In a Vase on Monday: Scented Sweet Peas

assorted sweet peas

Sweet Peas in Assorted Glass Jars

I’m joiningThe Cathys” once again for their weekly feature, In a Vase on Monday.

My swoon-worthy sweet pea jungle has returned. It’s colorful and wonderfully scented. Sweet peas seem to remind every one of their grandmother’s garden. They evoke a wonderful nostalgia.

This year I’m seeing more variegated colors including lavender with white and pink with white. That’s new and fun.

sweet peas front garden

Sweet Pea Jungle

I save glass jars throughout the year, and sometimes supplement with a few jars from a local craft store. I found some this year on clearance for fifty cents.  I cut flowers for my Pilates classmates, a group who loves to chat about gardening, and for my neighbors and friends. Last week I cut some flowers for a woman walking her dog and she said I made her day. I got to pet the puppy and she went home with some sweet peas. It doesn’t get better than that this time of year.

assorted sweet peas in glass jars

Sweet Peas Arranged by Color on my Potting Bench

sweet peas and nigella

Sweet Peas with Some Nigella Sprigs

We’ve had a mild May so the flowers have lasted longer than usual as well. Sunday was the start of our first heat wave with temps in the mid-eighties or (30C). I’ve really enjoyed the cooler temps.

sweet peas near Little Free Library

Sweet Peas Growing Near the Little Free Library * Mouse the Cat on the Path

Click on over to see some of the other beautiful vases featured on In A Vase on Monday.

Anna at GreenTapestry

Christina at Creating My Own Garden of the Hesperides

and more.

Thank you Cathy at Words and Herbs and Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for your ongoing inspiration.

I think I’ll celebrate my WordPress anniversary with some freshly cut sweet peas.

WordPress 7th anniversary

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In a Vase on Monday: A Tiny Treasure from my Travels

This week, it’s all about the vase. I don’t generally buy travel souvenirs but how could I resist this charming little vessel?

Puerto Vallarta cat vase

This vase from Puerto Vallarta is pretty on all sides (That’s Tessa our cat walking away in the background)

I spotted the vase on our final day in Puerto Vallarta. It’s small, perhaps the size of a tall shot glass. Once wrapped in protective paper and I stashed it in my purse for the trip home.

Scale is everything with a vase this small. I scouted my limited winter choices and decided on three white camellia camellia japonica and a few sprigs of my beloved fern.

Camellia Japonica

Camellia Japonica

Camellia Japonica bud

Camellia Japonica bud

The petals were already dropping, so I don’t think the arrangement will last the week, unless this pretty bud opens up. I love that faded pink on the tips.

Vase on window sill

Kitty vase on my home office window sill

cat vase with camellia and fern

An outdoor shot where the light is always best

cat with cat vase

Tessa the curious

As it turns out, several bloggers join the In a Vase on Monday featureIt was nice connecting some of you last week.

Thank you Cathy at Words and Herbs and Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for your ongoing inspiration.

In a Vase on Monday: Cutting Flowers in the Rain

It’s raining.

Or as I like to say, It’s *RAINING*! 

San Jose had the second driest December on record, dating back 124 years. 

I love the rain under any conditions, but today’s January storm feels downright celebratory after such a dry start to our winter. What better day to go out in the garden to clip some blooms while soaking up the negative ions that make us feel good.

I’m joining Cathy and Cathy today for a regular feature they call In a Vase on Monday. Cathy, at Rambling in the Garden and Cathy at Words and Herbs faithfully post a vase of flowers from their garden year round. It’s not always easy, especially when you garden in Bavaria, but these two are an impressive pair.

My vase features something old and something new, pretty fringe and a cat, too.

A year ago I received a bottle of blush wine in this charming, cat-shaped bottle. It sat untouched for a year as I’m not really a fan of pink wine.

Wine bottle turned vase

Wine lovers, please look away now.

I poured the pink wine down the sink, rinsed the bottle, and voila, a pretty glass vase.

Okay, you can look now.

The something old comes from my cherished green asparagus fern. In 1988 I bought a pair of ferns for 79 cents and kept them on my nightstand in my one-bedroom apartment for two years. I moved and the plants moved with me. By the time we bought this house 21 years ago, my sprawling fern could no longer be contained. It’s now growing happily along the back fence.

If that plant could talk, eh?

Cuttings from my asparagus fern

Something new is the fresh-fallen rain drops. Isn’t it amazing how everything looks lush after a decent rain?

Cat vase in the rain

The pretty pink fringe you see comes from a few branches of my Loropetalum chinense or Chinese fringe plant.

Pink and green leaves and small fringe-like blooms

It’s a nice complement to last year’s hydrangea blooms, currently faded to shades of cranberry and pink.

Last season’s hydrangea, faded to cranberry and pink

The cat speaks for itself. =^, , ^=

The cat vase on our dining table (the runner is hand-felted by my friend Randi)

I hope you have a terrific week. If you need me, I’ll be outside enjoying the rain.

In a Vase on Monday: Sunflowers Last Call

My sunflowers are going fast.  Staying true to their DNA, sunflowers grow from seed to seed in about 90 days. I planted mine in mid-May so I’m on borrowed time.

The shortest of the sunflowers bloomed the longest, making them the perfect flower for today’s In a Vase on Monday. Cathy at Rambling in the Garden features flowers and a prop in a vase each Monday year round. Impressive! She encourages others to participate as well. Come join Words and Herbs and Creating my own Garden in the Hesperides, and others. It’s fun.

sunflowers in a vase on monday

Sunflowers in a vase on Monday

Easy Arranger

Check out my new gadget. It’s called an Easy Arranger™. It’s a wire form in the shape of a flower, made in China, assembled in the United States, sold in Canada and now holding up sunflowers harvested in San Jose. My easy arranger should consider applying for a frequent flyer card. I bought two of them in the beautiful gift shop at Butchart Gardens on holiday last month. The malleable form molds over the top of your vase lending support to cut flowers. Pretty nifty, eh?

easy arranger collage

Easy arranger in action

Saving Seeds

I’ve been gathering seeds from each of the seed heads so I’ll have plenty to plant next year. I’m going to package a few and give them away at Christmas as well. I wish I could share with my readers around the world, but shipping seeds outside of the US is a no-no.

As an aside, so is shipping millipedes, but apparently a crate marked ‘toys’ arrived in San Francisco this week with foot-long millipedes illegally shipped from Germany. No thanks!

sunflower seeds and seed heads

Assorted sunflower seeds and seed heads

squirrel eating sunflowers

Making quick work of delicious sunflower seeds

The Long View

The photo below is the long view, taken from my back door looking out on the space where we read. Although close shots are generally more interesting, I find that I’m often curious about the scenery just out of view.

garden long view

My Garden: The Long View Dear Reader, I wish you were here! This is the view outside my back door. You take two steps down and you land on this patio. Just beyond is our browning grass, born from necessity in our continued drought. The white flowering plant is an Anemone. They’re usually more prolific, but again, the drought. The lovely window painting is at eye level when you’re seated, painted by the talented Whitney Pintello. I wish you could come join me for a cold drink, a hot tea and a chat. Cheers, Alys

Does this interest you, too?

I’m trying to mix it up a little at Gardening Nirvana, hoping to add some zest to the mix. Does the idea of the long view interest you or are you shrugging your shoulders and wondering “what is she thinking?”

Please leave me a comment, below, or take the quick poll.

In a Vase on Monday: Shifting Focus

Today’s flower arrangement for In a Vase on Monday came together beautifully…in my head.  My plan was to arrange Hydrangea in my artsy glass vase. The Hydrangea are fading, turning from pink to pale green to a creamy white. Their blooms are magnificent, even when dried. Yes, I thought, they’d be perfect.

fading hydrangeas

Pink and fading hydrangeas

I just couldn’t get it to work. The glass vase is long and quite narrow so a bit of a challenge. It’s beautiful though, so I really wanted to use it. After several attempts, I knew my mojo was off. Time to reach for my standby: a pitcher/vase from my friends Doug and Laura.

Since the stems were originally cut on the shorter side to accommodate the glass vase I had to improvise. I put a small, square jar on its side in the bottom of the pitcher, then added a second jar on top. Now I had the height needed,and could use less water to fill the jar.

hydrangeas in a vase with book

In a Vase on Monday and The Sweet Life

A few sprigs of fern added volume and softened the edges. At last it all came together. The vase is on the deck, resting on my tie-dyed tablecloth, a project from a couple of summers ago.

Hydrangeas and Asparagus Plumosus

Hydrangea and Asparagus Plumosus

I added a ‘prop’ as Cathy often does, a special volume of quotes and charming illustrations called The Sweet Life: Reflections on Home and Garden by Laura Stoddart. This charming book makes me smile whenever I open it.  Thank you, Nichole.

pink hydrangeas

Here’s the quote from a randomly opened page:

GWENDOLEN  Quite a well-kept garden this is, Miss Cardew.

CECILY So glad you like it, Miss Fairfax.

GWENDOLEN I had no idea there were any flowers in the country.

CECILY Oh, flowers are as common here, Miss Fairfax, as people are in London.

Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900) The Importance of Being Earnest

I constructed costumes for The Importance of Being Earnest many years ago, so lots of Serendipity here.

Special thanks to the Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for creating In a Blog on Monday. Thanks as well to Cathy at Words and Herbs for introducing me to the idea.

In a Vase on Monday creativity from around the world:

If I missed your vase, please post your link in the comments below.

In a Vase on Monday: Following Garden Sunshine

Cathy at Rambling in the Garden arranges flowers in a vase year round. How’s that for inspiration? Several bloggers join in the creative process, posting their own flowers in a vase on Monday, than linking back to her blog.

Cathy’s first post reads:

I know I have set myself a difficult task, finding something for a vase every week, and particularly starting in mid-November, but in truth the fact that it IS a challenge will make me more determined to achieve it! Posting a picture of my pickings will also make it easier because I will expect it of myself every Monday – so if anybody would like to join me by placing things ‘In a Vase on Monday’ and posting a picture then please feel free to add a link here so we can all share in the pleasure such vases can bring. Today’s vase has some of everyone’s favourite Persicaria ‘Red Dragon’, Vitis vinifera ‘Purpurea’ and Sedum spectabile ‘Autumn Joy’.

Inspired!  If you want to join in the fun, simply post your own flower arrangement on a Monday and link back to Rambling in the Garden.

Garden Sunshine

For all my love of miniature gardening, it never occurred to me to arrange flowers in a tiny teapot. I have several.

This morning Diane at Garden Sunshine changed all that with her delightful post: tiny pink flowers in a miniature, silver teapot. You can see her gorgeous flower arrangement here.

I dusted off one of my cloisonné teapots and put together a tiny arrangement using Bachelor Buttons, Love-in-the Mist seed pods, flowering spider plants and a couple of annuals going to seed.

 

in a vase on monday july 7

Three loves: cats, flowers and teapots

tiny bouquet

Tiny Teapot: A different perspective

Please join us next Monday

And remember…

A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows. – Doug Larson

…and a vase is simply a vessel for holding flowers.

Artfully arranged Dandelions in a jelly jar qualify for In A Vase on Monday.

In a Vase on Monday

Cathy at Rambling in the Garden  posts a photo of a vase of flowers each Monday.  She includes flowers from her garden, a prop of some sort, and a variety of vessels.  Fun, right?

I think it’s a lovely tradition. I  found her blog via another Cathy at Words and Herbs.  If you love flowers and the art of arranging, these blogs are a treat.

Gathering flowers in to posies or bouquets is a time-honored tradition. Nothing brightens a home like fresh flowers.  The first year I grew cosmos, I had elegant blooms for months.  I enjoyed arranging them in a variety of ways, finding it creative and relaxing.

Today’s flowers in a vase includes Daffodils and Mexican Bush Sage with a few fronds of fern.   Starting with four empty Tamarind jars, I arranged them in a square.  I held the jars together with a piece of lace, a gift from my dear friend and fellow blogger, Boomdee.  A strip of washi tape over the lace added texture.

Here is the result.

flowers in a vase on monday

Flowers in a vase on Monday

Daffodils

Daffodils

Mexican Bush Sage

Mexican Bush Sage (soft as velvet)

tamarind jars

Tamarind jars gathered together with lace and washi tape

You’re welcome to join in, with a link back to the original blogger.

Cathy Lyon-Green writes: “I had not intended to write a blog, but was talking to a friend about how, now I had more time, I wanted amongst other things to keep a better record of the garden and nurture its spiritual aspects, as well as writing poetry more often. She suggested I do it online as a blog, and Rambling in the Garden was born.”

Cathy of Words and Herbs writes: “I’m an English trainer originally from the UK, but now living (and gardening!) in Bavaria. Two of my greatest passions are plants and books, which is what I write about here. I also love cooking delicious vegetarian food, a feature here too, and like to live in tune with the seasons.”

I hope you’ll join in one Monday, too.