Firstly, apologies to anybody who tried to leave a comment only to find that I had a corrupted database. Very annoying. But all fixed now…
This week, filling vases began with my cutting all available dahlia flowers. I am finding that the more I cut the longer the stems on the subsequent blooms, which makes them much easier to use in a vase. I actually had two really long stems this week, but as everything else was still bobbing around on a short stem, I still wasn’t able to achieve a really satisfying larger arrangement. I live in hope…
Having cut the dahlias, I wanted to make sure I didn’t just repeat something I had already done. So no crocosmia, no purple beech. Which quickly highlighted the things I have failed to grow, things I really need to make sure I have lots of for next year. Blue flowers – unaccountably missing, although some larkspur are just starting to flower. Euphorbia. I didn’t sow any Euphorbia oblongata because I hadn’t been planning on growing dahlias. Oops. The acid green works so beautifully with the dark rich dahlias that I love. I tried fennel, but it had gone over just enough to be looking more brown than yellow. Yuck. I wound up picking some Lady’s Mantle, also nearly going over, but which just about worked. Oh, and my Ammi majus failed, quite spectacularly. I have some Ammi visnaga bulking up nicely in the herb bed, but it isn’t anywhere near ready for cutting, and all my other umbellifers are either over or too immature to have flowered this year. So, no blue, no acid green, and no white umbellifers. All of which are really valuable in a vase.
I ended up filling two vases, or precisely, jugs, whilst simultaneously talking to the BT engineer who was trying to fix the problem with our broadband line. Turns out he had just been to Tatton Park RHS show, so it was fun chatting to him about his impressions of the show and what he had bought, but a little distracting.
I filled a plain white jug with the two Bishop of Oxford blooms and a handful of the much more floriferous Bishop of Auckland. Add some cornflower ‘Black Ball’ and the aforementioned slightly tatty Alchemilla mollis, and I have something that is, if not wonderful, at least OK.
A vase of two bishops. I really hope the orange ‘Bishop of Oxford’ bucks its ideas up and starts flowering more profusely, I love the blooms, but they are a little on the sparse side so far. I may try a feed.
Vase number two, my trusty plain glass jug, got the three flowers on ‘Le Baron’. One of which was interestingly faded around the edges, which is new:
This really brought home how little I actually have available to cut that goes with the dahlias well. I wound up with some Knautia macedonica, more ‘Black Ball’, and then was completely stumped about foliage. Eventually I remembered that I had a badly malformed Pittosporum on the rear boundary, that looks lovely from my neighbour’s side but truly dreadful from mine because it had been completely overwhelmed by yet another spotted laurel. Easy to find some stray branches to prune, and they look really good as backing foliage. Still, given that most of the larkspur is still not open (and I’m not sure it will open now that it has been cut), I am a little underwhelmed this week.
This whole putting flowers in a vase thing is rather addictive. I find myself thinking about growing shrubs for good foliage for a vase. I discovered a rather lovely looking dwarf eucalyptus the other day, and by next year another pittosporum will probably have grown enough for me to take the occasional branch from for a vase. Mostly, though, I am just determined to make sure I have plenty of frothy white umbellifers, and plenty of interesting blue flowers. Oh, and lots and lots of euphorbia!
Thank you Cathy for the vase challenge, I’m off to check out what other people have been doing this week.