Give how infrequently I join in with Cathy’s vase-filling meme, you could be forgiven for assuming that I don’t tend to bother with cutting flowers for the house. I don’t do it as often as I would like to, I keep letting things get in the way, but you might be surprised at the amount of time my brain spends pondering possible vase combinations… Anyway, I’m trying to cut more, and certainly keeping up the with the sweet peas means the house is generally flooded with scent, plus I get to give bunches away. But I have been waiting for my dahlias to start flowering with an increasing degree of impatience. I love dahlias. I love the blowzy over-the-topness of them, though this year I have tempered my love of the more elaborate styles with several simple, insect-friendly ones. And finally there are enough blooms for a proper vase rather than just a cutting a single flower.
The stars of this week’s vase are the rich dark red of Karma Chocolate and the deep and lustrous pink of Le Baron. Karma Chocolate starts out a dark, almost black and gradually turns more red, and develops a golden centre. I picked two, one at each stage, and three full blooms of Le Baron, all on mercifully long stems – though several of the stems had interesting curves to them,which inevitably caused them to want to turn the “wrong” way in the vase! I wanted a zingy contrast to the deep tones, as well as a different form, and chose vivid orange marigolds.
I tend to find that dahlias can create a rather dumpy, heavy looking arrangement unless accompanied by frothiness. Next year I hope to have some of the dark red umbel Daucus carota ‘Black Knight’, which I think could work well, but this time I went for an old favourite, sprays of the common montbretia that I have so much of. Foliage was courtesy of the copper beech, which I am raising the crown of so that I can grow more perennials under its canopy.
Sometimes I find a vase comes together really quickly. Sometimes, however, it seems to take ages – stems bend the wrong way, balance is hard to find, lots of standing back and pondering required. This week was one of the latter kind. When I first started daydreaming about what I wanted to do I decided it would look great in the fireplace in the lounge. Its an ugly fireplace and quite frankly needs all the help it can get, until we take a sledgehammer to it…
It was a struggle to find orange marigolds with long, straight stems, and I bunged one fussy one in alongside the more refined ‘Indian Prince’ blooms. I didn’t like it. Plus I decided I would rather have sweetpeas on the mantlepiece, so a slight tweak and a swift change of venue had the dark brown vase plonked on the sideboard in the dining area.
I’m still not wholly satisfied, the beech foliage is refusing to fan out at the back as I wanted it to (the stems twist the wrong way), but it is making me smile every time I walk in from the conservatory or cross in to the kitchen. The more neutral background helps too. But in the interests of veracity I have to confess that I do not live in a Country Homes style photo shoot home. Oh no, my home is full of clutter and is either partly decorated or in the same stodgy state it was in when we moved here two years ago. So here’s what actually greets me when I walk through the heart of the house.
Rich, happy colours, and just the first of what should be many vases featuring dahlias. I’m off to check out what other people are putting in a vase this week – thank you Cathy for encouraging so many to bring a little of the outside beauty inside. Well worth the clearing up.