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?!

52 thoughts on “In a Vase on Monday: Tall and “Willowy”

  1. Lovely flowers – as always – in your Vase of Monday, Cathy! I love most the “Campanula persicifolia” (pfirsichblättrige Glockenblume). This flower (blue and white) has also spread in my garden and is very welcome. Have a good week!

    • Oh thank you for reminding me of the name Elisabeth! I do have one white one so far this year, and the blue ones are spreading nicely, thank you!

  2. A truly lovely vase! Interesting that your roadside wildflower Epilobium is a North American native. I wasn’t aware that each flower had its own fairy, like patron saints but without the gruesome martyrdoms. Good to know!

    • Thank you Jason. Yes, there are many different sorts and I have just read that they are now called Chamerion and not Epilobium! How annoying! In any case, the one you have is most probably the same as ours, as it is native in most of the northern hemisphere.

  3. That Rosebay Willowherb is indeed a special flower showing up to make delight and I love the detail in the fairy picture too….I do love your vase and especially the close up of the Epilobium angustifolium….I too notice the beauty of the flowers in detail, their special scents and how lovely the blooms fade now that they are inside to look at closely in a vase.

    • Bringing the flowers indoors does make us look at them in more detail, doesn’t it! The flower fairy pictures are so detailed and I do envy people who can reproduce that so well in a drawing!

    • 😉 The Linaria seeds you sent me produced a couple of purple plants too. Did you have purple ones? Now I have put in a couple of small white ones, and hope they will spread as well, although they are not as tall. I do love them all!

      • Yes, I started getting the odd purple-flowered plant after a few years. I prefer the pink, but the bees don’t seem to mind! I’ll look forward to seeing photos of your white linaria… haven’t come across those here.

    • I am glad I have helped you see flowers in a new light… this meme where we bring plants indoors for a vase makes me look at them in a completely different way! 🙂

    • After posting this I found a few small wild willowherb plants that had found their way into my front flower bed… I’m afraid they had to come out as they looked so untidy! 😉

  4. I love the Epilobium and the Rosebay Willowherb fairy’s poem. It’s not a flower that grows here and my garden guide doesn’t even list the genus (although I have a vague recollection that our Zauschneria (aka California Fuchsia) has been reclassified as such. The most rampant self-seeder I have right now (not counting those like Geranium incanum that I consider weeds) is Cerinthe major. I’ve also found a few unexpected seedlings of Solanum xanti, a California native, and Hairy Canary Clover (its proper name doesn’t come to mind at the moment).

    • Solanum is sold as an annual summer container plant here, and I do love it. Cerinthe has never set seed for me, but Geraniums do well in our climate too! I have found that the Willowherb (fireweed) is now called Chamerion… maybe that is listed?

  5. I had no idea that there is a cultivated form of the rose-bay willow herb – it does look very pretty.A lovely vase & thank you for sharing the poem. My main self seeders are a myriad of weeds – too many to name & only cow parsley and nettles are welcome. The worst are the thistles with exceptionally sharp spikes. I am finding that hardy annuals are beginning to seed about the garden and these are much more welcome.

    • The weed I have to contend with most is ground elder… it doesn’t need seeds as it just spreads underground anyway! It has taken a long time for any hardy annuals to set seed here too. The Nigella is slowly getting established now. Luckily I rarely get thistles!

  6. I don’t know the names of plants too well but there are a few that seem to have seed itself. Perhaps they are weeds though to me still beautiful. I enjoyed your post very much! Thank you for sharing. Cheers, Koko 🙂

  7. What a beautiful fairy to bring beauty to a world which needs it so badly. You are introducing me to new flowers today, Cathy. Your vase is so beautifully sunlit. This post is simply exquisite in every way 😉 Giant hugs, WG

  8. Your Flower Fairy poem reminded me that we used to call Epilobium ‘fireweed’ in Canada, because it always colonises first after natural fires. Lovely vase, Cathy – the dark background really highlights the fragile beauty of the Epilobium and Linaria in particular. Cowslips are the flowers that have ‘come in’ to my garden and that I welcome the most.

    • Yea, I meant to mention that. Apparently after the war it sprouted up all over London on sites that had been bombed and become derelict, so the name is also appropriate there. I am glad you have cowslips seeding themselves… My little patch is gradually growing too! Thanks Cathy!

  9. Let´s going wild! 🙂 I love the flower fairy poem. I become more and more interested for wild flowers. New settlers in our garden are orange hawkweed (Pilosella aurantiaca) and Potenilla palustris at our garden pond. Pictures will follow!

  10. Another beautiful vase, Cathy. I have a two-year old fig tree that was delivered by seed droppings and I cherish it! It’s too soon for figs, but I already really appreciate the tree’s beauty. Coreopsis is a favorite and it, too, just takes over with reseeding. And each summer I have zinnias that appear after the seeds from the previous summer come to life and reseed. I love when that happens. 🙂

  11. Beautifully light and airy. I just adore Sweet William but it doesn’t stick around here for long. Rosebay Willowherb has such a pretty structure and ahh, that name changing! Glad I hadn’t quite learned Epilobium, so I’ll put it out of my head and try to remember Chamerion. Currently cleome has self-seeded and is happy in many places. I let it roam as it’s fairly easy to pull out if need be.

    • Cleome is such a pretty plant but I rarely manage to grow any. A few are in pots this year, safe from the snails! These name changes are annoying aren’t they! I have always known this as Epilobium…

  12. What a considerate and attractive rose bay willow herb Cathy. I had a white flowering one which sadly has long since gone by the wayside. I’ve also found that linaria purpurea ‘Canon J.Went’ is never a pest unlike its purple relative 🙂

    • A white willowherb sounds very nice. I have a purple Linaria too, but it is fairly well- behaved so far…. but thanks for the warning!

  13. Lovely, as always! Now I’m going to see if I can track down a cultivated rosebay willowherb for my garden…the wild ones grow wonderfully well here but they spread so much you’d have to have a dedicated space to let them go.

    • It has been in my garden for at least five years now Sheryl, and has formed a nice clump but hasn’t spread by seed. So I am very pleased with it as the odd wild one that appears has to be plucked out really quickly before it spreads here too!

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