So apparently it has been a full year since Cathy started encouraging us all to cut flowers from the garden and bring them in to the house more. A year of weekly posts, by her and many, many others, on arrangements big and small, classic and experimental, of flowers, twigs, berries, vegetables… Fifty two in all. Fifty two! And how many have I managed in that time? Nine. Yes, not even one a month. Pathetic. But still inspirational. So congratulations to Cathy, and all the others who have faithfully followed the challenge for a complete year. Such consistency is, I fear, beyond me, but I salute you all and your creativity, mutual encouragement and the joy that fizzes off the screen as yet another arrangement is put together and photographed.

As for me, here is number 10, a day late, which is far from unusual. But it does symbolize the slaying of another prejudice. Do you have whole plant families that you have an irrational loathing of? I used to hate dahlias. Now I realise that many of them are gobsmackingly gorgeous and I fight a yearly battle to resist buying too many. I am beginning to see the attraction of auriculas. And my resistance to any snowdrops other than ‘nivalis’ is slowly weakening…

One of my remaining prejudices concerned chrysanthemums. So frequently featuring in tired looking over priced arrangements in the buckets ‘decorating’ petrol station forecourts, they were too stiff, too pale, too, well, something or other that I couldn’t even put in to words, but that probably has more than a little to do with the sense that they were old fashioned and perhaps a little ‘common’, whatever that means. Prejudice never does reflect very well on the one exhibiting it. But no more!

Blurry detail of Chrysanthemum 'Orange Allouise'

After all, if I like dahlias, how could I not love a cactus-like coppery orange beauty like Chrysanthemum ‘Orange Allouise’? Admittedly the slightly blurred photo above doesn’t really do it justice, but light levels are poor and flash just makes it look horrid. And I love green flowers. So how could I resist something like this?

Chrysanthemum 'Anastasia Green'

Chrysanthemum ‘Anastasia Green’ is a delightful small, tight pompom of pale lime green. A green that goes surprisingly well with burnt orange.

Chrysanthemum 'Anastasia Green'

I bought a collection of chrysanthemum plug plants from Sarah Raven, months ago in a sale, because, say what you like about high prices and the not infrequent delivery of a wrongly labelled tulip bulb or dahlia tuber, Sarah Raven really knows how to choose selections of flowers that look good together. And with the greenhouse safely re-sited I loved the idea of filling the beds that have held tomatoes over the summer with chrysanthemums instead. Of course, with only one plug plant of each variety, they aren’t exactly going to fill much of anything this year, but hopefully I can take cuttings next Spring and feed what promises to be a new habit. ‘Anastasia Green’ and ‘Orange Allouise’ are the only ones producing flowers as yet, but there are buds on the other four, so I am hopeful of having flowers, on and off, until Christmas. Assuming I remember to water them…

Chrysanthemum 'Orange Allouise'

In the mean time, I picked the first small handful of blooms last week and placed them in a bud vase on the sideboard.

Chrysanthemum 'Orange Allouise' with  Chrysanthemum 'Anastasia Green'

One day I hope to have enough, with long enough stems, to use the green vase to the left. So far that vase has only held lilies! But for now, I have flowers in November, and they are in to their second week. Yes, that’s another Monday Vase post I failed to do in time…

A bud vase of chrysanthemums

When I popped out to the greenhouse to check on them this morning there was one more bloom of ‘Orange Allouise’.

Chrysanthemum 'Orange Allouise'

I cut it and popped it in to another bud vase, which now sits on my desk, smiling at me.

Chrysanthemum 'Orange Allouise' on my desk

So thank you Cathy, for a year of inspirational flower arrangements by you and so many others. I’m off to check up on other people’s anniversary offerings. Here’s to another year! You never know, I may manage a round dozen posts…

56 thoughts on “Monday Vase: Another one bites the dust…

  1. Oh that post has really resonated with me Janet, because I went through exactly the same process with dahlias (and even though I cannot say I have had real success with them yet I am forever optimistic) and as vases moved into October and November I could see my prejudices against Chrysanths beginning to crumble too as people were posting some lovely blooms. As with any large plant family I could still ignore the ones that I am not happy with (whether common, garage forecourt, too big, too blowsy, etc). Your ‘Anastasia Green’ is a real stunner – I love it! I know absolutely nothing about growing them, of course, so will need to pick a few brains – are yours in the greenhouse? They don’t always need to be in a greenhouse do they?
    Thanks for pulling out the stops to show off your dahlias, whether a day ‘late’ for the meme or not – I shall not hold it against you!

    1. I’m brand spanking new to growing chrysanths Cathy, so I am sure there are better brains to pick on the subject! Half of mine are fully hardy so could stay outdoors all year, the other half need winter protection. I bought mine late, so they are rather behind where they could have been – Sarah Raven recommends growing them in pots sunk in to the ground from after the last frosts until around now, and then bringing them in to the greenhouse/greenhouse border to keep them flowering until around Christmas. I plan on sinking mine into the greenhouse borders as soon as I get around to clearing out the tomatoes! Then I will take cuttings when they start to grow in the spring, plant these in sets of 3 in 5l pots (Sarah Raven again) and grow outside until the frosts threaten or I pull out the tomatoes. Repeat with ever increasing numbers of plants… That’s the theory anyway!

    1. She’s my favourite so far, though I am a sucker for burn orange flowers too. I am looking forward to having enough for a proper display rather than just a small random cluster thought.

  2. That made me smile Janet, I did 3 vases last year, 10 is actually very impressive. Is horti snob a condition, if so I have some of it. I related to your feeling on Chrysanthemums, but I am going to get a grip, yours a really lovely and inspiring.

    1. Oh, thank you Julie! I feel much better now!! Fortunately Horti Snob is curable, though it can require patience. There are still a lot of chrysanths I dislike, and they still tend to the stiff and unyielding, I look forward to discovering what to combine them with to soften them up.

  3. Don’t feel bad, Janet–I never posted a single vase picture! I was tempted a couple of times, but my arrangements usually look pretty amateurish:) Lovely combo of green and orange!

    1. Hi Rose, shame on you ;-) We’re all amateurs, but its amazing what a boost you get when someone comments favourably on something you have put together. I decided to be happily haphazard, both about posting frequency and arrangement styling, but to concentrate on enjoying bringing flowers in from the garden. I never used to let myself, and it is still a bit of a challenge when blooms are limited.

    1. Hello Flighty, we often like different flower colours don’t we! I do love the great diversity in gardeners and their likes and dislikes. And we agree about the orange ones… xx

  4. Chrysanthemums make such long lasting cut flowers at a time when not much is about, My prejudice is aimed at kniphofias but may be weakening slightly towards the smaller less poker looking ones.

    1. Hi Sue, I share your kniphofia prejudice! I did try ‘little maid’ this year but the slugs devoured it before it could flower. I took it as a sign…

  5. In high school, we wore enormous mums with our school’s initials in pipe cleaners. Every fall, the big box stores turn into mumsvilles. Of course we are prejudiced. Good for you, seeing through the hype to the beauty within.

    1. Good heavens Rickii! Your school uniform sounds extraordinary! I’m enjoying my chrysanths, though I still find them too stiff for general use in the garden.

  6. Hi Janet,

    Lovely ‘mums. I too am no fan of them and hate the fact they’re my birth flower. But getting the right ones really does help! And those green ones are pretty amazing – and look almost like Dahlias.

    However, regardless of my dislike of them they are really important this late in the year and consequently I do have a few in pots, although no stems are long enough for any attempt at a vase post.

    Very nice indeed!

    1. What a shame to have a birth flower you actively loathe, when you love so many. I k ow the ones you mean in pots, the ones that look like stiff little pincushions of flowers? I can never quite make my mind up about them.

  7. Your mums are just lovely, and they combine so nicely! My plants are all so new that I hesitate to cut anything, but probably it would be just as well for them if I did!

    1. Hi Amy, these chrysanths are so new I pretty much massacred them taking these blooms, but hopefully it will encourage lots of new bushy growth.

  8. I’ve always enjoyed the look of Dahlias but never grown them myself. Some bloggers have such stunning collections of them! And of course, I always enjoy seeing them growing in profusion at various botanical gardens. My Chrysanthemums aren’t doing well. For years and years they were stallwarts in the front garden, but our town recently installed very bright street lights that shine down in that area all night long. I’m thinking that might have diminshed them (and the Daffodils). I’ll have to research plants that can withstand the ravages of bright night lights! Your Mums are beautiful–I enjoyed the combination!

    1. Hi Beth, I never though of powerful street lights affecting plants, but I suppose if enough of the light is in the right part of the spectrum they could easily get very confused. Hope you crack that little conundrum, poor daffodils.

  9. Both Dahlias and Chrysanthemums are new to me this year too Janet for all the same reasons as you. I wouldn’t have had the dahlias had they not been included in a mixed pack of bulbs I bought and at that moment the cuttings bed was empty and needed whatever I had to be planted into it. Love the colours of both these and you’re right about SR, see my comment to Cathy on Monday’d post. Christina

    1. It was putting together a cutting garden for someone I used to work for that converted me to dahlias. She was heading off to Australia on holiday and left me with Sarah Raven’s book and a request for plenty of dahlias and sweet rocket! I got hooked and have never looked back.

  10. Your chrysanthemums are absolutely beautiful, Janet, and remind me more of elegant Dahlias. The days of them being graveyard flowers definitely seem to be over! I also contribute only the odd vase but it’s about having fun and not being dutiful so who cares. Have a good week :)

    1. Hi Annette, I would rather like a graveyard decorated with this sort of chrysanthemum I think! And I agree about the “having fun”, life is too full of chores to turn blog posts, or even picking flowers, in to another one.

  11. If I could grow mums like that big coppery orange one, I’d do it in a heartbeat! I love the way you have these pictured. And, like you, I’m a fool for light green flowers. (One of my favorite colors is celedon …so peaceful in the bedroom for example. But then again, that is an ancient Chinese color for vases.) I discovered a Rudbeckia hybrid this year that was that shade of green with bits of white on the tips of the petals. Stunning! Anyway, wonderful fun post to read.

    1. Hi Susan, I’d never heard of celedon, I had to go and look it up, yes, wonderful array of shades!

  12. I really like that green Chrysanthemum Janet! Enjoyed reading this post too! I know what you mean about learning to love chrysanths – the ones in bunches on sale somehow don’t do anything for me either, but a few years ago I had a gorgeous yellowy orange one in a pot that flowered till Christmas! I have learned to like zinnias this year, but marigolds and busy lizzies are still banned from my garden… until someone can persuade me of their charms!

    1. Hi Cathy, I love the native calendula in plain orange planted in the veg patch, am with you on Busy Lizzies. Hmm, am realising I still have more prejudices than I thought by reading about other people’s!!

    1. Hi Patricia, I love the idea of making lots of new plants for next year, I just hope I remember to in the craziness of next spring!

  13. A very soft whisper from this direction Janet – I’m one behind you with a total of 9 vases to date – head hangs in shame! Despite my pathetic contribution I have really enjoyed peeking at the contents of so many beautiful and inspiring vases throughout the year and have learned much. I remember dithering over that chrysanthemum collection in the SR catalogue but I have unpleasant memories of their aroma. My mum has always grown them and I have noticed their late colour. Maybe I should put a peg on my nose and give them a go.

    1. Hi Anna, I won’t tell anybody, but thank you for making me feel better!! Re aroma, I was similarly prejudiced against pelargoniums until I discovered that they don’t all smell like the ones my Mum used to grow. I’ll have to sniff the chrysanthemum and see if the are niffy – I will report back!!

  14. I think of Chrysanthemums as corsages– the big ones, the smaller ones I haven’t brought in to put in a vase, not sure why not. May have to bring some in to enjoy as they are in their last few weeks of bloom.

    1. I found one of the others blooming yesterday, I’m sold, great colour just when my spirits need a boost. Don’t think I’ll be wearing them though…

  15. I’m smiling because I have a Chrysanthemum bias as well. Have never planted them yet but who knows? they make terrific cut flowers. Anastasia Green is really pushing my buttons right now. Love that colour. Now dahlias, that’s another matter. Can’t get enough of those. Would you believe I took photos of a half dozen flower bouquets this summer and never even posted them! Perhaps I ought to visit Cathy’s blog and get inspired. I seem to have gotten very lazy lately. Glad to see you have stuck with the bouquets, you really do have a knack for choosing colours and I like the simplicity of this particular one.

    1. Well, if you love dahlias, I think you would love these chrysanths too, though I have to admit that the general habit of dahlias is much more attractive. I can’t imagine growing chrysanthemums for foliage, but so many dahlias have fab leaves.

  16. I admit to prejudice against dahlias, which is quickly fading, and also to mums, which has a longer way to go. But that green mum is fantastic!

    1. The green is my favourite too, though there is a rather dashing purple one just starting to bloom in the greenhouse… Aren’t these prejudices strange! Glad I overcame my dahlia one, and signs are good that the chrysanths are worth the bother too.

  17. I would love to join in this excellent meme, but … I can’t bring myself to cut flowers from the garden. I have good intentions, but when it comes to the ‘snip’ I just can’t do it !
    I have followed the exact same thought processes as you on dahlias and auricles. From not really liking themI am now addicted to both. I have a whole greenhouse of Auriculas and am getting a bit obsessive about them! Snowdrops don’t quite do it for me yet, although I love that they are the first flowers of the new season. Chrysanths are plants I could easily learn to love – especially the lovely ‘Anastasia Green’. I shall be checking out the Sarah Raven catalogue … and hoping she has a sale !! Good luck with your crysanths.

    1. Hi Jane, I remember you posting about your growing auricula collection, and realising that I could begin to feel the draw! I was the same about cutting flowers from the garden, until I spent a year on the other side of the island looking after a camp site. The lady who owned the outdoor centre frequently snipped “a bit of this, a bit of that” from the garden, or sent her granddaughters out to collect flowers for the table or windowsill. I could never tell, looking at her gorgeous garden, and then she got me creating a cutting garden for her. I’ve been an “in theory” advocate of cutting for the house ever since, though I often forget, and still prefer to have an area specifically for cutting.

  18. Oh I love these mums…I never see these beautiful varieties here which is why I don’t plant them, but I am rethinking planting mums again…simple and beautiful!

    1. Belated ‘Hello’ Donna, I hope you had a lovely holiday season. The chrysanths have been a revelation, though this year they didn’t produce many flowers. I am hoping to take cuttings in the Spring and have more to fill vases with next Autumn.

  19. I love the fourth photo down, Janet – it looks like a William Morris print! My grandad grew dahlias so I learned to love them at an early age. I don’t grow them here as I haven’t enough space but always appreciate them in other people’s gardens. I loved the idea of a Monday vase but rarely pick flowers from the garden unless I have loads of them, ie nasturtiums!, I prefer to leave them for everyone to enjoy. Perhaps if the garden wasn’t communal ….

    1. Hi Caro, hope you had a wonderful Christmas! I adore William Morris, so merci de complement. Space is always a bit of a killer, as is the dilemma of picking to enjoy indoors or leaving for all to enjoy outside. My realisation that just a couple of blooms here and there, particularly from annuals that will therefore flower better, can still look wonderful in a small vase was got me going. Though I do really love a huge bunch of flowers too, so I am glad to have the back garden, in which I can indulge a love of dahlias and pick to my heart’s content. Your communal angle presents interesting conundrums, I am full of admiration for what you achieve for something that isn’t wholly “yours”.

  20. I thought I had fallen out with Summer annuals but somehow, I dont think I am finished with them completely. I have recently found myself being fond of Auriculas and have a good few in pots. Like your Chrysanthemums although I have never had them in the garden.

    1. Hello Alistair, I hope you had a wonderful Christmas in your Cheshire home, and that you both begin to feel really happy there. I think Auriculas are something that creep up on one, I can feel them hovering, just out of sight, waiting to ensnare me… I will be depending on annuals even more than normal this coming year, as I have newly cleared spaces and no money to buy the plants I want for the area as yet!

  21. Sorry for my tardy response. I’m hoping that December is the month I get on top of things, including the blog. ;) Your post resonated with me. There are so many plant families I am growing to love. I can’t get enough of dahlias and I’m dreaming of huge beds of them now. Gladioli are another I’m growing to love. I’ve a had a small patch of chrysanths for a few years now. I think it’s such a pity that certain flowers have been ruined by the large scale trade of pile it high sell it cheap. Home grown chrysanths are so very different from the hideous shop bought things and carnations too. I grew a variety of carnation this year from seed with the most incredible fragrance, long stems and lots of flowers. Very different from those scentless versions in the supermarket. As yet I remain unconvinced by azaeleas and pansies but who knows ….

    1. Hah! Tardy? I’ll give you tardy ;-) Hope you had a fabulous Christmas. I am still working on where I could grow Gladioli, I know they thrive here because a holiday cottage just down the road from here, exposed to the worst of the winter salt-laden northerlies, has a wonderful clump growing in the front garden. Carnations I still have to get to grips with, but it is only a matter of time, I keep seeing ones that make me re-think yet another prejudice. I have fond childhood memories of azaleas – or rather, of picking up the fallen flowers of azaleas and rhododendrons in Westonbirt and threading them on to sticks… I wouldn’t grow them though. And always violas over pansies!

  22. I absolutely share the prejudice against chrysanthemums and I haven’t managed to over come it yet, although looking at yours was making me wonder! I have intended to have a go at A Vase on Monday all year. Posts achieved? Nil. See, you are doing wonderfully!

    1. Thank you Elizabeth, you make me feel so much better!! I think you might surprise yourself with some chrysanths, but they are another plant that is hard work compared to growing tough annuals or, even better, perennials. The test will come in Spring, when I should be taking cuttings to provide me with enough plants to fill a vase or two… Hope you had a lovely Christmas and that 2015 is a lot kinder to you and yours than 2014 has been.

  23. I cant believe a year has gone by either! I love the chrysanths. Sorry I’ve not commented for around a year either, too busy with the baby!! I do still read and enjoy your blog though :) merry Christmas!

    1. Hi Anna, lovely to hear from you, but absolutely no apology required, having a new small person in your life is exciting, tiring, all-consuming and to be treasured. I am always astounded at how quickly my nephews and nieces grow in between my seeing them. You don’t want to be toiling away at a keyboard commenting on gardens when you could be playing with your baby, watching him smile, chatter, start to become a proper individual! Time enough for blogging when things have settled down a little more!! Hope you had a wonderful first Christmas as three.

  24. I have mixed childhood memories of chrysanthemums – set off more by the smell of the leaves than the look of their flowers. Haven’t yet managed to like dahlias.

    Hope 2015 will bring you lots of energy and lots of good times.

    1. Hi Lucy, thank you, me too! Is funny, I don’t remember chrysanths from childhood at all, but your comment about the smell of the leaves reminded me of how much I loathed pelargoniums for years, again due to leaf odour. I wonder if there is a spray for that ;-) Hope you had a wonderful Christmas. I have been pondering my tree for 2015, and hope to be honing in on one soon…

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