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

This week I am delighted that my lilac trees are flowering. I think lilac is my favourite flowering shrub and I look forward to its short flowering period all year! I am lucky to have a few mature specimens in the garden. In particular I have two lilac trees growing in a very neglected corner near to the oil tanks. As this corner is not in view from anywhere else in the garden I feel free to snip and cut as much of the beautiful frothy lilac as I can fit into the short flowering season. Growing in this corner with the lilac is an old berberis bush and plenty of cow parsley (as well as an assortment of nettles, thistles and docks). It was too this corner that I hurried this afternoon with my secateurs.

I have a confession to make to you. I needed a focal flower to pull the arrangement together and as I headed across the garden Tulip Black Hero was calling me from the Cutting Garden. I know that I said I planned to stay away from the Cutting Garden on a Monday, but the dark velvety blooms were just too sumptuous to ignore. Before I knew what I was doing an armful of tulips had been picked to compliment the lilac, berberis and cow parsley.

Spring Mantle Arrangement

I have been planning to use a new vase today that I was given for my birthday earlier in the month.  This is a long low vase from Sarah Raven that I have been coveting for some time. It is perfect for a mantle piece arrangement.

Spring Mantle Arrangement

Once again I put to use my metal flower arranger from The Real Flower Company. It fits inside the vase perfectly and allows me to place flowers without worrying about how to support them. If you look closely the edge of the vase it is just showing in the photo.

Tulip Black Hero, Lilac & Cow Parsley

Tulip Black Hero must be one of my favourite tulips this year. It is a late flowering double version of Queen of the Night and has the same long stem. It seems to hold its shape well in the garden, not opening out too quickly despite the recent warm temperatures.

Tulip Black Hero

I love to add cow parsley to arrangements at this time of year. It adds an airy lightness to anything it is used with. I usually sear the stems in boiling water for a few seconds before arranging it, as this helps to prolong the vase life. I know that at best it will last a few days – certainly not as long as the tulips, but it is so plentiful I can refresh the arrangement as needed.

Spring Mantle Arrangement

I love the colour of berberis, but do not enjoy working with its thorny stems! Our large mature shrub was cut to the ground last year whilst some maintenance work was being done and it has regrown with fresh vigour (including the thorns). This spring it is looking a better shape and colour than before its rough treatment.

Tulip Black Hero

White lilac is my favourite, but it fades quickly both in the vase and on the bush. My advice is to cut it early whilst the flowers are just opening. Using older lilac flowers in an arrangement is always a disappointment. The flowers droop overnight and there is little of the beautiful scent.

Tulip Leaves

Finally, I have a close up photo of the tulip leaves that I have placed in the vase to cover the metal arranger. It is really best to use the arranger in large pots and urns, but when only glass will work a layer of leaves provides an attractive disguise.

Last week I showed you two different arrangements. The Forget-me-Nots were a complete surprise – they have lasted seven days in the kitchen. I expected them to droop within 24 hours, so am delighted to learn that they are so long lasting. The viburnum carlesii did not do as well. The stems in the urn started to fade the next day and needed to be removed within 3 days. The flowers on a very short stem, however, that I put into the small vase lasted the week – it would seem that viburnum carlesii will work as a cut flower provided you cut the stems almost to the flower head and effectively float the flowers in a vase. I think they would sink if floated fully in a bowl, although I have not tried this so it might work.

I hope you have enjoyed my arrangement this week and that you will pop over to Cathy’s blog to see what she and the others have made.