In a Vase on Monday. Summer Pastels.

We didn’t really need to drive nearly 2000 miles round France to find beautiful beaches this July. Last week we spent a few days enjoying the Suffolk coast. Covehithe has beautiful golden sands and fossils too. Because you approach it down a long track not many people seem to find it.

Covehithe Beach

Blake Morrison, the author and poet loved this isolated beach. He wrote: ‘Sand martins build their nests in the thinning cliffs, and as you walk by they wheel above. Other birds, too, seem to thrive around here – not just the geese flying over in their bomber formations but marsh harriers and meadow pipits. Whenever I’m tempted to list the qualities of Covehithe as a series of negatives – no radios, no jetskis, no parasols, no slot machines and very few people – I remember the birds, the waft of herbs from the cliff and the tide between my toes. It’s a place of melancholy that teaches you what it means to be alive’.

Sand Martins’ holes in the cliffs.

I didn’t find any fossils, just some lovely stones, including one which looks like a chunk of amber. So the colours of the beach pebbles and the wild flowers of the Suffolk coast inspired my vase today;  grasses of course, including fluffy pink Pennisetum villosum and buff coloured, Hordeum jubatum, the washed out colours of  ‘immortelles”, some fennel which grows wild in the sandy lanes round the coast and some sea holly were the basis for it.



Saponaria officinalis or ‘Bouncing-Bet’ grows wild round the Suffolk lanes too. It is very invasive in the garden but I do love the white form. The orange goatsbeard or crepis is also native here. I have grown the pink annual Crepis rubra for the first time this year and I think it is very pretty.

Saponaria officinalis and Crepis rubra

I don’t grow wild thistles in the garden but Centaurea americana is a sort of thistle. Last year I grew a buff- coloured one called ‘Aloha blanca’ which was lovely.

Centaurea americana ‘Aloha Blanca’

|This year I have ‘Aloha Rose’ which is gorgeous too.

I love the little daisy flowers of Helipterum roseum above, and I don’t even object to the non-Latin name, ‘Paper Daisy’ because that it is what it feels like when it is dry. It stays fresh-looking all year round.

Another wild flower which looks good enough to grow in the garden is scabious. This year I have grown a yellow one called Scabiosa atropurpurea ‘Fata Morgana’. Again this is new this year but is going to be a favourite.


August is the time for dahlias and bright colours and I revel in these, but I also love the more restrained palette of my seaside- inspired vase today.


I believe Cathy is in Scotland at the moment but nevertheless she is still hosting her popular meme, ‘In a vase on Monday’ and celebrating it with gorgeous dahlias. Do go and see. And now I have to catch up with everyone and see what my blogging friends have been up to whilst I was away.

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36 Responses to In a Vase on Monday. Summer Pastels.

  1. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    A beautiful jug of flowers. I love the purple frilly flower. I don’t think I have ever seen it before.
    I just read the book REMARKABLE CREATURES by Tracy Chevalier so your collection of beach finds intrigue me. Happy IAVOM.

  2. Beautiful vase…the pastels look so refreshing for summer. We were at the coast last week too. It seemed to rain constantly, but luckily we had a morning or afternoon on the beach each day.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Marian. We have spent quite a bit of time at the coast this year. The light is magical on the Suffolk coast, it is wonderful for walking and cycling.

  3. Christina says:

    You must have been worried about your garden while you were away in France. I love your sandy Suffolk beach; it doesn’t look like the Cappuccino sea there at all. I grew Aloha Blanca this year after seeing yours last year, now I’ll grow the pink version too, it’s lovely!

    • Chloris says:

      The drought was a problem while we were away, I had someone coming to water every third day and it wasn’t enough. Thank goodness, we have had some decent rain now.

  4. Sam says:

    Beautifully subtle, Choris. I love your seaside-inspired blooms, particularly the scabious and crepis.

  5. Peter Herpst says:

    The soft pastels of your arrangement are a refreshing and cooling breeze at this hot time of year so dominated by bright and deeply saturated color. Beautifully done!

  6. Kris P says:

    I love that pale yellow Scabiosa. I tried a Helipterum this year in a pot but the plant didn’t appreciate that dramatic temperature spike we had in early July. Your pastel colors invoke the beach scene beautifully, at least the quiet beach you described in your introduction. Our local beaches are a different experience entirely, places I prefer to visit in the winter season when they’re far less chaotic.

    • Chloris says:

      Yes, the yellow scabious is very pretty, I will grow it again next year. I tried to use flowers that remind me of the wild ones that grow on the Suffolk coast.

  7. Eliza Waters says:

    Oh, this is a gorgeous arrangement, Chloris. Wispy and wild, my favorite style. The scabious, crepsis and centaurea are standouts.

  8. pbmgarden says:

    Such a subtle, sensitive palette, beautiful choice of flowers. Just perfect for a summer display. I like collecting stones more so than shells.

  9. Oh I have happy memories of childhood trips to Suffolk and Norfolk beaches Chloris and I imagine it has been glorious there this summer. Your flowers are cool, soft and shimmering. I can almost hear the sound of lapping water. Pebble collecting is such fun whether you are a child or adult. What a treasure trove 🙂

    • Chloris says:

      We have lovely beaches on the East Anglian coast. We were up in Dunwich this week which is so atmospheric. Ah, a fellow pebble collector! I can never resist pebbles and sea glass..

  10. tonytomeo says:

    That looks so stereotypically French! It looks like ‘European mass design’ that we studied in floral design, which is just like is sounds; flowers simply picked and massed together, rather than formally arranged like they would be in ‘Western line design’, which was popular in the 1980s.

  11. Thank you Chloris, I love covehithe beach, the peace and quiet, the nesting birds, the sand and pebbles. I also love the walk from the church across the fields to get there.
    Now those flowers look delightful, gentle colours and interesting textures, lovely!

  12. your vase looks beautiful with calm and restful flowers and textures – I love the yellow scabiosa I have lilac growing in my garden most years – going in my vase next week I think – I have sweetpeas dianthus and lavender this week. The beach looks lovely and peaceful too – I’ve never been to Suffolk. I collect pebbles and stones from special places too. love Bec x

  13. Noelle says:

    Those beaches are really lovely. You have reminded me of holidays enjoyed along the East Coast, our favourite is Walberswick. Your arrangement is so soft and pretty and what a good range of blooms, many of them new to me, so I shall be looking up and learning more about them. Do the Crepis remain open during the evening in your vase? I love the form of Hawksbit flowers and the yellow form grows wild here so I am very tempted to try this one. I acquired a perennial Crepis Incana and the flowers were delightful.

    • Chloris says:

      Oh yes, Walberswick is very special. We stayed in Dunwich this week and cycled to Walberswick.
      The crepis is new to me this year and is lovely in a vase. Yes, the flowers stay open.

  14. snowbird says:

    Blake Morrison’s words are wonderful, as are those Sand Martin’s holes in the cliffs. How I love your stones and the inspiration behind this beautiful vase.xxx

  15. Great selection of summer daisies. Sounds like you had a lovely time at the beach.

  16. gardenfancyblog says:

    What a lovely vase of wild-ish flowers, reminiscent of your idyllic summer outing, Chloris. Thanks for sharing both of them with us! Best, -Beth

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