In a vase on Monday. Pink Spiders etc..

This vase started off in my mind as an arrangement just of nerines, with their spidery petals inspiring the title. Of course I couldn’t stop there. The frothy flowers of Sympyotrichum pringlei ‘Monte Cassino’ were just what I needed to set them off and also the pink edged leaves of Fuchsia magellanica ‘Versicolor’. Solanum jasminoides was looking so pretty too and just calling out to be used as a bit of extra froth. Alcalthaea suffrutescens ‘Park Allee’ is still going strong and will continue until the frosts.
I then decided I needed a bit of darker pink to stop it looking washed out, so I added some Salvia ‘Wendy’s Wish’ and a dark pink Chrysanthemum whose name I am not sure of.

As it is November, I added some wintery flowers of Viburnum. I dislike Viburnum tinus, although the flowers are useful for winter arrangements. As I keep pointing out, it smells of wet dog when it rains. Viburnum fragrans smells lovely and is more delicate.
I popped a few hazel catkins in as a reminder that spring is not far off. The picture on the vase is rather apt for November. Soon this is all that will be left in the garden. Except it is snails rather than seashells which will take over. Obviously.

As it is so gloomy outside, when I had finished this, I thought I would go and see what I could find to bring in for another vase to cheer us up. I’m afraid I really dislike November. This time of the year always reminds me of the last verse of the poem, ‘Toads Revisited’ by Philip Larkin:

‘When the lights come on at four
At the end of another day.
Give me your arm old toad:
Help me down cemetery road.’

I can’t actually remember the rest of the poem, just this miserable last verse. So, clearly more blooms are needed as an antidote to gloom and the lights on at four.


Rosa 'Sally Holmes'

Rosa ‘Sally Holmes’

I wonder who Sally Holmes was? I imagine her as a rather  jolly school girl, not very clever, but always cheerful and up for a game of hockey, even when it is cold, damp and dark in November. She is so relentlessly cheerful, that she is rarely out of bloom. I partnered her with a black Scabious as a sobering influence.
I used a couple of the dark dahlias which I grew from seed, as something more suitable to this dark month. I love the way the pollen is spilling out like gold dust.

A red penstemon adds a bit of brightness. It is amazing how so many penstemons are still flowering.


The orange and yellow flower is a seedling of the orange Evening Primrose Oenothera‘ Sunset Boulevard.’

So there we have it, two vases for the price of one. Actually, I  have three vases at the moment, but the third doesn’t count because the flowers are not from my garden. They are a gift and I am told they came from the ‘poshest supermarket in Britain’. Goodness knows where they were grown and how many air miles they have collected. But still they are pretty. Not sure about the cabbages though. Maybe I will eat them.

In a Vase on Monday is hosted by Cathy at Ramblinginthegarden. Today, she is celebrating the second birthday of the meme. Congratulations Cathy! Do join in with the celebration.

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63 Responses to In a vase on Monday. Pink Spiders etc..

  1. homeslip says:

    I think this goes to show that a vase of home grown flowers is vastly superior to anything money can buy. I love the way you include lots of different flowers – more is more in November I think. You’ve made me laugh at the welcome realisation that not only my hockey-playing days are behind me, but my daughter’s are behind her too!

    • Chloris says:

      I do agree about home grown flowers, that is why we enjoy this meme so much.
      You have probably guessed that I hated hockey, I was always the one lurking at the back of the field, hoping the ball and the girls brandishing their fearsome sticks would keep well away from me. I am being unnecessarily rude about poor Sally Holmes and very ungrateful for her generosity in flowering.

  2. Gillian says:

    I love your Nerines… we don’t grow them here as I think our garden is not as free draining as they would like. I also love the dark Dahlia you grew from seed. It always amazes me with any seed raised plant that they grow and flower in just a few months. Will you keep them for next year or sow again?

    • Chloris says:

      You could grow nerines in pots, I have several in the greenhouse. The dahlias are the result of breeding the darkest red children from The Bishop of Llandaff. These are several generations on, each year I take seeds from the darkest. I leave the tubers in the ground and cover them with newspaper and compost.

      • Gillian says:

        That’s a good idea. I will try that with the Nerines. So actually you are breeding your own Dahlia. Do you have a name planned for the darkest of dark?

      • Chloris says:

        I haven’ t got a name yet, I am still working on getting an almost black one. Another strain is very dark with a stripe down the petal.

  3. Anca Tîrcă says:

    What a beautiful garden and what stunning vases, Chloris! I like so much the way you combine the colours and the shapes and textures of the flowers.

  4. Sam says:

    Your vases are lovely. I love how you give character to your blooms 🙂 You can never have too many flowers indoors when it’s gloomy outside and it’s amazing just how many plants are still flowering this November. I agree with you about Viburnum tinus but I am a big fan of V.bodnantense ‘Dawn’.

  5. Brian Skeys says:

    The dark dahlia you grew from seed is a very deep colour, two very cheerful arrangements. There are some good things that have happened in November!

    • Chloris says:

      Indeed, there are some lovely blooms still around in November, but I prefer looking at them inside. Everything is so dark and drippy outside. I am pleased with my dark dahlia strain

  6. Cathy says:

    I guessed it would be your nerines, Chloris – always lovely to see – and don’t they look pretty with the Alcalthaea? You have found some perfect bedfellows for them – and then gone out and made another lovely vase to share with us…how kind… Perhaps a vase a day will keep the November blues away – what do you think? You could give it a try 😉

    • Chloris says:

      You are right it is probably a good idea to keep picking flowers and enjoy them inside. Outdoors is too gloomy at the moment. Although I really should be out there planting tulips.

      • Cathy says:

        Hmm, ah yes tulips – all very well getting all the others bulbs planted weeks ago, but it must be about time to at least start thinking about planting tulips… 😦

  7. Sally Holmes is the rose breeders daughter! Liz, I came up with a vase today, hope you saw it!!

  8. Chloris says:

    No, I am convinced she is a cheery hockey player with her hair in pigtails. Probably games captain at school.
    I have seen your lovely arrangement Amy and I am green with envy at the gloriously exotic flowers in your vase.

  9. Ever nice your bouquets. Flowers of the garden, i suppose ?

  10. Christina says:

    Your Nerines are a wonderful sight Liz, I really should grow some here; I seem to remember that you had some very special ones in the greenhouse that flower even later too! Both your vases will certainly cheer a bleak day. You make me feel rather guilty as the weather is perfect here!

    • Chloris says:

      My lovely white Nerine is in bloom in the greenhouse. right now. I only risk Nerine bowdenii in the garden but you could grow some of the luscious hybrids, they would love your garden.

  11. Kris P says:

    All 3 vases are beautiful, Chloris, although the first is my favorite. Every year when I see Nerines appear in blogger posts, I kick myself again for my failure to plant any of the bulbs. I think the problem is that the bulbs are rarely sold locally here. I should probably go check my mail order catalogs this very minute to see if I can find some there before I forget about them yet again. Re your last vase, Loree of danger garden recently held a competition challenging garden bloggers to create displays or vases using ornamental cabbage or kale – I think she’d be delighted with your posh supermarket find.

  12. pbmgarden says:

    The nerines are impressive. Hope your lovely vases bring cheer to your November!

  13. Chloris says:

    Yes, you could grow wonderful nerines there. You could grow some of the tender ones that we have to keep in the greenhouse. They come in a wonderful range of colours.
    Personally I’ d rather eat cabbages than use them for arrangements. And although I was delighted to receive this bouquet, on the whole I prefer flowers from the garden.

  14. Cathy says:

    Flowers are definitely good therapy in the darker months and all three of your vases are lovely – especially the first with the frothy pinks. If you have such pretty flowers in your garden still then November can’t be that bad after all! 😉

  15. Anna says:

    Oh what a trio of fabulous vases Chloris but the first two take the prize. Funnily enough the very name Sally brings to mind the face of a keen hockey player at school and always makes me quiver. I played in goal and always took as long as I could to pad myself up before waddling over to the goal net. It made the games slightly shorter. It’s been one of those lights on all day complete with rain and wind scenarios here. I hate November with a vengeance too!

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Anna.I used to hide in the cloakroom and read a book, until the Games teacher got wise to it and had me flushed out. I hate November because it is so gloomy and we have the whole winter ahead. And those endless leaves to deal with!

  16. Julie says:

    You still have so many flowers to choose fro Chloris – my garden hits a low point in November with very little to pick. I have planted neurones a few times without success – perhaps I should try them in pots next year. It has been a shock to return from sunny Florida to grey skies and lights on at 4, but I do like the cosiness of the long evenings. In case you haven’t seen my post tonight the snowdrops I bought when we were at Harvey’s are flowering!

    • Chloris says:

      But you have your lovely chrysanthemum to pick. Nerines do very well in pots, so you could enjoy them that way. I thought you would enjoy your snowdrops. Was it G. Barnes that you bought?

  17. Julie says:

    I love that you can be so generous with Nerines in your vase, I am guessing you have many more in your garden. My senses are muddled with this mild weather and early dark nights.

  18. I’m not a huge fan of November, either, but this year has been an exception. We still have relatively mild weather and flowers still blooming–quite unusual for us! And it looks like you still have quite a selection, too. I love your vase! And the arrangement is exquisite. Nice, nice!

  19. Peter/Outlaw says:

    The pinks with the frothy whites in the first arrangement look downright spring-like. Although the second features a few somber colors, it feels warm and sunny.

  20. Flighty says:

    Nice post and lovely pictures. I’m always in two minds about pink flowers, I think that it’s depends on the shade. xx

  21. Hannah says:

    The pink vase of nerines is so pretty, with the darker salvias and whites. But I really enjoy looking at all the colors and variety in the second vase, especially your wonder dark burgundy dahlias, Chloris! I am so impressed you grew them from seed. Another flower to put on my list. My DIL would go for the store-bought flowers that look so polished.

  22. Lovely vases! I echo everyone else’s thoughts – those nerines are gorgeous!

    Adore that dark dahlia, too…a real beauty.

  23. All 3 vases are wonderful even of the last is not from your garden. I love the nerines as they feel bright and summery as the sun leaves earlier every day…November through January is a hard time due to the early darkness.

  24. gardenfancyblog says:

    What lovely flowers you still have! It never cases to amaze me how much longer you can grow than we can here — things are definitely on their last legs here. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing, -Beth

  25. What delicious dark dahlias. Wendy Wish works so well with those beautiful nerine, makes them look so fresh.

  26. bittster says:

    I’m always amazed by the range of flowers you find for your vases. Such a nice blend and they all work so nicely off one another. I do agree that your own creation is much nicer than the bought arrangement, even though it also has a few interesting things in it.
    Poor little Sally.

    • Chloris says:

      Soon the dismal November days and the unremitting gloom will win and the flowers will collapse into a mouldy mess. Meanwhile it is nice to have them in the house. I don’ t think of her as poor little Sally. I think she is big and bossy and relentlessly cheerful.

  27. Now you are just showing off! Two beautiful vases of flowers, two completely different arrangements, quite different from each other and full, yet again, with stars from your wonderful garden.

  28. Philip Larkin and W. H. Auden: they sure knew how to cheer up a person, didn’t they? Was larkin the one who wrote: “My wife and I have invited a crowd of crabs for dinner”? Can’t remember. At any rate, Chloris, you’re right about November — I’m not sure what ‘vember’ is, but there’s definitely none of it at this time of year. November and February – two such bleak months – even their names are bleak. Thank goodness I can be so quickly cheered by your great talents at flower arranging. They never disappoint.

    • Chloris says:

      Actually Cynthia, it wasn’ t crabs. Not a b but a p. Larkin was a miserable, misanthropic so -and -so, but some of his poetry is wonderful. I particularly like An Arundel Tomb and Whitsun Weddings.
      We certainly lack ‘vembers’ at the moment, it is very depressing. I actually quite like February; snowdrops and spring in the air.

  29. snowbird says:

    What lovely vases, your’s are far superior to the bought one, the second is my favorite, what a lovely colour combination.
    That verse echos my sentiments too….november can be grim, especially at the moment with the wind and rain howling around.
    I, and my shins still shudder when I remember my forced hockey days!xxx

    • Chloris says:

      It is a grim month indeed, are you suffering from the effects of Abigail?
      I am glad you are a fellow hockey hater. Teenaged girls shouldn’ t be allowed to run around hitting people on the shins with hockey sticks.

      • snowbird says:

        I think we are suffering from both storms! But hey….my garden is a shambolic mess anyway….
        Oh….yes! WHY would anyone give kids STICKS???? I’m still totally traumatized! To think it all happened under the approving eyes of NUNS!!! I never did see them playing the goddamn beautiful game!xxx

  30. Love the second vase with the dark Dahlias, the Primula and Oenothera. Something about the dark maroon and bright yellow/orange together.

  31. I am so impressed by how much you have in flower Chloris! I am down to some still determined Cosmos, sedums and a rather glorious salvia, not very much in all this space. I love your dark dahlia too and am envious of your nerines. I have been trying to establish them up here but so far I have only one, not for picking!

  32. Chloris says:

    Thank you Elizabrth. Nerines need full sun and no competition from other plants to do well.

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