In a Vase on Monday- 25th November 2019

Flowers from my garden. For Joan.

Today’s flowers feature my father-on-law’s hardy yellow chrysanthemums. We don’t know the proper name for them, but in our family they are known as ‘Aunty Dorris.’ My father-in-law had been growing them since Aunty Dorris gave him a cutting in the 1950s. He grew them for his wife Joan, who particularly loved the sunny yellow flowers. Now the cuttings have been passed to me, and I’m keeping up the tradition of growing flowers for Joan.

The flowers have a gorgeous lime green centre which sets off the bright yellow petals. They last at least three weeks in a vase, with water refreshed every day.

Variegated ivy with golden flower heads provide foliage for my chrysanthemum posy.

Oak and beech leaves gathered from the garden add some lovely warm burnished tones.

Autumn trees across the horseshoe pond are reflected in the potting shed windows.

There are rows of beech trees all around the garden, remnants of an old hedgerow. Trees stand bare all winter, but juvenile foliage at the base provides copper-coloured leaves through until next May.

Chrysanthemums are often winter hardy, but the flowers are spoiled by rain, so I grow them in many 12″ pots. They stand outdoors on the paving all summer, and are brought in to an unheated poly tunnel around first week of November. After very mild temperatures, we had one night of -2C so I covered the flowers to protect them from the sudden chill. They were uncovered the next day, and night time temperatures have been 8 to 11C since then. The pots will supply a steady flow of flowers until the new year. Plenty for Christmas. And plenty for Joan, who is now living in a care home with Keith. I’m glad to be keeping up our family tradition. I often think of Aunty Dorris and wonder if she realised her cutting would lead to so much joy shared down through the years.

Here’s a photo of Joan on her wedding day, standing on the steps of Cosby Methodist Chapel. Joan did the flowers for the chapel for 65 years and Keith played the organ for weddings and chapel services. This photo, in a home-made metal frame, is a little battered as Keith carried it all around Korea for his army national service.

Thank you for reading. Please share this blog on any social media platform, share with your friends and neighbours and help me spread the word. Hopefully I’ll inspire someone to grow flowers, fruit and vegetables. It’s really simple, if you have a few pointers and little hints and tips along the way. Enjoy your garden.

Links: In a Vase on Monday https://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/category/gardens/in-a-vase-on-monday/

31 thoughts on “In a Vase on Monday- 25th November 2019

  1. I think it is lovely that you are keeping the Chrysanthemums going. Perhaps one of your children has green fingers too, to carry those treasures through another generation! Of course, it is also lovely that you have those flowers to take to Joan.

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    • Thank you. I’ve mentioned it to them and they say they will keep the tradition going. Sadly Joan didn’t know me this week. But she recognised the flowers straight away, and remembered that Keith used to grow them for her. Isn’t memory such a strange thing. I knew the flowers would prompt a memory. I’ve been dreading this moment when she would forget me though. My heart sank, to be honest. I shall keep taking the flowers and hope she always knows there’s a special connection between us. Much love, karen xx

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  2. The ivy is a great accompaniment for those vibrant chrysanths. That is an interesting tip about bringing hardy ones inside to prevent the flowers being damaged by rain, definitely something to consider. As always, it is heartwarming to read about the family connections

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    • Thank you Cathy. I left some of the pots outdoors and harvested those first. But to keep them going until Christmas – and with all the rain we are having- it’s best to bring them under cover. If you didn’t have a poly tunnel, you could put up a shelter. I saw a grower stretching a tarpaulin -type cover over his outdoor -grown chrysanths. They were being kept pristine for a flower show. Some were under umbrellas! That made me laugh.

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  3. Karen those divine yellow chrysanthemums that I love are a very valuable family heritage that now you have to preserve and cultivate. They are for your dear mother-in-law Joan who love her. They have a wonderful story behind until Aunt Dorris. The bouquet of flowers that you carry is divine, I love it with ivy and forest leaves and above all a lot of love. Joan is beautiful in the photo on her wedding day: her dress is beautiful and the bouquet she wears. Your garden is divine and wonderful between winter and autumn. The Politunel is overflowing with divine flowers. It has made me smile the yellow chrysanthemums and has made my history happy. Karen we have the same temperature, but it’s raining here. Karen a lot of love, a lot of health, a lot of strength, a lot of encouragement for your whole family and for you and Mr B. Caresses with love for Grace and Meg. Take care of you all very much. Keep warm. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita xxx

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  4. Karen, you have a truly lovely story and family heirloom there.Thank you for sharing, I find with plants the more one shares ones knowledge and skills, the better we are as people and friends. Cuttings are so easy to take, and taking on virtues of patience, kindness and sharing, can spread connections. Although I grow my hardy geraniums outside and have no greenhouse or tunnel, I shall try growing some in a pot next year, and bringing them out of the rain under the porch to see how long the plants keep on flowering.

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    • Thank you Noelle. Lovely words. You’ve captured exactly what I was trying to say, beautifully. Thank you for reading and for your kind words. They make a world of difference. Xx

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