In a Vase On Monday. Fluffy.

Cathy who hosts the meme: ‘In a vase on Monday’ has inspired many of us to create a cutting garden so that we always have plenty of cut flowers without spoiling the effect in other parts of the garden. I have turned over one of my raised vegetable beds to cut flowers this year and I have enjoyed vases full of flowers all summer. I don’t miss the brassicas that would have been here because apart from the problem of the  ubiquitous pigeons, I detest eating boiled caterpillers along with my cauliflowers.

My vases today are both fluffy. The first has a flower that I have never grown before. It is an annual knapweed with huge, cream fluffy heads and straggly whiskers. It is called Centuarea americana ‘Aloha Blanca’.

Centaurea americana ‘Aloha Blanca’

The description in the seed catalogue was ‘ivory white’ but it is more cream and so I used some biscuit-coloured heads of Stipa gigantea and fluffy, cream bunny tails from Pennisetum villosum to accompany it.

Pennisetum villosum has lovely buff coloured flowers and is not supposed to be hardy but I have had mine for years. Pennisetum orientale is more reliably hardy and has slightly pinkish seedheads in great abundance.

Pennisetum orientale

You can get Centaurea americana in pale pink too, it is called ‘Aloha Rosa’, and perhaps I will try it next year. It would look pretty in a vase with Pennisetum orientale. The seed packet says that Centaurea americana is good as a dried flower but I am disappointed with the ones I have dried as they have shrivelled and lost the lovely fluffy effect.



The vase is a pretty Victorian painted glass one.

The second vase is a dear little jug given to me by lovely Anne who knows about my weakness for jugs. I have used the fluffy little powder puffs of a tall growing annual Ageratum houstonianum ‘Blue Horizon’.

Ageratum houstonianum ‘Blue Horizon’

Ageratum ‘Blue Horizon’


I love these powder blue flowers and I have a tall, bushy perennial ageratum too, Ageratum corymbosum which has the lovely common name, Butterfly Mist. It is slightly tender and has to overwinter in the greenhouse. It would make a good conservatory plant. It grows quite tall although here it is dwarfed by the tall stems of Nicotiana mutabilis.

Ageratum corymbosum

My fluffy flowers today are my contribution to Cathy’s meme, In a Vase on Monday. Do pop over to Ramblinginthegarden and see Cathy’s Asteroid Explosion.

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36 Responses to In a Vase On Monday. Fluffy.

  1. Christina says:

    When I first looked at your lovely Centuarea americana ‘Aloha Blanca’ I thought it was a Chinese Aster like Cathy’s vase today. The next thing I did was write down the name! I’ll have to see who supplies it, unless you remember and can tell me!

  2. pbmgarden says:

    The centaurea is impressive and lovely. I adore the jug of Ageratum ‘Blue Horizon’ too. Such richness of color.

  3. Peter/Outlaw says:

    That centaurea is new to me and quite lovely! Thanks for the morning laugh at the boiled caterpillars in your cauliflowers.

  4. Both vases are great….love the blue flowers against the green vase and oh the fluffy white flowers with the seed heads are perfect for fall!

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Donna. I shall certainly grow the centaurea again next year, I love it. As for the ageratum, it is constantly full of blooms and is very long lasting in a vase.

  5. Annette says:

    Love the fluffy vase, I’m mad about grasses.

  6. Cathy says:

    Now why does your centaurea look fluffy and my asters look scruffy…?! 😉 I do like these and might try annual centaurea next year – are their habits similar to the perennial ones?

    • Chloris says:

      I think your asters are lovely but I am delighted with this centaurea, it is a winner, specially for cutting. The perennial knapweed is invasive in my garden but this is an annual so no such problem.

  7. Such a gorgeous, tactile, soft yet striking vase. Again, like Cathy’s asters, these centaureas look somewhat like fabulous sea creatures. A pale pink version would be interesting, but personally I like these cream ones, which you’ve colour matched so well to the pennisetum and stipa.

    • Chloris says:

      I agree the creamy flowers are lovely with buff coloured seed heads. I will try the pink one next year though because I think it will look lovely with Pennisetum orientale.

  8. Kris P says:

    Since my success in getting Centaurea ‘Silver Feathers’ to bloom this year, I’ve become more interested in the entire genus. I’ll definitely look into adding C. americana to my cutting garden next year as I love that fluffy look. Ageratum houstonianum is often grown here as a winter annual so I may plant some of those once the weather cools and I pull out my increasingly sad-looking sunflowers.

    • Chloris says:

      Centaurea ‘ Silver Feathers’ is new to me. I just looked it up and I love it. What pretty foliage it has. I am also getting interested in the genus. I have just bought a perennial one, Centaurea atropurpurea which is a winner.
      Ageratum ‘Blue Horizon’ is wonderful for picking as it has long stems.

  9. Alison C says:

    The centaurea are unusual and eye-catching. They give an autumnal look with the grass in the lovely frilly vase. I once crunched on a snail which had been boiled and I can still feel the dreadful sensation now, years later. It was very small but still!

  10. I love your use of grasses with the fancy Cornflowers. Knapweed threw me for a loop. Now it is safe to eat Cauliflower at your house?

    • Chloris says:

      The common knapweed is an invasive plant. But I have been finding more desirable ones recently.
      Summer cauliflower always comes with a garnish of caterpillers unless you drench them in pesticides. I prefer not to eat them.

  11. Eliza Waters says:

    Your arrangements look almost huggable! I’ve never seen this Centaurea – it’s fabulous.

  12. smallsunnygarden says:

    Those Centaureas are lovely, and so perfect with the grasses!

  13. Flighty says:

    Both wonderful looking flowers. xx

  14. That’s a lot of fluff in blue and white! The vase looks very seasonal for the end of summer.

  15. snowbird says:

    Just loving all the fluffiness, I have an urge to reach out across cyber space and touch these. Love the vase and jug too, I would like to find out exactly how many you really have, and if any plants have crept into the She shed yet.
    Boiled caterpillars…..feeling a little faint here!!! xxx

    • Chloris says:

      Well you are a vegetarian aren’t you so I can’ t expect you to relish boiled catterpillars.
      The actual extent of my jug collection is a closely guarded secret. It is dispersed all round the house as well as the shed. I am aware that it is a rather weird obsession.
      Yes, fluffiness is the look that every self- respecting September garden is sporting this year.

  16. Anna says:

    Oh what fabulous fluffiness Chloris. I think that brassicas to cut flowers was a good move although the caterpillars may not be best pleased with your decision.

    • Chloris says:

      Yes, I am into fluffiness at the moment. Summer brassicas are definitely out. My daughter is growing veg for the first time this year and she was so proud of all her brassicas. Now she is realising just how deadly those pretty white butterflies are.

  17. bittster says:

    What an interesting flower, I hope it shows up around here someday because it might be the perfect excuse to finally let the axe drop on a few more half-hearted vegetable plantings.

    • Chloris says:

      The centarea seeds came from Chilterns. Is their catalogue available in the States? I am definitely banishing brassicas from now on. It is lovely to have somewhere to grow annuals for cutting.

  18. Chloris says:

    Yes, I am in to fluffy flowers and grasses at the moment.

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