Memento flori in a vase

Are you thinking, What a hot mess! when you look at my opening shot? Listen, kid, it’s late October. Everything in the garden was a tad weather-beaten when I cut the Pyracantha berries I knew would glow in an arrangement. But my theatre training tells me something about those raggedy edges and hail-pockmarked leaves. Like stage makeup: It won’t read from the 5th row. Stand back a little to see what I mean. (Squinting helps, too.)

What would go with the berries?

Begonia boliviensis matched the colour perfectly – although they grew in a J-pattern, so had to be put in the vase with the leaves upside-down. Heuchera ‘Brownies’ had leaves changing gorgeously from brownish red to reddish purple. Plus I spotted a few fat shoots of nibbled Tradescantia pallida ‘Purpurea’, a single un-trampled stem of chartreuse ‘Margarita’ sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas), a few limp stems of two forms of coleus (Plectranthus syn. Solenostemon, unknown cultivars), and bits of chartreuse licorice plant (Helichrysum petiolare ‘Lemon Licorice’).

For the vase, a vintage Beauceware dish with a stylized leaf pattern – one of my Value Village finds – fit the trailing arrangement I had in mind. A couple of round floral pin-holders held the stems in place. Here’s the result: my In a Vase on Monday, on Tuesday.

Complete with weather-distressed (aka “dusty”) tabletop, here’s what 10 minutes and the last scrapings from the garden jar can do. Life is too short to worry about perfection. Isn’t it?

For more inspiration, do visit Cathy’s In a Vase on Monday on Rambling in the Garden. Even if you don’t blog, trying to make something pretty out of odds and sods in the waning garden is such an enjoyable challenge. Give it a try!


  1. A lovely and very unique arrangement! The pyracantha berries remind me of our mountain ash, which I have been wanting to include in an arrangement, but am not quite sure how!

    1. Oh, you should give it a try, Joanna! Mountain ash (Sorbus) and firethorn (Pyracantha) are both members of the rose family, so the berries can look similar. And mountain ash comes in a range of colours, too. They can make very attractive berry bunches. If you can’t find a graceful branch to cut, then you might try wiring some bunches together as a single strong accent.

      1. Thank you for the advice! I will have to try it sometime, although the berries are rather past their prime here now and most of the leaves are gone. I didn’t know mountain ash was a member of the rose family!

  2. Ive got that lovely purple tradescantia. I hadn’t thought of using it in flower arrangements. Very pretty. Thanks for sharing.

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