In a Vase, on Monday –

In 1963, the wonderful American Motown group Martha Reeves and the Vandellas recorded a song called Heat Wave. You’d likely recognize it. It’s a love song, of course, nothing at all to do with temperatures. The first line of the chorus; however, has been running through my brain the past week (“It’s like a heat wave…”) – a real ear worm as I alternated between an hour or so in the garden and an hour or so in the relatively cool indoors. There’s no end in sight to the high temperatures, and also, more troublesome, no rain forecast either.

That said, the first week of July offers, as always, plenty of choice to put together a vase of cut flowers. Cathy, in Rambling in the Garden, hosts this weekly show of vases from around the world.

My vase started last Wednesday, when I noticed that an insect had sawn through the sturdy stem of a Yucca flower stalk. I collected it and plopped in a jar of water. I’m not expecting it to bloom but didn’t want its sacrifice to end in naught, since my Yucca’s do not regularly bloom. I didn’t get a close-up – but hopefully you can spot it here. I added a stem of what I call Echinacea Peter Fuller. Peter is a plant breeder in the area – this variety is the result of a cross between E. purpurea, E. paradoxa and E. tenesiensis. Then I dove my clippers into the lavender, mostly avoiding the bees, for a few long stems and, from the Island Bed, a few stems of Nodding Onion – Allium cernuum. The filler is the wonderfully invasive non-native flower/weed called Bladder campion – Silene vulgaris. It’s all over my un-mown front yard/field right now, as well as in ditches and fields all over the county.

My Ikebana today features Nigella ‘Midnight’ and a pretty little wildflower I think might be called Yellow Rocket – Barbarea vulgaris. I noticed it popping up here and there in the garden last year, and it’s even more prevalent this year. Not sure if I should be pulling it or not, but for now it adds a nice splash of yellow, and it also appears somewhat drought tolerant.


  1. Your yellow flower doesn’t look like a crucifer to me — it appears to have 5 petals. Also the leaves of yellow rocket are broader and toothed, not matching yours. I have no idea what it might be, though. Maybe buttercup family?
    I really enjoy your contributions to In a Vase on Monday, especially your observations on what’s growing in your part of the world. Thanks.

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  2. I love that first bouquet! It looks so light, airy, elegant, and delightfully refreshing – just what I needed to make me feel a little cooler.
    I thought that you live in Canada, and I’m sorry to hear you are experiencing the same heatwave we are in Ohio. It is a scorcher that seems to have no end in sight. It’s so discouraging to pull up the 10-day forecast and see nothing but the same 90 degree temps with no rain. I’m going to have a humongous water bill this quarter.

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  3. What a lovely combination Chris – the allium, lavender and campion all have the same sort of airy density so the single echinacea is all that is needed, along with your yucca stem which I only noticed because you mentioned it!! The dark blue nigella in your ikebana vase is a delight and one to look out for I think. Hope your excessively hot weather doesn’t persist for too long

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      1. That’s a great question! It was unearthed, literally, during a home reno excavation many years ago. It has a real neat art deco vibe, doesn’t it?


  4. I don’t think of Canada as prone to heatwaves but I can well imagine your reaction to living through them. We expect them in southern California, although that doesn’t make them any easier to tolerate. Despite 2 earlier heatwaves, we’ve enjoyed reasonably pleasant weather here for the past month even if we briefly hit 90F (32C) over the weekend. I’m glad to see that your flowers weren’t cowed by the heat. I love that Echinacea.

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  5. Heat waves are NO fun and nearly impossible to work in. I find I’m gardening first thing in the a.m. and after supper when it is more bearable. Today has been nice with low humidity, which I am very happy about.
    I like that you staged your vase against the red barn wood. Looks great! Your small yellow wildflower is St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum). I believe it is native, a natural antidepressant. 🙂

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    1. Thank you Eliza! I just read a bit about St John’s Wort – a lot if nasty things written about it, as well as a lot of medical sites promoting it. (Not native in North America.) It seems to need a lot of rain so I’m surprised it’s shown up!

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  6. Hi Chris. How lovely to see you also have the white Silene growing wild around your garden. We have lots here too, and the pink ones earlier in the year as well. Your yellow flower looks like Hypericum (St John‘s Wort) which is profuse here! I love the ikebana vase – so pretty. 😃

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