Welcome to ‘In A Vase On Monday’ when I am linking up with Cathy at Rambling In The Garden to share a vase of flowers picked from my garden every Monday.
I have had a number of ideas floating around in my head for today’s vase – most revolving around the chrysanthemums that are still flowering so well in my greenhouse. In the end I decided that it was time to make use of the large containers of dried hydrangea heads that I have stored in the potting shed. I have used nothing fresh this week – just dried material saved from a summer garden.
I have written before about my love of hydrangeas. Not only are they a beautiful late summer addition to the garden with glorious fresh blooms to pick in abundance for flower arrangements – also the flower heads dry beautifully and last for upwards of two years, making them an excellent autumn and winter addition to the house.
Today I wanted to make something seasonal to add to my drawing room and the hydrangeas fit the bill perfectly. Used in this way the arrangement will take me through until I am ready to swap it for something more festive to adorn my Christmas table.
I dry hydrangea heads by first cutting undamaged heads on long stems from the plants any time between late August and mid October. The trick is to cut the flowers just as they begin to dry on the plant. Too early and the flowers will wilt after a few days inside – too late and they have already lost their colour. Once cut I put the stems into a tall vase with a few inches of water. As that water dries up I do not top it up – I just leave the flowers to dry naturally. After a few weeks they are ready to be stored or arranged.
This week I took a dry round floral foam pad and, cutting the stems short, filled it with the dried flower heads. I added the 4 candles by taping toothpicks to the candle base, so that they could be inserted into the floral foam.
I love the way that the petals fade in colour as the flowers dry and they last really well if dried thoroughly – in fact I am still using the flower heads that I dried last year.
It will be a few weeks yet before I start to put out any Christmas decorations – in the meantime I think this table centrepiece has added a hint of things to come to the drawing room. As the nights draw in and the focus is more on cosy evenings by the fire it feels right to add candlelight to the room.
I find that hydrangeas can be tricky to grow in my garden. They love to grow in moist conditions in part shade and my clay soil often dries out too much in the summer. The most successful hydrangeas I have are growing in pots near to the house, which I can water regularly in dry spells and I am gradually building up a collection on a partly shaded terrace. As I love the blue flowers that only grow in acidic soil, I am planning next season to try adding a specialist hydrangea food to some of my pots in the hope of turning the pink flowers blue.
I had an amazing time in London last week and am working through my photos which I hope to show you later this week. I also have a lovely trip planned on Wednesday to watch Myrtle & Mint create some festive floral decorations at Kesgrave Hall, so more on that to come. On a sadder note my two lovely old but dying trees are coming down tomorrow – I know it is the right thing to do, but I will be very sorry to see them go.
I hope that you have enjoyed this weeks ‘In A Vase On Monday’ and that you will pop over to Cathy’s blog to see what she and the others have made this week.