In a Vase on Monday. Potted Pleasures and the Scents of Winter.

My first pot of Iris reticulata in the greenhouse is full of blooms and I thought I would put some in a little vase with an unusual primrose. I don’t know how long these irises keep fresh in a vase, but in the event I couldn’t bear to pick them. So this week I am bending the rules of Cathy’s meme and showing plants in pots.


I love these little irises in the garden in February, but I always force a few pots in the greenhouse to enjoy in January. This yellow one is a new one, it is Iris reticulata ‘Sunrise’. It is buttercup yellow and very pretty.

Iris reticulata ‘sunshine’

Purists may disapprove of the primrose and I probably wouldn’t plant it in the garden. But again I love to have a few brightly coloured primroses in the winter greenhouse. This  blue and white striped one is called ‘Zebra Blue’ and it was developed in Belgium from Primula ‘Tie Dye’. It is similar to one I grew a few years ago called ‘Denim’.

Primula vulgaris ‘Zebra Blue’

I love blue and yellow together. I married them with a little variegated ivy.

They are all sitting in a large Villeroy and Boch ‘Botanica’ bowl.

The greatest pleasure in the winter garden is the delicious fragrance of early flowering shrubs. As it is dismal outside today, I have brought a few sprigs of my favourite fragrant plants indoors.

In a tiny pot I have Winter Sweet, Chimonanthus praecox, a witch hazel; Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Vesna’, named after the Russian Goddess of Spring. Also  the winter flowering honeysuckle;  Lonicera standishii ‘Winter Beauty’, Sarcococca hookeriana  var. humilis with its strangely haunting perfume, and my absolute favourite Daphne bhloua ‘Jaqueline Postill’  which stops visitors in their tracks.

Chimonanthus praecox

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Vesna’

Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis

Daphne bholua ‘Jaqueline Postill’

A sprig of rosemary and a little sweetly scented snowdrop completes the vase. Such a tiny pot but the fragrance fills the room.

Thanks to Cathy at ramblinginthegarden for hosting the meme. Do go and see what she and her enthusiastic followers are putting in their vases today. My money is on the witch hazels; Cathy is the Hamamelis Queen and what pleasure a collection like hers gives at this time of the year.

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32 Responses to In a Vase on Monday. Potted Pleasures and the Scents of Winter.

  1. Beautiful arrangements both. Amazing to think such a small pot can pack such a fragrant punch!

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Linda. The scents all compete but the over- riding one is the delicious fruitiness of the daphne. I wish it wasn’t so expensive because I would like it all round the garden.

  2. That is a great idea with potted plants. They would probably last longer. Not much blooming here after the freeze and more cold weather is the way this week.

  3. Lovely set of winter pleasures. Thank you for the individual photos, I didn’t know all the fragrant plants. I have Portmerion Botanic Garden china. Love the Villeroy and Boch.

  4. Cathy says:

    Silly me, to think that You of the All Manner of Interesting Plants would be showing us hyacinths and narcissi! It was the early reference to pots that threw me…. grovelling apologies! I am increasingly liking the idea of potted treasures for the winter so again this thought is being stored up towards a mid term future project. What a pretty primrose that is, but you are probably right about not putting it in the garden – the plain dark blue one I have never looks quite right despite is very appealing blueness. Your little pot os treasures is gorgeous – I haven’t run out of wayward low branches on my witch hazels yet so I am sure they will be appearing again soon. Strawberries and Cream is just beginning to unfurl its shreds, but I am waiting till I can see the blooms from the house before I consider it ‘in flower’

    • Chloris says:

      I expect you have little iris in the garden but it is a great to have a few pots of pretties to enjoy in the greenhouse. It is a good idea to have your witch hazels where you can see them from the house. My winter garden is down the garden and out of sight. It seemed a good idea at the time to have something to make a journey down the garden worthwhile in winter. But if you have flu then you really need to enjoy your pretty things from the window in winter, not at the bottom of the garden which seems as far away as the top of Everest. I am thinking of making the front garden more interesting in winter and spring. A big rethink needed as it is a summer cottage garden at the moment.

      • Cathy says:

        You can’t see out garden from upstairs at all, so the views from the kitchen and back sitting room are important to me – and in winter even more so as most of the colour is here. I can see the snowdrop border too, especially since I raised it.. Fortunately I have never succumbed to flu – and I hope you are avoiding it too. The greenhouse at the bottom of the garden is my ‘go to’ point and always worth a visit, even though it’s mostly seedlings and not pretty pots like yours. I look forward to hearing or more likely seeing your revamped front garden as you will no doubt spring the completed project on us one day 🙂

  5. I love your little scented vase. Yesterday I walked past a Hamamelis and it smelled just like the glass decanted of Witchhazel my mum used to keep on her dressing table, which I used as a cure-all when I was growing up.

  6. Christina says:

    Little pots of treasure is a lovely thought on a very cold day again here. Sadly I don’t think my Iris reticulata will flower this year, they always disappear after a few years for me; the idea of planting them in pots is tempting; do you think they need a period of cold first? I have tried them in the greenhouse before but without great success. Fragrance is winter joy! Your room must smell divine with your little vase of so many different blooms.

    • Chloris says:

      Yes, the little bulbs of Iris reticulata split up into little bubils in the garden. Iris histrioides stays around longer. I start the Iris reticulata outside and bring them into the greenhouse when they have nice plump buds.

  7. tonytomeo says:

    Tie-dye and denim? Denim sounds better. Tie-dye looks rad. It looks artificial in the first picture. That honeysuckle in the last pictures rox too. I have never grown it.

  8. Alison C says:

    Those irises are a delight and I think a little gaudiness is allowed in pots. Your vase of fragrance is superb and looks so pretty and dainty.

  9. Sam says:

    I’m sure that little pot smells absolutely gorgeous! Love your planted up collection, too. The primrose looks like it’s been drawn on in biro. Lovely.

  10. Eliza Waters says:

    Oh, to have a little pot of fragrance right now would be wonderful – I’m envious! Hamamelis has a lovely flower and I love P. ‘Zebra Blue’ – so beautiful!

  11. Kris P says:

    I think putting the pots in a bowl (especially one that pretty) fits the bill as an arrangement for IAVOM. I also love yellow-blue combinations. I used to plant English primrose every year even though they’re generally short-lived plants here (they can’t take the summer heat and dry conditions) but I’ve given them us since the drought took hold; however, I might make an exception for one as interesting as ‘Zebra Blue’.

  12. Cathy says:

    I do like the idea of forcing iris reticulata in pots and when I get my yearned for greenhouse one day I will definitely have to try that! This yellow one has a great name too! The Primula is striking and your vase full of scented treasures is very enviable. 🙂

  13. pbmgarden says:

    Love seeing your iris reticulata and the showy primrose together. Both are so cheerful and optimistic. I’ve not had luck growing primrose so no experience to understand why the blue wouldn’t work in the garden. Have a happy gardening week.

  14. Brian Skeys says:

    Oh, for scented vision!

  15. smallsunnygarden says:

    I must not be a purist as I find your primrose quite beautiful! To me there is all the difference in the world of flowers between the splotched and the striped. 😉 And you and Cathy have me hungry for more garden fragrance now…!

  16. bittster says:

    Nice. The chimonanthus is downright exotic but looks perfect among all the other treasures. I’m all for potted plants. There’s no amount of outdoor searching here which would yield a similar bouquet, so for another month at least we’ll be looking at houseplants. Could be worse of course!

  17. Anna says:

    Oh if only scent could be conveyed by the ether what bliss that would be. An exquisite little gathering of winter scented gems Chloris. I wondered who/what ‘Vesna’ might be so thank you for that little snippet of information.

  18. I am also a big fan of Iris reticulata, any colour, I haven’t met one I didn’t like. I can only imagine the wonderful fragrance of your arrangement, lovely!

  19. The Iris reticulata is very nice, but I love the color of that Primula!

  20. Cecilia says:

    These are so beautiful! I can’t get enough scrolling through your pictures! Thank you and greetings.

  21. snowbird says:

    That zebra blue is such a heavenly colour! I love your vase too, how lovely that it packs such a punch. I struggle to pick flowers, especially at this time of the year when they are in such short supply. I bought two Daphne bholua ‘Jaqueline Postill’s’ after you mentioning them in previous posts, one is looking somewhat wilted with the cold weather here, I do hope they grow, I am looking forward to that scent! xxx

  22. I love how your arrangements always seem to go so well with the container. Well done.

  23. Peter Herpst says:

    Delightful arrangements as always!

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