In a Vase on Monday – Shaded by honey lilies


I have a large patch of honey lilies (Nectaroscordum siculum) in the front garden that poke determinedly through the assorted ground elder and brambles that I spend my life fighting. They seed around freely and I’ve been very happy to find something that thrives in the dry shady conditions under the large field maple that stands there in the middle of the boundary. I love their muted colours and their gradual transformation from dangling bells to upright candle sticks as the flowers fade, so I thought I would base a Monday vase around their drama.


Initially I wasn’t sure which other flowers to put with them, since a lot of the other plants around the garden seemed too bright and overwhelming. So I’ve largely gone for bruised purples, mauves and white, with most of the frothy, pastel colour coming from aquilegias.


I set up the flowers on the table under the wisteria-covered pergola and with the dull light today the vase seemed to be illuminated in a suitably tinged lavender haze.


I added a few pieces of geranium (G. macrorrhizum and a variant of Geranium x oxonianum ‘Thurstonianum’ I think), white campion and nigella to lift the heavy tones.



Then I cut a handful of dangling copper beech twigs, for dark foliage, from the hedge that is in imminent need of trimming.

Finally, it occur to me that the table on the lawn had the best light and would show the colours up more clearly. So here is the vase once again, revealed a little more brightly I hope!


My thanks to Cathy for hosting her popular In a vase on Monday meme. There are some wonderful bright and beautiful contributions for you to see there today.



About Frogend_dweller

Living in the damp middle of nowhere
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24 Responses to In a Vase on Monday – Shaded by honey lilies

  1. So pretty! Your honey lilies are called honey garlic here and are sometimes sold as Allium bulgaricum. I’m surprised to hear they will grow in shade as I’ve only seen them in sun. Great tip, as I have plenty of dry shade and very little sunlight!

  2. What a magnificent display of honey lilies…..and I love the huge vase….so impressive!

  3. Tina says:

    So beautiful–love those honey lilies!

  4. Cathy says:

    It was almost like the curtain came up when you put the vase on the garden table – suddenly it came into its own. And it really is a lovely vase, full of the freshness of late spring. It’s taken me years to like Nectaroscordum. I had a boss many years ago who used to say the name with great hatred as if it was a swear word (because it spreads!). I think I converted last year and your vase has me putting in an order!

  5. Sam says:

    I had no idea that Nectaroscordum were called honey lily! I absolutely love this plant. I first clapped eyes on it in an open garden about 20 years ago and, although I’ve never grown it myself, it’s on my list of Plants to Grow When We Have Space. Now we do, so I must get some! This is a lovely vase-full, Allison – such an exuberant and beautiful collection of blooms.

    • I saw and loved them in Sarah Raven’s childhood garden some years ago, but it was only when I started paying attention to end of season bulb sales that I bought them for my own. They are easy and very rewarding.

  6. I love those Nectaroscordum! I tried to grow them here in Southern California but they didn’t far any better than the ornamental Alliums I’ve tried. It’s such a pity but I enjoy seeing them in your vase.

  7. Purple haze, all in my brain – in the great words of Jimi Hendrix. A lovely vase and I enjoyed seeing it.

  8. pbmgarden says:

    Your patch of honey lilies is amazing. What a beautiful flower, one I’d never heard of before, and lovely in the vase with the colorful assortment of friends.

  9. Eliza Waters says:

    I loved seeing your patch of honey lilies – they are stunning. As is your vase – what a creation! The dark beech leaves and aquilegia are a nice accent.

  10. Cathy says:

    Yes, I have never heard them called honey lilies either – and I was intrigued to hear you say that yours spread. I have some that have just reappeared but hadn’t been seen for a few years and often didn’t open fully, so shall have to talk to them nicely and remind them that they are quite welcome here! Your blowsy vase is lovely – and reminds me of my own garden as I could almost produce a replica here (my nigella is not quite flowering yet – oh, and no copper beech!). Thanks for sharing

  11. Cathy says:

    I have never heard of that name before – ‘Honey Lilies’. It seems just right for those flowers! All your accompanying flowers are beautiful too and the overall effect really is frothy. Even effervescent!

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