In a Vase on Monday: kitchen flowers

I bumped into a friend this morning while walking the dog. She has three daughters, all in their 20s at various stages of university and work. She asked me how the exams were going and I remarked that she must be glad it’s all behind her. “Don’t think it’s ever over!” she said, and laughed. There was me, thinking we’re coming to the end of an era (which we sort of are) and feeling a little wistful already, when really we’re just moving towards another phase. I should know this by now, that parenting is a series of phases, but this one seems more dramatic because it’s the one where they start to leave home.

In the meantime, though, I am thankful that I work at home, that I can collect the children from the station and listen to their exam debriefs and soothe their frayed nerves, I can make sure they eat well and get enough sleep, I can bake cakes and I can put flowers on the table. Oh, wait… Those flowers are for me. They’re to brighten the kitchen and put a smile on my face.

This week’s IAVOM is a cop-out – they’re supermarket peonies, popped into the trolley during yet another whizz around the aisles to stock up on gallons of milk, bananas, apples, bread, Cheerios… But, look – aren’t they exquisite? Totally worth the few pounds they cost. And they need no accompaniment in the jug; they’re perfect as they are.

As a bonus, I’ve also refreshed last week’s vase which, apart from most of the roses, is still going strong. It’s good to know what lasts longer than a week in a vase. I’ve been reading up on the best way to get as much vase-life as possible – pick flowers that are mostly in bud, cut stems on a slant, pop a little vinegar or Milton in the water to deter bacteria, etc. Have you any other top tips?

Do visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden to see her Monday flowers and find links to many others. Wishing you a thoroughly good week (with flowers and cake, if that’s what takes your fancy).


In a Vase on Monday: July Jewels


My Monday vases are usually dictated (and therefore limited) by what’s in flower or looking good in the garden. This week I have instead been spoilt for choice. There is an abundance of blooms and there are jars, vases and jugs of flowers dotted throughout the house. This is just what I’d hoped for when I sowed the seeds back in March, and there is hopefully more to come throughout the summer. It is astounding to me that the tiny seeds should have grown into sturdy plants pumping out flower after flower and it seems a huge reward for such small outlay.

This week I’ve picked a rich palette of colours for my vase – my favourite purple and orange but with added deep, dark pink and greens. The flowers are:

:: Cosmos ‘Dazzler’ and ‘Rubenza’ – from Sarah Raven’s dark mix seeds. I was late getting the young plants in the ground but they should carry on flowering well into the autumn.
:: Nicotiana alata ‘Lime Green’ – the flowers tend to close in the bright sun but open out in the evening and the colour positively glows in the border. They smell gorgeous then, too –they’re pollinated by moths so their scent wafts around at night.
:: Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ – the ‘ombre’ foliage seems very variable with some plants not having much purple and others strongly coloured but they’re all lovely.
:: Anemone coronaria ‘Mr Fokker’ – I am delighted with these flowers. I planted several corms in May (a bit on the late side) but already they’re pushing out tall, deeply coloured blooms. I also planted ‘The Bride’ (white) which are also flowering well and ‘Sylphide’ (deep pink) which have sadly yet to appear at all. I was inspired to plant these flowers by Sarah’s success with ‘Sylphide’ last year – she had cut beautiful flowers for months and months, well into the winter.
:: Calendula officinalis ‘Indian Prince’ – I love this marigold. Tall, sturdy and vibrant, it makes a lovely cut flower and you can eat the petals in salads (although my children are highly suspicious of flowers disguised as food!).
:: Lavandula angustifolia ‘Miss Dawnderry’ – the flowers in our lavender beds are just starting to open out fully and the bees are getting busy.
:: Grasses – various wild grasses from our wild patch (so I don’t have names…).

Do pop over to Cathy’s blog to see her vase and links to many other beautiful vases from around the world. Many thanks to her for hosting this lovely weekly gathering.

Wishing you a splendid week.