In a vase on Monday – Going for it!

Every Monday morning sees me out in the garden selecting flowers to cut for a vase for Cathy’s meme In a vase on Monday.  Yesterday I wrote about the cuttings garden and asked you what you thought I would pick today; no one was brave enough to try to guess.

I thought it would be quite obvious as only one plant was flowering that hasn’t been seen in a vase so far this year for the very reason that the blooms have only just opened, have you guessed  now?

Yes that’s correct, Jerusalem artichokes (Helianthus tuberosus).  Last year I used them in lots of tiny vases and bottles when I hosted the gardening group’s annual lunch here at My Hesperides garden, you can see how they looked here.

This year I picked long, long stems, some about as tall as me, 1.73 m (5 foot 8.5 inches).  Although I did cut them shorter for the vase.

This meant I had to use my largest vase, the rectangular one I used last week for the Leonotis leonurus.  This week I used rosemary in the front of the vase, trimming it exactly to the height of the vase to hide the stems; the water level is the height of the stones so I’ll need to keep topping it up regularly this week.

Rosemary stems hiding the stems of the other flowers

Rosemary stems hiding the stems of the other flowers

The water level is at the same level as the pebbles

The water level is at the same level as the pebbles

I did remove the foliage from the base of the rosemary as the oils soon pollute the water.

Jerusalem artichokes (Helianthus tuberosus)

Jerusalem artichokes (Helianthus tuberosus)

Such jolly flowers!

I'm pleased with the simplicity but also the presence this vase has in the room

I’m pleased with the simplicity but also the presence this vase has in the room

Jerusalem artichokes (Helianthus tuberosus)

Jerusalem artichokes (Helianthus tuberosus)

Even the spent blooms are attractive so I didn’t remove them from the stems; this stem had escaped from the support netting and was laying on the ground with the flowering stems curved up to the light; in this case the curved stems worked well at the side of the design helping to make the arrangement feel natural and not stiff; this is an unexpected bonus from growing flowers to cut; the shop-bought ones often appear too stiff and detract from the beauty of the flowers, I think.


Both last week’s vases make it through until this morning so both proving to be longer lasting than I would have expected.

Do visit Cathy to see what creation she’s come up with today, the title is intriguing.

Why this week’s title? Well this has to be the tallest vase so far – 1.2 x 1.3 metres, it makes quite a statement. Have a lovely gardening week.


43 thoughts on “In a vase on Monday – Going for it!

  1. Indeed a jolly vase! I was looking forward to seeing how you used Rosemary in a vase and it looks so effective that I really must try it out soon …

  2. What a striking creation. This has a strong overall design, nice balance, lots of texture and your Helianthus is bold and sunny. Those curving stems contribute a lot of personality and help the arrangement flow. (Enjoyed revisiting your San Fiacre party.)

  3. Yes, a HUGE vase – and it works brilliantly. I love the effects you create in your rectangular vase and you are of course so right about the more natural shape of stems grown at home, which makes such a difference. Simple but exuberant describes it well – thanks for sharing ps I shall catch up on your cutting beds post later in the week

    • I always used to view the bent stems as a huge disadvantage but a few really inject some life into the arrangement. I’m thinking of found a vase each day this week as I’ll be coming to the UK at the end of next week, I’ll link them all to your next week’s post.

  4. Your large glass vase is wonderful to hold so many little sunflowers, Christina, you will have lots of tubers, too, I imagine. Have you tried them raw in salads and in stir-fries as a substitute for water chestnuts? I don’t like them much boiled. The flowers look more interesting fanning out, and trailing down, and the wispy Perovskia adds a lot of ferny interest too with the contrasting purple. The Rosemary gives a nice foresty effect in the vase, and looks so good with the pebbles.

    • I’m one of those people who just can’t digest the Jerusalem artichokes, but I will give them a try stir fried as it would be good to make more of the crop (they are usually pretty small).

  5. The Helianthus are SO pretty and I love the way you’ve displayed them. As the species doesn’t appear in my western garden guide, I looked the flower up on-line and found that it’s native to California (among other places) but apparently needs ample water. There were warnings about it becoming a rampant weed too but perhaps keeping it thirsty would also keep its spread under control. What’s your experience with its water needs and spread?

    • The Helianthus grow wild here but usually in damp places. Mine are in a bed very close to the dreadful Leylandii hedge so that although the bed is irrigated along with the vegetables most of the water is taken by the trees; at one end I’ve been watering some chillies I planted in pots and the run off has obviously been taken by the Helianthus as the ones at that end are almost twice as tall as at the other end. It certainly won’t become a weed if it doesn’t receive much water but would with!

  6. I love the carefree look of your artichoke flowers Christina! In your big vase the curved stems are allowed to be themselves and wave at you happily. You chose the right word when you wrote ‘jolly’ – they really are!

  7. Jerusalem artichokes and rosemary, now why is that making me think of roasting a rack of lamb. I wondered how you would use Rosemary to hide the stems and this is very clever indeed. I wonder if you know why acidanthera does not last (for me) as a cut flower. Should I be doing something to the stems with boiling water or is it just the way of this particular bulb?

    • As my acidanthera don’t flower I don’t know the answer but as they are, I think, related to tulips you could try wrapping them tightly in wet newspaper and standing in water up to their necks over night.

  8. I loved the artichokes last year, but this year it’s such an entirely different statement and I love it as well. I wish I could get the sense of scale though with this and that other large glass vase. You say how big they are and how much water the other holds but it’s hard for me to put it in perspective from the pictures. This one must be fabulous with it’s large cheerful yellow flowers and the airy perovskia!

    • I know scale is very hard to imagine, I have the same problem when reading other blogs. This vase is on top of a 6 ft long sideboard and it nearly fills the space. It is quite imposing.

  9. Wonderful – I love Jerusalem Artichokes and always let them go wild in the garden, but have never put them in a vase. It seems to me you have caught the wild and free feeling they have in the garden. Do you cook them much? I love them barbequed, but they are so good it’s dangerous.

  10. Your vases are just stunning, the rosemary is so effective above the pebble line. I like last year’s too including the tiny arrangements you made last year. I wonder how well they flower in the UK? I think they’d be a great addition to a late summer border.

  11. Your artichoke flowers are so cheerful. I just had to run outside to check whether my plants in the corner of the veg patch have flowers. Two stems have buds, so I may get to see some yellow yet. You are so lucky to have them in such abundance. Enjoy!

  12. I love the idea of using rosemary cuttings to hide the stems, it looks so pretty. The flowers of the Jerusalem artichoke are very jolly but I have such trouble with these invasive plants. They are all over my raspberry bed and I can’ t get rid of them.

    • They are very invasive and I wouldn’t recommend them anywhere that they will have the water they need; mine are planted in a very narrow bed, close to the Leylandii hedge that steals all the irrigation water from the bed, meaning they are growing but only just!

  13. Pingback: In a vase on Monday -late | Creating my own garden of the Hesperides

  14. Pingback: Eating our way through a thicket of of Jerusalem artichokes | Frogend dweller's Blog

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