In a Vase on Monday: Tall and “Willowy”

It is Monday – time to join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden again, with a vase full of lovely things from my garden. It has been a good week for vases – the clearing up after our stormy rainshowers last week meant that lots of peonies and cuttings from tall plants ended up in various vases around the house – and to think that only a year or two ago I would have put most of the damaged stems on the compost heap…

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Rosebay Willowherb appears at the roadsides and on spare pieces of land at this time of year, and occasionally in my garden too. But the one I used today for my Monday vase is one I planted – Epilobium angustifolium ‘Stahl Rose’ – it doesn’t actually spread seed like the wild form, which is perhaps a shame as it is so pretty!

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Even the seed pods are beautiful…

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Other tall flowers I included are the blue Campanula (I don’t know the correct name of this sort) and the pale pink Linaria purpurea ‘Canon J. Went’, both of which seed themselves everywhere nicely, and not in an invasive way.

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The foliage is again from the Goat’s Beard – Aruncus dioicus – I prefer it at this stage, just before it opens and goes all fluffy. A few stems of grasses and I thought my vase was done, but a splash of colour was needed, so I picked one of the tallest Sweet Williams (Dianthus barbatus) I could find – a nice deep pinky red. These plants have also spread throughout the rockery over the years.

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While taking the photos I wondered again at the exquisite detail in some of the flowers, as I did last week with the Nigella; the Sweet Williams above, for example, with their frilly edges and delicate centres, and the Epilobiums in particluar, in such beautiful shades of dusky pink…

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 That reminded me there is a Flower Fairy for Rosebay Willowherb – one of my favourites in fact, so I looked through my Complete Book of the Flower Fairies and found her in the “Flower Fairies of the Wayside” section. The detail in these drawings is simply incredible…

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With the wind in her hair and her arms open wide this carefree fairy is leaping out of the page in pure joy!

Here is her poem:

THE SONG OF THE ROSE-BAY WILLOW-HERB FAIRY

On the breeze my fluff is blown; So my airy seeds are sown.

Where the earth is burnt and sad, I will come to make it glad.

All forlorn and ruined places, All neglected empty spaces,

I can cover – only think! – With a mass of rosy pink.

Burst then, seed-pods; breezes, blow! Far and wide my seeds shall go!

by Cicely Mary Barker

What grows in your garden that has seeded itself either from elsewhere or from something you have planted? And is it welcome?!