In a Vase on Monday. May Posies.

What did T. S. Eliot say? ‘April is the cruellest month breeding lilacs out of the dead land’. Well this year he has got it wrong. May is being very capricious and cruel. On Saturday, I spent all day ducking and diving to avoid hailstorms and got repeatedly soaked.  Yesterday the weather gods gave up any pretense of being seasonal and it felt like  February. Only colder. Of course this is the May Bank Holiday practical joke, it often happens. So I brought  armfuls of the garden into the house and settled down for a long leisurely lunch with friends.

First of all Spanish bluebells. I am overrun with them. I have given up trying to dig them up. I know they hybridise with our beautiful native bluebells but I hope that I am far enough away from the nearest bluebell wood. In the meantime the best way to stop them seeding is to gather armfuls and bring them inside.

The next vase uses shades of yellow and orange.

I started off with some acid yellow Smyrnium perfoliatum. This plant seeds around once you have it and is lovely for flower arrangements. It is like a cross between euphorbia and cow parsley but in bright acid yellow.

Smyrnium perfoliatum

The epimedium is ‘Amber Queen’ which is the biggest flowered and showiest epimedium I have. The flowers last for ages.

Epimedium ‘Amber Queen’

There is a little sprig of pale yellow Epimedium sulphureum. It is very dainty and doesn’t have the long spurs of ‘Amber Queen’.

Epimedium sulphureum

I used two narcissus, the first is the neat little Jonquilla Narcissus ‘Sundisc’ which is a lovely fragrant heirloom variety.

Narcissus ‘Sundisc’

The second is even more fragrant. It is the white Narcissus ‘Petrel’ The gleaming white doesn’t quite go with the other colours but it is staying  in because it is so pretty and smells lovely.

Narcissus ‘Petrel’

Tellima grandiflora is also handy for flower arrangements. I have never planted it but it seeds about with great enthusiasm and it is very useful for shady areas. It has rosettes of hairy scalloped leaves and greenish flowers. You can see the little bell shaped flowers on either side of the next photo.


The cowslip is one I grew from seed called Primula veris ‘Sunset Shades’. It comes in various shades from deep yellow to orange to red. I finished it off with a sprig of lovely Rosa ‘Helen Knight’ which I featured in my Six on Saturday.

For the table I did a small arrangement because my chef doesn’t like it if I distract from the food with big arrangements which get in the way of the food and the conversation.


Fortuitously the pink bluebell, the Geranium macrorrhizum ‘Ingwerson’ and the little epimedium all match each other and the vase.

I have never planted this geranium and it spreads with great enthusiasm but I quite like it for its early appearance. The epimedium is called ‘Pink Elf’ and it peeps out demurely from amongst the leaves rather than shouting ‘Here, look at me!’ in the imperious way of ‘Amber Queen.’

A bit of blue looks quite nice with these colours so I used a primula and a couple of sprays of lovey Omphalodes cappadocica ‘Starry Eyes’. I love its little blue and white Forgetmenot type flowers.

Just for fun this year I grew some double daisies I think they were called Bellis perennis ‘Pomponette, you can see them in the centre.  I am curious to see how long lasting they are in a vase. I might grow more next year.

The mauve flowers are from  a dark purple leaved honesty called Lunaria annua ‘Chedglow’. It is a lovely plant, unfortunately storm ‘Hannah’ blew her over and I have not got round to propping her up.

Lunaria annua ‘Chedglow’

The next photo has nothing to do with my vase but while we are talking about Honesty, I think the very best is Lunaria annua var. Albiflora ‘Alba variegata’. The plants get as big as a shrub and are very showy.

Lunaria annua var. Albiflora ‘Alba Variegata’

My table posy was finished off with a little rose. It is a bit mishsapen but it is the perfect colour.

Thank you Cathy for encouraging me to pick flowers to cheer up a chilly Bank Holiday Monday. If you pop over to Rambling in the Garden you can see what Cathy and other vase fillers have been doing. Now I had better put on a pinny and pretend to be helpful in the kitchen, although as usual The Pianist has everything well under control and I am quite superfluous.

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30 Responses to In a Vase on Monday. May Posies.

  1. Christina says:

    I bought seed of Smyrnium perfoliatum but it didn’t germinate, what a shame as yours looks lovely and I’m always looking for lime foliage for vases. It’s not any better weather here than it is with you! Tonight the temperature is supposed to drop to 2 degrees oh my poor tomatoes etc.

  2. AlisonC says:

    So much to look at but my eye was caught by the Smyrnium. I think I need that next year! Is it sappy like Euphorbia? I think we have to accept the Spanish bluebells. I dug some up last year, so I thought, but they are back. They go very deep and I obviously don’t. Loving all the vases and the variegated Honesty.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Alison. No the smyrnium is not sappy, I don’t like picking euphorbia because of the sap. I will send you some seeds when they are ripe if you like. I think they need to be sown fresh.

      • AlisonC says:

        I’d really appreciate that, thank you. Very happy to swap seeds too. I like Euphorbia but don’t like using it in something I’m giving away in case someone has a reaction to it.

  3. Kris P says:

    Hail in May! At least you were able to take advantage of the plentiful flowers in your garden to adorn your house for your enjoyment and that of your guests. I was surprised to see that you still have Narcissus in bloom but I guess I shouldn’t have been as obviously your climate is very different from mine. (Hail.) I love the Epimediums and really am tempted to test my climate’s limits by planting some here. I admire the Lunaria too but the 3 plants I tried died within a month of planting.

    • Chloris says:

      These are late jonquilla narcissi which extend the season and smell so sweet. I made a mistake with the little pink epimediim, its name is ‘Pink Elf’ not ‘Little Elf’ I have changed it. A pity you can’t grow lunaria you can get some lovely varieties. But I would swap it any day for your fabulous leptospermum.

  4. Cathy says:

    Oh what abundance, Chloris! I enjoyed reading about the various contents and would love to have seen your table decoration in the flesh as it is so very pretty. I hope it met with the Pianist’s approval and that conversation flowed at the dinner table without impediment. I grew Pomponette last year but the results were all single; I have grown a single variety this year and think it will be a regular feature of my seed sowing. In fact, I was admiring the blooms today and planning a future vase, so watch out

    • Chloris says:

      I never thought of growing daisies before but I was reading a Margery Fish book and she spoke about them so affectionately. Unfortunately the varieties she grew seem to have disappeared. They are so cute, I am looking forward to seeing yours in a vase, I shall be interested to hear how long lasting they are.

  5. Frog says:

    Haha, I was gardening under the hail too, not even trying to duck ! My husband was quite worried ! That smyrnium is really beautiful and if I could find some space… I have been admiring the white variegated lunaria in a local park and am very glad to know its name thanks to you ! Your arrangements are always special, thank you for sharing them.

  6. A glorious time of year, even when Mother Nature gives us a few chilly days here and there! You picked some amazing blooms for your vases. Many of your blooms are blooming here, too. Happy IVOM. 🙂

    • Chloris says:

      And today we have pouring rain but we do need it, I am looking forward to some warm May days, the flowers at this time of the year are so beautiful.

  7. May indeed is being most cruel so far 😞 What a glorious gathering of vases Chloris. Your dinner party guests must have enjoyed both the colour and the scent as well as no doubt the meal cooked by your able chef. I kicked myself for not sowing lunaria last spring but seedlings have appeared. I’m not sure though whether they will flower this year. Will be interesting to see what transpires. I hope that storm ‘Hannah’ didn’t cause any serious damage in your garden.

  8. I have never seen the Smryrnium before. I think I will be on the look out, what a gorgeous colour.

  9. snowbird says:

    Oh yes, that bank holiday weather was monstrous! Thanks for the tip re the Spanish thugs, they are pretty but impossible to get rid off. I shall gather mine tomorrow, Such lovely vases, how wonderful that the chef cooks for the ladies….hummmm when can I join the group of ladies that lunch??? Love his opinions re the vase! Go Pianist!!!xxx

    • Chloris says:

      Well, there were men at our lunch too but I’m sure he would cook for a ladies lunch if I asked him. He bakes cakes for my book club.You can come for lunch any time, in fact isn’t it about time you paid a visit to Suffolk?

  10. What a wonderful haul, despite the weather.It may be warm here, but we have none of those beauties.

  11. Some beautiful arrangements. I like ‘Sundisc’ quite a lot.

  12. Beth says:

    Chloris, lovely that you have so many beautiful flowers for your arrangements already — the primulas and double daisies are such rich colors. Thanks for sharing your floral bounty! -Beth

  13. tonytomeo says:

    Wow, you certainly have a lot of variety.
    English daisy is a common lawn weed here, but the bigger garden varieties do not do so well. I have never seen them look like yours. Those are huge!
    I really should collect and toss more lunaria seed. Ours are all the same color. As much as I like white, I actually prefer the common purplish sort with green foliage. I suppose I should try the white (but would need to purchase seed). White is a good color in the redwood forests.

    • Chloris says:

      I like these big daisies for a vase. The variegated white lunaria grows into a more substantial plant than the purple one. I love it, it brightens up the border.

      • tonytomeo says:

        Just today at work, I noticed that there is more lunaria growing wild than I thought there was. I was concerned that there would be less than there was last year. I still want to collect some of the seed to toss in other spots. It is something of a tradition here.

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