In A Vase on Monday – Where The Wild Things Are


As these things go sometimes I started out with one idea and ended up with another. My first thought was to create a vase that looked as if it had been put together in an English garden. The English garden vase was going reasonably well until I realized the Sunflowers were full (extraordinarily full) of insects resembling Lightning Bugs. I hope they are Lightning Bugs and not a dreadful all consuming beetle. I carried several of these beetles outside and then realized the vase needed something like Artemisia or Lambs Ears, requiring a several hundred mile drive to the north.

So, I went to the back garden, where the wild things are, to search for some contrasting foliage. Looking up, I spied ripe, purple wild grapes that ramble through the Surinam Cherry hedge. The wild things are usually in the hedge eating something. Surinam Cherries, Passionfruit, rootstock Oranges and Seagrapes grow nearby. Sometimes at night it sounds like the creatures from Jurassic Park are in the garden.

The grapes are native Muscadines (Vitis rotundafolia) and the local wildlife usually gets the  fruit before I see it ripen. These look like Champagne Grapes, but taste nothing like them! Less than an 1/2 inch diameter with 3 large seeds inside, tasty but barely edible. I cut some, not very English at all and started a bigger vase for the grapes.

Into the big crystal vase they went and some tropical friends joined in:


The white flowers are Bridal Bouquet Plumeria (Plumeria pudica) flourishing in the heat of August. The orange flowers, Mexican Bush Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera). The ferns, gigantic fronds of Asian Sword Fern, I think. The big leaves are from Sweet Begonias (Begonia odorata) and the spikey foliage Dwarf Varigated Pineapple.

Here is the “English Garden” vase:


I think it could pass for Black Eyed Susans, Red Salvia, Blue Veronica and Gazanias? That’s not exactly what is in there.

Where The Wild Things Are  by Maurice Sendak was my absolute favorite book as a child. The book is now 54 years old. Maybe those creatures are living in my back garden.


19 comments on “In A Vase on Monday – Where The Wild Things Are

  1. I wondered what the berries were. A very clever idea!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Christina says:

    The grapes are an inspiration. If my wine ever grows I will have to remember this and use all the fruit that you’re supposed to prune out. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A cool looking bunch of flowers in some seriously hot August days. Love the plumeria. I have a grape vine in a pot I brought down from my folks house in VA. I may try putting it out and letting it fend for itself. Lovely arrangement.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Both are breathtaking….I love the white flowers and the ‘rudbeckia-like’ flowers remind me of my mini sunflowers!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Kris P says:

    I loved all Sendak’s books – we probably don’t have nearly the number of wild things as you do in the garden (no armadillos here!) but have my share as our new security cameras keep revealing. (Like a trio of raccoon bandits in the fountain at 4am last week.) The ones that creep out of the foliage I can do without but I admire your seemingly calm response to the intruders. The grapes in the second vase look wonderful and the Plumeria had me sighing as I’ve never been able to make a go of the plant here, even though there’s a home with the entire front garden teaming with trees in full flower just a few miles down the road.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Kris. I feel certain you can grow Plumeria. They are pretty drought tolerant. I have some in unirrigated sugar sand. I am not entirely sure I want to know the full complement living in the back garden. I have seen some huge snakes but they were not bad snakes so I am fine with that.


  6. Eliza Waters says:

    I love the grapes and plumeria together – it feels wild, yet slightly tamed. At first I thought the justicia was a cactus zinnia. It all works wonderfully.
    You made me laugh about dinosaurs roaming your garden at night… I suppose armadillos are pretty close to that!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. AlisonC says:

    Both your vases are colourful and creative and I like the grapes, a great touch. We definitely have wild things but not at all like yours. They are mostly small but we sometimes get a few surprises. My boys heard something unidentified last night so now I can tell them it’s the Wild Things. (It’s ok they are grown up, I won’t be scaring them!)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Cathy says:

    It was the grapes that I noticed first – I thought they were some sort of tropical berry. That was a good idea to use some in the vase as they frame the Plumeria perectly. Sounds a bit scary in your back garden at night! Our hedgehogs here can be quite noisy eaters, but are utterly harmless!


  9. Anonymous says:

    Looks like you’ve been working on those floral arrangements since we worked on the Mall of Memphis! OK, so that was only 30 years ago. I’m glad to see that you’re chasing your passion for writing and the landscape!


    • Hey Mark, yep, growing mad tropical flowers down here, working part time in Vero Beach doing garden design and writing a garden column and reviewing restaurants on the Treasure Coast.


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