In a Vase on Monday: abundant

It is the beginning of the time of plenty in the garden, when there is a choice of material to cut for Monday vases. For much of the year it’s a case of cutting whatever is flowering but now I can wander about, deciding what might work and which flowers to cut. It takes a little longer but it’s a happy position to be in. I’ve gone for what’s flowering in abundance today: chives, salvia, erigeron and cerinthe. I cut the first sweet peas (the scent!), which must be cut as soon as they flower so that more flowers follow on (it’s the law), and a glorious, glowing red snapdragon (the others are still in bud). Joining them are a few stems of nigella in bud. I love every stage of nigella: the frondy seedlings, the tight flower buds, the blue flowers and the architectural seed heads. Expect to see more in the coming weeks 🙂

In a Vase on Monday is hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden and I thoroughly recommend visiting her blog to see what she’s showcasing this week, plus all the other IAVOM-ers from around the world.

In other news… I’ve had my head stuck in books for the last 10 days or so, with no time for blogging (reading or writing) or much else. One of the books I’ve been working on is a gorgeous food book called Lagom; the Swedish art of eating harmoniously which will be published in October. One of my grandmother’s favourite sayings was ‘A little of what you fancy does you good’ and I’ve always followed that mantra, trying to stick to the ‘little’ part! This book is all about eating well, enjoying good food in harmony with the seasons, and eating healthily without denying yourself the pleasures of a good cinnamon bun. There’s a good deal of fika in there, but there are also vegetables. Anyway, if you’re keen on expanding your knowledge of Swedish food, other than the stereotypical meatballs and herrings, look out for it in the autumn. (There’s a particularly good recipe for morning rolls which I made yesterday. Yum.)

One more thing. I made this basket! A friend who runs willow-weaving workshops had a spare place on Saturday, so I went along. Under her expert tuition, I made an actual basket. It’s a bit rustic but it’s my first attempt and I still find it amazing that my hands made it. The whole process was fascinating and quite extraordinary – I learnt new terms like ‘slath’, ‘slype’ and ‘waling’, I used a metal bodkin dipped in tallow to separate the weave, I used a sharp knife to slype the rods. It was fantastic – that sense of total absorption and learning a new skill. You have to be quite gutsy and determined with weaving some of the thicker rods and my hands were rather sore at the end of the day but it was totally worth the effort. Have you ever woven with willow? Maybe you’re a dab hand. I’d love to know.

We’re off to the Chelsea Flower Show on Friday and I am beyond excited as we missed it last year. The weather is forecast to be hot and sunny, and I am trying not to eat biscuits so that I can fit into a summer dress. I will be taking my camera and I will report back (not on whether I managed to fit into a dress but on the show!). Have a super week. Toodle pip.

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20 thoughts on “In a Vase on Monday: abundant

  1. Oh that sweet pea is such a sumptuous colour Sam! I really ought to be more choosy with my sweet peas… And a bloom on an antirrhinum! Is that a first year one or a come-through-the-winter one? My this years are weeks and weeks off flowering. You definitely have an abundant vase – and well done for your willow weaving, which looks really neat and not ‘rustic’ at all! Lovely to see the different shades of willow. Lovely to meet Christina and Julie today, but tiring because it was so hot. Enjoy Chelsea!

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  2. A beautifully abundant vase and I love your basket. There’s something very satisfying about learning a new skill and particularly so if the first attempt isn’t absolutely perfect – after all, if you can make a perfect one first time then there probably isn’t a lot of skill in it. I’ve only used willow to make large circles to hang from the barn ceiling- barely weaving, more like enticing lengths of willow to hold together.

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  3. A beautiful post,Sam. You have a gift for relaxed, airy arrangements that encapsulate the atmosphere of a cottage garden. Really lovely. Would you believe, I have a flyer tacked to my notice board for a wicker-weaving workshop that I have been dreaming of doing. I adore your basket. Also, I’ve taken note of that cookbook. I’d love to do a review of it! Have a blast at Chelsea, I’m looking forward to a first hand report. Lynda. x

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    1. Book yourself on the wicker weaving workshop! I’ll tell the publisher you’d like to review Lagom. I’ve taken loads of photos – need to whittle them down…

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      1. It’s amazing how often I need someone to give me a little push in the right direction. Thanks, Sam. That book looks mouth-watering; I would be thrilled if I could review it!

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  4. Glorious flowers, and sweet peas already, well done you! I have started again with a couple of pots of seedlings that I bought as most of mine came to a sad end in the cold. Love the basket, nicely done. It’s something I’d like to have a go at one day. Very envious of your visit to Chelsea, I hope you have a wonderful time. I was just thinking this morning how lovely it would be to go on Thursday or Friday this year as the weather is going to be so good. I shall look forward to seeing photos. CJ xx

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    1. Photos coming soon… These sweet peas self seeded and overwintered in the border! Haven’t been munched nearly as much as ones sown this year. Good luck with yours.

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  5. Your vase is beautiful, love the variety of flower shapes and colours! We are well behind here in Scotland, it is still a little drab in my garden. Your basket is amazing, glad you enjoyed making it. Learning a new skill and loving it is great, isn’t it? I made a willow basket at school but have only got the vaguest memory of it, the basket long gone. Enjoy the Chelsea flower show! I catch glimpses on the telly and on blogs, it looks like an amazing event. x

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    1. It was fab, Christina, as much for the day out as for the plants! Learning to create anything with our hands is incredibly rewarding and therapeutic, I agree.

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