Ami majus smells wondeful

Dianthus with Ami majus smells wonderful

I wanted to use these in the kitchen where I could enjoy them all the time, I picked masses and there are many more left to pick but decided they looked a little insignificant in a vase on their own so to some vases I added Ami majus and to others pick wall flowers and pink Antirrhinums.

Dianthus with Antirrhinum, wall flowers and Ami

Dianthus with Antirrhinum, wall flowers and Ami

Just acouple of plants from the mix of wall flowers were the right pink to use

Just a couple of plants from the mix of wall flowers were the right pink to use

Last year's Antirrhinum was also the right colour to add to the mix

Last year’s Antirrhinum was also the right colour to add to the mix

Some Sweat William were also the same pink, which was fortunate.

My mantle shelf display this week

My mantle shelf display this week

The vases are again from Ikea, five square formed glass vases that I think I will be using a lot in future.

Do visit Cathy to see her offering from her holiday and catch up with what everyone else has found for their vases today.

32 thoughts on “In a vase on Monday – Light and Airy or Dense and heavy

  1. Well you have outdone yourself Christina. That first vase with the Dianthus is so elegant. I love the effect in the off-white vase. Beautiful. And all the airy flowers from the cutting beds are so lovely…such a wonderful display. Hoping for mine to be coming on soon so I have more to cut and arrange. But here the flowers show up mostly in late spring and all summer.

  2. I love your matched vases and the repetition of colors and flowers. They make as much of an impact as any large single vase might. The dark Dianthus barbata is a beautiful rich color but I also like the addition of that delicious Dianthus fragrance.

    • I definitely like several repeated vases even more than one vase, especially for the mantle shelf in the kitchen which is very dominant in the room and high so that smaller, lower vases actually look best.

  3. The multiple vases are striking Christina. I really love the strong, rich Sweet William in the first vase. I bought several plants this spring and mine isn’t scented either, although I passed by some in a garden yesterday that smelled divine.

  4. The dense and heavy arrangement is very Martha Stewart. I like its drama, but prefer the airy look of the multiple vases. You may be onto something with the cheap seeds. Maybe getting some from a high end garden store would bring you the scent…or mail order, where you could check the description.

    • On one website from a reputed seed merchant it described the Sweet William as having a soft perfume – to me that reads as “you’l be lucky if you can smell it!” But I will investigate further.

  5. I love your dark Dianthus. I grew a dark one from seed which is quite similar. It is Dianthus barbatus ‘ Sooty’. Your arrangement in a plain white vase is so pretty. I love your 5 Ikea glass vases, what a lovely display they make.

  6. I’m going to have to get to IKEA soon Christina 🙂 I prefer light and airy but the sweet williams still look attractive. What no scent? How disappointing as I think of sweet williams in the same breath as stocks, both packing a punch with their perfume. Have you looked at the Chiltern Seeds catalogue?

  7. Catch up time!! No, in truth I will just have to pick up blogs and comments from now, rather than all those I have not been able to read or reply to…. Isn’t exciting to have lots of flowers to choose from now? Your light and airy vases are especially gorgeous, and those Ikea vases really show them off well. My single colour SW came from eBay, but I don’t think they have a scent, the other Ebay ones which are not flowering yet are meant to be scented but are mixed colours – worth checking eBay for other single colours though.

    • Enjoy your holiday and accept that you miss a few posts from fellow bloggers otherwise it will all become a chore, and it should never be that. I will search out some single colours because although I’m pleased with the colours in this cheap pack you never know what you are throwing away with the excess seedlings!

  8. Such a lovely selection of vases this week Christina – I love them all!! I am not sure about the scent of Sweet Williams – I will let you know when mine flower if they have any scent. It is such a shame that scent has been bred out of a lot of flowers – that happened with sweet peas as well, although I think the seed suppliers are getting the message that we like our flowers to smell nice and breeding scent back into many varieties – hopefully sweet williams will be one of them!

    • I have such strong memories of the perfume of Sweet William that I was really disappointed when the flowers opened and there was no perfume at all!

  9. Your vases on the shelf reminded me of airy wildflowers, I really love that look. Wonderful to have so much choice in your cutting garden too, have you found an increase in pollinators, it’s one thing I’m especially hoping for. As well as some very nice flowers.

  10. How nice to see you learning to love Ikea’s square glass vases. My favourite.

    Of Spring and Summer does those dense domed arrangements. She rests the blooms on the edge of the vase, and cuts the stems a little longer in the centre. Also in a smaller vase, with less flowers – then it isn’t dense and heavy, just concentrated.

    • The effect of the density of flowers is growing on me, but I think I would prefer them in a lower vase; although this was the way it was done in the book, it looks unbalanced to me.

  11. I love the mantel display! Sweetly scented pinks are one of my springtime favorites. It is sad to think of dianthus without a fragrance, though the color of Dianthus barbatus is striking. I have Bath’s Pink as a ground cover in a couple of places, as well as in some pots. I look forward to the fragrance all winter. Mine have just finished blooming, and now I get to enjoy the great foliage the rest of the year.

  12. That mantle shelf looks very pretty with your vases lined up! And I do like the first vase too. Yes, sometimes it is good to try something different, and I have found everyone has such different taste and ideas about what is a success and what isn’t. The vase you have used is very elegant. I have lots of sweet williams, but they don’t all smell… no idea why as they are all from a few original plants. The colours are not true though… each seedling flowers a slightly different colour! Buying small plants might be a better idea…?

    • Small plants aren’t possible here, no one grows flowers as such, hydrangeas are what are in most peoples’ gardens. The mantle shelf is such a dominant feature in the kitchen it needs to have flowers – always!

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