In A Vase On Monday—Experimenting With A Blue Pot

In A Vase On Monday--Blue Tree Vase

In A Vase On Monday–Blue Tree Vase

Monday brings the chance to share cut flowers from the garden by joining in Cathy’s weekly challenge In A Vase On Monday.

The entirety of our summer’s missing rain was located and delivered consecutively for the last eleven days or so it seems. Ahead of warnings about Hurricane Joachin, on Thursday I gathered some flowers and placed them in several large containers of water for conditioning.

Late Friday afternoon I began thinking about how I might use the flowers for today’s vase. I definitely wanted to use the bright Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower) that soared upwards of 10 feet before finally blooming a week ago. In just the right light the petals look oddly neon green.

Helianthus angustifolius (swamp sunflower)

I had collected several generous armloads of this native flower thinking I would cut the the long stems to one size and add them into a tall vase for a sunny bouquet.*

But my thoughts shifted toward first using some of the flowers in a creative abstract design.

I had in mind to use a special ceramic sculpture my daughter made. It features a stylized tree form rooted at the base that expands upward and hugs the curves of the two-chambered container. Midnight blue coloring at the top of the taller side and a cut-out crescent moon evokes nighttime.

Detail of tree vase

Detail of tree vase

Detail of crescent moon on vase with Leaf of Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Detail of crescent moon on vase with Leaf of Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

For years this piece has been on display in my living room and I thought it, the container, would make an interesting focal point for the design supplemented with one or two stems of Helianthus. It did look interesting that way but unfortunately I did not take pictures before continuing to experiment. I kept adding more things until I had the yellow flowers winding up the sides, middle and around the top of the vase—all too much and without purpose or merit.

I started over a couple more times until I was finally satisfied. By then it was nighttime and rainy, so the indoor light was too weak for taking sharp photographs. The lighting created strange variations in the background wall color (actually a pale yellow), but the flower colors are accurate.

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

The pot is the focus of the design but I am not convinced the color of the flower material relates well to the container. On thing that works is the way the branching red stems of the sunflower echo the dark redness of three dahlias.

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

Materials
Dahlia x hybrida
Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)
Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage)
Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant)

Dahlia, Swamp Sunflower and Obedient Plant

Dahlia, Swamp Sunflower and Obedient Plant

Not wanting to use water in the vessel, this week’s vase was completely staged, photographed and immediately disassembled. Overall I am pleased with the result and I definitely enjoyed the process.

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

Thanks to Cathy for hosting this weekly flower addiction. Visit her at Rambling In The Garden to discover what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday and feel free to join in.


 

* [Eventually I got around to making that sunny bouquet and I had fun photographing it in a variety of vases. Here is a mesh gallery of that bouquet.]

43 thoughts on “In A Vase On Monday—Experimenting With A Blue Pot

  1. Julie

    Susie, your daughter is really talented, is this a hobby? I have a vase loosely similar to your daughters design at home and I love it – its kept for display in its own right, but it was purchased and not a lovely gift from someone very talented. How do you do a mesh gallery? Is that a wordpress thing?

    Reply
  2. Gillian

    Lovely cheerful flowers and very nicely arranged too. You have a lovely selection of vases and have chosen just the right ones to show off your beautiful plants.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks Gillian. It was interesting to try the Helianthus in different vases, but unlike with the main arrangement, the vases didn’t have as much impact as I had imagined they would.

      Reply
  3. Cathy

    Hope your sunny vase was a good distraction from your 11 days of rain…! 🙂 Your daughter’s pottery is amazing – what an earthy and tactile design and such an unusual concept too. Would it not hold water or would you just rather not risk it? You are quite right about the dahlias picking up the red of the helianthus stems – that’s what stood out for me. Thanks for sharing all your vases today 🙂

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Cathy, it’s still gray here but we’re ok. Some places had terrible flooding from all the rain. I think the pot would have been waterproof but much too heavy. I had picked so many flowers that day it felt ok to sacrifice a few just to play around.

      Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks Brian–a fun experiment. Our daughter has always enjoyed artistic endeavors. She no longer does ceramics but I think everything one does helps shape the next experience.

      Reply
  4. rickii

    The vase is fantastic. You must treasure it. Someone made the suggestion of using a plastic bag as a liner when working with a non-water-retentive container (seems a shame to dismantle the arrangement right away). The bright sunflower posy seems a perfect fit with the shiny blue vase.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks for the tip about the plastic bag liner. Great idea. The shiny turquoise blue vase is actually my mother’s cookie jar, which use to hold the best oatmeal raisin cookies (thought not for long).

      Reply
  5. Kris P

    Your daughter is so very talented, Susie! Do I recall correctly that she does woodworking too? You need some succulents for that vase so you can use it without water. That teal blue succulent I’ve used (which I still can’t put a name to but I think may be some Pachyphytum hybrid) would pick up the color of the pot well.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks Kris–good memory. Before moving into architecture she received a degree in industrial design and designed furniture for a while. I appreciate the tip about the succulents and will look that up.

      Reply
  6. Hannah

    The vase is amazing, such a wonderful carving job on the tree and branches, and making two vase tops as well. The branches even look like polished wood. Your daughter is very talented, Susie. The flowers are somehow dwarfed in the vase, it must be larger than it appears. Your swamp sunflowers are lovely too, they really fill the vase and I like the greenish glow.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks for the nice comments about the vase Hannah. And thanks for the insight about the arrangement–I see you’re right about the flowers being dwarfed. The pot is very large and perhaps too massive for these particular flowers. Hmmm…will think about what else might work.

      Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks Donna. It was fun to try using her big pot this week. Helianthus pollen is all over my table but the flowers are so sunny they can be forgiven.

      Reply
  7. Beth @ PlantPostings

    Fabulous! I love that first vase! I really must grow some Obedient Plants one of these days. I have a good spot in mind where they could spread and not be a challenge. Good to know they’re good cut flowers. I enjoyed your mesh gallery, too. 🙂

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Hi Beth. Obedient plants do spread but this year I’ve been happy for having them. They were a passalong from a special relative. It’s the first year I’ve tried them in vases and they last very well.

      Reply
  8. Cathy

    I do enjoy your creative vases Susie, and this one is so striking. As you say, the red of the stems is highlighted by the deep red dahlia. Wonderful pottery vase too – you must have some artistic genes in your family! I especially love the big bunches of sunshine though, and the pale blue squat vase is my favourite.

    Reply
  9. Christina

    Your daughter’s pot is incredible, really beautiful. The red stems of the sunflowers are a real feature, they would look interesting even without the flowers. The other vases also illustrate how different the same flowers can look in different vases. Inside time. avoiding the hurricane has been put to very good use; I hope it has all finished now.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Hi Christina, the hurricane ended up staying offshore but another weather system dumped amazing amounts of rain. We’re ok here, but Charleston is underwater and in fact, much of South Carolina is going to have a long recovery. Today is the first day we’ve had sunshine here in a couple of weeks and it’s all anyone could talk about! I like those red stems–maybe I’ll harvest a few to try to use later.

      Reply
  10. Noelle Mace

    You explained the process very well. The Vase is a real art piece, and I am sure you love it…thanks for sharing it with us through the flowers. I love the colour of your sunsflowers.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Hi Marian and thanks. Our daughter has delighted us with so many creations it’s a pleasure. Hope you haven’t had flooding problems. Thinking of you.

      Reply
  11. Eliza Waters

    Your daughter is a talented potter – such a beautiful vase! I love the helianthus, it seems to be a lighter yellow than our woodland sunflower that has passed by, its seeds now visited by hungry birds. Love your experimenting with multiple vases – that must have been fun!

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks Eliza. She didn’t do any more pottery after high school but has chosen a creative path. I think most helianthus is more golden yellow than this one. I saw a Monarch on it today and several bees and wasps.

      Reply
      1. Eliza Waters

        The midwest seems to have the most Monarchs, the eastern and western flyways seem to have been hit the hardest. Nice to know some are still out there.

  12. Ann Edwards Photography

    I love the neon colour of your Helianthus – quite unique! The colours all work together so well too – I struggle to know what to put with sunflowers.

    Reply

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