November 10, 2014

In a Vase on Monday: We're Not Dead Yet

snapdragons 2

Are you familiar with the movie, "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" or the play, "Spamalot"? If so, you're aware of the scenes that include "Not Dead Fred." This is definitely black humor: A supposed plague victim in England during the Middle Ages is carried out to be carted away for burial, but declares, "I'm not dead," and later--as the scene continues--"I'm getting better."

snapdragons 1

I kept imagining that scene on Sunday as I put the potager garden to bed for the winter. Most of the plants were indeed "dormant" or, in the case of the annuals, "dead." But the Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus 'Rocket Mix') seemed to be screaming at me, "We're not dead yet!" I could have clipped them off and thrown them into the compost pile or left them standing. Instead I clipped off the very healthy flowerless stems, thinking I could use them for an arrangement.

That's what I started with when I contemplated an arrangement for today's "In a Vase on Monday" meme. It's hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.

Next, I searched the bleak landscape for other elements for my arrangement. I have to tell you I'm happier with the idea for this one than the eventual result--mainly because I ran out of time at the end of the day to perfect it. But the elements--in greater quantities--could have made a lovely bouquet.

They included:

viburnum

Foliage from the Highbush Cranberry (Virburnum trilobum);

sumac

Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina) fruit and stems;

sea oats

Seed heads and stems from Northern Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium);

hydrangea

A nearly dried Hydrangea (H. macrophylla) flower head; and

fern spore frond

Spore fronds from Fiddlehead Ferns (Matteuccia struthiopteris).

In the end, those Snapdragon stems were screaming to stay together, alone, in their own vase. They just didn't fit with the dried, autumn arrangement.

porch

So I kept them in the vase and plopped them on the front porch with the pumpkins. Who knows how long they'll last with the deep freeze on the way, but this way they have the display they deserve.

dried bouquet

The dried arrangement would have looked decent by the fireplace, but I had to put it on the back porch so the cat wouldn't eat it. I need to shorten the outer stems a bit, but this is close.

cosmos

I didn't include these Cosmos (C. bipinnatus 'Versailles Mix') in the dried arrangement either. I cut them on Oct. 30, and they're still blooming. Impressive vase life!

Head on over to Cathy's blog for other inspirational bouquets and arrangements.

38 comments:

  1. Those snapdragon stems do look amazing!

    And you were wise to cut the cosmos when you did. Hear they got a kiss of frost and that spelled the end to them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I couldn't discard the Snapdragons! I really should go out and buy some proper colorful flowers to go with them, but I guess they look sweet next to the pumpkins. Re the Cosmos: Yes, the plants were goners after the first hard freeze. They can take a light frost next to the house, but not a deep freeze. I just marvel at their beauty, their grace in a vase without other flowers, and their vase life (among numerous other attributes)!

      Delete
  2. Lovely textures and colours - and great use of the last of the green...
    All the best as winter comes :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Yes, winter is here--if unofficially. Very cold for the foreseeable future. I guess we'd best get used to it. ;-)

      Delete
  3. The snapdragon arrangement is such a decorative unusual bunch, I love it. We had the first tiny bit of frost on the grass this morning. Good you take your Cosmeas inside before frost, otherwise they are collapsed before you know.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I kind of enjoy the green stems on their own, myself. They're so very healthy, albeit without blooms. But they signify hope and health for me--two things one needs to hang onto as the deep winter winds approach. I'm so glad I clipped those Cosmos blooms in late October!

      Delete
  4. That's a really nice bouquet. I particularly like the Northern Sea Oat seed heads.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Tim. I love the Northern Sea Oats! They're new to my garden this year, and I'm amazed at myself for taking so long to discover them and add them. They perform quite well in the shade and they're great for dried (or fresh, I suppose) arrangements.

      Delete
  5. It really is amazing how green and healthy some annual/perennial foliage still is, certainly here in the UK - and your leafy vase just shouts 'We are still here' so I love the concept behind your title! That hydrangea head is such a lovely green, but presumably this will fade as it dries more? I did a doubletake with the fiddlehead ferns as they looked like clusters of worms at first glance - now that would be a novelty in a vase... :) Thank you so much for joining in the meme - having people from different parts of the world makes it even more enjoyable by hearing about different weather conditions and seeing different plants.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes--agreed! The Hydrangea blooms will fade a bit with age, but I have several bunches of dried ones from previous years. They're great for that purpose! The fern fronds, I'm thinking, are best for outdoor arrangements. After time, the spores start to dislodge from the fronds and can be quite messy (out in the garden, this is a good thing ;-). Thanks so much for hosting, Cathy! I hope to join in occasionally this winter with bouquets using store-bought flowers. Such a fun hobby!

      Delete
  6. Love your autumn arrangement! And I'm impressed by the cosmos still looking so good. I'm afraid there won't be anything blooming at all to put in a vase after this weekend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Rose. I admit it's rather rough, but I had limited quantities of the elements and limited time. True words: nothing blooming for weeks to come! We'll have to buy our flowers from now until at least March! Stay warm and safe during the polar blast!

      Delete
  7. Wow Beth those snapdragons are amazing much like my borage still going. And the cosmos...wow! But of course I love the dried arrangement. I still have a few flowers even for next week, but then it will all be dried arrangements. I love what you chose especially the dried fern fronds.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Donna! The concept seemed sound, but I needed a bit more of the elements to work with (and more time) to pull it off well. No more fresh flowers here. I'll probably buy a few hothouse flowers in the coming months to keep me going through the winter. ;-) Stay safe and warm during the polar plunge!

      Delete
  8. Dear Beth, I really like your autumn arrangement. It represents autumn perfectly and brings awareness to the withdrawal of nature in preparation for the winter at this time of the year. And as you show, there is still beauty to be found. I find the spore fronds of the fiddlehead ferns so interesting looking and love the combo with the hydrangea flowers.
    Are you saying that the cosmos lasted 11 days in the vase for you?! That is unbelievable. I want them in my garden, too!
    Have a great week!
    Christina

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Christina! Yes, the Cosmos are still blooming on the shelf in my powder room today. I clipped a great bunch of them, and some were buds at the time. As individual stems have faded, I've pulled them out, added fresh water, and rearranged, but they're all from the original batch! I guess they're my favorite garden-grown cut flower. I try not to have favorites, but for that purpose they win!

      Delete
  9. Very creative theme! I really do love the sumac because it produces such rich red. In the day (my hippie days-:), I used to use the sumac as a dye for wool and then spin it to weave belts and blankets. So many of these plants have deep color in their roots and stems and you can really see it now. Good lucking porch!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Susie. The Snapdragons and Monty Python wrote this post. Honestly, those stems were talking to me in the garden on Sunday. :) Interesting what you've said about the Sumac fruits--I can see how that would be the case! You're right about the stems and roots--I noticed the bright colors in the stems through the clear vase.

      Delete
  10. I like your autumn arrangement, and am impressed that the cosmos are still hanging on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Heather. I was impressed with the Cosmos, too. One disclaimer, which I should have mentioned: They were out on the back porch for most of that time. It's been cool, but not freezing, out there for most of their vase life.

      Delete
  11. I really love this seasonal arrangement, especially the sumac and ostrich ferns. Beautiful! And Monty Python and the Holy Grail is one of my favorite movies, my boys and I have memorized the dialog to several scenes,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jason. Seriously, the Snapdragons were saying those lines to me on Sunday. Unfortunately, their days are over now. But what a wealth of strong stems while they lasted. I've been a Monty Python fan since high school.

      Delete
  12. Are those annual snapdragons? They're so big and healthy! I have a seedling of a perennial variety that I rescued from under another plant. It bloomed this summer, which was a big surprise. It's a tough little plant. Love the arrangement. :o)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Tammy: Yes, they're annuals--here, anyway (I've been planting the same variety every spring for several years now). The 'Rocket Mix' gets very tall and makes incredibly strong cut stems for arrangements when they bloom. Mine haven't bloomed much for a couple of years because they don't get enough sun (a tree is shading them now, so I need to find a different spot). But, in sun, they're knock-outs!

      Delete
  13. Beautiful. You have quite a variety of materials from which to choose, from the fresh green of the snapdragons to the rich textural variety of the dried materials. And how nice to still have cheerful cosmos.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. Once I started working with the materials, I figured Mums or dried flowers would look better with the autumn bouquet. So, the Snapdragons and Cosmos got their own vases. :)

      Delete
  14. Everyone around here has been hoping for a mild winter, but 26 degrees this morning pretty much shoots that down. You made good use of the seed heads and such for a dry arrangement. Nice that you also showed the little bonus bouquets from cutting everything that was about to freeze. Zinnias were my only candidates, and I'm not sure I got to them in time. From now on the 'In a Vase' challenge will be just that...a challenge.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yikes, that's early for you, isn't it? How often do your lows get that cold? I cut Zinnias at the same time as the Cosmos, but they faded much faster in the vase. Yes, the meme will be much more challenging now. I wonder if it's OK to buy flowers from a florist for the arrangements? I'll check...

      Delete
  15. Not much left here for a vase. I am impressed with all you found in your garden!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a challenge--I seriously needed to spend more time on it. There are quite a few dried elements around most of the winter, but I like to add fresh flowers from the florist, too. I wonder if that's allowed for the meme?

      Delete
  16. Ha! I always hate taking out things that aren't quite dead yet. Cosmos are amazing flowers. I still have a bunch blooming despite the frosts, so I can't bring myself to cut down the rather ratty-looking plants. You've found quite a lot in your garden for a pretty autumn bouquet!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me, too, Indie (re: removing plants that are still going strong)! Sadly, now the Snapdragons are crinkly with frost on the front porch, but at least they had their day. ;-) Seems like there's always something to pull together for an arrangement, although I'm always more enthusiastic about the fresh flowers and foliage. I need an attitude readjustment!

      Delete
  17. It takes creative looking now to find much to put in a vase. I too have what you have in your vase, but all had a coat of snow yesterday. Today, some are still in flower, but with temps dropping, not for long.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, that's true, Donna. ;-) Creative looking and imagination. Now everything is covered in snow here, as well. The berries are still striking against the white, though. I think I'm going to have to make a trip to the florist soon!

      Delete
  18. Your everblooming cosmos are amazing! I like your dried arrangement, I have a feeling I will soon be headed in that direction myself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All flowers are gone here now. Suddenly, it's very cold and it's time to turn inward. I'm crocheting, baking, reading good books, and dreaming about spring. ;-)

      Delete
  19. I think you were right to keep the lovely fresh green of the snapdragons in a vase by themselves. The dried flowers look good in their own vase. They are both lovely and how nice to have cosmos still going strong for your third vase.
    I am looking forward to seeing what people come up with for their vases as the winter progresses.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Great ideas for flower arrangements when the season is ending!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for stopping by!

(Your comment might not appear right away. PlantPostings uses comment moderation, and we read every comment before we publish.)