A ‘Vase Trial’ by Default

Instagram can be very annoying at times often suggesting and putting random pictures on your feed ‘because you liked’ some other post, story or reel in the past. It does this under the label ‘we think you’ll like this’ as it displays arbitrary pictures and videos. And, surprise, surprise more often than not I am not remotely interested in anything the algorithm suggests.

However, once in a blue moon the Instagram algorithm scores a goal. It did just this when it suggested I might like the account of florist, Graeme Corbett, at Bloom and Burn. Now, having seen lots of his lovely, contemporary flower displays I was inspired to have a go at his loose style using an old fashioned, painted vase with my own homegrown flowers.

Arrangement of roses ‘Souvenir du Docteur Jamain’, ‘L’Aimant’ and ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ in a leaky vase.

Not quite in the free-flowing form of Graeme’s work, but I was reasonably pleased with my first effort. Then, I noticed a dark patch spreading across the black cloth and realised this old vase leaked. It was originally a charity shop purchase of my mother’s some 20 years ago and when I thought about it I couldn’t remember ever seeing it used for fresh flowers. Now I know why and so began the trial of the vases.

To immediately deal with the leak situation I grabbed the first vessel to hand which was a jug. It turned out that the free-flowing look and my trusty old Spode jug did not a fine match make. Something to do with the size of the bunch and the size of the individual blooms.

Turned out the Spode was too small.

And, then, when I switched to a green, glass vase (a gift from my sister) the height of the vase required cutting something taller from the backyard. I found a white foxglove and gave it a try, but the whole arrangement still didn’t work.

Green vase was a no-go even with props!

Finally, I nipped upstairs to my bedroom where my grandmother’s lustre jug normally sits on a chest of drawers, emptied it of random bits and pieces and brought it down to the kitchen. Not to be caught out again I first filled it with water and checked it for leaks. After relegating the foxglove to the compost bin, I grouped the remaining flowers into a satisfactory arrangement.

Honestly, what a fuss to achieve an informal, free-flowing, ‘it just happened’ floral display.


Author: agnesashe

Artisan, blogger and passionate East Anglian working from home.

25 thoughts on “A ‘Vase Trial’ by Default”

      1. The colours of the flowers with the lustre jug, but also the carefree display! Which, by the sound of it wasn’t especially carefree in preparation…. Well done for persevering 😊

      2. I think that’s the true art of contemporary floristry where you don’t realise the workings ‘under the bonnet’ so as to speak. I’ve watched several of Graeme’s tutorials and he makes it look so easy and nothing like difficult work! I guess that’s experience for you.

  1. I will agree with your final choice, as I like the vase color with your selection flower colors, though my favorite color is green, esp. that color green 🙂 and I still would have used the foxglove in the loos arrangement. There again though I am bias as I love foxglove, delphiniums & larkspur. I do love your arrangement! Great Post and photography 🙂

    1. Thank you for your generous comment. I totally agree about the colours linking the lustre jug to the flower colours too. Foxgloves are one of my favourites, but weirdly for the first time in my gardening experience the local snails are eating the young plants. It’s the second year of only a handful of foxgloves have survived from 30 original healthy plants grown from seed and transplanted to beds when a good size. Very annoying and mystifying.

      1. That’s the way to do it! Someone asked me in all seriousness the other day which of the candidates I wanted to see in Number Ten. Is there a printable answer?

    1. Thank you. Mmm, the leaky vase was a disappointment, but it turned into a mini challenge and I was going to get there in the end. A minuscule personal win in the face of these less than tranquil times.

  2. You’re not going to believe this Agnes. As I read the post, and the first vase came into view, I thought, ‘hang on, doesn’t this one leak?’ I feel sure you’ve tried it before, and it sparked a memory in me. Must be because I simply love the colour and design. I am terrible a floral arranging, so all look attractive to me, but you definitely nailed it with the last.

    And I admire your patience, as I am hearing so much about England’s heatwave; and that is enough to push people over the edge. Years ago when I was in Kent, the temps reached 32’c. Normal for us, but you guys aren’t set up for it, and I hadn’t packed appropriate clothes. Even I got hot and bothered.

    1. You know as I was writing this post I suddenly thought I’d written about a leaky vase before, but I knew it couldn’t be this one as it’s only just arrived from my parent’s home. The other leaky vase was my paternal grandmother’s. Seems we are a sentimental and not practical bunch in our family.

      Oh yes the heat! Suffolk was just mentioned on the national news, but my daughter and I got ahead of the game by reading sound advice sent by Australian’s on Twitter!! We aren’t set up for heat as you say and our buildings are notoriously badly insulated, winter we’re too cold and summer too hot. I’ve often complained about my gloomy basement, but it’s by far the coolest place in the house at the moment with blinds and windows closed until the evening. Hope the flooding situation has eased in your part of the world.

  3. How curious about the vase. The more I look at it, the more I’m convinced I’ve seen it before. But of course, many people must have acquired one just like it along the way.

    Our flooding has eased, but not before our subterranean garage went under by two inches. The cause has been found, thank goodness, and no great damage done to our contents. But the cause of the wall leak is still under investigation. It’s not just us, but most of the apartments above and below us. Same place.

    Air conditioning was not common in Australia until the 1970s so I’m sure you have all sorts of handy advice. On a personal level, ice-cubes on the wrists and behind the neck help. Easy way to achieve that is to place a wet face washer in the freezer for a while and then wrap it around your neck.

    In one flat I lived in I used to place a tray of ice-cubes in front of an oscillating fan so I could sleep at night. You can achieve the same effect by using bottles of frozen water. They will melt during the night, obviously, so sit them in something.

    And even on the hottest day, I can’t handle an absolutely cold shower, but I sure don’t add much heat to the mix. Good luck with it all. I feel for you.

    1. Thanks for all the advice. And yes, it was most definitely needed here as my bedroom hit 30 degrees and it only dropped by a couple of degrees overnight. Like you I can’t do a fully cold shower, in fact not sure my shower can even do cold water only. It’s a thermostatic valve with both hot and cold water inputs and it’s adjusted to get best hot temp which means at the cold end of the setting it still fires the boiler. What can I say British plumbing!!! Anyway I took your tip and used the fan and a frozen bottle of water, but really should have slept down in the basement at a cool 27 degrees! Trouble is too nervous to sleep with the basement windows open. Still it has blown over for the time being like your floods. Sorry to hear about the underground car park – water makes such a mess.

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