In a Vase on Monday: Pyjama Pickings

After a very chilly weekend, with a light frost and a North wind, this morning felt positively balmy when I went into the garden with the dogs first thing; 4°C and not a breeze. After putting the coffee on I decided to go back out, still in my pyjamas, and snip a few things I had my eye on for this Monday’s vase. 🙂 No time like the present, as they say!


There’s a clump of grass under my acer that I have never identified. It is pretty non-descript all year, but has rather pretty flowers in autumn, albeit not many. Any ideas what it could be would be welcome.


Many plants are now showing signs of decay: the sedums are beginning to topple over and all the leaves dropped off the moment I picked them for my vase. The Persicaria is also flopping and the flowers are fading too, but after such a long flowering season I really can’t begrudge it shrinking back from the cold and the damp. But the fennel is still standing tall…


The Leycesteria formosa, which you may know as Himalayan Honeysuckle, is called “Caramel Berry” here. Have you ever tasted the berries? Like burnt caramel! Not exactly unpleasant, but one was enough. In any case, I can’t quite decide what I think of this plant. The flowers and berries hang down so they are hard to see, and the growth is a little lop-sided (another reason for cutting a stalk for the vase today). But it still has all this lovely fresh green foliage so late in the season. Do you grow Leycesteria? What do you think of it?


Later in the day I added some wild asters that are growing on the compost heap, looking a little tatty, but still flowering prettily.


And as the light faded I took a few photos indoors too, using artificial lighting – i.e. a powerful flashlamp! 😉 Some of the pictures turned out okay, but the next few weeks I fear my photography will be stretched to its limits!


 To cheer a November day, take a look at what everyone else is putting In a Vase on Monday, hosted by Cathy’s Rambling in the Garden.

38 thoughts on “In a Vase on Monday: Pyjama Pickings

  1. I hope that you had a dressing gown on top of your pjs Cathy for your early morning flower collecting activities. I grow leycesteria and am most fond of it. Have never tasted a berry and was not aware of the ‘Caramel Berry’ name. I think that my berries are probably now too squidgy to have a nibble so will have to try next year. I do like that dangly grass.

    • Yes, a dressing gown was essential! The berry I ate was quite squidgy – maybe they taste better before they ripen completely. You must try one next year!

  2. Thats a lovely fresh and modern looking arrangement Cathy and the light in your photo looks fresh and clear too. I know your grass but the name will just not come to me, I expect I will wake in the middle of the night with the answer!

  3. I !like your PJ pickings. How clever of you to scout around and get such a pretty vase together after the frost has swept through your garden.
    The grass looks very much like Carex pendula. It is terribly invasive here and hard to get rid of. Have you got much of it?

    • I think that’s it Chloris – thanks! I only have one clump of it, which was here when we came, and it hasn’t spread at all. It is in the driest possible spot though, so perhaps that keeps it in check.

  4. Yes, I rather hope you had on more than your pyjamas too;) I think here was frosty and just below freezing last night, although surprisingly Edinburgh wasn’t. Hasn’t your persicaria done well this year? I have ‘Firetail’ too but it is perhaps too near the back of the woodland edge border and gets overshadowed by Red Dragon. It certainly hasn’t had the longevity and brilliance that yours has – it looks so good here with the sedum and the grass and that very tempting leycesteria. Thanks for sharing

    • Our little dog seemed very interested in the caramel berries too as they were just at nose level! 🙂 We had another frost today, so next week’s vase will need a great deal of thought…

  5. Nice to read “the making of ” your vase.. 🙂 I like the way you spend time and thoughts on it. I wanted to write that I like dried “Fruchtstände” as well. I asked the translator for the english word and got the answer, fruit stand means a open-air market stand. Does it have two meanings like in German?

    • Füchtstände is simply “fruit”, although the correct botanical term is “infructescence”. For special words I often look at the Wikipedia site and then find the equivalent in English or German by selecting the language in the left-hand bar. 🙂

  6. A very seasonal vase today Cathy, I like the Leycesteria formosa but I don’t grow it here, I think it works rather well in the vase where you can see the flowers close up. don’t catch a chill with your early morning wanderings.

    • I agree – the Leycesteria will have to be included in a vase more often and I don’t want the shrub to get too big anyway! It was another frosty morning today… don’t worry, I have a nice thick dressing gown and sometimes a jacket over that when I go out with our old doggy in the morning – just hope no one sees me as the wellies must make me look a real sight! LOL! 🙂

  7. Ha, Ha! So I’m not the only one out in her garden early in the morning picking flowers in her pajamas! The last time I did, though, the local police were passing by and stopped to say “Hello”. I must have been beet-red, I was so embarrased! I had never heard of leycesteria, but the name is curious: in Spanish, “ley” is law and “cestería” is a basket shop!

    • How embarassing! We have a public footpath next to our garden and in winter you can just about see through the fence, but on Monday morning it was slightly foggy so I felt “safe”! LOL! The name Leycesteria comes from a 19th century horticulturist called William Leycester who possibly exported it from India or “discovered” it at least.

  8. Hi Cathy! I grow Leycesteria formosa and I love it! I cut it back mid season this year because it was growing so tall and blocking sun from another plant. There was no bother with it and it continued on growing and also grew its lovely hanging down berries (which I have never tried eating!). I love the bamboo-like stems of the plant, and as you say it is still looking lovely and green when so much in the garden isn’t. I’ve just moved mine this weekend, so I hope it will be just as lovely next year in its new home. I really like your arrangement, it is lovely and autumn looking. Have a good week 🙂 Dana

    • Hi Dana! Good to know it can be cut back as I don’t want mine to get too large.It may have to be moved otherwise, but if I keep cutting some for vases that may work too! I hope yours settles in to its new position nicely. They are pretty flowers/berries. You must try a berry next year… curious flavour. 😉

  9. 4C! I’m not sure I’d venture out even in a heavy coat but then we southern Californians have thin blood – 18C (65F) would have us complaining. Your November pickings are nonetheless very pretty.

    • LOL! It’s been frosty the last couple of nights, so an extra layer was necessary, but I don’t mind a brief blast of cold air to wake me up every morning while taking our old doggie round the garden. 🙂 (And the warm coffee tastes even better after! 😉 )

  10. Hi Cathy, Your vase is a cheerful sight on a Damp November morning.
    If the grass has sword like leaves then I also think it is Carex Pendula. It can be very invasive, but is loved by flower arrangers.

  11. Our pyjama picking morning are long gone, glad to hear you’re still able to sneak a few in! The vase still has a fresh fall-look to it, not the dried brown look mine would show 🙂
    I’m not sold on the Leycesteria just yet. For some reason the look of the plant just doesn’t do anything for me and overall it seems like it could easily be another selfseeding weed in my zone. Maybe I shouldn’t be so quick to judge though since it does have a nice color to it and does look as fresh as June.

    • I will see next year if the Leycesteria earns its keep, as it won’t be allowed to take up too much space. It has only just really become noticeable since its shiny green leaves are standing out. But it is lasting really well in the vase. 🙂

  12. Cathy how fabulous to find little bits of color and texture around the November garden. Wonderful vase for November.I am having a hard time getting pictures of mine too because the light is gone so fast and in shadow…plus the wind and rain/snow. Always love a challenge though! 🙂

    • 🙂 I wonder what we will all manage to come up with in December and January! The flashlamp worked well as artificial lighting, but I’m hoping for some sunshine next week.

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