In a Vase on Monday: A Summer Breeze

My flowers for this week’s Vase on Monday were leisurely collected on Sunday afternoon – a lovely, breezy  summer’s day – possibly the last really hot day of the summer. A thunder storm with heavy rain was forecast for last night… no damage done thank goodness, and I hope those of you in the UK and France can say the same as the remains of ex-hurricane Bertha sweep across Europe.


I just couldn’t resist cutting some more Anemones for my vase this week as they lasted so well last time, as did the Golden Rod and Achillea (still looking good!).


I don’t think I have ever noticed the “rim” around the edge of the petals before.

The Japanese Anemones and the Perovskia are really the only plants that run the risk of being flattened by wind and rain, so with the forecasts yesterday threatening the worst I cut some Perovskia too. (It’s looking a bit squashed today, but will hopefully stand up again when it dries!) The Scabiosa ochroleuca looked so pretty in front of the Perovskia, where it had cleverly seeded itself, so some of that went in too.


And Succisella inflexa ‘Frosted Pearls’ added some airiness. This is a great plant for dry ground, but can be invasive if given the right conditions! I love its little pearly globes in the rockery, attracting even more bees.


The deep reddish pink in the vase comes from the Centranthus ruber (Red Valerian) and a single sprig of Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Firetail’… I believe this is also known as Red Bistort.


 A few grasses (unidentified!) for the finishing touch, and placed on the hearth I felt it looked – dare I say it – like the beginnings of autumn! Late summer in any case.


Take a look at “Rambling in the Garden“, where other vases are linked in for Cathy’s meme “In a Vase on Monday”. It has grown extremely popular and we all seem to be addicted, so do join in if you can!

Blueberry Buttermilk Cake

It’s been too hot and humid for cooking or baking recently, but then last week we had a couple of cooler days as a breather, AND a visitor was expected, so I made one of my favourite cakes… blueberry and cardamom with buttermilk. 😉


I made this one pictured with double quantities as a small Bundt cake, and have even tripled the recipe for a large/standard Bundt cake that I took to a party, but here’s the recipe for the smaller version, using a small 9-inch/23cm square cake tin.


  • 1/2 cup (60g) plain flour and 1/2 cup (60g) SR flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsps cardamom
  • 1/2 stick (55g) softened butter
  • 2/3 (130g) cup sugar + a 1 tbsp vanilla sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 (120ml) cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F. Grease and flour a 9-inch (23cm) cake pan.

Mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cardamom and salt. In a larger bowl, cream together the butter and sugar and vanilla sugar until fluffy. Add egg and beat well.
In three batches, add the flour, alternating with the buttermilk. Fold in gently until just combined. Stir in all but a few blueberries. Pour the batter into the cake pan. Scatter the remaining blueberries on top (and extra vanilla sugar if you like!).
Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.


Enjoy blueberry season while it lasts!

Tuesday View (5th August)

Here is the view today – a lovely sunny summer’s day, with a light breeze and much less humid than it has been the past week…


The Perovskia is spreading its wings as you can see below, and sending up shoots nearby, while the red rose bush is bursting with new buds again. The creamy white Scabiosa ochroleuca and the pearly Succisella inflexa in the foreground add a little more airiness to the overall effect.


I got really excited today when I spotted a huge caterpillar on my Fennel… yes, the Swallowtail caterpillar! This makes up for not seeing the butterfly this year yet!


About 6cm long and as thick as my little finger. Isn’t it pretty? I shall be watching it carefully…

Have you seen any big caterpillars this summer?

In a Vase on Monday: Gardener’s Gold

Every Monday Cathy’s challenge (at Rambling in the Garden) is to gather flowers from our gardens to put in a vase. I can’t believe I never realised until now just how pleasurable this task can be! And everyone who joins in is saying the same thing: it’s addictive!

This week I went for gold!


The Golden Rod is slowly opening, and I am always surprised at how beautiful this “weed” is. The other surprise is my yellow Achillea. This year I gave it the Chelsea chop when it was about 50 cm tall and that really helped it fill out and not get too leggy. So for the first time I actually like it!


A few ostrich fern leaves and sprigs of grass seedheads were all I needed to complete my simple vase.


I found a new spot for photos – in our entrance hall…


I liked it there so much it will stay there for now.

Another vase was filled last week too – some of my Japanese Anemones were leaning very low after some heavy showers, so I cut them to bring indoors…


The lovely centres continue the gold theme too.


Do you grow any of these plants?

Have a good week, and do visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden to see the other vases created this week.