Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Monday, August 31, 2015

In a Vase on Monday....And Forevermore

A few garden bloggers that I follow participate faithfully in the "In a Vase on Monday" meme hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden  --  specifically, Ricki at Sprig to Twig and Kris at Late to the Garden Party.

Every so often I think it might be fun, or at the very least, interesting, to join in. But I find it hard to shake the conviction that I'll be taking flowers from an already paltry number blooming in my garden, and that I'll basically be crap at it. But on a recent garden walkabout I realized I might be able to make something work with all the dead stuff. I don't have to worry about keeping the stems in fresh water, or about matching or clashing colors (since everything is some shade of brown).

And if it looks like crap, I can blame it on the fact that everything is dead.

But if it looks good, I can keep it forever.

The first thing I had to do was buy a vase. I own a single bud vase. I found something I thought was appropriate at Fred Meyer. Except it's not a vase. It's a candle holder. But so what? I used it anyway, cause I liked the filigree-ish exterior, with its bare stem-like design. It has a glass insert, meant for holding a candle, that's not removable. But guess what? That glass insert worked brilliantly to hold the stems.

Then I just went around the garden with my secateurs, looking for dead stuff. I found plenty, given our harsh summer, and my laziness in deadheading. I knew I had to work quickly, and cut everything on Friday, because over the weekend we were going to get a big wind and rain storm, and everything I was planning to use would get beaten up or soaked.

I rejected a stem of Inula, because the lower part was still green. Same with a nicely curved stem of Liatris. Too much purple in that flower still. I considered using some dead stems from my red twig dogwood, that I cut and stuck in a vase a couple of years ago. But, Hello? Red. I used stems mostly in twos and threes and fives.

My requiem for summer

A little bit of everything

Cardoon flower

Ostrich fern and cardoon foliage

Cardoon flower with Kewpie doll hair

Phlomis has interesting tiered flowers

Bare daylily scapes remind me of bones or antlers

Oakleaf Hydrangea flower borders on orange, but not quite

A few hints of green in a twisted cardoon leaf

Once I placed this dried Eryngium flower, I had to be careful placing the rest -- they're very poky!

A single sinuous banana leaf at the back

I probably photographed this same banana leaf a few months ago for Foliage Followup

I like it. It's kind of ugly, but it's kind of beautiful too.

The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins?
-- Edgar Allan Poe

You should check out Cathy's In a Vase on Monday post here.


  1. I didn't see the ugly. It is beautiful.

    Fog rising over the cornfield this morning indicates Autumn on the way.

  2. Excellent Alison! I love it, also you're right about it lasting forever - although dusting will be a bitch.

  3. It's lovely! Brown is a color too. As for dusting, there's a spray silk flower cleaner that would work well at knocking the dust off. However, a little dust on arrangements like this add to their mystique!

  4. I agree with Peter: a little dust and maybe even a cobweb or two would add to the lovely Miss Havisham quality of your beautiful bouquet. I've followed this blog for too long to believe a word of that modest stuff at the beginning of this post.

  5. A requiem to summer that's also a herald of fall - what could be better! I think it looks great, Alison. You ought to publish a link on Cathy's site at Rambling in the Garden to give it all the attention it deserves.

  6. Oh yes, indeed - the result is so effective and I loved hearing your thought processes as you put it together. This is just what we do every Monday (well OK, I now prepare mine on a Sunday to make sure it is posted promptly on Monday so that other bloggers can link to it) and even your 'vase' choice is just the sort of thing that we might use on impulse. The way you have chosen for height or shape or texture made such interesting reading. I have been accumulating a pile of spent stems and seed heads ready for a week when I have nothing green - won't be for a while yet! Thanks for sharing

  7. Alison this is brilliant...perfect to showcase your garden right now and it has a Wabi Sabi beauty about it....soon I will be using dried and spent blooms from my garden as that is all there will I love the dried vases as much as the live ones.

  8. That vase-full is perfect to wind up this bizarre summer. What I have in the garden is about the same color, but nowhere near as lovely and varied. As my dear old dad would say, "You done good!"

  9. A lovely dried bouquet- the cardoon flower is stunning and the dry hydrangeas perfect...!

  10. Well done, from the fave selection, to the chosen plant material, to the arranging. I'm just not ready for a summer requiem yet.

  11. The dried arrangement works very well together, my favorites are the Phlomis, Eryngium, and the Cardoon which I also grow. I've never noticed the Kewpie doll hair effect, I'll have to go look. I had to overcome some resistance to cutting flowers too, but I'm warming up to it since I enjoy the flowers in the house and also memorialize them in the photos, and it's fun to see what I can find.

  12. I can't get over the fact that you didn't own a vase.


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