Monday, July 13, 2009

What’s in your vase?

How does what you plant in your garden compare to what you put in a vase? Do you even like cut flowers or other plant material in your home? I used to think the two went hand-in-hand but I’m beginning to realize this is not the case. Just because you are a passionate gardener doesn’t mean you like houseplants or have a vase collection that rivals a florist. In quantity I mean, god knows most florists use despicable containers. When we moved in-together my husband “gently” suggested that I might consider getting rid of a few vases, why did I need so many? Well, obviously…every flower/branch/twig/leaf/frond/seed-pod needs just the right container!

I have a metal vase on my desk at work, sometimes there is nothing in it and sometimes I go crazy and load it full of Camellias from my garden. Currently it’s filled with thistles that I cut in the park behind the office. I believe they are regarded as invasive weeds so I was actually doing the city a favor by trimming them up, this is not stealing!
At home, in the kitchen, we’ve got a Crocosmia stem that Lila stepped on and broke. I didn’t have the heart to just through it away. This is actually how a lot of things end up in the house. A bent flower stalk in the garden gets trimmed and put in a vase. In late winter when I prune the Hydrangea branches I love to bring them in and fill a tall container. In just a few days the leaf nodes burst open and we enjoy a bit of spring in the dead of winter.

I also have been known to splurge on a tropical blossom or two. There are “fancy pants” grocery stores right by both my work and home; you know the type where you can spend $20 on a salmon fillet that would cost you $8 at Safeway? Of course they have fabulous floral departments and the prices are actually quite reasonable. This Heliconia stem is brightening up our bathroom (which we have not yet painted! That wall color is NOT of my choosing).
And also from the fancy pants grocery store, I believe this is a Ti Top? I got it a couple of weeks ago and it’s developing roots and pushing out a new leaf, I might have to plant it and see what happens. The Bamboo Orchid foliage from my Valentines Day bouquet is still looking good; it has been in the vase for 5 months, the flowers (Anthurium) are long gone. So back to my question, I think my choices are pretty comparable, although I do permit a wider range of flowers in the vase than I do in the garden. Maybe because their lives are shorter so I know I won’t have time to be irritated by their perkiness, I can just enjoy it. What about you? How does what you plant in your garden compare to what you put in a vase?


  1. Thank you for showing us your beautiful house! I love the way you group the arrangements. The orange clock is to die for. In answer to your question, whatever is in my garden goes in a vase. It does not have to be alive. Unusual things, like rose canes without flowers are good conversation starters.

  2. When I downtown, there was a florist in the building, and I had a habit of wandering down there weekly. I loved when they had horsetails, or bunches of grasses, which coworker always teased were "just sticks." At home, I almost never cut anything, it never occurs to me. I suppose I should change that. I am trying to shed some of these extra vases. Where do they all come from? I don't often buy cut flowers anymore unless I'm hosting dinner or something, but I can rarely pass up a huge monsteria leaf if I come across one.

  3. I'm with Red Studio: those orange items look great together. I like what I see of your vase collection: I never seem to have the right size or shape for what I want to put in it.

    I don't cut a lot of flowers for the house, but right now we have a big vase of crocosmia, achillea and rubeckia from the garden. The achillea stinks, but it looks so nice, I'm putting up with it! I've been known to put foliage in a vase if I like it.

    Oh, and we have a wildcat oncidium blooming (for the third time!) It's a gorgeous, wierd yellow-brown-orange stripe.

  4. I like the camellia arrangement ;-D... goes very well with the metal vase. Btw, your house is so neat and good choice of colour scheme. Thanks for showing how to use our plants in our garden to beautify our home. Happy Tuesday!

  5. Nice table scaping !

    Umm, let's see... I have a pair of dead limp papyrus stems on either side of my Buddha altar. Guess I really have adapted to the Buddhist concept of impermanence.

    On the kitchen counter is a pink orchid. It is finally shedding its beautiful blooms after almost 3 months of blooming.

    Nothing in my office, except botanical prints. . I suppose that doesn't count.
    Bedroom Nada.
    Bathroom, had some passion flowers floating in water but they have sunken to the bottom of the vase. There's that impermanence thing again.

    loved taking a peek inside your home !

  6. Red Studio, oh I love that...rose canes w/o flowers! Very nice! The orange clock is a Crate and Barrel find from a few years back, I love that clock, it's been glued back together a few times.

    Megan...I love those monstera leaves too! I worked smaller ones into my bridal bouquets. Yes...cut more, you won't regret it! Or just take advantage of things that fall or break on their own.

    Jane, I am definitely a vase addict. Can you take a picture of your wildcat oncidium? Oh maybe you'll be show-casing it for bloomday tomorrow?

    Stephanie, actually what is in the metal vase now are thistles. Here in Portland the Camellia are done blooming for the season.

    DD, I like the floating passion flowers idea, now if I just get a few more blooms I'll try it! LOVE papyrus in a vase, alive or dried it always looks great. Oh and your right...the botanical prints don't count...just like plastic flowers don't count!

  7. What a lovely question, Loree! My happiest bouquets are composed in the dead of winter. They are usually tiny, slipped into glass vials (like the antique one I found buried in my garden last year) or shot glasses. I snip off flowering abutilon, fuchsia, Cape fuchsias, roses and any other late, stray flowers - add a bit of parsley, or variegated evergreens like corokia or lonicera - so cheerful! By late Jan, I start finding Sarcococca, winter honeysuckle and camellias, winter hazel or witch hazel, mahonia... I love the winter bouquets best of all, not only because the scent is so heady at that time of year but because they remind me that winter is nearly over.

  8. Kate, wow! I am inspired and will be thinking of you and snipping away in the winter months!


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