In a Vase on Monday – The Shrimp Boat


This vase is my grandmother’s gravy boat – it exhibits a bit of family history, my father broke it (probably in the 1930s) and was made to fix it. He glued it back together, I wasn’t sure it would hold water but it does! The patina on this old piece of Blue Willow is extreme. The inside repair is visibly cracked, the spout is deeply chipped and the glue has turned brown – I don’t use it for gravy but keep it on a shelf to enjoy the history.


The shrimp? It’s the Red Shrimp Plant in the vase. The Red Shrimp Plant is one of the more indestructible plants in my garden. It grows in sugar sand, no fertilizer and if you forget to water it that’s not a problem. Flowering off and on year-round and it has an interesting flower. The plant is kind of gangly, but its benefits far outweigh the ganglies. Does it look like shrimp? Not to me.

A closer look at the rest of the arrangement:


The red flowers on the left side are from the Coral Plant (Jatropha multifida) – a novelty plant by some accounts though it does look like coral. Red Shrimp Plant (Justicia brandegeana) lounging around the end with white Florida Gardenia (Tabernaemontana diviricata); yellow daisies are Beach Sunflowers (Helianthus debilis), off white spikes at the end are Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa)

I have a feeling my grandmother would think this was a pretty weird thing to do with her broken gravy boat. But, you never know!!

Happy Gardening and Happy Monday. To see more vases follow the link to Rambling in The Garden MOREVASES


19 comments on “In a Vase on Monday – The Shrimp Boat

  1. What a great way to repurpose a piece of family history! Beautiful arrangements. Sugar sand ?


  2. pbmgarden says:

    Another gorgeous concoction Amelia. Enjoyed the gravy boat lore. Blue Willow is nice. My grandmother had a red transfer print pattern on her “good dishes.”


  3. A lovely bouquet but great family history.


  4. Eliza Waters says:

    Love the backstory about the gravy boat and your dad. Those were different times when you tried to save things. Today we just chuck them and buy new. No wabi-sabi.
    Your arrangement is a nice bright assortment with the sunflowers and bright reds. The shrimp plant sounds ideal as a garden plant in your climate. Happy Monday!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Cathy says:

    Well yes, of course you would use broken china as vases – many of my vases were bought with chips which no-one would ever see when there are flowers in them! You have such curiosities in Florida, with the shrimp and coral plant and all sorts of other intriguing natives – you will clearly never be short of material for a vase (or gravy boat even). Thank for sharing today’s offering

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It is always nice to have something with a family story to go with it that spans 3 generations. I planted the red shrimp plant in the wrong place. I was cutting some back yesterday that were in the way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have a feeling the gravy boat spans four generations, it is old and my Millenials have no interest as far as I can tell. Are you being overrun by the Red Shrimp?


      • Make them feel guilty. (I’m kidding, but it works sometimes.) I have been working on my kids, as I am the family historian and someone has to take it over. Yes, the Red Shrimp grows really well and my garden has been neglected, as we were gone a lot over the summer. There is lots of trimming back to do.


      • Gotta love the Red Shrimp for that reason alone. The Millenials, kind of rude, in my opinion. I fear no one will take it over and eventually they will be lost because they wanted stuff from Crate and Barrel.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I was at an antique dealer recently and she said no one is buying and another place we shopped, which was a two story barn, went out of business. Maybe their children will like the old stuff. My Mom got rid of her parent’s things that I wish I had. The worst was Fiesta Ware in the original box.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well, oddly my nephew recently got married and he wanted the old silver from my father’s family for a charcuterie set – coincidentally monogrammed with his wife’s initial. I never would have dreamed that up but they loved the olive forks etc..

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Kris P says:

    The reconstructed gravy boat makes a great vase! The flowers hide all the flaws you describe. I’ve tried growing different varieties of Justicia in my current garden but they’ve all failed, even though they grew in my former garden just 15 miles away. I probably can’t blame the heat as it also grew well at my childhood home in one of SoCal’s hotter inland valleys.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Kris. One thing I have learned in Florida – microclimates are meaningful, you may be out of Shrimpland. The Golden Shrimp and others come and go at will in my garden, the Green and Red Shrimp are very happy?Me, I like the Key West Pinks.


  8. Cathy says:

    That gravy boat probably has a tale or two to tell! I like the story about your grandfather having to stick it back together. 😉 It works so well as a container for flowers. The gardenia and coral flower are especially nice and the yellow daisies give it an autumnal feel.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. tonytomeo says:

    That Blue Willow is so rad. My first china was Red Willow, which is quite rare. It is not as old as yours is, from about 1956. Anyway, the sort of shrimp plant that we used to see in landscape here looks more like shrimp, with a weird shrimpy color. It was never so pretty though. I mean, it always looked tore up.


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