In a Vase on Monday: Sense and Sensibility


(c) Terri Robertson, T's Southern Garden, 2018
Purple bearded iris, dalmatian bellflower, autumn sage, lavender, ice plant and thyme arranged in a Waterford posy vase.

I began this post with the most sensical intentions. Then my sensibilities took over.

It’s been a while since I’ve read Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility (or watched Emma Thompson’s movie adaptation), but my takeaway from the story is that we need to embrace a balance of both qualities in our lives. I relearned that lesson this week.

In a Vase on Monday is hosted each week by Cathy on her blog Rambling in the Garden. I missed it last week, and I was determined to be “sensical” and work ahead so my post would be ready first thing this Monday. However, I got distracted by my sensibilities. It was warm and sunny. The birds were singing, and the breeze was rustling in the trees. I decided to do my arranging outside.

(c) Terri Robertson, T's Southern Garden Blog, 2018
Dappled shade on the patio gets me every time.

Just when I was about happy with my arrangement, the breeze shifted all the stems. I moved inside. Once again, I had everything photo-ready, and I made a snap decision to go outside for more bellflowers. I was outside no more than 30 seconds when I heard the crash inside. So much for being sensical.

(c) Terri Robertson, T's Southern Garden, 2018
Chester the Tailless Wonder is quite possibly an evil genius, but we love him.

One of our cats, Chester, had taken down the small table I use when photographing flower arrangements. The vase was in pieces on the floor. The irony was not lost on me that just two weeks ago I wrote about exercising caution when it comes to cats and plants. I suppose I had it coming.

I cleaned up the broken pieces of pottery, salvaged the flowers from floor and started again. Without further ado, here’s what’s in a vase on Monday April 22, 2018.

Purple Bearded Iris (Iris germanica)

I thought my purple irises were not coming up this year, but it turns out they were just on a different timetable than the white irises. Snipping the stems released an aroma like slicing green onion tops for a salad.

(c) Terri Robertson, T's Southern Garden, 2018
Purple bearded iris–don’t miss the ladybug!

Autumn sage (Salvia greggii)

The leaves of this evergreen herbaceous perennial offer a heavenly, lightly sweet scent year round. It’s just beginning to flower and will continue through the year until first freeze. I purchased mine last year at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens fall plant sale. 

(c) Terri Robertson, T's Southern Garden, 2018
autumn sage

Dalmatian Bellflower (Campanula portenschlagiana)

I planted bellflower last fall as a perennial ground cover in a terraced area of the backyard, where it gets part shade. It’s just now beginning to take off, and I love its tiny blue-violet blooms.

(c) Terri Robertson, T's Southern Garden, 2018
Dalmatian bellflower

Ice Plant (Delosperma cooperi)

On the opposite end of the spectrum, hardy ice plant is a succulent ground cover that can take the sun on full blast in the front yard. The blooms shimmer in the sun, giving the plant an “icy” look. This is another Birmingham Botanical Gardens plant sale purchase.

(c) Terri Robertson, T's Southern Garden, 2018
Ice plant flower

Lavender (Lavandula angustiflolia)

I planted lavender in my sunny front yard last year, and it has done well. I’ve divided it successfully and now have two plants.

(c) Terri Robertson, T's Southern Garden, 2018

English Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

Thyme and I have a checkered past. I’ve killed it as a houseplant on several occasions. Most recently I killed lemon thyme in an outdoor pot (I’m not sure why but most likely because I left it out to overwinter). Elfin thyme looked terrific between the patio stones, but the environment was ultimately too harsh in the summer, even with lots of shade. I have, however, had success with regular garden thyme outside year round. It might not be the obvious choice for a flower arrangement, but I like effect of tucking in a couple of wild, graceful sprigs.

(c) Terri Robertson, T's Southern Garden, 2018
Garden thyme, also known as English thyme


The vase that survived this post is a Waterford posy vase (a gift from my parents on some birthday past).

Thank you for stopping by. To see what other gardeners around the world have put in a vase on Monday, please visit Cathy’s IAVOM post and don’t miss the comments below it.

Correction: The original version of this post misidentified the autumn sage (aka salvia) as “Hot Lips” sage. I have both varieties in the same bed, and I mixed them up temporarily.



Author: Terri Robertson

I'm a novice gardener who creates arrangements using cuttings and plants from my yard, vintage containers, and found objects both natural and manmade. In my work life, I am a writer and editor, who recently joined the team of Flower magazine as digital media manager.

22 thoughts on “In a Vase on Monday: Sense and Sensibility”

  1. There must be all sorts of lessons in that post, Terri, but ultinately balance in all things I suppose. Thanks for taking the time to describe all the components of your salvaged vase, as well as the Big Adventure itself. It’s strange how well the salvia works amidst all teh purples and blues – but it certainly does. Thanks for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

  2. And your cat looks so innocent lying there! I hope the first vase wasn’t an important one. 😉 Anyway, the final arrangement is lovely and it is so good to see some lavender in flower…. something I have to look forward to!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely all. I love thyme (fresh) and have tried it all sorts of ways. In Atlanta I grew Lemon Thyme year round in containers. German thyme will reluctantly last the summer here,if coddled. Love the kitty, sorry about the vase.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Chester looks perfectly innocent! At least the Waterford crystal vase wasn’t the one that broke and the flowers were unscathed. The bearded Iris looks remarkably like the one that (finally) bloomed on my back slope this afternoon. The ladybug is a nice touch too. And, as to your back patio garden, I wouldn’t have been able to resist its allure either!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lovely arrangement, Terri – great capture with the ladybug, too.
    Is Chester a Manx? I’ve owned several over the years and love them as a breed. On the lookout for another, though they’re not easy to find.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Eliza! I believe Chester is a Manx or at least part Manx. He came from a shelter and did not come with a pedigree. He was born without a tail, but at least one of his siblings had a tail–I’ve read that’s pretty common. Have your Manx cats been a handful, or is it just Chester? Personality-wise, I’ve never owned another cat like him.


      1. They are quite social, which I love about the breed (mine never had papers either). My first was a male, the rest females, but he was a mellow-fellow. Is Chester young? They can be hellions in their first year or two!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Funny you ask. He is about 10! Someone told us to wait five years, and then he would be mellow. We’re still waiting. Ha. He can be extremely mellow at times. But when he gets fussy, he starts causing trouble. I try to get him to use that energy on playing with toys, but he gets bored very quickly.


  6. Oh your vase is the prefect illustration of ‘third time lucky’ Terri. It sounds as if it was a blissful day to put your vase together outside so a shame about the mishaps along the way. Still you have created a most attractive result. Your chosen flowers will not arrive here until the summer months so thanks for a tantalising glimpse of what’s yet to
    come 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I think Jane Austen would have loved this imaginative little arrangement! Your flowers are so far ahead of ours in the UK. I love all irises and am looking forward to the bearded variety coming out but have some weeks to wait. Yours is lovely. Salvia ‘Hot Lips’ is a fantastic addition too, then the lavender makes it sort of dreamy.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Very pretty indeed. Can’t wait until we have summer flowers for our vases. Sorry to hear about your vase. We have a cat called Grace and she is always knocking things over. But she is such a sweet cat, we always instantly forgive her.all the best. Karen

    Liked by 1 person

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