In a Vase on Monday – Hidden Scent and Plants for Bees

The glorious and uplifting sunshine we enjoyed last week is due to give way to heavy rain, my family were away for part of the weekend, which in turn gave me some free time to experiment with vases before my Autumn flowers get the promised drenching.


Hidden Scent

Firstly I had the sitting room carpet to clean, Raspberries dropped on the kitchen floor by my eldest, rushing to make a snack for her journey became stuck to the feet of our dog. I think they all worry I have not got enough to keep me busy! My new vase was bought at one of the local Methodist Church fundraisers, who are in desperate need of a new roof. The vase is far more elegant than I’m used too, after several attempts I finally settled on simple white and green. And plonked the hotter colours of Rudbeckias, Persicaria and the Sweet Peas we are still picking in jugs.

Eleagnus ebbingei vanilla scented flowers

Eleagnus ebbingei vanilla scented flowers

I started with Eleagnus ebbingei as I love the fragrance. The tiny flowers are powerfully scented, its heady vanilla aroma fills the air. The flowers are hidden from view and formed in the leaf axils. About 10 years ago it survived a widespread scale infestation and last summer a good half of this very mature 4 metre tall shrub died back – I thought we were going to lose it all, the dead wood was cut out and its sprung back with lots of fresh growth and has just started to flower again. The shrub is weeping profusely for the first time this year, possibly in response to the hard pruning.

Weeping resin

Weeping Eleagnus ebbingei

I’ve added in a couple of sprigs of Hesperis matronalis – short lived perennials sown this spring and one plant has already thrown up a few flowers rather than wait till next year, they have a beautiful fragrance which reminds me of cloves and I’ve read they make good cut blooms.

Hesperis matronilis

Hesperis matronilis

Added also is Gaura lindheimeri, I grew these from seed last year and this summer have been rewarded with an absolute abundance of flowers, although perennial they are not long lived. I had worried Bees were not visiting this plant and after reassurance from Amelia of A French Garden have now noticed Honey bees visiting the fresh stamens.

Gaura lindheimeri

Gaura lindheimeri

The Cosmos also grown from seed this spring objected to the cold wet weather and was heading for the compost bin but has perked up in last weeks sunshine,although the new flowers are much smaller. The Cosmos, Hesperis and Eleagnus ebbigei flowers are all much loved by Bees and now I know the Gaura is too, but I have not noticed any insect activity on the Alchemilla mollis which I found having a last hurrah and is providing the green froth.

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling in my Garden for hosting this meme, which I rarely have time to join in with but always enjoy seeing what everyone else is up to.

47 thoughts on “In a Vase on Monday – Hidden Scent and Plants for Bees

  1. Simply exquisite Julie. Your new vase is quite a find and your green and white choices to fill it are perfect ones. Great photos as well. Hope your rain is not too threatening. I picked flowers early ahead of a big storm here also.

    • Yes, just some overnight sociable light rain would be much better! I had to buy a professional bouquet a few weeks ago and after a sit down at the price and a talking too by my mum at the skill involved have been thinking I need to understand more and hats off, this is a tricky business!

    • I often go back to white and green, I am in my comfort zone with those two colours, I like your idea of using 3 separate vases, I just need to expand my vase collection first!

    • I have a real soft spot for Gaura, as my husband gave me Gaura seeds when we first moved to this house and garden, they remind me of a very happy time and sowing seeds with my now grown up children.

  2. Your arrangement is so fresh and pretty Julie. And fragrant too, what a bonus. Scented flowers are a bit thin on the ground at the moment. Your arrangement brings a touch of summery lightness to a dismal day.

  3. Yes, just the right colours for that vase – and I know what you mean about the vase as ‘elegance’ is not something that comes naturally to me either. I am intrigued by the ‘weeping’ of the eleagnus – is that what it is meant to do? And interested too to read about growing gaura from seed as they have never done well as plants for me so at least seed is a cheaper option for the pretty plants. Doesn’t alchemilla scrub up well when it’s paired with white blooms like this? They all look great together so thanks for joining in today.

    • The Eleagnus has shot up vertically, grown horizontally and grown in tight clusters of leaves, which is where I have picked the “trailing” ones. I expect all in response to my pruning. One packet of Gaura seeds last year produced approx 30 plants, they are naturally spindly, so I’ve grouped them in 3’s to make a bulkier plant. I’d thoroughly recommend growing from seed as they are so easy to grow.

  4. Green and white is timeless and what an elegant vase. And you have scent too – lovely. I will have to add Gaura to my list of seeds to sow. I have bought plants for the garden but of course they don’t last so sowing seed is the way to go I think.

    • I thoroughly recommend growing by seed, as they always seem to germinate easily and are so undemanding to grow. Not long lived but easy to replace this way.

  5. This is a beautiful posy in a very elegant vase. I love your descriptions of the blooms you have used – they make me want to go out and get these flowers for my garden!
    We have had a little drizzle on and off during the afternoon. The heavy rain has just started!

  6. A lovely elegant arrangement Julie. Green and white create a very fresh look and then just a hint of pink from the Gaura. It must be very rewarding that three of the flowers are home grown from seed.

    • I am in between greenhouses, my future one was a gift from my sister, it needs a little (huge amount) of restoration and progress is at a snails pace, hopefully the winter will see it finished, but its amazing what a cold frame and windowsill can achieve!

  7. Raspberry stains on the carpet! I suppose it’s too much to hope that the carpet is red? Your arrangement is fresh and beautiful, Julie. I love the Hesperis with the tinges of green at the center – that’s not a plant I’m familiar with.

    • Our carpet is cream, its a ridiculous colour to have with children and dogs, but my husband who doesn’t hoover was determined. You might know Hesperis as Dame’s Rocket, I’ve read its an ‘invader’ in North America, originally from Europe and brought to you with good intentions!

  8. Such a lovely arrangement and I love the vase too! I bet you end up using it a lot because it is a lovely shape and color! I love Gaura too and the white is my favorite although I know there is a bright pink. Usually it is perennial for us and can get really huge. Hope you have a wonderful week and it is not too wet to garden. As always your photos are wonderful! 😊


    • It’s a perennial for us too but short lived particularly as we have occasional harsh winters, which would see it off. But it’s so easy to grow from seed, it’s simple to replace. There are some new cultivars on the market now I haven’t tried yet, my sister bought a pink one this year that was really very pretty.

    • I like white and green in a vase and in a border, I love textures and shape contrast very much. The hardest part is picking flowers to bring indoors!

  9. Definitely a good choice to use white and green in your elegant vase Julie. I really love this kind of arrangement as I am sure I would never be able to produce such an elegant looking creation! So lovely to see some frothy Alchemilla reflowering. It may not attract bees, but mine attracts lots of tiny beetles and I have seen lizards and butterflies drink from the leaves. 🙂 Especially love the Gaura. I wonder how it lasts once cut…..

    • Cathy, interesting to hear of your beetles on the Alchemilla, I am going to make a point of watching more closely, as I couldn’t remember seeing any interaction. But now you mention drinking from the water droplets I can recall seeing that happen. And that’s one of the best plants for water droplets too!

  10. Your white vase is beautiful, and more so with your choice of blooms. My alchemilla has also sprouted a few blooms…the weather each year brings flowers at odd times, but it is all welcome.

  11. Gaura is one that does well here in Texas – it handles the heat admirably and I’d never have guessed it would do so well for you there. How versatile! Bees do love it and butterflies as well though perhaps you don’t get so many of those this time of year?

    I think the white vase is stunning and your choices work elegantly. Very peaceful and serene that arrangement – just the thing to offset having to clean a cream carpet of berry stains!

    • Far fewer Butterflies, we had a brief week of sunshine with a few new ones visiting, now its cold and wet again hardly any. Some hibernate as adults and some lay eggs to overwinter, so it cannot be many more weeks before they are at that stage. My youngest daughter gave me a new Butterfly House, in fact my first ever, I am hoping it will make a good home. The stains came out but its a stupid colour to have!

  12. What a fresh and clean arrangement, and of course to have a nice vanilla scent with it really makes it seem more of a spring or summer vase than one for autumn. But I suspect there wouldn’t be a season which wouldn’t welcome this nice of a collection!
    Odd how bees will come and go like that, we’re having a busy bee season this year, that’s not always the case.

    • Your garden looks a great place for bees, and gardeners can do much to help, its harder for Bees in agricultural areas with limited field margins and pesticide use. We’ve had a temporary ban on neonics over the last two years but the government are still allowing some use on Oil Seed Rape crops.We live in an agricultural area and our local farmer does keep field margin strips of wildflowers, but at this time of year, there is little to offer local bees and more going on in gardens.

  13. A beautiful vase Julie. I find the bees visit the Gaura first thing in the morning and hover flies later in the day. Mine self seed profusely so the bees must love them

    • I’ve planted this new group of Gaura in a place they can self seed happily, so after reading your comment I am really hoping they do as I love this plant.

  14. glorious images, Julie! I love the scent of vanilla, so must look out for Eleagnus ebbingei which is new to me and I adore green and white together too.

    • Hi Ann, its tough looking plant but the gorgeous scent is matched by the silver underside to its tough evergreen leaf that when the winter winds blows and lifts the the whole canopy of leaves up, is a mass of shimmering silver.

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