In a Vase on Monday – Fall Vase Theory


This vase is filled with the fall colors of South Florida. All of these plants are native to the area and thrive without too much help from the gardener. These are my kind of plants, easy to grow and maintain and not too rude about taking over. An added bonus is they last as cut flowers (or berries).

This week I was asked for a post explaining how I arrange flowers, so my vase design theory will follow the components of the vase:


The purple berries are Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana); orange tubular flowers are Firebush (Hamelia patens var patens); the off white spikes are from the Juba Bush (Iresine diffusa); pink plumes are from Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris) and the ferns are Boston Fern (Nepholepis exaltata).

Vase Theory

The way I go about arranging flowers is less theory and more ‘that needs to be pruned’. I do not have a cutting garden. Anything within reach of the clipper is a cut flower as far as I am concerned. And I like garden space to be year-round, with the exception of vegetables. Flowers feed the soul, vegetables the body. Of course, having spent decades in the design business, there are certain knee jerk reactions to any design problem. And designers can overcomplicate anything.

This morning I noted my Beautyberry needed to be cut back again and decided to use the purple berry stems in a vase.


The long, skinny stems dictated a tall, slender vase to hold them, I chose the smoky grey glass vase to contrast with fall colors I was thinking about using. I usually put the dishtowel headed towards the washing machine under the vase to catch bugs and trimmed plant bits. For proper scale with the vase, I cut some Beautyberry stems twice the height of the vase.


I added the Beautyberry stems splayed around the vase into thirds, leaving spaces for more flowers.


I cut some Muhly Grass stems (taller than the berries) for wispy purple texture change from the berries and greenish-white Juba Bush spikes for color contrast. Then decided the wispy grass needed a more solid green background. Back to the garden.


I liberated a few Boston Fern fronds from the driveway (only in South Florida would this happen), then compared the size to the rest of the vase, decided they were too tall and cut a few inches off the stems. After adding the ferns, I decided more color was needed and went back into the garden for some Firebush flowers to fill the lower third of the arrangement with orange tubular flowers and some leafy foliage.


The result, In a Vase on Monday! IAVOM is a Garden Bloggers meme based in the UK. Cathy from Rambling in the Garden is the hostess of this meme. To see more vases follow this link. More Vases





15 comments on “In a Vase on Monday – Fall Vase Theory

  1. Thanks for the lesson. Maybe someday I will give it a try.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Cathy says:

    Thanks for this, Amelia, it really interesting to read your ‘theory’ and I hope it gives others the confidence not to fear putting things in a vase

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jon says:

    Just like when we worked together on planting designs. Use what you can get that works with the site you have.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Eliza Waters says:

    Loved the step by step, like a paint-by-numbers. 🙂 And another great arrangement is ready for showtime!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Kris P says:

    I don’t know why I never think of “liberating” some ferns for vases too (although I suspect they’re easier to find in your climate). I like that Iresine a lot but I’ve never seen that particular species here.


    • LOL, I am overrun with ferns here and there, not by my doing! So, I feel free to cut them. The Iresine is so interesting, has a lovely scent and is a good cut flower, however it just appeared and no one grows it commercially.


  6. nancy marie allen says:

    I loved this step-by-step blog on creating a fabulous fall arrangement. That beautyberry shrub certainly lives up to its name!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Chloris says:

    Lovely combination of colour and texture. I am mad on the grass.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. tonytomeo says:

    I did not know muhly grass is native there. I just happened to plant a few into a landscape today. I do not know much about them, but they are trendy now.


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