In a Vase on Monday – The year begins

A very Happy New Year to each of you; I hope 2016 will bring peace and tranquillity to the world, but I realise that is rather a big ask so perhaps I will also wish you a good gardening year.

Monday morning and I am at home and able to join again with Cathy’s meme where she asks us to find flowers from our own gardens to place in a vase and share.

I needed flowers for my New Year’s Eve Dinner party; I thought I might have to resort to buying some flowers as I was sure that nothing would have survived the numerous frosty mornings that there had been over the Christmas period and every morning since our return from the UK last Monday evening.  But there are always evergreens and ever silvers so I ventured out to wander and discover what might work for a small table decoration (there was going to be a lot of food so not too much space for flowers and something more impressive for the sideboard.

The strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo) needs pruning back into its lollypop shape so I was happy to pick lots of small branches of that; then I saw, to my amazement that the Rudbeckia (of which I had complained about the lack of flowers earlier was covered in bright yellow starry flowers – the perfect welcome to the New year.  The addition of some white candles was all that was needed to create a simple but substantial arrangement.

Arbutus unedo, the Strawberry tree providing a good foliage base

Arbutus unedo, the Strawberry tree providing a good foliage base

Starry Rudbeckia supplying a ray of sunshine to the evergreen foliage

Starry Rudbeckia supplying a ray of sunshine to the evergreen foliage

For the first time in many months I used Oasis as the support for my flowers and candles, I don’t think I could have achieved this in any other way.

An arrangement for New Year's Eve

An arrangement for New Year’s Eve

For the table I used more of the Arbutus and a mass of Senecio cineraria or Jacobaea maritima as it is now called.

For the table a single candle and Jacobaea maritima

For the table a single candle and Jacobaea maritima

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for encouraging us each week, do visit to see what she has found this week.

56 thoughts on “In a Vase on Monday – The year begins

  1. Beautiful arrangements, just perfect for a celebration!
    I’m wishing for Peace in the world too! but humans seem determined to fight. Peace and tranquility in our own small corners will have to be a start. Looking forward to another glorious year of Vase on Mondays!

    • Peace and good health have to be the gifts I would most like to bestow on the world; I do agree that all we can do is try to enjoy our own small space in that world and try to bring pleasure to others. A vase is as good a way as anything to begin.

  2. I often think my garden is bereft of flowers and then I surprise myself although it has to be said there’s very little to pick this morning. Bright yellow daisies at this time of year are so optimistic and bring sunshine on to the dining table-lovely.

  3. What a nice surprise the Rudbeckia made for your party, hope it was a great success. Unusually warm temperatures have provided many untimely blooms in past weeks. It is well below freezing for the first time this morning, however, so it seems winter has arrived with a vengeance.

    • The Rudbeckia didn’t seem to be affected by our morning frosts at all, they are very tough. It was lovely to have them for the party; a hopeful thought of the flowers to come.

  4. Christina you have outdone yourself! This floral design is just amazing. It has a nice rhythm that keeps one’s eye moving around the arrangement. Great proportions too. Discovering the Rudbeckia in bloom was a serendipitous starting point for a beautiful arrangement. Peace and happiness to you though the new year.

    • Thank you Susie; if you are satisfied with one of my designs I feel I have achieved something! If fact I can’t really claim any praise as this was done very quickly after preparing for the meal and before changing before the guests arrived; Richard even helped me by attaching cocktail sticks to the candles so they could be pushed into the foam. A very Happy New Year to you too Susie.

  5. a truly elegant arrangement which looks so fresh and natural (and much nicer than anything you could have bought).

    • Thank you Ann, I’m always disappointed with bought flowers now; it seems like cheating and the flowers never look natural. I hated it at Christmas when my sister in law bought foliage for a table decoration when there was much more appropriate foliage in my mother in law’s garden. But I suppose even I am new to the joys of foliage and flowers from the garden and the newest recruits are always the toughest!

  6. What a treat that the rudbeckia honored you and your garden with an appearance just at the right time too!. Fabulous table arrangements. Wishing you a Happy, Healthy and Peaceful New Year! And an abundant garden year!!

    • Yes, the Rudbeckia are a treat, they are forgiven for their poor showing earlier and I’m hopeful that these might even be perennial varieties, what do you think?

  7. Really lovely arrangements Christina, so textural and colourful but elegant too and beautiful for a New Year’s Eve party. think it is almost as satisfying to decorate the table with homegrown and arranged material as it is to make dinner from delicious homegrown and home cooked produce.

    • Oh yes Sarah, I agree with that; I was able to use my own seed-raised lemon grass and leaves from my Keffir lime in my Thai banquet along with chillies, leeks and salad leaves – oh yes, definitely a buzz!

  8. Oh your party menu sounds most interesting, especially being able to use lots of your own produce – and those rudbeckias look fantastic with the candles and the foliage. What a great surprise for you to find they had survived the frost – might you expect them to survive the winter in the absence of frosts? When I started the vases I thought I would be using the florists’ foam a lot, but once I got going I realised there were other ways of supporting the stems and like you I only use it very rarely now. Thanks for sharing and I look forward to many more in 2016 – best wishes for a happy and healthy year

  9. The Rudbeckia make a bright and cheerful new year’s surprise, Christina. You did yourself proud with your party arrangements – they look beautiful and very festive. Best wishes for a very happy new year!

  10. A truly superb arrangement, Christina – you are clever! Re your comment about the pleasure from vases, I so agree. But you know, not every one does. When I lived in Ireland I remember buying a bunch of daffodils and meeting a friend who does cat/dog rescue (the situation’s quite bad there). She asked me accusingly how I could actually be enjoying flowers when there was so much misery in the world. I’d rather look at your arrangement instead of feeling miserable (as well as helpless)!

    • Sadly some people feel the weight of the world on their shoulders regardless of whether they can do anything about its problems. I try to do what I can especially regarding global warming but also try to enjoy the simple pleasures there are in this beautiful world and my vases and seeing others definitely helps me to be happy which I think it is important to try to be. Being positive about life has to be a good thing.

  11. Beautiful arrangement – I used Oasis to do a similar one at Christmas. Love those Rudbeckia that is a new variety to me. The native Black Eyed Susans here overran my garden and were asked to leave.

    • I’m usually happy with any plant that survives our climate so I’d wouldn’t mind if they overran the garden here, but that is unlikely as they need far more water than we receive so they have to be in an irrigated bed.

  12. Happy New Year Christina!! What an amazing achievement to make your New Years Eve flower arrangements from flowers you have grown yourself and what a stunning arrangement you made – your guests must have been very impressed!

    • They were certainly all surprised by the Rudbeckia; I’m really not very keen on bought cut flowers since growing my own; but the garden is looking very bare now so I don’t know what there will be in the next few weeks.

  13. A most graceful arrangement to celebrate the arrival of a new year Christina. I hope that it treats you and your garden kindly. I’ve been reading about the fact that high pressure seems to have dominated the weather patterns in Italy for the last couple of months or so you must be enjoying blue skies and calm weather.

    • It has been amazing weather, the best November and December that I can remember. We have rain this week, which is good but a bit depressing at the same time, I love the blue sky days even if it is very cold (“very” being relative of course!)

  14. You did well to find so much nice vegetation and even the Rudbeckia flowers! The candles really set them off well, too, it must have looked lovely all lit up, Christina.

  15. I am surprised that you have been having frosts over there.
    I love your New Year’ s arrangements, the Arbutus makes a lovely unusual foliage plant. I have rudbeckias in bloom to which seems strange in January.
    Happy New Year Christina, I hope I will get to see you this year.

    • I hope so to Liz, I’ll be coming back soon as my MIL had a small stroke just hours after we left her last week, when she leaves hospital I will stay with her for a while and hopefully be able to visit you.

  16. The Arbutus foliage makes such an elegant base! I would love to find one to plant but haven’t been able to yet. And the Rudbeckia is a wonderful emblem for New Year’s wishes – happy 2016 🙂

    • Thanks for your good wishes Amy, I hope you have some luck finding an Arbutus as it should do very well in your area. Once established they have proved to be such a reliable tree in my garden, they look good 365 days a year!

  17. What a lovely arrangement Christina. I haven’t used the florist’s foam before. It looks like it makes those more formal arrangements easier. Happy New Year. I wish you peace, tranquillity, and a good gardening year as well.

    • Thank you Cath, and yes you’re right that the foam makes this type of arrangement possible but I prefer not to use it if I can manage without. It doesn’t break down very easily so I think it is better to use stones or simple tied bouquets.

  18. Haha! You really made the best out of “nothing”. 2016 is off to a beautiful start, but I’m sorry to hear about your MIL. All the best for a speedy recovery.

  19. There is always a surprise waiting for me outside; I look forward to finding it whenever I head into the garden. Your arrangements are beautiful; what a great combination of the Arbutus and the Rudbeckia!

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