In a Vase on Monday: rule breakers

“Blue and green should never be seen except with something in between”, goes the old saying. What a load of old tosh. Thanks to the commonsense of the plants in my garden, it’s my current favourite colour combination. I think the particular blue of this common Muscari (grape hyacinth) and the zingy chartreuse of the flowers of Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae (wood spurge) go together brilliantly. They’re growing together on the top of the wall by our path (in the third photo) and this is what inspired my simple Monday vase today.

A little rootling around on the internet to find the origin of the saying reveals that it may come from the days of black and white films where blue and green were too tonally similar to distinguish between the two. I suppose it makes sense in that situation. You learn something new every day…

Euphorbias (spurges) are poisonous plants and a drop of the vicious milky sap from any cut stems can burn the skin, so I wore my gardening gloves to snip a few flowers and then seared them in boiling water for a few seconds to seal them. (For goodness’ sake, don’t ever get any near or in your eyes.) Nasty sap aside, Euphorbias are great architectural plants. There are about 2000 species – from annuals and perennials to shrubs, trees and succulents. Some prefer a sunny spot but some thrive in shade; some are tall, others short; you can get purple ones and blue-green ones and chartreuse ones and ones with deep-red flowers. There’s a Euphorbia for every situation – all will add a lovely form and structure to a garden.

By the way, did you by any chance watch Monty Don’s two-parter on Japanese gardens recently? (He has the best job in the world, doesn’t he?) I was blown away by now neat everything is. And how colour-coordinated; all the gardeners seemed to wear the same blue utilitarian jackets (which coordinated beautifully with Monty’s scarves) that look perfectly gorgeous against the backdrop of the green gardens. Joking aside, the programme was a real inspiration and has definitely given me a new appreciation of Japanese design and of the moss in my garden. 

Do visit Cathy’s blog to see what she and others have found to put in a vase today.

Hope you have a lovely week.


14 thoughts on “In a Vase on Monday: rule breakers

  1. I really must catch up and see those 2 programmes before they disappear off iPlayer!! Are there really 200 deifference species of euphorbia? I always thought that saying was bunkum too, although I was learned it as ‘blue and green should never be seen except on a fool’. Your version makes more sense and the film explanation certainly does. I really like your combination anyway, and agree tht that the colours are great together – I also agree about moss…we have lots of it!! Thanks for sharing today, Sam


  2. I agree it is a lovely combination. Euphorbias are lovely in spring but the sap can be dangerous. My daughter rubbed her eye after handling it and even though she had washed her hands she was in awful pain and had to be rushed to A&E. She couldn’t see properly for 3 days but was actually lucky, it is so caustic it can blind you. I always handle it with great care.


  3. Lovely. I adore euphorbia too and have put lots of different varieties including the one pictured even in my new, small garden. Do you know euphorbia mellifera? One of my favourites – grows as tall as a man, is evergreen and smells of honey (as the name suggests). Mmmm.


  4. I’ve never heard that expression but it sounds like balderdash to me too. Your blue and green picks look perfect together. I grow a lot of Euphorbia but most of mine are at succulent species. I cut some for one of my own IAVOM arrangements a couple of weeks ago, searing the ends in near boiling water as your did, and was even able to reuse those stems in this week’s vase.


  5. A joyous blue! I remember a slight variation on the colour combination saying – green and blue make the cat spew. I think nature’s got it right though and your bunch looks beautiful.


  6. A dear little vase and a lovely post. I am a great fan of Euphorbias too. I hope I will be able to find that Monty Don progamme online at some stage as I am convinced that Japanese gardens are misunderstood by many. Hope you have a sunny week Sam!


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