#IAVOM – In A Vase on Monday – is a great idea which I’ve used a few times. You pick some flowers from your garden, arrange them, photograph them, and then write about them. I’ve cheated once or twice using bought flowers, mainly because the opportunity to use garden flowers for me is limited, and until recently my time has been very limited too. Its a device which can be a great aide memoire for other musings.
Back in October, the 14th to be precise, I arrived at the French house for a few nights with the objective to sign off the building work, have a hair appointment, work (as I always did wherever I was), and perhaps enjoy a few hours in the garden. As I wrote here, my plans were thwarted and I had to return to the UK the same day.
However, before disaster struck, I had been round the garden, picked a few flowers and arranged them in vases before photographing them. My intention was to make a blog post the following Monday under the IAVOM hashtag.
Almost five months have passed which included one of the busiest working periods I’ve ever experienced, another heart operation for my husband, and my broken ankle. Writing a blog post about photos of flowers in a vase was low on my list of priorities.
However, today is Monday, I have a window of time in which I can write this blog, and so here it is, #IAVOM from five months ago. I hope you enjoy it!
I’ve some experience of more formal flower arranging which I enjoy when I get the opportunity. But I also very much like the style of informal arrangement in several small vases, especially when using flowers from the garden, and this oak console makes a great location to display them. It is a style frequently used by Dan Pearson in his excellent weekly Dig Delve blog.
Leycesteria formosa is an absolute favourite plant of mine and it seems to thrive in the French garden.
Rosemary flowers almost every month of the year. Several plants are dotted around the garden and I intend to add many more. The white solanum is also a plant that flowers continuously for many months. I didn’t used to like them, resenting their lack of scent, but I’ve grown to admire its persistence and contribution to long flowering. The pelargonium comes from a pot under the covered terrace and the brightly coloured annuals (cosmos and zinnia) are volunteers returning from the previous year’s temporary annual flower meadow where we subsequently planted the Exotic Garden. The penstemon was planted to commemorate a friend who died a few years ago whose generosity (even when he had little himself) was breathtaking, who gave us a similar variety for our Surrey garden. We have one in the Sussex garden too.
I never quite know which are mandevillea and which are dipladenia, or whether they are interchangeable names for the same plant. They seem to be hardier in our part of France than they are in the UK and we have a couple of large specimens in pots either side of the back door. They create height and structure to the collection of plants in pots, and have a long flowering season too. I’d expected that we would lose them over winter or have to put them under cover, but so far so good.
Salvias grow well in the garden. I’m going to plant lots in the future! Verbena bonariensis must always be included and I’m looking forward to it gradually establishing as a self-seeder. I know how to edit out those I don’t want but value those I do. There’s some caryopteris and teucrium in there, the caryopteris now thriving, having come from our Sussex garden where it didn’t work at all, and the teucrium having been planted in the open borders around the pool together with lavender and other sun and heat-tolerant plants. Despite having been planted in late July in 38 degree heat and drought, we only lost one or two. I obviously wouldn’t recommend planting at that time and in those conditions but needs must for us last year.
A closer view of the central bigger arrangement. Hydrangeas are very much a French signature plant and we already have 6-8 different varieties (soon to be joined by some very beautiful Merveille Sanguine destined for the bed by the north wall of the barn, and possibly a line of Annabelle in front of a laurel hedge). I always think that the French name, Hortensia, is rather charming.
Few roses were still in flower, but they had been magnificent earlier in the year.
The Salvia Confertiflora planted in the new bed along the west side of the barn was flowering away. I decided to only sacrifice one flower stem for the vase, but there were many more. I particularly love this salvia, having first been introduced to it by the late Christopher Lloyd at Great Dixter. I know some people find it hardy in the UK, but it never was for us in Surrey. I shall be very interested to see if it has come through the winter in the French garden … when we finally get out there …
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, and can forgive me for writing it out of its season. I just didn’t want to waste the arrangements or the photos.
In case you’re wondering, I had to leave them in place when I hurriedly closed the house up to dash back to the airport to return to the UK. Fortunately the friend who helps us in the house was able to go in a few days later to clear them. Even if I wasn’t able to enjoy them for longer than an hour (and now in retrospect) perhaps the house knew that it had been honoured in this way.
#IAVOM thanks to https://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com