In a Vase on Monday. A Haiku about a Kiku.

 When the winter chrysanthemums go

there is nothing to write about

but radishes’.  Matsuo Basho.

When the Pianist and I are on a long car journey we keep ourselves entertained by making up limericks about the places we pass by. But we’ll draw a decent veil over those. If we are feeling a bit more intellectual we make up haikus.  The haiku is a traditional  form of Japanese poetry. It has three lines, the first and the last line have five syllables and the middle line has seven. There are usually two images and the concluding line often juxtaposes them.  The poem above is a translation of a haiku by the Japanese poet Matsuo Basho. Obviously in translation, the lines are the wrong length and it doesn’t really come off as a haiku, but I can’t read Japanese and you probably can’t either, so we have to make do with the translation.

I do try to have blooms in the garden for every month of the year but after several keen frosts, early December can be quite challenging.  But we don’t have to talk about radishes yet, I still have a chrysanthemum looking good in the garden although the rest of them have collapsed. It is the peerless Chrysanthemum ‘Chelsea Physic Garden’. When it first comes out is a bronzey- rust colour but now it has faded a bit and the yellow is more prominent. It is still lovely though.

Chrysanthemum ‘Chelsea Physic Garden’

As we have a Japanese theme today I am using a Mason’s Ironstone jug in the Imari pattern.

And I am using some Japanese  netsukes as props. Netsukes  are elaborately carved toggles which were made for the traditional Japanese dress. They have holes underneath them which was for a cord to go through. These are probably fakes, signed antique ones cost a fortune.

With the chrysanthemum I have used some  yellow sprays of Mahonia x media ‘Winter Sun’ which has a delicate fragrance.

Mahonia x media ‘Winter Sun’

I used Winter Jasmine, Jasminum nudiflorum with starry yellow flowers which  blooms for weeks in winter on bare branches. If it wasn’t so ubiquitous we would all go mad for it.

I used some buds of Skimmia x  confusa ‘Kew Green’. The seedheads are Bupleurum fruticosum.


And then there are some fluffy miscanthus seedheads too. The green leaves are from a bamboo which seemed suitable for a Japanese theme.

I have used dogwood twigs in red, yellow and orange and the bright foliage is  yellow Choisya x ternata ‘Sundance’ and Trachelospermum jasminioides which always goes red in winter’.

Trachelospermum jasminiodes leaves.

The orange berries are the wild Iris foetidissima which crops up all over my garden. It is very useful for winter arrangements.

The chrysanthemum  or ‘Kiku’ in Japanese is the symbol of longevity and rejuvenation which is a comforting thought as the year is coming to an end and we have decay all round us in the garden.

To see other December vases pop over to the ever resourceful Cathy at Rambling in the Garden. A few frosty nights don’t deter her and her enthusiastic followers.

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31 Responses to In a Vase on Monday. A Haiku about a Kiku.

  1. bcparkison says:

    Really pretty to have this much color at this time of year. Not much color in my garden.

  2. Your vase is gorgeous, but I’m thinking about radishes.

  3. Love this one. Especially the Iris berries. I am amazed your Chyrsanthemum has lasted through all ot that and like to color differential. The haiku may be translated but it is spot on.

  4. Cathy says:

    Limericks and haikus for long car journeys sound a great idea – have you tried Tom Swifties? What a colourful vase you have managed to ouf together and the Mason’s Ironstone jug was an inspired choice if receptacle

  5. So colourful when my garden is monochrome and soggy. I love the Japanese theme you have used

  6. Heyjude says:

    Such a lovely vase full of wonder. I also like the Japanese theme 🙂

  7. Eliza Waters says:

    So nice to see you still have flowers to share, Liz. My garden is under 18″ of fresh snow!

  8. Kris P says:

    The haiku is fun, even if it doesn’t meet all stylistic requirements. I’m impressed by the range of flowers in your garden after several frosts. I love the chrysanthemum. Frost is virtually a foreign concept to me, having not encountered one in at least 2 decades.

  9. Annette says:

    This may be true for Matsuo but not for you as your garden is a year-round treasure trove. 😀 Love your colourful autumn vase and particularly the chrysanthemum.

  10. Love the Japanese theme, I have bought my OH an imari bowl for Christmas. The chrysanth is a wonderful colour, very warm, just when we need it!

  11. You’re fortunate to have things blooming year-round; we can’t do that here. Thanks for sharing, and your arrangement is gorgeous!

  12. snowbird says:

    Well of course you and the Pianist come up with limericks and haiku’s on long car journeys! Sadly, hubs and I usually argue as we’re often lost and I’m the map-reader, although these days I direct re an app on my mobile which he ignores! I’m astonished you can’t read Japanese, I thought that would be another feather in your cap!!! I just loved this arrangement and the jug… is kneeling!xxx

  13. Cathy says:

    Love the way you have put all these Japanese elements together Chloris. The result is beautiful. 🙂

  14. snowbird says:

    Well of course you and the Pianist come up with limericks and haiku’s on long car journeys! How envious am I, hubs and I usually argue re being lost as I map-read, or these days, direct by by mobile app which he ignores!!! I am astonished you don’t read Japanese…I really thought you’d be able too. Gorgeous vase and

  15. I love that Haiku! I certainly know the feeling – the garden is asleep and nothing to write about. And that’s a wonderful arrangement you’ve made, especially the orange Iris berries.

  16. That chrysanthemum is a star Chloris and you have chosen the perfect companions to accompany it.

  17. tonytomeo says:

    It takes a bit of effort to identify all those components. I would not have noticed the star jasmine.

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