In a Vase on Monday

Determined to put a holiday arrangement together today—since greens are one of the few things my shady garden offers in abundance—I ran through the garden with pruners just as it was getting dark and quickly made this vase.


Plant materials include a single cutting of Southern magnolia (M. grandiflora), two snips of American holly (Ilex opaca), a handful of Japanese spotted laurel (Aucuba japonica ‘Variegata’), and a smidge of heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica) sporting two clusters of berries.

The “vase,” an old can purchased years ago at a flea market, is one of my favorites.  Fitted with a glass bowl to hold wet florist foam, woody stems are easily held in place and enough moisture is supplied to keep foliage fresh.

When complete, the arrangement claimed pride of place on a small English side table on the new porch.

As an aside, the painting above the table was the first item purchased for the recent addition to our home.  In fact, it was bought at auction for this particular spot even before the plans for the porch were complete.  The artwork, Cyclamen and Brass Tray #4, was painted by Nan Greacen (1909-1999).  Nan was born in Giverny, France, while her father, the American Impressionist Edmund Greacen (1876-1949), painted with Monet.

I had no inkling of this history when I left a bid on the piece; I just liked the pretty pot of white cyclamen, plus the style of the painting and its frame, and thought it perfect for a gardener’s porch.  Certainly, the price paid was no clue to distinction, but then, that’s the beauty of buying at auction.

I like the way the two floral offerings work together, especially since I typically look for white cyclamen at Christmas.

To see what others have created today, visit Kathy at Rambling in the Garden.

12 thoughts on “In a Vase on Monday

  1. An Eye For Detail

    Lovely lovely Marian! I just noticed my Nandina this morning, full of wonderful berries. I have a white one planted just a year ago that has some berries, but not enough for cutting. The painting is beyond perfect for the new porch!

    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Jason–Yes, way cool. My taste in art is a tad unique, so it’s rare that I end up with a named piece. I was shocked when I investigated Nan and found the Monet connection. She worked as an illustrator as well as an oil and watercolor artist, and wrote several how-to publications for Walter Foster Art Books and others. I bought her “Still Life is Exciting” from Amazon earlier this year.

  2. Kris P

    The painting and the vase make lovely companions. I originally had it in mind to create a composition with berries myself this week but found myself with too few berries to make an impact – your arrangement fits the season beautifully!

    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Kris–Nandina is prolific in my 50s neighborhood. If I didn’t have it in my own yard, I wouldn’t have to go far to find some. Thanks for the compliment. This easy, throw-together type of arrangment is a favorite and fun to make.

  3. Cathy

    You can’t go wrong with red and green like these! – I look forward to having berries on my still quite small nandina! The painting is a delight – lucky you!

  4. pbmgarden

    Your holiday arrangement looks super. I’m a huge fan of using white cyclamen at Christmas also, so my eye jumped immediately to the painting. What a great piece to inaugurate your new room. Sadly I’d not heard of Edmund Greacen so looked him up. He did some nice work. I visited Reynolda House in Winston-Salem recently for exhibition of The Artist’s Garden : American Impressionism and the Garden Movement, 1887-1920. Now I’m wondering if Greacen was represented.

  5. Sharon Lanier

    Marian, You found that beautiful painting “after” we went to Giverny ?? What a neat connection!! I loved that little village. Two beautiful vases in two weeks! Cannot wait to see what the next one looks like! Your porch is coming together beautifully.


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