Welcome to this weeks In A Vase On Monday, when I am linking up with Cathy at Rambling In The Garden to join her challenge to produce a vase for the house from the garden every week.

Yesterday I promised you something completely different today. After the staged shots of the white ranunculus, I have a very natural arrangement shot outdoors in the wintery sunshine for you. I think that the two series ‘Flowers On Sunday’ and ‘In A Vase On Monday’ really highlight the difference between springtime in the floristry world and what is really happening in the garden.  The flowers I buy for my Sunday posts are grown in Holland, where they have made growing out of season flowers into an art form. Every year increasingly unusual and beautiful flowers become available long before it is possible to grow anything like them outside in a British garden. The flowers that I use on Monday are homegrown, scented and exceptionally fresh and seasonal. At this time of year I feel lucky to have the choice of both types of flowers.

I have studied these Iris very carefully to make sure that I have got them right – they are Iris reticulata that I planted in pots in the greenhouse in November. I have reused the base that I made for the Paperwhite arrangement a couple of weeks ago. Inside the container is the floral foam filled with Euonymous ‘Emerald Gaiety’ from the original arrangement. This has stood up surprisingly well to being stored outside throughout the bad wind and rain of the last week.

Iris Arrangement

This week I dried off the container and added the flowering Iris bulbs.  The bulbs were dug out of their clay pots in the greenhouse and I used floristry pins to attach the roots to the base of floral foam inside the container. I am hoping that the flowers will last longer with the bulbs attached than if I had cut the flower stems.

Rusty Bench & Cat

As ever I had a little help from my animal friends whilst I took these photos! Above is Ruby the cat.

Golden Retriever & Irish Setter

Nelson and Hardy wanted to prove that they could hold a pose too.

Irish Setter

Hardy felt that it was time that I gave him a shot to himself.

Iris reticulata                                                   -Iris Reticulata from the Sarah Raven catalogue flowering in the garden yesterday.

Finally I have a question. The Iris that I have grown in the greenhouse are labelled Iris reticulata – the photo above is of the Iris that I grew in the greenhouse last year and planted out after flowering – there are just one or two in flower in the garden today. To my eye last years Iris are a much sturdier flower with a greater intensity of colour. I wrote about these Iris last year and clearly also called them Iris reticulata. Last years bulbs came from Sarah Raven and this years were picked up in a garden centre.

Iris reticulata                                                    -Iris reticulata from the garden centre grown in pots in the greenhouse this year.

Are there any Iris experts reading? Is it possible for reticulata to look so different or have I got different varieties sold under the same name? I would love to find an answer as I like my greenhouse bulbs to pack a punch and am quite disappointed with this years Iris blooms. They will look lovely in the garden I am sure, but to earn a place in the house they need to have a bit more dazzle.

Still they are all have for this year, so I will make the most of them! Please do pop over to Cathy’s blog to have a look at what she and the others have made this week.

I will be back later in the week with the next instalment of Managing An Organic Vegetable Garden. This week I will be looking at planning your crops and the seeds that I will be sowing in February.