In a Vase on Monday- flowers for my Mum

I’m catching up here. This is in fact last week’s IAVOM. Internet and computer problems defeated me. We are on the old copper wire telephone line, and not the new super duper cable -type. It’s too expensive for BT to extend the cable down our lane, so we are stuck with speeds that are too slow to upload photos or do internet banking. Anyway, the internet may have set me back, but I wasn’t to be defeated by the imminent national lockdown, I just managed to get this posy of flowers to my mum in time. Dahlias have been the stars of the cut flower garden this year. They have flowered non-stop since June. Pictured above is Dahlia Nuit d’Ete. It’s a semi-cactus type with long twisting, curling petals. Such a rich deep red. Flowers last ten days in a vase. The centre keeps opening out and the flowers curve back until they look a little like sea urchins.

Here are the dahlias tucked in amongst the last of the cosmos, salvia, scented white carnations, with grey senecio foliage and plum coloured Physocarpus Diabolo.

The carnation is Dianthus Bridal Star. Highly scented, but requires staking as it has a floppy- growing habit. I grow it in the greenhouse as rain spoils the flowers. Worth growing though for constant flowers from June to November.

Salvia viridis blue, (centre of photo) an annual, sown in March and planted out end of May. I grow these at the base of the sweet pea A-frame which makes good ground cover.

There are also pink and white varieties of this annual salvia. Masses of flowers from a £2 packet of seed. Well worth growing.

A surprise discovery this summer was eucomis flower spikes. These got knocked over by the cat and puppy playing football….. I’m sure the cat thinks it’s a dog, as it joins in with all the ball games, and tries to come for a walk down the lane with us. We usually end up carrying him home. Anyway, Eucomis Sparkling Burgundy, known as the pineapple lily, lasts 4 weeks in a vase. They make wonderful centre pieces. I shall grow some specially for flower arranging next year.

Another surprise came from a row of sweet williams, planted out last month. They have decided to flower in November. I’ve cut the flowers for the house, and I’m hoping they will flower again next spring. They look good, strong plants, grown from seed in June. Perhaps the unusually mild autumn has confused them.

I found one last white dahlia flower, Eveline. This decorative dahlia has beautiful pink-tipped edges to the petals.

As with everything I do now, Monty likes to join in. He’s recovering from a small operation. As you can see, he’s doing really well and gaining weight nicely, after a troublesome start in life. Just look at those whiskers. And those chubby paws. You can tell he’s much loved. Adored in fact. He’s made such a difference and is helping to keep our spirits up during the pandemic.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this whistle-stop tour of my cut flower bouquet-making, even if it is a week late!

How are you all coping with the lockdown? I’m getting the veg plot ready for next year. It will be the first time I’ve managed to get all the jobs done by Christmas. Really, I’m not going anywhere at the moment.

Thanks for reading. Keep in touch.

Links : In A Vase on Monday with Cathy and everyone all around the world. See what everyone is growing and putting into their vases this week:


Salvias, sweet william and cosmos: Mr Fothergills


Physocarpus Diabolo:

Carnation: Six Acre Nursery

30 thoughts on “In a Vase on Monday- flowers for my Mum

    • Yes it’s a beech. It was part of an old outgrown hedge planted here before the house was built and one of only three trees here when we arrived. That Eucomis is still going! I shall grow a lot more. They just keep opening right to the top, then there’s some purple foliage right at the tip. Thanks for reading xx


  1. I hope that those internet problems are soon behind you Karen. Once again lockdown is restricting contact with family and friends 😢 I imagine that your mum would be able to enjoy that lovely vase of flowers for a good few days with both colour and scent to please her. I have wallflowers in flower from a June sowing! November has been mild here too and so much more pleasant than the start of October was. Monty is looking at that vase in a rather mischievous way 😄

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    • Thank you Anna. Sorry I missed your message. Today we have just this minute heard that leicestershire will stay in the lockdown at tier 3 from next week. As Mum, and also the care home are all in tier three, there’s no hope of seeing them any time soon. What a nightmare this all is, for everyone. Take care and keep upbeat. It’s all we can do. I’m currently in the kitchen making lots of jars of jam using frozen fruit grown in the garden. Making chutney and little hearts to parcel you and send. We are still not allowed to send or take flowers to the care home. But we can send presents that can be sprayed or out in to quarantine. I’m determined to make Christmas the best it can be, with all our usual treats- even though we won’t be all together. Xx


  2. Karen I’m very sorry for the problems you have with the internet. I am truly glad that you brought this magnificent bouquet of flowers to your dear Mother. I love Dahlia Nuit d’Ete. I love all the flowers: Scented White Carnation, Salvia viridis blue and pink and white, Eucomis flower spikes, Sweet Williams, Eveline White Dahlia, Cosmos, Gray Senecio and Plum Physocarpus Diabolo. It is a divine vase, wonderful, charming, I love it. I am so glad that Monty is recovering well and quickly from his surgery. He looks very happy helping you place the flowers in the vase and very chubby. Monty has taken Meg as a reference and thinks she is a cat-dog: that’s why she plays with the ball like a dog and goes for a walk with you on the field. It is adorable. It is your happiness and encouragement in these times. I have really enjoyed the elaboration of your magnificent bouquet of flowers and your explanations of each flower. How nice that you are preparing the plot of vegetables for next year so soon !! Thanks to you for writing your wonderful blog. Health, strength, courage, positive thinking, a lot of hope and a lot of love for your whole family, Mr B and for you. Loving caresses to the “three musketeers”. Enjoy your garden and forget about confinement. Hugs and lots of love. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita xxx 😘🙏💛🥰🌼🌼🌼xxx

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    • Thank you Margarita. I’ve even started calling them the three musketeers! Today, they have spent all day until the garden with me. It’s incredibly mild and I’m getting on with jobs that will be unpleasant when I turns cold. I’ve dug up my dahlias and put them in the shed to shelter over winter. Plenty still to do. I just hope the weather holds for a bit longer. Have a good Friday my friend. Take care. Affectionate greetings from us all. Love from karen 🌼✨🥰🌻🌻🌻 xxx

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      • Thanks to you Karen. I’m glad the Three Musketeers were with you in the garden helping you dig up the dahlias and put them in the shed to overwinter. I sincerely hope you have a good weather to do all the work that you have left to do in the garden. Karen happy gardening. Much love to all. Have a good weekend. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita xxx 😘🥰🌼🌼🍀💛🙏🌻

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  3. It’s such a shame that you are unable to take a good internet connection for granted, Karen, as it is a necessity for so many things these days. What a glorious variety of blooms you still have flowering and your Mum will have been delighted with her posy. I have been singing the praises of this salvia too, and grow both pick and blue varieties – this year I tried to find the white as a separate colourway, but without success. Seeing your Sweet William in flower reminds me I should plant out my summer sown ones too, otherwise they will sit there in their trays all winter!! Thanks for sharing today, Karen

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    • Thank you Cathy. I only remembered to plant them when I pulled up the beetroot and made a space. I think either Chiltern seed or plants of distinction sell the separate colours of salvias. I’ll check and let you know. The pack from mr F comes with all three. Have a great week xx


  4. Hi Karen. What a wonderful summery and colourful vase – in November! 😃 I bet your Mum was pleased! We are in a part lockdown too… schools are still open. I am slowly realising I will have to start growing salvias as annuals. There are so many lovely ones and yours are so pretty. The dahlias are beauties too. 😃 Look after yourself Karen! xx

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    • Thank you Cathy. I thought you would be. We are stuck here until first week of December. I was very upset to start with, but have settled into it now, and am ringing mum twice a day….well every time I put the kettle on to be honest. It’s not the same, but has to be done. Take care. Lots of love. Karen xx

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  5. A nice array of colour there Karen. I must pick more from the garden. Quick question …. I’ve bought some hardy annual flower seeds and never got round to sowing in Aug/Sept, hoping for bigger plants next spring. Is it too late now or should I go ahead ( indoors of course). Any experience?

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    • Hello David. Well, I’m still sowing mine. The temperatures have been so mild, everything is germinating. If you’ve got a cold frame, out them in there for the winter. You don’t want them to get too sprawly before planting. It’s the winter wet which does most damage. I would use 50/50 grit or perlite and compost for good drainage, and keep the pots on the dry – side once germinated. A cold greenhouse would also do. Or glass porch. I’ve got an unheated poly tunnel. I’ll throw some fleece over pots in jan/Feb if too cold. You can also start sweet peas now which makes much stockier healthier plants. I’m growing calendula snow princess, love in a mist, poppies, larkspur, Ammi. If you have room, a 10” pot is good, and you don’t need to transplant them. Otherwise, 3” pots and a pinch of seed. Or cell trays if you have them. I use root trainers for the sweet peas. Good luck. Report back.


  6. It’s a beautiful collection of flowers, Karen. I have to remember to try sowing seed of that annual Salvia next year. I love the photo featuring Monty, who looks so much like my Pipig (her name is Swedish for “squeaky”) they could have come from the same litter (except that my Pipig is now 13).

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    • Thank you Kris. Monty is so fluffy he’s needing a daily brushing down, else he comes in covered in twigs, moss and dead leaves! He’s like a walking compost heap. Yes, that salvia is really amazing. For such a little effort, there are flowers all summer to first frosts. I’m sowing a few in modules now for an early crop, but most of my seed sowing will be next spring. What a lovely name- Pipig. Monty is very vocal. He has sounds for ‘I’m hungry’ a squeak for boredom, and deep purring for happiness. Never known a cat so noisy. When he eats he growls and ravishes it. Have a lovely week, and thanks for reading.


    • Thank you Audrey. I’ve never know such a loyal cat! He’s right next to me all day, from when I wake up to when I go to bed. I have to be ever so careful not to trip over him. He’s a lovely mild-natured kitten, thankfully. He’s never bitten or scratched and other cats we’ve had have been quite bad tempered at times. Thanks for reading. Have a good week. Karen xx

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    • Thank you Noelle. The scent is not as strong in autumn as it is in spring. But such a bonus to have it flowering now as well as next year. Hopefully. Thanks for reading. Have a good week. Karen


    • Thank you Anne. What a trouble we’ve had!. It was bad enough before the pandemic, but with everyone working from home, there’s more pressure on the system. Thanks for your kind words. Have a lovely week 🥰💛


      • When we moved six years ago, we were at the end of the data pipeline. It was miserable. In the evening when people got home from work, our internet service crawled. We switched to cable and have been happy with it. It sounds like you don’t have a choice, and that is sad.

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