Gardening Magazine

In A Vase On Monday – A Thorny Business

By Julie King

Welcome to this week’s In ‘A Vase On Monday’, when I am linking up with Cathy at Rambling In The Garden to join her challenge to find something from the garden to bring into the house every Monday.

This week I have been inspired to create a variation on the floating hellebore theme. I have a few arrangements that I always like to make in February and one of them involves this footed bowl and a selection of floating hellebore flowers. My helleborus orientalis with all their lovely colours are not quite in flower yet so I needed another idea to make use of this bowl.


This week the stars of my garden are undoubtedly the beautiful white helleborus niger and the drifts of snowdrops, which are are now flowering all over the garden.


I wanted an arrangement  that would make a small number of flowers go a long way. Bud vases are usually ideal for this, but for this week I needed something that would occupy a larger space.


Thinking about my Valentine dinner party, I also wanted something long lasting, that I can use on the night with just a quick refresh of the flowers. The answer I found when walking down the hedgerow that bounds one side of my garden – hawthorn. The twiggy (and often lichen covered) shape of hawthorn branches lend themselves to weaving into a circle that would top the glass bowl. Once full of water, the handful of hellebores and snowdrops that I had picked were threaded through the twigs and the arrangement was complete.


The joy of this type of arrangement is that it supports the flower heads, so that you can clearly view the beautiful details that are normally hidden.


I used a small amount of florists wire to hold the circle of twigs together (and be careful of your fingers if you copy this idea – hawthorn as its name suggests is very thorny), but otherwise no other help was needed – just make sure that all the flower stems poke down into the water. I did seal the hellebore stems in boiling water before putting them in the arrangement, as it helps the flowers to last longer.

Last week as I wrote my Monday post snow was beginning to fall and settle across the garden. Temperatures were low and the days seemed cold and dark – I often think that February has the feel of living in a black and white movie, but then every so often it offers a gift of a day that reminds you just how close the spring really is. Today was such a day – the sun was out, temperatures were rising and I worked in the garden without a coat for an hour or two. Whilst the snowdrops are the stars of the garden today sitting perfectly in my back and white movie, all the more colourful bulbs are ready to burst out at any moment – iris, crocus, the early narcissi – I could see the buds swelling on all these flowers today and with them the anticipation of spring is growing in the garden.

I will be back on Wednesday with my February review of the greenhouse. I hope you have enjoyed today’s arrangement and that you will pop over to Cathy’s blog to see what she and the others have made this week.

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