In a Vase on Monday: Spill, Fill and Thrill

The wonderful thing about this blog meme – In a Vase on Monday – is that not only do you have an opportunity to show off some of the best blooms in the garden, but you can, if you wish, take a bit of time to reflect on design. composition, colour and texture. I’ve only been participating for a few weeks but I can see how it simply isn’t enough to plop some posies in water. A bit of thought is required, just as it is when designing a garden flower bed or an outdoor urn.

A tried and true design principle for urns is ‘Spill, Fill and Thrill. That is, plant something to spill over the edges of the urn, such as ivy. Then plant something that fills up the middle, like begonias. Then plant something tall and dramatic to tower over it all, like a Canna lily. You need to pay attention to colour combinations, water and sunlight needs, of course, to make sure everything is compatible.

For my vase today (put together early yesterday morning), I tried to do something similar. I cut a spray of Bridlewreath Spirea – Spiraea x vanhouttei – to curve over the edge of the vase. Then I cut a handful of Siberian Iris, keeping the stems short, for the filling. (Last week I used them exclusively for a rather boring vase…) Then, as a thriller, I dodged the mosquitoes in the still shady, damp front corner of the yard to cut some very tall, tall bearded Iris. I like the colour combos here, and the contrast between the spirea’s flowers and the two Iris species works. For me, at least!

I hope to continue learning and experimenting as the summer goes on – and getting inspiration from all the fabulous vases hosted by Cathy, at Rambling in the Garden.

There’s an ever-expanding patch of these blue iris growing at the crest of a low dirt mound near the front of the yard…
… right next to a patch of these reddish orangey ones.
Catching some early morning rays in the backyard yesterday, about a half hour after being cut.


  1. I am so glad you are enjoying the meme, Chris, and have been encouraged to share your vases with us. I too prefer the less showy blue irises the bigger bearded ones but the combination in your vase works well

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Spill, Fill and Thrill? That must have been developed since the 1980s. We studied Western Line design, and learned about European Mass design, which is likely more comparable to Spill, Fill and Thrill.
    Those are those blue iris that look like Iris pallida. Are they just a blue bearded iris?


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