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 introducing my flowers on a somber note – I am dedicating my arrangement to the sister of one of my closest friends. Sadly she lost her battle with breast cancer recently and her funeral took place today. Although I did not know her very well, she has been in my life on and off for the last twenty years and was very special to her husband, family and friends. Her death at a young age is a great tragedy.

Peony Arrangement

I am pleased to announce that the peony season has started in my garden! Yesterday I showed you these peonies growing in the garden. Although they are my first peonies of the year and very precious they grow in a secluded area, so cutting the flowers to enjoy inside was not too hard. There are three of these peony plants in the bed – they were here when we moved in and yesterday I said I thought they might be a variety called Red Charm. Looking closer today at images on the internet they are more like Eliza Lundy, although it is very hard to be specific. They grow in a dappled shade position in damp but not wet soil. I have found that peonies grown in full sun produce far more flowers than those grown in light shade, but the flowers do not last as long.

My cutting bed peonies are all in a very sunny position, but in the borders I use peonies wherever I think they will add to the scheme without worrying too much about sun or shade. As all my peonies apart from these three are quite recently planted this will be the first year in this garden when I have a lot of buds to look forward to. It takes a newly planted peony a year or two to produce its first blooms and then you can only expect two or three flowers. After that the plant will produce increasing numbers of flowers every year as the size of the crown expands.

Peony Arrangement

One again I have chosen my silver footed rose bowl. Although I am happy to use floral foam when it is needed I prefer to make arrangements without it. The top of this rose bowl allows me to thread the conditioned stems through the grid and the arrangement builds up to be self supporting. As long as I keep the water in the bowl topped up, this should last between three and five days. I have used my beautiful mock orange bush to provide the supporting base and the honeysuckle to add some movement. The honeysuckle has been flowering in the garden for a while now, so I don’t expect it to last very long in the vase. It will be easy to replace in a day or two if necessary. Generally it is best to choose flowers that are just coming into bloom – these will have the longest vase life.

Red Peony

As with tulip Jan Reus, I am struggling to capture the exact shade of this peony in a photograph. Peony Eliza Lundy is described as an early flowering petite fully double red and that description certainly fits what I have growing in my garden. In the vase, however, these flowers are more of a very deep cerise.

Pink Aquilegia

As a filler I have added some of these large aquilegia flowers. I have no recollection of planting aquilegia where this beautiful tall pale pink specimen grows, but it does seem rather too extraordinary to be a self seeded plant.

Red Peonies

I have also added a few of the first blooms of astrantia. This one is called astrantia ‘Buckland’ and, like the peonies, it grows in a dappled shade spot. I find that astrantia does well in both sun and shade, although again the flowers last longer in a shady spot.

Peony Arrangement

I have photographed the arrangement outside as I love all the greens in the background at the moment. Flowers always look particularly fresh when they are photographed in natural light. Inside the arrangement is going to live in the drawing room:

Peony Arrangement

Finally for today, I am pleased to announce that the winner of my competition last week is Rachel Slater – well done Rachel for your very prompt response! Fresh from the Field Wedding Flowers will be on its way to you in the next day or so. Rachel is a flower grower in Yorkshire  –  Owl House Flowers is her new cutting garden based in Bingley. She specialises in beautiful seasonal British bouquets, cut flowers and foliage. You can find out more on her lovely FB page.

I hope you will pop over to Cathy’s blog now to see what she and the others taking part in this meme have made this week.