In a Vase on Monday 

Our mild and sunny autumn has been a bonus for gardeners this year. Flowers usually past their best by the end of September have carried on into November. Here I am continuing my tradition of running around the garden once a week and picking whatever is in flower for my Mother-in-law, Joan. It’s a flavour of my garden that I am after – now my in laws are too elderly to visit us and see the garden for themselves. The flowers are loosely tied with string- and not arranged- as Joan takes great delight in making her own floral creations and placing them on the all the windowsills in the house.  

In the centre of the bouquet is some Verbena bonariensis grown from seed. It’s flowered virtually all summer and been a magnet for bees. Seeds for cut flowers come from Higgledy Garden.

There’s some spikes of  Persicaria Orange Field and deep red Persicaria Firetail. These flower July to October and are long-lasting in a vase. The spikes give a contrast to the daisy- like flowers of chrysanthemum Mei-Kyo.

 Chrysanthemum Mei-Kyo is one of the last to flower in my garden. It’s totally hardy here and doesn’t need staking. Flowers last for at least two weeks in a vase. 

My chrysanthemums grow at the base of the sweet pea canes on my cut flower bed. They do best in full sun, but these are growing on the north side of the hazel rod trellis. They grow to about 60cm high with a 50cm spread. Good quality plants come from Woottens plant nursery. I’ve been looking at their on-line catalogue for new additions to my plot and I rather fancy a chrysanthemum called Aunt Millicent- just for the name itself!  It’s a very pretty pale pink flower with a greeny yellow centre. More like a daisy than a chrysanthemum.

Bright pink alstroemerias are growing in large 40cm plant pots in my poly tunnel. These provide flowers nearly all year round. Flower stems are pulled rather than cut, and this encourages them to produce new flower stems. Tall stemmed varieties suitable for cutting are sold by Viv Marsh Postal Plants. I’m hoping to add a white variety called Blushing Bride to my collection next spring. The poly tunnel, bought second hand for £20, needs a good clean. Another winter job. It’s much harder to keep the polythene skin clear of algae than for a greenhouse. But it gives me a 20ft space to work during wet weather- and provides winter protection for a mini orchard  of peach trees.

Cathy at Rambling in the Garden started this meme three years ago, and it shows how gardeners from  all over  the world grow cut flowers and use them to decorate their homes.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour around my garden and the flowers grown for Joan. 

41 thoughts on “In a Vase on Monday 

    • Thank you Mike. If you look at the photo of the chrysanths this, you can see the stems of the the white cosmos growing through them. Cosmos grows so light and high up, it doesn’t seem to bother the chrysanthemums at all. So two plants in the space of one. So to speak.


  1. I love that you take the flowers to your MIL; My MIL sees my garden only through the blog now as she, too, is too old to travel. It was she who first introduced me to flower arranging and has inspired me with gifts of books. You have a lot of flowers still. thanks for the links to the suppliers especially for the Alstoemerias.

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    • It’s lovely that your MIL can see your garden via the blog. New technology is keeping us all better connected. My MIL is amazing, she can make just a few twigs and three stems of flowers look like a whole bouquet. It’s a skill for sure. She did the chapel flowers for 65 years. I watched each week as she took flowers from her own garden to make the chapel look beautiful. I’ve learned such a lot from her. Even little things, like saving and re-using every resource. The string I use to tie up the flowers is returned to me each week in a neat little bow to re use. And the foil I use to keep the stems fresh is flattened and folded.
      I’m glad you find the links useful. I dithered over whether to use them. But it seems a good idea to share info on companies that have given great service and good plants.

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      • I’ve been using the dwarf Princess series as ground cover here. I’ve been really happy with all the plants supplied by Viv Marsh. They are large 1.5lt pots, not plugs or bare rooted,and flower in the first season of planting. They are really well packaged, and the staff are ever patient with all my enquiries. I’m keen to support family nurseries like this one.

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  2. What a bountiful collection of blooms for Joan to disassemble! I too am pleased to see the links as I think I could live with an obliging crysanthemum like Mei Kyo so have put the link on an electonic post-it note on my laptop. And I am amazed at the thought of alstroemerias almost all year round – I have some in pots from Hayloft plugs which were waiting to go outside but perhaps I could keep them in the greenhouse all year, not having the option of a polytunnel like you have. I assume it is 20 feet long, as opposed to 20sq ft?!! What are the purple thongs that look like bracts? I can’t quite make them out. Thanks for joining in this week

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    • They would be fine in the greenhouse. Growing them in large pots protects them from slugs. I’ve found the secret to success is to pull each flower rather than cut it off. It seems to send instructions to the plant to produce more flower shoots. It’s really easy to grow chrysanths from cuttings. Would you like me to post you some?


    • Forgot to say…. yes, 20ft long poly tunnel. It was bought From a plant nursery that was closing down. The purple bracts are bougainvillea. I’ve got a standard shrub with a round head that sits out on the terrace all summer. It’s just gone back in the greenhouse for the winter.


      • The bracts stay colourful until about February. They dry and fade and I spray them silver for Christmas. I trim it back by about 50cm all over in March and it goes outside in May. I wish it was warm enough to be outdoors all year. Blooming perishing -1 here today.

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  3. Such lovely November bounty! Mei-kyo is a beauty. And I so enjoyed reading your descriptions of your MIL! Not sure how I’ve missed your blog all this time, but look forward to following now 😉

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    • thanks so much for your kind comments- and for following! It’s much appreciated. I am rather a quiet,boring, reliable, down to earth kind of person so I’m amazed that anyone is actually reading my blog! Thanks again. You’ve made my day 🙂

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    • We’ve had -3 for the last few nights and the chrysanthemum is still pristine. Sadly every one of the asters shrivelled up over night. So I’m growing more chrysanths next year. They do get a degree of protection from being planted at the base of the hazel twiggy sweet pea trellis. And any sprawly growth can be tied to the canes. Thanks for taking the time to comment again.


  4. You have a lovely blog Karen. I’ve enjoyed scrolling back through past posts. I really like your philosophy too. Your bouquet of flowers is so beautiful and makes me yearn to add chrysanthemums to my plot again. I will look at your links for more inspiration. A 20 foot poly tunnel sounds like a great retreat on a wet day.

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    • thank you for your lovely comments. I really appreciate you taking the time to scroll back through the blog and write a comment too. I am enjoying finding like-minded gardeners on here. I must admit, I could mooch all day in that poly tunnel. It’s really useful for planting up containers- especially on a rainy day. I’ve got a radio and a kettle out there. And usually a tin of Mum’s fruit cake. What more could anyone want 🙂


    • Thank you Anna. I’m happy to pass on any little tips on growing- as I seem to learn something new every day. Mostly by accident. Thanks for taking the time to comment. It’s much appreciated.


  5. What a delightful vase, Karen, you surely are a talented lady. Love those chrysanthemums. It’s great to be able to pick all these beauties at this time of year and oh, what a setting with that gorgeous beech tree – wish it was in my garden 🙂

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