Vengeance. A dish best eaten cold. Or in this case, picked with petulant delight! Though I only have myself to blame. I’d promised myself never to grow Jerusalem Artichokes again. They taste delicious, but have an unfortunate effect on my digestive system. ‘Nuff said. But I got seduced into growing them again, forgetting that everything grows taller, faster, here. And I planted them in the L-shaped bed before I realised that the wind sweeps down the hill from the top of the park, swoops over the roof of the fitness center, misses the first third of the back garden altogether, only to hit the middle with strange, vortex-like forcefulness. So the Jersualem Artichokes have grown to well over 2m tall, and unlike on my windy allotment site, have collapsed.


But they do have lovely golden yellow flowers, and cutting them is supposed to focus energy back in to tuber development, so clearly it was my moral duty to pick the ones I could reach…


You can’t really tell from the photo, but there are actually two different shades of yellow on show here, as I partnered the Jerusalem Artichoke flowers with some paler lemon daisies from the Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’. No particular finesse involved, I pretty much just cut them and bunged them in my brown vase, but I am rather pleased with the result. The arrangement now sits on my sideboard, and makes me smile (albeit somewhat wryly) every time I pass it.

I cut the flowers as part of an hour or so tidying up the kitchen garden, in expectation of a delivery of plug plants. In the process I dead headed the dahlias, so of course that lead to picking of dahlias, but for once I was a tad uninspired. I tried various companions, in terms of foliage and contrasting flowers, but wound up with a darkly mysterious cluster of pink ‘Le Baron’ complemented by a few of the wonderful ‘Karma Chocolate’ and some scarlet ‘Bishop of Auckland’. It looks OK close up.


Stand back, though, and you realise that I definitely need a shorter, bulbous vase to complement the sort of bulbous arrangement that dahlias seem to lend themselves to (when not partnered with other things to add height and frothiness).


I like having a cast iron excuse to look out for a rounded, sort of squat vase with a pinched in neck and a small flare above, which I think would be perfect for this kind of arrangement. My thanks to Cathy for hosting the lovely “In a Vase on Monday” meme, do check out the links to lots of lovely floral experiments, she has gathered an impressive following for this weekly challenge.

50 thoughts on “Monday Vase – Vengeance

    1. Thank you, though sadly that subtlety is completely lost under artificial light! it does look good in the daytime though.

  1. Do your Karma Chocolate flowers also collapse under their own weight when the blooms reach their full size? Mine do, and a few have ended up in a vase. Love the artichokes, never realised they had such wonderful flowers.

    1. Hi Jessica, the earlier flowers did indeed bend alarmingly, the later ones seem to have stronger stems, I think the secret is to cut back harder than I tend to, I get paranoid about losing the side buds but apparently if you cut back harder you get bushier sturdier growth that doesn’t require staking (a major plus in my book) and far more blooms. As for the artichokes, they are officially evil, and I am determined to dig out every last one. Though I may be forced to hand them out in carrier bags on the village high street, assuming I don’t manage to increase my tolerance so that I can eat as many as I would ideally like to…

  2. In the very distant past when I last grew j/a I really don’t recall flowers at all – did I cut them back before they flowered I wonder? Great dual purpose plant if they do flower and if you do like eating them – and especially if you need to cut them as they have flopped in your swooping winds! Combining them with Lemon Queen in a plain vase is all they need – simple and aesthetically pleasing. You have a lovely selection of dahlias too, but isn’t it interesting how we are all beginning to think about our actual vases now, and whether they are the right size/shape/colour. I have a lovely new charity shop vase which may need to choose its contents, rather than the other way round! This meme definitely gets to you, doesn’t it? Thanks for your timely contribution today ;)

    1. Hi Cathy, I know that when I grew them at the allotment they flowered so late I missed most of them because I was already digging up the tubers… They are a ridiculous sprawling mess though :-( I keep checking our community store for likely looking vases, I have a couple of lovely little ones perfect for one or three small flowers for a desk arrangement, but I am still after the perfect dahlia vase…

      As for the timely contribution, don’t get used to it ;-)

  3. Christina Hesperides Garden is using a new vase, which sounds like your wish list.
    I like square vaes, straight necks, so the flowers go where I want them.
    With a flared out neck … my flowers loll in abandon.

    1. Hi Diana, yes, I love Christina’s new vase, though it takes an awful lot of water… I think I’d get on better with square vases if I got myself something to hold the flowers straight in them, otherwise I find the opposite to you, lots of lolling in a straight neck, which is sad as aesthetically it is the shape I prefer!

  4. I quite like the round form of the bunch of dahlias atop the white vase…not to interfere with the search for the shape you have in mind (what could be more fun?). I’m on a crusade for ever more Dahlias, but the gophers are a formidable foe.

    1. Thanks Rickii, such a shame about the gophers, earwigs are bad enough, but this year the earwigs seem to have preferred to inhabit the veg plot.

    1. I know, I am braced for a considerable battle when I try to vanquish them from my little patch. A foolish moment of weakness…

  5. Both arrangements look perfectly composed. You certainly have a rich collection of dahlias–so lovely.

    1. Thank you Susie, I do love the dahlias, I just wish I had more room, there are so very many I would love to grow. They just take up so much space!

  6. Beautiful Dahlias, Janet! I’ve never done well with them – not in my former garden and, thus far, not in my current one either. I’m blaming our drought this year. Maybe next year I’ll try some in pots, where I can give them the extra water they need. I love your sunflowers too, although I think the height they attained would scare me.

    1. Hi Kris, the height on those Jerusalem Artichokes would scare anybody with an ounce of sense! I hope I can get rid of them, they are famously “here to stay” plants as it is very hard to dig out all the tubers… Dahlias work really well in pots, it is how I always used to grow mine, particularly if you keep cutting them back hard so that they stand up for themselves. Good luck, they are terribly thirsty plants, so in your climate it would be a real labour of love, keeping them watered.

  7. I love a cut and bung style of arrangement Janet, the plain brown vase is just the job too. After yesterdays wind and rain I have jauntily placed chair doing a similar thing in my garden right now!

    1. Hi Julie, garden chairs make quite good plant supports, don’t they! Not so good in the middle of a border though…

    1. Thank you Charlie, though I wish I could put my finger on what I feel the dahlia vase is missing…

  8. Both arrangements are stunning. Your helianthus is a favorite as they are a favorite native plant here…and I love the windswept appearance of the arrangement. Of course the deep hues of the dahlias are stunning and I like the reasons for a new vase ;)

    1. Hi Donna, after last night’s gale the helianthus in the border are in rather desperate need of Emergency Staking!!

  9. Those dahlias are lovely rich colours and I rather like them in that vase, but I am suffering from vase (as in the hardware) envy as everyone seems to have such wonderful ones! I would say you still have reason to search for a squat one though – with a vase or two a week you can never have enough. The Helianthus are lovely – does the Lemon Queen spread like mad like the Jerusalem Artichokes? It’s a lovely colour.

    1. Hi Cathy, the more the merrier with vases, I think, particularly if they have a good story attached. I hear Lemon Queen is a bit of a thug, in that she will make a substantial clump over time, so I am hoping to hem her in with strong-minded competitors… My main concern is staking her effectively, I think I need something substantial that can stay in place year-round and look decorative when she is sleeping.

    1. Hi Flighty, I think dark dahlias are Marmite in the flower world! I would have jazzed them up with some oranges, but I didn’t have any to hand.

  10. Unlike Flighty, I adore the dahlias! Those rich colours are entirely my cup of tea. I always wish I grew dahlias when I see everyone else’s blooms but all that faffing about, bringing the tubers in to store, etc, is not my style at all. With my plants it’s a case of love ’em and leave ’em! Maybe I should get a few in scrumptious colours and just see how I get on … Re the artichokes, lovely flowers, almost succumbed to adding them to my seedlist then, thankfully, read Sue’s comment of how invasive they can be. I need that like a hole in the head! I shall just admire yours from afar.

    1. Hi Caro, I am always in two minds with dahlias, they are a faff, but so stunning, and so prolific! I’m going to try leaving these in the ground, as it is mild and the soil is free draining.

      1. Sounds pretty similar to my growing conditions (free draining raised beds above topsoil above clay) so I’ll be watching to see you get on. Dahlia tubers are an investment so worth making sure they survive! They are gorgeous so I’m tempted.

  11. A lovely duo of vases and both quite different. I’ve never grown Jerusalem artichokes so didn’t know they flowered! I still won’t be growing them though, too tall and just not right for my wind trap of a garden, methinks. However, I could be tempted to try growing dahlias. Yours are stunning, I love the rich dark reds.

    1. Hi Elizabeth, Jerusalem Artichokes need a LOT of room, and no vicious vortexes. I will (be attempting to) get rid of mine…

  12. Oh your vase of yellow sunshine looks most familiar Janet. The flowers remind me of my ‘Yellow Peril’ which somebody suggested could be the flowers of Jerasulem artichoke. I’m not convinced as I’ve never dug any tubers out when trying to contains its spread. A most attractive trio of dahlias. You will be a woman on a mission henceforth until you locate the vase that meets your requirements.

    1. Hi Anna, always good to have an excuse for another vase!! I’m sure you would have seen tubers when attempting to reign in the Yellow Peril, I kept almost digging them up when lifting the last of my potatoes!

  13. I actually think I would grow the ja’s just for their flowers, but I do understand the wind problem, on both counts! I like the colours of your Dahlias together, I like dark and moody, like rich velvet Venetian fabric. Your description of the vase is just like my new one! Christina

    1. Hello Christina, yes, its a shame that I don’t really have room for the JAs, but the make that area of tshe garden feel almost oppressive, not to mention rendering the clothes line unusable! Your new vase is a gorgeous shape, but I think I want something rather smaller, more places it will fit around the house then.

      1. I understand about the JAs they are enormous and actually don’t flower for all that long so in the scheme of things maybe not worth the space if you’re not going to eat them. The vase is probably too big but I had to find something in the shop where the watch was purchased and there wasn’t much I liked or was even close to the price of the gift. Plus my husband was with me and looking for a long time wasn’t an option I was lucky he liked the vase I chose and even happily paid the difference in price.

  14. Dear Janet, both of your bouquets are very lovely! My personal favorite is the dahlia one though, because in autumn I love these type of dramatic, warm, rich colors. The ‘Chocolate Kharma’ dahlia is just stunning. I feel you never need an excuse to buy another vase, it is just great to have big selection to choose from. My abilities to visualize things are not the greatest, but I see what you are saying in terms of a more round vase for the dahlia bouquet. I would love to see how it would look in a vase like that. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Christina, the dahlias are very much “of the autumn”, aren’t they, maybe I should have added some sprays of cotoneaster while there are still some berries on them! Karma Chocolate is a new favourite.

  15. Wow – your bouquets are so beautiful! Dahlias are one of my favorites and make such great cut flowers. I used to have several varieties, but lost many in the last year or two during our long drought period. I’m definitely saving a spot in the garden to plant more next spring. Any specific varieties that are your favorite that you’d recommend?

    1. Hi Rebecca, they do need a lot of water I’m afraid, I’m amazed mine did so well this year, as I didn’t water them despite the dry summer. I think the secret might be good, rich soil, mine were planted with a top layer of mushroom compost. As for favourites, I think the Bishop series are wonderful because they tend to have great foliage as well as single flowers that attract pollinators. The smaller ones, like ‘Oxford’, grow well in containers too, which might make looking after them easier, you could add water-retaining gel to the compost when you plant them. In fact a friend of mine grows all his dahlias in pots and just brings them in to the greenhouse over winter. He never loses any!

  16. oh my goodness I think it looks perfect in that vase! The colours are super and bold. It is really pretty! I didn’t realise the Jerusalem Artichokes had such pretty yellow flowers. I had heard they can take over, though.

    1. Thank you Dana, my Jerusalem Artichokes won’t get the chance to take over, they are coming out, I will have to rely on ‘Lemon Queen’ for the lovely yellow flowers next year…

  17. Lovely arrangements, Janet! I love the dark pink dahlias; I’ve seen so many dahlias this fall on blog posts and in gardens I’ve visited that I realized I am really missing out on some beautiful fall blooms and need to plant some next year. I must have missed your last post–everything is still looking good in your garden, and I happen to like the Verbena Bonansierus, even though they’re taller than TNG would like:) The neat thing about them is that you can still see “through” them.

    1. Hi Rose, I do love dahlias, they bring a much-needed touch of glamour to autumn, which can be a little dreary otherwise if the weather is bad. TNG is fine with the v.b. I have elsewhere, I’m sure when we rearrange the herb bed next spring we will come up with a home for them that will keep us both happy.

  18. Winds are so oddly unpredictable. (Meaning the outdoor ones, not the j/a ones…) Frustrating when a whole mess of plant falls over, even if you do end up with lovely bouquets in the end. I was a little worried when I planted j/a’s here but shouldn’t have been. They’re perfectly easy to kill off out here, whether you mean to or not.

    1. Hi Stacy, how lovely to hear from you, even if you are a Jerusalem Artichoke killer ;-) I think I will have to keep the planting in the L-shaped bed low, partly because of the pesky wind, but also to keep the garden feeling open. We might end up putting a pond there eventually, so it is probably just as well not to grow perennials there.

  19. They’re like triffids, Jerusalem artichokes. I’ve never grown them myself. It’s bad enough when I feed WM lentils!! Love the idea of picking their flowers though. Those dahlias are fabulous – gorgeous colours. I don’t need much of an excuse to buy another vase, even though I have now accumulated so many they have their own cupboard in the kitchen and the recipe books have been relegated elsehwere.

    1. Yes, triffids! Exactly! Delicious though… I’ve enjoyed the dahlias, still am, but your vase comment made me laugh, maybe I’ll end up with a vase cupboard out in the conservatory, its where I do the cutting and bunging, so it would make sense, and the shelf I have for my cookery books is deliberately small to keep me in check, so that won’t cut it…

  20. That is a gorgeous arrangement of dahlias and a brilliant idea for a meme too. So much so, I picked a bunch of flowers for the house for the first time in ages. As for your vase arrangement, I think they look magnificent, but look forward to seeing your next bouquet to see if you have bought a new one. And a set of shelves to store the collection on :-)

  21. I love your posy of dahlias, such lovely rich colours. I love dark coloured dahlias. I always leave mine in the ground covered with several layers of newspaper for insulation and compost on top of this. I believe that it is winter wet that kills them more than ice and frost.
    Jerusalem artichokes! Oh dear. A friend gave me a few tubers about 3 years ago. Now, I can’ t get rid of them. Last year I thought that I had dug every scrap up. No, I hadn’ t. They are invading my raspberry canes now and killing them off. They are delicious, although they should come with a health warning. We don’ t have the enzyme necessary to digest them. That is why they are so anti- social. Still they are lovely roast or in soup.

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