The bluebells are coming, oh ho!



First things first: I did not grow these greeny-white flowers, whose name you are all going to fill me in on. I bought them several weeks ago from the Gretna Services M&S on my way home from Cumbria. I also bought some red roses (whose by now dried rose petals I scattered round a chocolate mousse cake to great effect). These flowers long outlasted the roses and I’m hot on recycling, so why not use them again? I cut them down afresh for this small glass vase, and added the only flower I have in abundance all over gardens front and back: bluebells.


When thinking of the title of this post, all I could hear was Percy the Small Engine’s song in Stepney The “Bluebell” Engine by Rev. W. Awdry. Funny how things like this hang about in your neurones, un-thought of for thirty years yet leaping reliably to the fore the very moment they are called upon to do so.


The vase is another charity shop find; I do appreciate charity shops for vases. If you look carefully among the china and glass, you can almost always find a treasure lurking behind something dreadful. Happening upon good vases in unlikely locations echoes the spirit of Cathy’s Monday vase challenge in which we search our gardens for flowers and foliage in what can be sometimes (in my case, at least) unpromising botanical conditions.



17 thoughts on “The bluebells are coming, oh ho!”

  1. Oh this is a stunning arrangement…I love the green-white flowers that remind me of mums…and the bluebells are just beautiful rising above the green and white…i must get to a few thrift shops and look around for some vases.

  2. The bluebells are beautiful – mine don’t get nearly that tall (and are also long gone as we’re solidly in summer-mode). Like Donna, the green flowers make me think of Chrysanthemums – some of our florists here add bits of dye to their water to turn petals on the white ones green.

    1. Bluebells are one plant that really thrives in the cold of Scotland – ours are bushy and tall and last for ages. They add much needed colour at this time of year. I imagine somewhere hotter they wouldn’t be quite so happy. Hmmm, chrysanths? I could be convinced…

  3. Yep, they’re chrysanthemums, and at this time of year the only green thing about them is the crafty petal tips. And, I suppose, the fact that they last so long. I’ve never been sure whether they are dyed or bred like that. If snowdrops can have green tips I don’t see why chrysanths shouldn’t. Wet one and see if the green comes off.
    Of the flowers that are definitely dyed the granddaddy of them all has to be Oscar’s green carnation. Carnations turn up in even stranger colours these days; I think its done by standing the stems in dye, The second candidate is an everlasting flower with a cloud of tiny blooms, (possibly sea lavender) which can be found in various unlikely shades. And I think I may have seen broom flowers dyed, too.
    Fancy anyone giving such a shapely vase to a charity shop!

  4. It’s scary how long shop-bought flowers last. About a month ago I took my daughter back to university and we bought one gerbera stem to adorn a tiny Schweppes tonic bottle that came with the farewell lunch G&T. Apparently it’s still alive. I’ve just found your blog and like it a lot Joanna. We had a great week in Edinburgh at the beginning of 2014 staying with our teenage children in Collegehill House, next door to Rosslyn Chapel. The galleries, the architecture, the views were all wonderful. You are very lucky to live in such a beautiful city.

    1. Thank you Sarah for visiting and leaving such a nice comment. Gerberas are themselves long lasting… my partner accidentally knocked one of the orange flowers off my small gerbera plant on the windowsill, and he popped it in a glass of water, and it is still fine a good three or four weeks later, although the colour has faded a little.
      Edinburgh is a beautiful, wonderful city, and the novelty of its charms in comparison to my home city of London has still not worn off after 2 years here.

  5. Definitely chrysanths, Joanna – I am growing them for the first time this year (including a green one!) and the leaves are so recognisable. The chances are these are dyed which is such a shame, although it’s an interesting experiment to do if you are so inclined! Good to recycle them with your obliging bluebells though – and what a superb vase. I’d have snapped it up too – and I am pleased to hear you say I can never have too many vases… 😉 Thanks for sharing

    1. Well you are entirely to blame for my upsurge in vase purchases. Previously having been of the opinion that I have no time to spare for such frivolities, now having finally joined in I am developing quite a compulsive habit for In A Vase, to the detriment of the laundry. Who needs ironed clothes when you can have beautiful vases of flowers all about?

  6. Your bluebells are still flowering? Mine are turning to a soggy mess already. As you say they certainly grow well up here, I think they have a plan for garden domination in our street.

  7. I agree about Cathy encouraging vase purchases. I am seriously tempted to do the rounds of our Sunday ‘vide greniers’ here just to acquire some more. I have so few. Your vase is lovely Joanna – and the way you have photographed it looks like a page from an interior design magazine. The chrysanths (didn’t recognise them!) are so lovely with the bluebells – hard to believe they’ve been dyed! (ps – love your hydrangea pic on the header too!)

    1. Thank you for your very kind comments, Cathy. I do recommend second-hand shops for vases. Though you’ll rarely find anything extremely special, you can usually pick up decent vases of some kind or other, and I’ve found it has helped a great deal in simply increasing the range of heights and capacities in my collection so that I don’t have to reject a lovely bloom because I don’t have the right vase.

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