In a Vase on Monday – For a few hours only


Cathy at Rambling In The Garden has been inspiring people to fill a vase each Monday for the last four years and, to celebrate this milestone, the 4th anniversary mission was for particpants to use a ‘container’ not usually associated with displaying flowers. I am so looking forward to seeing all the wacky ideas that others have had for today’s IAVOM!


Most years when I clear away the old flowering stems of cephalaria gigantea I save sections of the wider stems to make new tubes for the bug hotel, because they are conveniently sturdy, hollow and narrow. When I cut them to length I’ve noticed that there is an internal membrane sealing the tube at each leaf axil (like bamboo) and so if you cut the stem just below a set of leaves you essentially get a test tube. The length of this tube obviously depends on where the next set of leaves are, but is typically ~30cm. Clumped together the stems look interesting, a bit like basalt columns (she says dreamily): lots of individual cells for the flowers to be poked into. So that is what I decided to use today.

Great plan, until I tried pouring water in the top of the tubes and saw it dribble steadily out of the bottom, through the porous membrane and lenticels in the stem at the leaf axil.  Undeterred, I considered using only dried materials, but where is the fun in that when there are still a few flowers around outside.

Hence, my arrangement is very temporary, probably here for a few hours only, or I might pop it in a large glass of water after the photos. Enjoy!



Cobaea scandens, Tagetes Golden Gem, Cotoneaster, Golden Feverfew, Fuchsia magellanica, Miscanthus sinensis, Pennisetum thunbergii, Nigella damascena

and cephalaria gigantea stems, raffia and twine



Don’t forget to link across to Cathy’s to see the rest of the ideas.


About Frogend_dweller

Living in the damp middle of nowhere
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21 Responses to In a Vase on Monday – For a few hours only

  1. This is so clever…using plant material for a vase….I have stems like these and will have to look at this for the future….such inspiration and I love the flowers and foliage you chose.

    • Thanks Donna. The stems turned out to be quite useful even inside another vase to support the placements of the flowers. There is still a reasonable amount of colour here in the commonest, shorter garden flowers, so I am making the most of them until a proper freeze finishes the lot!

  2. Chloris says:

    Now that is thinking out of the box. How observant of you to notice that these stems are hollow and to think of a use for them. What could be better than containers made of plants? And the whole thing looks very arty.

  3. Cathy says:

    What a lovely creation! The idea of using those stems was ingenious, even if they did leak, and I will have to make an effort to be more observant when I cut down my Cephalaria stems next year! A Nigella flower is fabulous in November, as are all the other flowers and I love the Cotoneaster as an autumny touch. 🙂

    • Thanks Cathy. It was a fun thing to try and the stems worked well to fix the positions of the flowers once placed inside a tall vase full of water too. We’ve been lucky with very mild frosts so far. No more dahlias, cosmos etc. but the shorter flowers are still doing OK.

  4. Alison C says:

    Ingenious. That’s a clever way to arrange things of different heights and shapes. I’m impressed by all the colour.

  5. Kris P says:

    Clever! I thought you had used bamboo at first. The mix of flowers and dried materials makes a splendid autumn display.

  6. Cathy says:

    Oh look at the colours in that second last picture – they don’t say November at all! And what a great idea this is (as is using the stems for a bug hotel) – if mine grows back next year I will have to remember that tip. You have put the stems to such good use for the challenge, so thank you for rising to it in such an inventive way

    • We’ve had a few frosts now, but we’ve not got to zero degrees yet, so the comeback kids (like the nigella) from the mild autumn are mostly still OK. Thanks for suggesting the challenge and encouraging us all Cathy!

  7. Eliza Waters says:

    Truly inspired choice! Too bad about the leakage, but it was worth a try, right? I’m envious you still have so many flowers left in your garden – mine are long gone, alas. I love the color of the cotoneaster leaves, what species is that?

    • Yes, the leaks were v. disappointing. I could have done a bit of sealing I suppose, but I liked the natural element of the container. The cotoneaster is a bird-seeded present (I have them pop up all over the garden), so I am afraid that I have no idea.

  8. Sam says:

    Fabulous! Very clever use of plant material. And all so pretty and not November-ish at all.

  9. This glorious display puts me in mind of colourful music coming from the pipes of a church organ.

  10. Christina says:

    Love the idea of this. It would work too inside a vase to support the stems in an interesting way.

  11. pbmgarden says:

    Creative solution for a container. Adds great form and texture. Your mix of materials makes a lovely display.

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