In a Vase on Monday – Summer blues

I had a plan. I went outside with the intention of collecting a big handful of the heliopsis flowers (‘Summer Nights’) that have been flowering against the greenhouse for weeks, only to discover that they are over now. Recent cold northerly winds have shredded their sunny petals, leaving behind just yellow tatters. August, and indeed summer, is reaching its end. It’s making me a bit sad. So I’ve looked around and gathered flowers of altogether cooler colours instead: purples, soft pinks and whites. I am joining Cathy@ramblinginthegarden for a Bank Holiday Monday vase of flowers.


I’ve used some of my favourite plant of the moment: Althaea cannabina, sometimes called palm-leaf marshmallow or hemp-leaved hollyhock. It’s a wonderful tall perennial, with small, pink hollyhock flowers scattered throughout a thicket of wiry stems. Like verbena bonariensis, in spite of its height, it can be grown at the front of the border as an airy screen.


Pretty soft-pink mallow flowers of Althaea cannabina

The star of the vase though, is Cosmos ‘Purity’. The flowers seem to have grown particularly huge this year. Palm-sized in fact! They are real show-stoppers.


Cosmos ‘Purity’

I’ve also added some regular marshmallow spikes to the vase, again with classic mallow shaped flowers, but with this time of the palest, palest pink.


Marshmallow, Althaea officinalis, with downy, soft grey-green leaves and pink-blush petals

Purple tones are coming from sprigs of purple loosestrife, verbena bonariensis and geranium ‘Bill Wallis’


Purple Loosestrife, Lythrum salicaria

While foliage contrast is provided by some tree spinach (Chenopodium giganteum), North Sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) and some bronze fennel (Foeniculum vulgare ‘Purpureum’).


I am back to using a drinking glass for the vase, I am afraid. I do possess proper vases, honest, but they are never seem to be the right width/weight/height.

To see other beautiful Monday vases check out Cathy’s post and the comment section for links.


About Frogend_dweller

Living in the damp middle of nowhere
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17 Responses to In a Vase on Monday – Summer blues

  1. Eliza Waters says:

    Very pretty, Allison! I love pink and purple together. The white cosmos make the mallows shine, and the sea oats and verbena are lovely accents. Beautiful work!

    • Thank you Eliza. It worked out OK, but for the last few weeks I’ve been playing with a yellow and white combo, including golden rod, in a rough copy of one of your memorable arrangements!

      • Eliza Waters says:

        🙂 I used to not like goldenrod, can you believe it? To me, it represented the end of summer. Now that I know what a powerhouse of a plant it is, supporting a myriad of species, I love it more with each passing year. One can teach an old dog new tricks. 😉

  2. Kris P says:

    It may not be what you’d planned but your arrangement is lovely, Allison! Both the Althaea and the Lythrum are beautiful, although unfortunately neither are plants that grow in my climate. The Cosmos add a nice touch of froth.

    • Thanks Kris. Those white cosmos have bowled me over. (I usually go for pinks.) They do add a touch of froth, yes, but also somehow a formal air too … with those deep, precise-looking pleats in the petals ?

  3. shoreacres says:

    That light touch of yellow is perfect. It’s such a pretty collection of flowers; of course I’m most taken with that huge white bloom! And to be honest, the simplicity of a glass as a vase sometimes suits better than anything else.

    • Thank you Linda. The cosmos plants are ginormously tall and sturdy this year too. I think that they are liking the wet summer. I agree about the glass, but then I sigh over other participants vases 🙂

  4. susurrus says:

    Delightful and charming are the first words that come to mind. I love the mallow. I’ve found mallows growing wild here for the first time in ages during the last few weeks, though unfortunately on land earmarked for development.

  5. Cathy says:

    What a glorious end result, Allison – and it gives the impression of a vase that could be from any point in the summer season, from early to late. I am intrigued by the hemp-leaved hollyhock – have you grown yours from seed. and if so is seed readily available? Does it have a long flowering season?

    • Thank you Cathy. Yes, it’s from seed Chiltern Seeds). It does seed around a bit here and those plants seem to be even better than the original. I can collect some for you if you like? Just let me know

  6. pbmgarden says:

    This is just lovely. I’m interested in your Althaea cannabina. Paired with the white cosmos it creates a satisfying effect.

    • Thank you Susie! I came across Althaea cannabina (in person) at Beth Chatto’s dry garden, but before that I’d been told about it by another student on an RHS horticulture course, who sang it’s praises and made the comparison with verbena.

  7. Cathy says:

    Beautiful! Maybe not what you had in mind, but gorgeous – and nice to preserve these summery colours before autumn knocks on the door. (Which it is already doing here!) The Althaea has really caught my attention as my Butterfly Bed needs something tall and pale pink in August to lighten it up a bit. And without needing too much space. I seem to have rather a lot of blue and purple in it! So thanks for that inspiration! 😃

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