In a Vase on Monday – Paper Thin

The birch trunk is peeling, casting scroll-like bark sheets to the ground. So I’ve helped it a bit. I had the idea that rolling up the pieces of bark, as one might to make tissue flowers, would result in an interesting addition to today’s arrangement.


But I encountered an unanticipated problem. The bark is more springy than I expected, making it harder to roll, control and get to stay put. I’ve ended up tucking the ends in where I can. However, some strips are determined to unwind. Hopefully the birch sheets add texture and tie in with the bleached colours of the dried briza maxima and nectaroscordum siculum.


I love the way that the lenticel pattern on the bark echoes the markings on the crab apples (still going strong from a few weeks back) and that the inside is a deeper parchment colour.


There don’t seem to be many iris foetidissima seed pods about this year, but they look so lush inside that papery husk that I couldn’t resist adding one to the jug. The privet berries were shiny black a week ago, but are now drying out. I like the contrast that they make with the iris seeds.


There are no flowers left in the garden to speak of, but I’ve added a few specks of colour in the form of a protected cornflower from the vegetable patch, a tiny rudbeckia from the greenhouse and a few small erigeron daisies. Green foliage is provided by some twigs of lemon cypress and euphorbia oblongata. Their toned-down lime tints work well with the bark.


See that bark is unrolling as you look!!

I am adding my jug to Cathy’s (Rambling in the Garden) exceptionally popular In-a-Vase-on-Monday array. There are many imaginative and beautiful arrangements linked to her blog, so it is definitely worth taking some time to check out today’s vases and wreaths.

Have a good day.


About Frogend_dweller

Living in the damp middle of nowhere
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25 Responses to In a Vase on Monday – Paper Thin

  1. karen says:

    That’s so beautiful. I love all the inventive arrangements today. Sadly my garden was frozen solid so I couldn’t pick any stems even. All the water in my jam jars was frozen in the potting shed. Tomorrow looks like a thaw, so will have to do a late vase on a Tuesday instead. Thanks for sharing. I live seeing what you are making.

    • Thank you Karen. Luckily we’ve not been too cold yet, although there was ice in the watering cans in the greenhouse on Monday morning. Temps were above zero by mid-morning though and there was even sunshine for a bit. I quite like that we are forced to get inventive with materials though.

  2. karen says:

    So sorry- i meant “love”. 🙂

  3. Chloris says:

    What a great idea to incorporate birch peelings in your arrangement. Lovely. I do peel my birch trees although it reminds me of being a naughty little girl popping Fuchsia buds when nobody was looking. But who can resist? And the fresh clean bark underneath looks so beautiful.
    I love your seedheads and fruit and berries. Iris foeditissima is fantastic for winter arrangements.

    • Exactly, no-one can resist! The bark is so pristine and perfect underneath. I am sure that there is potential for doing more with the peelings, I just haven’t figure out what yet. I. foetidissima is so underwhelming in flower, but certainly makes up for it with such dramatic seeds.

  4. What a clever use of the bark! I admire your dexterity in using it, even if it did start to unroll. You found color in all corners of the garden it seems.

    • Thanks. Well I did consider stapling them below the water line, but that felt like cheating. (I should have tied them with grass or something.) However, in the end I liked the reveal of the inside so I wasn’t too upset.

  5. So creative , love the Iris seeds, don’t think I have ever seen any. A friend of mine would do watercolors on birch peelings.

  6. Cathy says:

    What intriguing elements you have used today – using the bark is inspired, and I am wondering whether you could have discreetly pinned the end down, or use a scrap of double sided tape to hold it? You have certainly made me wonder whether I could manage some peelings from mine but I suspect they would only be scrappy bits. Love the iris seedheads too, again something I have never thought of – the berries are beautiful,as are your crab apples and you will be pleased to know that I have 94 crab apples less than last week as I have made a very small jar of crab apple jelly. Thnaks for the prompt!!

    • I did consider stapling the bottom ends, but decided that seeing the inside of the scrolls was more interesting. I am glad that you got to make some jelly. It will be wonderful on the christmas table. Hope that the reamining apples on the tree don’t look too sparse (I am amused that you counted them!!)

  7. Cathy says:

    Wow! Lots of colour and unusual elements in this vase today. The bark is so pretty, and the fruit and berries go so well with it.

    • Thanks Cathy. It was the black privet berries that made me think of the bark, since I was mulling a black and white theme. Then, in the last week, the birds have stripped our holly and have started on the crab apples and so I thought it best to use the berries while they are still around.

  8. Eliza Waters says:

    I love how creative you are, Allison! Perhaps the birch bark would stay with a twist of fine-gauge wire? I might play with the idea myself. Love all the berries – ours are rapidly disappearing into the bellies of birds! 🙂

    • Part of the problem was that the sheets weren’t square/rectangular. (The one that particularly unrolls has a big tear ~half way along one side). The bark also curls very strongly against the grain, so getting the tops to spiral open prettily was harder than I imagined (bit like one of those pop-up tents!). …. but they have so much potential. So, I might try ironing or flattening the bark before I try again. If you have success I’d be most pleased to hear.
      Same here with the berries … the holly hedge was stripped in 5 days. Good job I cut a few branches when it started!

  9. pbmgarden says:

    Allison, your vase is filled with interesting materials of all sorts. Love that you incorporated the birch bark. What a compelling texture it has (and a mind of its own apparently too). The crab apples are nice too. -susie

  10. Very creative to use the birch bark. I love the mix of berries.

  11. inesephoto says:

    Beautiful arrangements. They remind me of my school days and all the autumn festivals we had.

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