In a Vase on Monday – 9th September 2019

I’m trying to find alternatives to floral foam. Today, I’ve used raffia to attach a coffee jar to my willow heart. A small posy of flowers nestles in the centre of the heart. I’ll be able to change the water each day, and flowers should last at least a week.

We are all having to re-think ways of working. For years I’ve used floral foam blocks for door wreaths and table decorations. But recently it’s become apparent that foam is not recyclable. I’m concerned about inhaling dust from the foam, and also what happens when particles of foam are flushed down drains and end up in water courses. So I’m using jam jars and glass test tubes instead, and hiding the mechanics with moss and fabric.

There’s still plenty of flowers on the cut flower patch. I’m growing blue and white gladioli from Gee Tee Bulbs, planted in June for a late summer display. Gladioli bloom in 90 days, so they are a good reliable flower for special occasions such as weddings. You know you are going to get flowers in time. I’ve planted mine in between sweet peas in the middle of the hazel A frame, which gives them support. And also in the middle of late-planted dwarf beans, a combination I discovered by accident last summer, and I’ve repeated it this year. It’s a successful way of saving space. The beans use the gladioli stems for support.

Gladioli can be cut into sections with each flower having a small stem. These individual flowers are good for tiny jam jars. They also make pretty corsages. It makes tall flower stems go further.

There’s a pretty deep red dahlia flower each side of the posy. I’ve grown this long-flowering dahlia, Nuit d’Ete, for 20 years. It’s a cactus type with huge flowers that last at least two weeks in an arrangement. I’ve noticed that waterlily and cactus types keep opening up with many petals packed in the centre. Single dahlias, good for pollinators, are not so long lasting as cut flowers.

Tucked in around the dahlias are cosmos flowers. This year I’ve been delighted with the seashells cosmos, and also a very pretty ‘all sorts” mix.

Double cerise cosmos flowers have a striking pale pink centre. Cosmos last a week in water. Pollinators love them too. Bees, hoverflies and butterflies were enjoying these today. They followed the flowers across the garden and continued working them after I’d created my heart arrangement.

Cosmos flowers I’m growing this year are pale pink, cerise, and white, and I’m trying some pink and white striped types too.

I’ve propped the heart up on the potting shed window to add finishing touches. There’s some amaranthus tucked in at the base of the posy. My flower heart ended up over the summerhouse door. Hopefully we’ll have some late summer sunshine to enjoy the flowers, and, fingers crossed, we’ll have a few more weeks of nice weather to sit outdoors.

Thanks for reading. Enjoy your week. Hope it’s sunny where you are too.

Links : Cathy IAVOM.

Geetee bulbs :



Cosmos candy stripe :


Flower wreaths and eco flower arranging courses : Common Farm Flowers

25 thoughts on “In a Vase on Monday – 9th September 2019

  1. Karen was cleaning in the mail and seeing your blog that is very old I have read it and I loved it. It is lovely and divine your heart of willow branches with the vase of flowers. I love gladioli and their color and the way you have them. The dahlia is divine. I really like the cosmos all. Amaranth the precious. I really like that you don’t use florist foam and instead use the bottle with water and the raffia to tie it to the heart. So the flowers will last long with fresh water and you can decorate the bottle with raffia and it is beautiful. I have a very large canned jar that I have lined with natural rope and then I have put a natural raffia ribbon: it is very rustic and beautiful. I love your Karen arrangement and I love that it is in your divine Summer House. My comments arrive more than a month late. If you read them, forgive the delay. Love and health for your whole family and for you. Take care. Affectionate greetings from Margarita xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Margarita. I often read blogs a week or two late, as I’m so pressed for time. I wait for a rainy day, and all the joy of gardening cheers me up immensely. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. It doesn’t matter how long ago I wrote it. If it makes you happy on the day, that is all that matters. Affectionate greetings in return. Love karen ( Meg and Grace send cuddles too) xxx


      • Karen has made me very happy and also your answer. Thank you. Tell Grace and Meg that thank you very much for your hugs, they have reached my heart. Love and Health for All. Take care The best for all. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita xxx

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you Margarita. Meg and I are just back from a walk across the fields. We saw five roe deer, outlined against the dark green hedge. They let us get quite close, before taking off across the field, kicking up mud and splashing in puddles. Meg is in training not to chase any animals. I was so proud of her as she stayed by my side. We are home now, in front of the log burner having hot tea and toast. Enjoy your weekend. Affectionate greetings to all. Love from karen xx


      • Karen what a beautiful walk in the countryside and how good and well educated is Meg. Enjoy tea in the company of Meg by the fireplace and get warm. Happy weekend: enjoy it. Love and Health to All. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita xxx

        Liked by 1 person

    • They are late, aren’t they. I love the pure white ones. They glow at this time of the year when everything is taking on autumnal tints. I’ve got some delicate orange and yellow butterfly gladioli which I’d forgotten I’d planted. They look lovely too. Have a good week. Thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ha! Yellow and orange (common) gladiolus were what I grew where I lived in town. It was not my idea, but the neighbor wanted them because they fit the garden better than white would have. (White is still my favorite where it works though.)

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry for the delay in commenting, Karen. What a pretty combination of blooms and colours and I am intrigued by the way you have cut the stems so short. Your summer house peeping out of all the foliage looks most inviting too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Kathy. I’m trying my best. Just takes a bit of forward planning. Can’t enjoy the flowers if I think I’m trashing the planet at the same time. Thanks for your kind comments.


  3. Apart from flower ‘halos’ and decorations to “ wear in [our] hair, “ is there any record of flower decor and arrangements in earlier times? If so, apart from twining and twisting, how else might it have been achieved ? Natural moss comes to mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the idea of using beans and sweet pea frames as a support for gladioli! Genius!

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    • Thank you Sharon. Like most things here, I discovered it by accident. I planted a few gladioli in front of the sweet pea frames and mice carried them into the middle section of the A frame. And there they grew quite happily and flowered when the sweet peas were over. Thanks again for reading the blog xx


  5. The combination of a heart and gladioli is so romantic! I adore gladioli but hardly ever think to grow them myself. They are often for sale here in mini flower fields at roadsides, but I seem to have missed them this summer. It is misty here this morning, but we hope to get some sunshine later – very autumnal though. Have a sunny week Karen!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Cathy. I hadn’t grown them for years and then needed some for a wedding for the corsages and hair decorations. Broken down into small sections they make brilliant mini-flower arrangements. The bride had specified pale blue and the gladioli was exactly the right colour. It’s very cold at night here. We’ve put on our winter quilt already. There was a frost on Sunday morning. The back fields were white over. I’m not ready for cold temperatures just yet. The forecast looks good for the rest of the week, which is lucky as I’m emptying and cleaning the greenhouse! Love karen xx


      • Ooh, that is early for a frost isn’t it? My basil and tomatoes don’t like the cooler nights here so I think I will harvest what’s left today. Have fun clenaing the greenhouse! 😉 xx

        Liked by 1 person

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