Sunflowers for my Mum – In a Vase on Monday

Sunflowers seem quite appropriate for one of the hottest July’s on record. Temperatures reached 40C here on Tuesday. The garden burned to a crisp with virtually everything in flower turning brown. So I haven’t anything from my own garden to share today. These flowers were created by Jonathan Moseley during a demonstration at Belvoir Castle Flower and Garden Show last weekend. Jonathan is a celebrity florist, writer and broadcaster and ambassador for British flowers. He’s well-known for his appearance as expert floral judge on the BBC’s Big Allotment Challenge programme. After watching his demo at Belvoir, I had to buy this gorgeous arrangement for my Mum. Here’s some photos of what the arrangement contained.

The stand-out element of this arrangement is the gorgeous sunflowers grown in the UK by a company which also specialises in growing plants for bird food. There are 11 stems in this arrangement.

Jonathan uses this galvanised metal bucket with a liner to contain the water. Some chicken wire is scrunched up and placed in the bottom of the bucket. Jonathan says he mostly uses eco-friendly techniques rather than flower foam. Many of his other arrangements were created using mini milk bottles, urns and glass jars.

He added nine stems of lemon scented conifer. These are 55cm long. And five stems of viburnum from his own garden. I’ve taken some cuttings of the conifer as it’s such a vibrant bright lime green and has a lovely fresh scent. Virtually anything will root in this heat, given plenty of misting to keep the foliage hydrated.

Next he added three varieties of eryngium. This is a new variety, not available to home-growers yet, but sold via florists. It’s a beautiful multi-headed type and I’ll be looking out for it when it becomes available in garden centres. I think the variety is called Orion.

Eryngiums or ornamental thistles like these can be dried and used for winter decorations and on flower wreaths for doors and tables. Great value plants. Jonathan mentioned a variety called Big Blue. These are a magnet for bees and butterflies and flower for a very long time.

Eryngiums start out a lovely silver grey colour and turn blue as flowers open. I love the combination of grey, blue and yellow. They look such cheerful colours, don’t you think?

Next into the mix is this blue limonium, or statice, which is another flower which can be dried and is very easy to grow as an annual at home. This variety is called Misty Blue. Mr Fothergill’s have seeds in mixed colours which I’ve grown in the past and had success with.

Here’s the link for seeds:

I love these tiny button chrysanthemums in such a pretty butter lemon. These are extremely easy to grow at home. I grow a white form called Stallion. Cuttings came from an online source

Mum is thrilled with her gorgeous arrangement- even more delighted because it was made by Jonathan who we both think a lot of. We like his eco-friendly techniques and his determination to support local independent floristry growers and suppliers. No air miles go into his creations. Quite often the flowers are sourced near his home – or in fact home grown. In another arrangement, he used branches of Ballerina roses which looked like bouquets in themselves without any other flowers needed. He uses special foliage stripper tools to remove leaves and thorns on roses. Much better than getting them in your hands and fingers.

Jonathan recommended herbs to add to arrangements. A marjoram called Hopleys has buds which are almost black. These open to sprays of scented lilac flowers.

Some alliums he mentioned as being the longest flowering are these:

Also for seed heads, he recommends Jerusalem Sage or Phlomis

Thank you for reading my blog. I hope you’ve enjoyed viewing these beautiful flowers and have got some ideas for future floristry projects. Do look out for Jonathan Moseley’s talks. He appears at all the major shows, and also hosts special floristry workshops near his home at Christmas time.

How has your garden fared in this heat? Mine looks stricken at the moment, but I’ve cut back all the perennial flowers by half and with some watering, they should flower again next month. I’ve sowed foxgloves, sweet williams and wallflowers for next year. They germinated virtually overnight in the heat and I’m busy pricking them out into seeds trays. I keep looking around the garden and feeling rather sad and dismayed at the damage, but there’s always next year to look forward to. That’s the beauty of gardening. There’s always next year to focus on. And it will be bigger, better and more flower-filled than this year, I’m certain.

I wrote about my sunflowers here:

And here:

Info about the Belvoir show here:

With thanks to Cathy for hosting In a Vase on Monday meme which I’ve been enjoying for five years.

19 thoughts on “Sunflowers for my Mum – In a Vase on Monday

  1. Really good to read this, Karen , and see how Jonathan constructed this wonderful bouquet. I used to enjoy the Bog Allotment Challenge because of the variety of skills it covered and it’s such a shame it only ran for a couple of seasons. Do you recall if Jonathon stripped the stems of his limonium, something I am never sure whether to do or not.. It’s a great annual, reliable and easy to grow too, and I wouldn’t be without it. Interesting to read that you have cut back all your perennials – including ones flowering? Let’s hope that everything will return next year – perhaps they will like having a longer rest over autumn/winter? Hope you and your Mum are keeping well

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Cathy, thanks for your kind comments. Yes, Jonathan uses a special tool for stripping the stems. He uses it for removing foliage and also thorns on roses. I must get one, as my hands won’t cope with rose thorns any more . I used to just rub my hands down the stems to remove foliage, but I use a pair of scissors or an old tea towel now. The plants I’ve cut back were in flower before last Tuesday, but the heat and the hot wind that came with it fried them to a crisp. We are at the top of a hill, and it’s always windswept here, but last week it was like an oven door had been opened. So I’ve cut all perennials back by half, like a very late Chelsea chop, watered them, and hopefully they will come back into flower in a few weeks. Some of the mature beech trees are dying back. It’s so sad to see mature trees losing their leaves in July. Thanks for reading the blog and hosting my favourite meme #IAVOM. I’ve been reading posts, but not taking part for a while. Will e mail a reply. Karen x


      • I do have a rose thorn stripper, but didn;’t find it very helpful – and I tried it on the statice for this week’s vase with no success either, but I suspect I might nt be using it properly…😉 I am pleased to hear you have still been able to read blogs, and hope that your are coping OK with the things in your life at present

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  2. We haven’t had the heat that you have, though I did experience it abroad this year. A constant misting would have done me a lot of good!

    I managed to allow my Amaryllis to cook to a crisp on my window sill on the warmest day we had. I must add though, it was indoors. Fortunately, I had taken some photos of the plant before it’s untimely demise.

    I was pleased to see the Eryngium. I have had them growing in my garden for about 4 years now. This year I have managed to stop them being swamped by my other structural perennials. The first year, a neighbour thought he was doing me a favour by spraying weed killer on them. Fortunately, they revived the following one.

    The bouquet arrangement is a very happy one. Who wouldn’t love it for a gift.


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    • Thank you. Oh dear, your poor plants! Thank goodness your eryngium survived. Tougher than they look. Thanks for your kind words and for reading the blog. Mum loved the flowers and it brought cheer during a testing time all round! All the best. Enjoy the weekend. Karen x

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  3. Great blog as always! You asked how our own gardens are going? I’m in Aberdeen so while it has been lovely weather, it isn’t the raw heat that the South has had. Because of that, even despite the lack of rain, the garden is going well and I can’t complain!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Shaun. That’s great news. So pleased to hear at your garden is doing well. Mine is starting to recover now, although some of the mature trees have lost 50 percent of their leaves. I’m sure they will bounce back. Thanks for reading the blog and for your kind comments. Have a great day. Karen.


  4. Oh, sunflowers are so Okie; but are also the State Flower of Kansas! I remember that Okies in the Santa Clara Valley would grow at least one of the big types near their front door or outside the kitchen window, so that they could consult with it about the weather.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a beautiful as well as inspiring post! Thanks! l always love to see arrangements with sunflowers, a favorite summer flower for that purpose! Sorry about what the heat did to your garden! We’re having similar record heat here as well. May get a day of relief tomorrow, then apparently back at it again. 🌞🌻

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Mary. What the heat didn’t damage is now being blasted by gale force winds. It honestly looks a bit like autumn here with tree leaves all over the lawn. I expect it will all turn green again with some new leaves as soon as it rains. Hope you get your day of relief. What a challenging time we are all going through. Thanks again for reading and for your kind comments which are much appreciated. Karen


  6. A lovely bouquet! Hot and dry and very windy here. Not a good combination! Last year was a wet summer, but usually my garden just dries up at this time of year anyway. Like you say, there’s always next year!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Cathy. It’s very windy here now as well. On Tuesday we had 40C and high winds, now more manageable temperatures in low 20s. But that wind! It’s blowing all the dried leaves all across the garden. It honestly looks like autumn. I’m just going to focus on next year and write off this growing season to be honest. Thanks as ever for reading the blog and getting in touch. Hope your family are well. Xx

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