In a Vase on Monday. The Magic of Mimosa.

In the UK we are all still cringing after the impact of a very frisky  Storm Ciara. When we arrived here there were nine mature birch trees at the bottom of the garden. In 2015 there were seven.

April 2015

Most  years we lose one and after yesterday we are down to just four. It is a good thing I have a man with a chainsaw.  This is a rare sighting of the Pianist in the garden.

It is still windy and uncomfortable outside so a much nicer place to be is in my far greenhouse with the lovely fragrance of mimosa.

But I can’t lurk in the greenhouse all day so I picked some to bring indoors. It doesn’t last long in a vase but for a day or two it fills the room with a delicious fragrance which always reminds me of the mimosa forests of the south of France which is where the seed for this plant came from.

I know that in America mimosa is the name for the pink fluffy balls of Albizzia julibrissen but here we use it for Acacia. This one is Acacia dealbata.

Its common name is also ‘Wattle’ but I think that sounds more like an unsightly appendage to the neck. It is not reliably hardy in the UK so I grow it in a large pot in the unheated greenhouse. It needs a slightly acid compost.

As Acacia dealbata  comes from Australia I have used some Australian Eucalyptus gunni to go with it in the vase.


To match the leaves of the eucalyptus I used some celadon-green tassels of Garrya elliptica which are dancing in the wind right now. If you want extra long silky tassels you should seek out the variety called ‘James Roof’.

Garrya elliptica

It is windy and cold outside but a vase of little golden balls of mimosa brings some February magic into the house and the sweet, warm, powdery scent is intoxicating.

If you pop over to see Cathy at Rambling in the Garden you will see her vase has a Japanese feel with flights of red plovers.

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40 Responses to In a Vase on Monday. The Magic of Mimosa.

  1. Dina says:

    I’m sorry about the loss of your birches. That’s a lovely arrangement with your mimosa!

  2. I was thinking I was going to see pink flowers, but the yellows are really cute. They were showing your storm on the news and it looks really rough.

    • Chloris says:

      Yes the flowers are larger than those of Albizzia and it’s nice to have them blooming in February. The storms were much worse in other parts of the country but still it’s awful listening to it howling and wondering how many trees you will lose.

  3. bcparkison says:

    You too! Yellow mimosa is new to me. Here they are pink and make a mess and while pretty …not a good yard tree. Another blog shared yellow mimosa today so it must be the time.

    • Chloris says:

      I did have an Albizzia once but it got killed by frost because they are not really hardy here but on the plus side they are not invasive either. Yes, it is the time of the year for the lovely golden mimosa, they smell wonderful.

  4. Cathy says:

    You could sing to your grandchildren when you have some – ‘9 white birches, standing in a row..’, etc, etc. Will you add more trees to replace them? At least it gives you more garden space and you can never have too much of that 😉 Your mimosa is stupendous – how big does it grow in a pot? Thanks for sharing it – and the rare view of The Pianist!

    • Chloris says:

      I haven’t got any grandchildren to sing to and soon I will have no tall birches down here, although I do have them elsewhere. I have planted some young replacement ones though. The mimosa is all ready quite big, in fact next year I think it will reach the roof. I shall have to do some pruning to keep it to a reasonable size. Sorry I haven’t sent your snowdrops yet, we were away ‘oop north’ all last week visiting relatives. Have faith, they will arrive eventually.

      • Cathy says:

        I knew there were none yet, but wondered if there might be in future..? I will look into the mimosa and see what it is like at other times of year. And snowdrops?! I know you were going to send me something but didn’t know what…how exciting! I like surprises 🙂 Hope your travelling was trouble free – you missed out on the storms then?

      • Chloris says:

        Yes, we came home before the storm. I promised you some of my early flowering Galanthus nivalis. When the time comes I could send you some mimosa seeds, it is very quick from seed.

      • Cathy says:

        Silly me!! Of course you did, and it was only a day or two ago I was thinking where I would put them – my mind is clearly full of other stuff at the moment!! Mimosa seeds sound a challenge so I am surprised you say they grow quickly – but yes please. Thank you, as always 🙂

  5. Noelle Mace says:

    Those silver birches are shallow rooted, so I guess a loss of such tall trees in this wind although very sad, is not unusual. Your partnering of the grey green eucalyptus works beautifully. My neighbours have mimosa growing very well outdoors but we must be warmer than you. James Roof is waiting in a pot, having only been bought last week, so seeing your picture has given me a good idea what it will look like in years to come.

    • Chloris says:

      Yes, birches are shallow rooted and they are quite short lived. I have planted replacement trees. I have seen mimosa growing outside in sheltered spots but I have never been able to keep one outside. Well done on buying ‘James Roof’, it’s the best.

  6. Kris Peterson says:

    Sorry about the loss of another tree – that’s always disturbing. I admit to feeling a momentary sense of confusion when I see a yellow-flowered “mimosa.” I love the fluffy blooms of your Acacia and wish my own ‘Cousin Itt’ wattles would grace my garden with a few blooms but, despite having at least 7 mature plants, that’s never happened. I planted a Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’ 4 years ago and, while not dead, it hasn’t grown or bloomed. I forget about it until this time of year when it appears in posts from the UK and the PNW but I really should dig it up and see if it responds to alternative placement.

    • Chloris says:

      I had to look up Acacia ‘Cousin Itt’ and what a lovely plant it is, even without blooms the foliage is beautiful. My Garrya elliptica gets burned black after frosty years but it usually recovers. Of course this isn’t a problem for you, I suppose it is the lack of water which it objects to in your garden.

  7. tonytomeo says:

    ‘Mimosa’ is a regional name for the exotic Albizia julibrissin. I actually know it as the silk tree. Acacia dealbata is one of the most aggressively invasive naturalized exotic species here, and contributes to the dangerous combustibility of the lower forests. Weirdly though, I really like the bloom. It grew wild where I went to school, and bloomed very profusely just after New Year’s Day. Garrya elliptica is native here. I will actually be writing about it for the gardening column next week.

    • Chloris says:

      I know Albizzua julibrissin is called mimosa in the States but here in Europe it refers to the Acacia. A good reason to stick to Latin so we are all on the same page.This tree is not native to the south of France and where forests of it have formed the native flora is under threat. People love it though and there are mimosa festivals in February every year. It can’t become a threat here though because our winters are generally too cold for it. Mine has to live in the greenhouse.

      • tonytomeo says:

        Mimosa Festival? Wow! I like the bloom, but I don’t like it ‘that’ much. It is one of those things that some of us who like it do not admit to liking it.

  8. What a shame about your trees. Your vase full is very cheery , I love the silk tassels

  9. Oh dear. so sorry about the birches. I really like the Garrya tassels, and they’re perfect with the Mimosa blooms. Very nice arrangement!

  10. pbmgarden says:

    After your stormy experiences this week the Acacia and friends make a resilient statement in that beautiful vase. Great strong color. I’d love to touch the flowers and smell their bouquet.

  11. I have to go look up plovers? I am acquainted with the Albizia which is a trash tree in the Southeastern US, though yours resemble the Sunshine Mimosa (Mimosa strigillosa) that is a flowering perennial here? They also do not last long in a vase. I am glad The PIanist enjoys chopping up trees – my husband is the same way, the bigger the chainsaw the better..and hopefully the tree falls over before the chopping begins.

    • Chloris says:

      The plover is a bird with several names including lapwing and peewit.
      No, it is a tree. We call it mimosa but it is actually a wattle. The Latin name is Acacia and it comes from Australia.
      My husband doesn’t mind chainsawing but he has developed quite a liking for wood chopping with a maul. I never thought I’d ever see such a thing from a man who believes in the dignity of labour so long as it is not his labour.

      • Laughing about the Pianist, my husband was explaining to me how building demolition can be fun!? I think the Wattle may grow here, there are many Acacias, will look it up.

  12. That’s a shame about your birches. Are you considering planting any new ones? I did not know there were Mimosas in the south of France. It’s a lovely flower, surely. I have never smelled one. I had always assumed this tree was from subtropical East Asia.

    • Chloris says:

      I have planted some small birches and last week I bought a couple more. These mimosas are from Australia and were originally imported for gardens. The garden escapes have now made huge forests which endanger the native flora of the Estoril. But they are pretty.

  13. snowbird says:

    Oh nooooo….your poor trees! Such a shame. We lost one too but it had died the year before. At least you’ll have the wood for the logburner next year. I bet you constantly yell….watch those daffs at the pianist as he works. I do too hubs. Beautiful arrangement. Wish I could smell it!xxx

    • Chloris says:

      We lose so many trees here that we have a plentiful supply. No, I daren’t ask him to be careful of flowers when he is working. It makes him incredibly bad tempered when he is dicing with death with the chainsaw and I yell ‘Watch out for that daffodil’.

  14. Brian Skeys says:

    A cheerful post of Spring colour. It is sad about your trees, they do not look that old to be blowing over.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Brian. I think my trees are weakened by honey fungus which is a scourge all over the garden.

      • Brian Skeys says:

        Oh, I do feel sorry for you. I did read that mulching with mushroom compost could help trees with honey fungus in the early stages, although I have not read anything about it since.

  15. Cathy says:

    Ahh, that February magic has worked and I can almost smell the mimosa blossom. Sad to see another tree has come down. We were lucky this time and only suffered damage to a fence as a huge old pine toppled onto it from the neighbouring woods (blocking our lane and taking our phone line with it!)

    • Chloris says:

      These storms one after another are really worrying to gardeners. And losing telephone wires too. How awful for you. Our fence has gone now too.

  16. Anna says:

    Sorry to read that one of your birch trees didn’t come through last weekend’s storm Chloris. I hope that your garden escapes from any damage from this weekend’s predicted hooley. I trust that your greenhouse is in a sheltered spot for you to be seeking sanctuary in there. The mimosa looks delightfully fuzzy. I would love to be able to smell it.

  17. Chloris says:

    The latest storms just brought down some fence so for now my trees are safe. I have 2 greenhouses and both survived with no damage. The mimosa will probaby outgrow the greenhouse next year and then I don’t know what I will do. It is a gorgeous thing.

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