In a Vase on Monday. In the Pink.

Today, I  thought I would create a vase using silver foliage and  just the pretty, late flowering pinks,   Dianthus rupicola which comes from Sicily.

Dianthus rupicola and Cleome spinosa

Dianthus rupicola and Cleome spinosa

Unfortunately, I am unable to use restraint whether  in a vase or in the garden. There are always so many other pretties that catch my eye. The minimalist gene seems to be missing from my make-up. So the vase got filled up with many other pink flowers and even bits of purple and lilac.

I went to a talk on Saturday by Twigs Way, who is writing a book about the social and cultural history of the carnation. Who would have thought that the little Dianthus could have accrued so many layers of religious and cultural significance over the centuries? Our knowledge of it dates from classical times, for it was cited by Theophrastus. Christianity adopted it as a symbol of Mary’s tears and just to make sure that it was a Christian symbol divorced from Pagan beliefs,  the flowers were also said to represent nails that were used to nail Jesus to the cross. It is used widely in Renaissance nativity paintings.

Madonna of the Carnation. Leonardo da Vinci. Alta Pinakothek Munich.

Madonna of the Carnation. Leonardo da Vinci. Alta Pinakothek Munich.
















Later the flower came to be associated with revolutionary movements. The Carnation Revolution in Portugal in 1974, was so called, because not a shot was fired and people came out to adorn the rifles and uniforms of the army with carnations.

Oscar Wilde adopted the green carnation as a symbol of his sexuality.I saw him relaxing in Merrion Park in Dublin earlier this year. As you see he is showing us his carnation.
What really surprised me is that the word for pink as a colour was only adopted in the seventeenth century. The word comes from the pinked edges of the flower. Another surprise was the fact that the idea of pink for girls and blue for boys only became popular in in the 1940s. In the nineteenth century blue was considered much more feminine; after all the Virgin Mary was depicted wearing blue to show her purity. Pink was a more delicate shade of red and suitable for little boys as it was a paler shade of the martial redcoat. I have to say this little boy doesn’t look very happy in his pink dress.
Anyway, as usual I digress. My pink arrangement is in a cranberry glass vase and I have used a Chinese famille rose plate to carry on the pink theme.
The flowers include a dark pink rose ‘Princess Alexandra’.

Rosa 'Princess Alexandre'

Rosa ‘Princess Alexandre’


I have used two Salvias. One is Salvia ‘Wendy’s Wish’ which flowers all summer. The other is Salvia involucrata ‘Bethellii’ which is late flowering but reliably hardy.

Salvia 'Bethellii'

Salvia ‘Bethellii’

I used some Diascia personata which flowers all summer long and gets bigger and better as the season goes on. The foliage is artemesia , santolina and pink variegated  fuchsia. The feathery pennisetum seedheads keep getting recycled in my arrangements.


I used Dahlia ‘Rebecca’s World’ and cleome. I think Cleome spinosa is well named. I have never picked it before but it is really spiny and uncomfortable to handle.
I finished the arrangement off with some colchicums. Cathy used some last week and I thought how pretty they look. I had never thought of picking them before.


So there we have my pink offering today.dibujos-pantera-rosa-g
Thank you Cathy for hosting. Everyone is out picking flowers today for In a Vase on Monday. Do join in.

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49 Responses to In a Vase on Monday. In the Pink.

  1. Anca Tîrcă says:

    These autumn pink shades are simply beautiful and your vase show them off so creatively! And thanks for the information, Chloris, very useful!

  2. Gillian says:

    I agree with Anca. Thanks for sharing the information, all new to me. I adore pinks and your vase is very pretty with your selection of blooms. Long live lack of restraint I say!

  3. Very enjoyable post – I love that rose.
    Do you have Carnation Condensed Milk in the UK?
    In my opinion, Minimalism is overrated. If the architect’s name comes to mind, I will send it later. I think Mies van der Rohe said ‘Less is More’ then someone else said ‘Less is a bore’ I agree with the second guy.

    • Chloris says:

      We do have ‘ Carnation Milk from contented cows’. I just googled it and it started off as evaporated milk, ( not sure how you evaporate milk). It was sold by a man who rejoiced in the name of Elbridge Amos Stuart. He got the name of Carnation from a display of carnation cigars he saw in a shop window. Oh the wonders of Wikipedia, all the information of the world at your fingertips.
      I do agree, ‘ less is a bore’.

  4. homeslip says:

    An education and a giggle, thank you Chloris. You always put together a special vase when you join in on Mondays, so much beauty to appreciate.

  5. Cathy says:

    Lovely photos/pictures today (even down to the Pink Panther at the end) and lots of intriguing information so I am sure we are all happy that you digressed. I am pleased you were encouraged to use some colchicum – mine lasted a good 5 days or more apart from a touch of brown at the end of one or two petals. Picked in bud I wonder if they would last even longer? Your cleome is such a gorgeous colour and perhaps I should try growing it again – and I agree on how brilliant that diascia is. Thanks for sharing your lack of restraint today

  6. What a fascinating post, the historic and religious significance of dianthus is so interesting. Lovely vases, too, by the way! Do I spy villosum?

  7. Julie says:

    Twigs Way is a great name, sounds like a very interesting talk too. I love exuberant gardens and vases, it must be pretty wonderful to have so much choice to choose from when it comes to putting a vase together. Interesting that pink used to be more a shade of red when it came to boys clothes, that does make more sense than the sugary pink we have now.

    • Chloris says:

      I suppose Twigs must be a nickname. Nobody is christened Twigs. It would be a good example of nominative determinism if she set out with this name. She has written several books, including a biography of Gertrude Jekyll and a history of garden gnomes!

  8. Brian Skeys says:

    Your posts are always very educational both horticulturally and historically, Chloris.
    Perhaps the little boy doesn’t look very happy because he has a riding whip in his hand!!
    A vase packed full of vivid autumn colour. Love the pink panther.

  9. Chloris says:

    Thank you Brian. I should think the little boy felt a silly chump in that dress whatever colour it was.

  10. Kris P says:

    I always learn something from your posts, Chloris! Surprisingly, I’ve heard before that pink was formerly associated with boys and blue with girls but seeing the boy in the portrait in a pink dress will reinforce the fact in my mind (perhaps forever!). The association of green carnations and Oscar Wilde may also entrench itself in my memory. You have an amazing collection of pinks in your vase – I especially like that rose.

  11. An interesting read to accompany your wonderful pink selection. I had to look up the carnation revolution of 1974. I didn’t do that sort of history!

    • Chloris says:

      I have to admit I had never heard about the carnation revolution before Saturday. What a great idea, if only all revolutions were so peaceful and so floral.

  12. Now that is a lot of pink and so much interesting info. I can’t get over the variety of flowers still blooming there especially dianthus. I saw the statue of Oscar Wilde when I visited Ireland…what a great sight in the park. You made this vase a very special and interesting one.

  13. I like it! The cranberry vase–wow, I need to look for one like that. It really showcases the color in the foliage and the flowers. I love to use Dahlias in arrangements, even though I don’t grow any in my own garden.

  14. Peter/Outlaw says:

    A beautiful arrangement and I very much enjoyed the historical tidbits as well! It’s difficult to be a minimalist when there’s so much beauty to appreciate!

  15. Cathy says:

    I had never thought about the symbolism of carnations before – love all the extra information you gave us this week! You have so many lovely shades of pink – it seems to be the in colour at the moment!

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Cathy. I enjoy stories that make artistic and cultural connections. It is interesting that a simple unassuming little flower like this has accrued such layers of meaning throughtout the ages.

  16. Hannah says:

    I read that somewhere recently about the pinked edges giving rise to the color, it makes me think of my mother’s pinking shears. The Dianthus rupicola is lovely, and goes nicely with the other pink and lavender flowers in your vase. I enjoyed your history information, and I love the clove fragrance of carnations.

    • Chloris says:

      It is interesting how the flower got its name from the pinked edges and now we call the colour by that name. I didn’ t realise that the colour pink was named relatively recently.

  17. Flighty says:

    An interesting, and informative post, along with good pictures. I like that colour combination.
    I have a book by the wonderfully named Twigs Way – Allotment & Garden Guide, A Monthly Guide to Better Wartime Gardening. xx

    • Chloris says:

      I haven’ t come across that book but I will look out for it. All her books are so well researched. I wish I’ d thought to ask her how she got her name.

  18. Who would have thought the modest carnation could link the Madonna with Wilde, not to mention a pink-dressed boy with whip:-) I’m imagining your vase is quite spicy too, with its pinks and santolina.

  19. Noelle Mace says:

    Some great facts about pinks…it must have been a good lecture. There are so many lovely blooms in your garden, and brought together in your vase for more careful contemplation. Thanks for sharing.

  20. pbmgarden says:

    I always enjoy your posts. Amazing what connections and tidbits you find once you start exploring a subject. Nice vase–I love dianthus.

  21. I struggle with minimalism too! Fascinating historical background, its good to remember that “girly pink” is a recent invention, maybe the boys will reclaim it soon. That poor boy in his best dress… Salvias are my project for next year, I am severely tempted by an offer on now, but I think I will plant in Spring, give them a chance to settle in for a full season before seeing if I can get them through the winter. I’ve lost 7 so far, I am hoping due to being over crowded…

  22. I love those colours, best bit of the spectrum. Hope you enjoyed the talk by Twigs Way. She used to write a column for our local paper which was always interesting.

    • Chloris says:

      Twigs comes from your part of the world I believe. I am looking forward to her book on the Carnation. I love the sort of book that includes the artistic and social history and stories built up around a plant.

  23. Christina says:

    As usual your post is a fascinating read Liz and your extra pink vase is gorgeous.

  24. snowbird says:

    Your posts are utterly priceless, how I enjoy them. I just loved the fascinating information in this one. If only all wars ended as the Revolution in Portugal did!
    Oh….I nearly choked on my tea with your Oscar Wilde comment!!!! Laughing out loud I was.
    Your vase is a delight, how lovely to have so many flowers still blooming. I don’t have the minimalist gene either!xxx

  25. Chloris says:

    Thank you Dina. You and I share the same sense of humour.. You are the only one who got the Oscar Wilde one. Just as well really.

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