It was beautiful this morning, really warm and sunny, so I wandered out in my shirtsleeves to see if there were any dahlias left worth picking. The torrential downpours and strong winds of the past couple of weeks have somewhat battered them, but I found four that, if you squinted, still looked OK, all ‘Le Baron’, which has delivered huge beautiful pink flowers for months, but with very slender stalks, making them hard to arrange!

The challenge, as ever, was to find things to go with them. Since I am sure I will be picking plenty of seedheads etc. later in the year, I decided to help my Erysium ‘Winter Orchid’ to bloom even better by cutting some flower heads. This plant has amazed me ever since it first started flowering, the combination of pink and orange not only works beautifully within the plant itself, but it combines amazingly well with all manner of other plants, from orange geums and heleniums to purple and blue geraniums. I love it, and it goes beautifully with the pink dahlias too.

Erysium 'Winter Orchid'

The darker flowers of ‘Karma Chocolate’ would have gone well with these two as well, but that is long over, and looking very sorry for itself. Instead I picked some spires of Persicaria amplexicaulis, which tone in well and add some contrasting form. I decided against adding foliage as well, but I am happy with the result, a dose of late summer cheer in the middle of what is turning in to a very wet autumn.

Arrangement with the last of the dahlias

I was left only with the decision of where to put the jug. We have TNG’s parents staying with us at the moment, so the lounge is in more use than normal, making it an obvious choice in the end – they are on the mantelpiece amongst the general detritus, brightening up the area no end.

Arrangement on the mantelpiece

Now if I can just work out what to do with the rather odd snapdragons I have still flowering, I will be able to add some cheer to the kitchen too… Thanks to Cathy for hosting the challenge, I don’t join in nearly as much as I would ideally like to, but she has certainly got me picking more flowers from the garden this year than ever before, and I really enjoy it. Check out lots of other arrangements via the links on her post – many of them very masterful, and the collective enthusiasm Cathy has fostered is very infectious.

48 thoughts on “Monday Vase: Last of the Dahlias

  1. Hi Janet,

    Lucky you with your blooms! I don’t think I could scrape together a vase at the moment.. So sad.

    Although sunny here, it’s definitely much cooler and the heating is on. Just as I decided to stop wearing my thick woolly winter coat to work suddenly the temperature drops and I’m regretting my decision on the lighter coat. Brrrr. Definitely needed a scarf or back to the former. At least I’ll be driving into work tomorrow, so won’t be too bothered by how warm/cold it is.

    1. Hi Liz, it is that time of year, isn’t it, when nothing you choose to wear quite works, because it is always suddenly warmer/colder/wetter/windier than it was when you decided what to wear. Or that’s how it feels, anyway. Though not so much with the cold, here anyway.

  2. I love those hot colours, and it is amazing to be still picking dahlias at this time of year!
    I was very interested in your comments about Erysimum ‘Winter Orchid’, as I have just planted out a baby, grown on from a plug plant. How have I not discovered these wonderful plants before ? they never stop flowering! I love that weird and wonderful colour combo of pink and orange! can’t wait for mine to start blooming! What care do you give them Janet, do you prune/ cut back at all ? Mine are still very young so I haven’t needed to think about management.

    1. Hi Jane, I was pondering the fact that I am not entirely sure how to manage erysiums when I was picking from them this morning! One of the plants is doing wonderfully well, the other two are rather leggy and woody. I’m not sure if they will respond to being cut hard back or if they are more like lavendar, and will sulk! I will let you know as and when I find out… I will be taking cuttings though, I would hate to be without them now.

    1. Hi Sue, I am entranced by these, I bought them as plugs in the Spring and they have put on enormous amounts of growth, though two are rather leggy, as I said to Jane above.

  3. Lovely colours. I haven’ t seen Erysimum ‘ Winter Orchid’ before, it’ s gorgeous. It goes perfectly with the dahlias. I’ m definitely going to look out for it. Erysimum ‘ Bowles Mauve’ flowers non- stop all summer. I think ‘Winter Orchid’ is even prettier.

    1. Hi Chloris, yes, I have Bowles Mauve in the front garden and it is motoring away churning out the flowers as if it has no intention of stopping, ever. So far Winter Orchid looks to be performing just as well, though with a tendency to legginess.

  4. Were they Hayloft Plugs? Mine are nowhere near flowering yet – where did I go wrong? :( Great colours to link in with other flowers, and isn’t persicaria useful in a vase too? I need to add to my ‘collection’ too! Well done with your dahlias, by the way – will these really be the last? Thanks for joining in, Janet, whether it is little or often

    1. Hi Cathy, no, Sarah Raven, but they weren’t large, I’m amazed at how quickly and well they grew. Unlike the chrysanthemums from the same source… As for calling time on the dahlias, I might get a couple more if the temperatures don’t plummet.

  5. A most attractive display Janet. The perennial wallflower complements that beautiful dahlia so well. I had a rather nice wallflower by the name of ‘Jacob’s Jacket’ which I should have taken cuttings of before it disappeared.

    1. Thanks Anna, I’m hoping to steal time to take cuttings from Winter Orchid this afternoon, just in case. Besides, I could happily use more! Jacob’s Jacket is an intriguing name, I assume it was many-coloured?!

  6. A very deft arrangement. I love the way the bulkier flowers are arranged almost vertically, ending in an explosion of spires. Explosive colors too. R’s cousin brought us seeds of Erysium from their homeland, Estonia. They bloomed in very dark shades of maroon and almost brown. Funny how you can have an emotional attachment to a plant but hardly notice that it has disappeared from the garden. I’m inspired now to track down ‘Winter Orchid’ and add it to a border.

    1. Thank you Rickii, I had to apologise to my mil as she has a strong negative emotional association with wallflowers! I’d forgotten until after I’d picked them… It seems I might have persuaded quite a few people to try Winter Orchid.

  7. This is a really zingy and lovely colour combination. I would really like to grow your Erysium, I can see that would make a great partner for so many other plants. I fear we are about to have a frost by the end of the week, your title is apt!

    1. Hi Julie, thank you, it makes me smile. No frosts forecast here yet, but time to get the geraniums into the greenhouse I think. Winter Orchid is proving to be an excellent foil for all sorts of other plants, I am hoping to spread it around.

  8. That Erysimum is wonderful! I’ve never seen a member of that genus in that color, Janet. The Dahlias are beautiful too – no matter what I do, mine don’t do well yet I feel compelled to try yet another bulb or 2 each year. Snapdragon seedlings are just now appearing in our nurseries but, as they’re a magnet for rust this close to the ocean, I’m trying to turn a blind eye to them.

    1. Hi Kris, it is beautiful, isn’t it, a lovely mix of colours all in one plant. Dahlias are tricksy things, but so seductive, it is almost impossible to give them up, I think.

  9. Oh, gosh, that’s wonderful. When I first opened the page and saw the Erysium and Dahlias, I was wondering how you were going to pull them together. Then I scrolled down and saw your masterful creation! Very nice. It looks great in that spot, and with its reflection in the mirror behind it. I agree about the meme. I’ve had other posts in the works lately, but I hope to participate more in the future. Great meme!

    1. Hi Beth, thank you! I can’t get organised enough to join in every week, but it is a great meme, I love the collective learning that is going on, and the way tips and tricks are shared. It really does help take the fear out of trying arrangements out.

  10. Your images must have been very large or there is something very wrong with my internet today as I can’t see your vase at all. From your description I hope I’ll be able to see it soon. OK, so the images have downloaded in the email so I can now see that your vase is as lovely as I thought it would be. The Erysium ‘Winter Orchid’ is splendid, did you grow it from seed? I must look for a plant, I love the colours. the Dahlia tones perfectly.

    1. Ah, yes, sorry Christina, I am going to be changing my blog theme soon and will be handling images differently, so they are bigger at the moment. I got the wallflowers as plug plants from Sarah Raven, they are perennials so I’m not sure you can grow them from seed, I think they flower for so long because they are sterile?

      1. Our internet has been very slow these last couple of days, I think because of the strong winds, we have a satellite dish as there is no direct ADSL line. Most of the time it works quite well. I’ll have to think about plug plants, SR will deliver to Italy but I would worry the pack would wait for ages at the depot and the plants would die.

  11. Dahlias the size of the most exotic dinner plates – how superb. And, like everyone else, I’m so impressed by the Erysimum ‘Winter Orchid’. I haven’t dared to try perennial wallflowers here yet (although a few seed-sown biennials came through the last mild last winter). Must watch out for this one. But at least I’ve enjoyed it on your blog. Thanks for the lovely vase (the persicaria was a special finishing touch!)

    1. Thank you Cathy, I grew an orange perennial wallflower in my last garden and was stunned by how long it flowered for, so I was determined to grow them here too. I must take some cuttings though…

  12. Wonderful! You remind me of me this morning. Well….last week actually. I went outside for the “last bouquet” and found some wonderful dahlias. Don’t you love it that they hold on so long? It makes them one of my very favorite flowers. My post below doesn’t show today’s contribution, but if you check out my site, you’ll see the last of mine. I took the photo holding them in my hand, I was so happy…

    So great to see your vase of flowers–thank you Janet.

    1. Hi Susie, dahlias are wonderful aren’t they, so exotic-looking and yet flowering right up to the first frosts. Your huge bunch was gorgeous.

  13. Winter Orchid is lovely, and the dahlia and persicaria go so well with it. A great splash of warm colour for November!

    1. Its a very autumnal feel, isn’t it somehow, and sort of reminds me of fireworks if I squint…

  14. Lovely colour combination and a wonderful send off for the dahlias until next year, especially in combination with the persicaria.

    1. Hi Judith, yes, I wish I’d thought if using the Persicaria in a vase earlier! Ah well, there’s always next year…

  15. Beautiful!! I’ve ordered dahlia seeds for next summer and I hope mine are as fabulous as yours. I need to try erysium’s again. Mine didn’t make it through our extra cold winter last year.

    1. I’m a bit worried about my wallflowers this year, apparently we may be in for a really harsh winter, to make up for the unseasonably warm autumn…

    1. Hi Donna, I shall miss the reminder of summer, in fact I am leaving the vase in place past the point at which I should have removed it, as some of the dahlias are now definitely the worse for wear.

  16. Very artistic Janet. I am ordering some Dahlia tubers, haven’t grown them for years, think I will have a go at planting them directly into the soil in Spring, something which you would be less likely to do in Aberdeen.

    1. Hi Alistair, enjoy selecting your dahlias! I think I am going to leave most of mine in the ground over winter, with a hefty mulch over them. Could be a mistake, but I should get away with it. Mind you, if the forecasts of a really cold winter are correct…

  17. I love it. I’m digging my plant notebook out now and adding that wallflower to my list. Picked the last of my dahlias on Thursday before lifting the tubers. The plot looks tidy for winter and there is something quite therapeutic about the tidying process. Still the plot does look a bit forlorn. Oh well, I’m retreating for the winter now with my crochet. ;) Hope you have a lovely time with family.

    1. :-) Winter Orchid is certainly collecting a lot of new fans! I agree about the therapeutic nature of tidying up the beds at the end of the season, time to curl up indoors with the magazines, books and seed catalogues and dream of next Spring…

    1. Yes, this one does particularly well as it collects the run-off from the concrete slab behind plus the overflow from the greenhouse waterbutt. Mind you, I have surprised at how well they do in just averagely moist soil. My new obsession… (The persicarias, not the soil conditions!)

    2. PS Comments are always welcome, however belated! I am, after all, the Queen of belated…

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