In a Vase on Monday and a Little Surprise for Someone.

Cathy’s meme becomes a bit more of a challenge in this dismal month of December. Foraging in the garden for something to put in a vase I abandoned the idea of  picking the last roses. There aren’t enough to fill a vase. December colours seem to choose themselves. I have a few nerines still blooming in the greenhouse but otherwise pinks are out at the moment.
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So we have orange and yellow, fortunately there is plenty of that.

For foliage I have used  the primrose yellow leaves of  Choisya  ternata ‘Sundance’. and the variegated leaves of Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald ‘n’ Gold’. There is some common ivy in there too and also some Rosemary.

The spiky bits are provided by orange  Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ which is wonderful in the winter garden.  The red Cornus is ‘Westonbirt’ which is the best for bright red colour. The brown seed heads are from the  Rudbeckia hirta ‘Prairy Sun’.

The flowers are Mahonia x media ‘Winter Sun’. I though that this was ‘Charity’ until I found a label on it when I was hacking it back in the summer. I can’t see much difference between the two. There is some fragrant, Lonicera  x purpusii ‘Winter Beauty’. I think this is one of the best of the winter flowering honeysuckles. There is some of that useful winter standby winter jasmine, Lonicera nudiflorum . I was amazed that a few flowers of  Forsythia were out, I have never seen that in December before so I included them. I also picked some big branches which I hope will come out in water for Christmas.

The orange berries are from the very useful native Iris foetidissima. This iris has put itself all around my garden . The flowers are subtle rather than showy but it really comes into its own in winter when the seed cases split open to reveal all those shiny orange berries. It is sometimes called the Stinking Iris or the Roast Beef Plant becomes the leaves smell when they are crushed. I don’t see why you need to crush them though.
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Round the other side you can see that I have used rose hips and holly berries. I have several hollies, some of them the birds have stripped already, others they have left for the time being. I have also used some nice red Skimmia berries and hidden in the middle is some Viburnum tinus which I feel a bit sheepish about using as I am always abusing it for being a nasty, smelly shrub with coarse leaves and for being all over my garden.
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As usual thanks to Cathy at Ramblinginthegarden for hosting this fun meme.

I would like to thank everyone who took the time to contribute to the debate about botanical nomenclature in my previous post. I was delighted with the response and I really enjoyed reading all your comments. Garden bloggers are such thoughtful people! As a thank you and to provide someone with a little treat for Christmas I am going to put the names of everyone who has commented into a hat and ask the Pianist to pick a name out. I will wait until Wednesday to do this in case there are some more people to include.
The prize will be a copy of the really useful little book which I mentioned in the post. It is a book that I wouldn’t be without. I would like to send one to all of you really, but I am afraid it will have to be just the one.
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Good luck!  I’ll tell you who the winner is on Wednesday.

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37 Responses to In a Vase on Monday and a Little Surprise for Someone.

  1. Jane Strong says:

    How very colorful! I like those orange “berries” from the iris, and especially how everything goes so well with the vase.

  2. Pauline says:

    Stunning arrangement and certainly reflecting the time of year. I never seem to get so many berries on my Iris foetidissima, you have so many.
    How wonderful that you are having a draw for your book of the meanings of Latin names, it will be so useful for whoever wins it.

  3. Kris P says:

    You are a skilled arranger, Chloris. Your plant material and vase suit one another perfectly. I love the Mahonia but I think I’ve said that before – this is another reminder to find a spot for one in my own garden.

    • Chloris says:

      Well that is very kind, specially coming from you as you have such a talent for it. The vase lends itself so well to arrangements and is perfect for my dining table and the colour is just right for the colours in the garden at the moment.

  4. Alison says:

    That is a beautiful arrangement. I am sometimes tempted to participate in this meme, but I am so very bad at it. And right now there is very little with any color out in my garden, it would have to be nothing but brown seedpods.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Alison but all I ever do is plonk. Don’ t you have any foliage and berries and seed heads? It is fun having the challenge of having to find things for a vase in December.

  5. Flighty says:

    it’s surprising just how colourful that is thanks to the orange berries and yellow leaves.
    Your book giveaway is most generous. xx

  6. Cathy says:

    You haven’t mentioned what your vase is, Chloris – do you know? It is perfect for the fantastic selection of materials you have collected – what inspired choices you made! Thanks so much for sharing it. I was interested to read about L x purpusii ‘Winter Beauty’ – I tried to get that this autumn but as it was mail order the nursery suggested I had L standishii ‘Budapest’ instead. I trust it will do as well as WB – what do you think? How kind of you to offer a giveaway 🙂

    • Chloris says:

      I haven’ t got L. Budapest but I believe it is a lovely one and nice and compact, some of them get a bit sprawly.
      I am very pleased with the vase, it is a sort of splattered glass. Whilst I was feeling rather ill recently, I cheered myself up by buying a few vases and jugs on eBay. I decided I would not pay more than £5 for any one. I just managed to get this one for £5 but I might have broken the rule to get it, I really like it. I shall be using it for my Xmas Day arrangement. You will be seeing some of my others in future arrangements. Bargains, one and all.

  7. Brian Skeys says:

    I love your vase. It demonstrates how much colour and variety you can have in the garden all year, with the right plant/shrub selection.

  8. Cathy says:

    A lovely vase Chloris – you have so much going on your garden still, I am quite impressed! Have you read “The Naming of Names” by Anna Pavord? I read it several years ago and can thoroughly recommend it, although I must admit I haven’t enjoyed any of her other writing.

  9. Christina says:

    Inspired choices indeed, Chloris, this is a beautiful vase to take you up to Christmas week. Somehow I don’t connect yellow and orange with December, but they are perfect especially in thst lovely vase. How very generous of you to give the book away.

  10. Julie says:

    Love this Chloris, its so bountiful and generous and perfect choices for your lovely vase, bet that looks really good empty too.

  11. Such a natural looking display Chloris. The vase too is very complimentary.
    I’ve obviously missed the previous post, off now for a read.

  12. Chloris I love your vase too…a beautiful combo of orange, yellow and green…very festive showing the bounty of your garden. And the vase is perfect. I enjoyed your last post and the discussion. How thoughtful to have a giveaway too.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Donna and thank you for joining in with the discussion . I had to laugh when I saw that in your latest post you had crossed out Amaryllis each time you mentioned it and replaced it with Hippeastrum. You have a lovely sense of humour!

  13. snowbird says:

    What an adorably festive arrangement in such a delightful vase….seriously tempted to pop through the ether and STEAL it, it would look simply heavenly here….yes! Now I shall have to mooch around my garden and see if I can find something to remotely resemble it….sighs…envy is a DREADFUL thing!xxx

  14. Chloris says:

    Thank you Dina, the vase was an eBay find; £5. I am delighted with it, just the thing for this time of the year with all the oranges and yellows. Your Iris foetidissima should be big enough to have berries next year.

  15. snowbird says:

    It has a little flower opening…SO excited I am!xxx

  16. Chloris says:

    Goodness, that’ s a funny time for it to bloom, are you sure that’ s the Iris which has a flower and not the Hesperantha? ( new name for Schizostylis) Tell me what colour it is when it blooms.

  17. Very impressive! I can see from various blogs that I need to add a Mahonia to my garden at some point. Believe it or not, there are some Mahonia species that are hardy to zone 5. Great arrangement–and the vase is perfect for the foliage and flowers you’ve highlighted! I will have to head back to your previous post to check it out! We celebrated Christmas early this year with my side of the family, so I’m just now working back to catch up on my blog visits. 😉

    • Chloris says:

      My favourite Mahonia for fragrance is Mahonia Japonica, it smells strongly of Lilies- of – the -Valley. Another very good one is the new Mahonia eurybractea ‘Soft Caress’ which has lovely spine free leaves.

  18. Anna says:

    Oh what rich pickings Chloris for dreary December Chloris. I think that anybody who ventures out into the garden to forage at this time of year deserves treasure in abundance. Not only orange and yellow you also have gold in abundance. Please do not enter me for your generous give away as I already have a copy of that little black book on my bookshelf 🙂

  19. Peter/Outlaw says:

    A beautiful and very creative arrangement! One of these days, I’ll get my act together and participate in this meme!

  20. Gee whiz, Chloris. How do you get the flowers and the vase to match? Much respect, Lady.

  21. Chloris says:

    I did that by seeing the vase on eBay and thinking ‘Ah- ha’ A perfect match for my flowers, leaves and berries.’ And I bought it for £5; a bargain I thought. It is a very nice vase.

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