Monthly Archives: March 2015

In a vase on Monday – purple power

Purple pansies in a little spice pot - 30 March 2015

Purple pansies in a little spice pot – 30 March 2015

The weather has been horrible this weekend – very wet and windy.  The flowers were looking distinctly bashed about so I decided to pick some purple pansies for my ‘In a vase on Monday’.  There were only three that looked even vaguely OK so it’s a mini arrangement.

The jar usually has my safety pins in – it’s a spice jar.  I’ve got draws full of little pots full of bits and bobs so I don’t lose things – doesn’t always work though – oh well.

I’ve always loved the colour purple and have a lot of purple clothes.  In the past, it was the colour of royalty and the ruling elite because purple fabrics were very expensive to produce. The purple dye was made from the shells of a particular mollusc – 9000 shells were needed for one gram of the dye. The Phoenicians in the city of Tyre, in modern day Lebenon, discovered the process in about 400BC as the mollusc was native to their part of the Mediterranean Sea.  It helped make the town an important trading port.

It wasn’t until after 1856 that the colour became much more accessible to the masses, when 18 year old  William Henry Perkin discovered a synthetic purple dye which he patented – it made him a fortune. He was actually looking for a way to make synthetic quinine to cure malaria so it just goes to show things don’t end up the way you expected.  Certainly, that’s the case with gardening.    Eventually, the colour became known as mauve but this new dye, along with many others, helped make the 2nd half of 19th century much more colourful – whether clothes for the middle classes, wall papers, paints and paintings too.

It won’t surprise you to know that I’ve got quite a few plants with purple flowers in my garden but I’ll write more about them another time. I’ve written about my love of lavender before

These little purple pansies have really cheered me up this week – I hope they brighten your day too.

Cathy over at hosts ‘In a vase on Monday’ where people pick plants growing or flowering in their gardens and do a flower arrangement.  This week she’s got a lovely little vase full of blue and white flowers – do have a look….

In a Vase on Monday: yellow and purple in bottles

Here is my ‘In a vase on Monday’ with tête a tête daffodils making a re-appearance;  this time with a pansy (with Yoda). I hope you like it?

Daffodils, mini milkbottles a pansy and Yoda too

Daffodils, mini milk bottles a pansy and Yoda too – 23 March 2015

Cathy over at hosts this weekly challenge to pick and display flowers from your garden in a vase.  This week she’s got sweet william, tulips and some aquilegia.  I think it’s a lovely natural posy and a great vase too.

I’d seen Gwirrel’s garden using mini milk bottles with crocuses and Cathy use mini milk bottles in a crate a couple of weeks ago – with Hellibores – Don’t they look great?

It was pouring with rain this morning in Manchester but I had my eye on a few flowers around the garden and was hopeful I could do something with my milk bottle set.  I nipped out when I got home from work and picked these flowers.   It was fairly sunny when I took these photos but I definitely needed the flash to see the colours properly.

Here’s the arrangement on my mantlepiece in my lounge.

Tete a tete daffodils, a pansy and mini milkbottles - 23 March 2015

Tete a tete daffodils, a pansy and mini milk bottles – 23 March 2015

It’s a great idea #In a vase on Monday and I hope I can find some flowers for next week – I don’t have a greenhouse so we’ll see what’s flowered.   It’s fascinating seeing which plants are flowering, who’s got flowers growing in their greenhouses and also who’s gardening in more extreme conditions than here in a small suburban garden in Manchester.

Have you had a go this week? I’d love to see what you’ve done.

1st day of Spring

Primroses - 20 March 2015

Primroses – 20 March 2015 – my mum gave me  these

Today is the first day of Spring, International day of happiness and a rather cloudy solar eclipse (more about that soon). I was working at home today,  due to a long and boring electrical saga at work.

There’s more flowers out in my garden including these primroses (primulas). Primulas like a semi-shady spot; they’re happy under trees but don’t like the soil too soggy.  Mine are along my left hand fence in my north facing garden so don’t get any afternoon or evening sun. Primroses are traditionally yellow or shades of cream, but now the hybrids come in many colour combinations – yellow and purple, crimson and yellow for example. I’ve got some really pretty salmon pink and yellow ones in my front garden.

i’ve been planning more adventures – watch this space.

All In all, a very good day, and I have a pint of Pimms too.




In a vase on Monday – tête a tête daffodils and mini iris

Tête a tête daffodils and mini iris

Tête a tête daffodils and mini iris – 16th March 2015

My first ‘In A Vase on Monday’

They’re tête a tête daffodils and one dwarf iris. I don’t know the variety I’m afraid.  I bought the bulbs in Wilko last year; they’re a northern chain rapidly spreading south who sell all sorts of things, a bit like Woolworth’s did in the 1970s.  They have a really good garden section so do pop in if you’re local and have a look around. The bulbs were planted in a trough in the garden last autumn, which you can see in the distance, and have spent all winter outside.   Apologies for not finding a better background but I took these photos in a hurry before rushing out to work this morning – it’s a peek into my garden too.  Not much going on at the moment.

Mini Daffodils and Iris - 16 March 2015

Mini Daffodils and Iris – 16 March 2015

The vase got a lot of use last summer with Sweet peas from the garden – I have a feeling it will be getting a lot of use this year too.   It was a gift from my chap and is only about 7 inches high – I did wonder about putting navy ribbon around it but I wasn’t sure if it would be too over the top. What do you think? I’m very lucky as my chap works in the florist industry (wholesale – everything except the flowers basically).   So I have a lot of vases – they’re a lot bigger though.  I hope you get to see some of the vases on a Monday – just hope I can grow enough suitable flowers. He buys me flowers often – yes I know I’m a very lucky –  think he enjoys the flowers as much as I do and he knows more about flower arranging than me for sure.

If you want to see more ‘In a vase on Monday’ have a look at Cathy from – it’s all about picking flowers growing in your garden and displaying them in a vase on a Monday – simple really assuming you’ve got something flowering.  She’s got some gorgeous purple hyacinths today.  I’ve got a few hyacinths growing in the front garden so lets see how they turn out.  They’re nowhere near flowering though.  I’m enjoying seeing what everyone else has picked and all the pretty vases.   I loved these purple crocuses in the mini bottle vases from Gwirrel’s garden today too.  It’s good fun looking around other people’s blogs to see how their flowers are coming along.  Such alot of variety of when the daffodils and crocuses are coming up. Elsewhere in the garden, the hellebore is flowering, lots of yellow and purple crocuses as well as some really amazing double head mini daffodils – so fingers crossed I can find something pretty for next Monday.


August 2018 Update

Little did I know that joining In a Vase on Monday hosted by Cathy would lead to me finding many gardening bloggers around the world, with wonderful gardens large and small. It introduced me to many new plant varieties.  Looking through the blogs lifts my mood in the darkest days of Winter.

My In a Vase on Monday posts are here

Cathy’s are here

There are many blog post links below Cathy’s weekly blog post – do have a look around


Do you follow, or participate, in any links like this?

Carpe Diem

Love Bec xxx xxx