In a vase on Monday: London

Last week, we were in London, and, walking around Whitehall, I discovered the 18th century Blewcoat School building and this beautiful botanical display.

I thought I would share it for today’s “In a vase. . .,” since I haven’t been able to buy flowers, and nothing is blooming in the yard (although I think I will see primroses along the fence by next week).


The building now houses a fancy bridal shop, Ian Stewart.


Why the use of onions, I’m not sure — they do seem to be cooking onions and not ornamental Alliums. There may be a connection to unity and wholeness (round, concentric layers).  One website said onions were once given as marriage presents during the Middle Ages.

A chair covered in twigs.

At the side of the building.

To see what other bloggers have put in a vase today, please visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.

A formal garden in Italy

The Formal GardenHow lovely.

Just lavender (clipped), box, and Russian sage in September.
Just lavender (clipped), box, and Russian sage — in September.

Until recently, I had somehow missed the blog, Creating my own garden of the Hesperides.  I found it last week, via a picture on Pinterest.

The Formal Garden

I wrote to Christina, who gardens in Lazio, Italy, and asked her if I could share some of her pictures of her “Formal Garden,” which is so beautiful and simple.

The garden in October.
The garden in October.  All photos by Christina.

The garden was laid out and planted in 2008.  The soil is soft volcanic rock, which is fertile and free-draining.  The area usually receives no rain from June through August, and Christina does not irrigate.  In the winter, there is “bitingly cold” wind.

The garden in June.
The garden in June.

The four identical beds are planted with Perovskia (Russian sage), edged with lavender, and accented with boxwood cubes at the corners.  The two beds nearest the house are underplanted with tulip ‘White Dream‘ and allium.

The lavender borders are clipped before September.
The lavender borders are clipped flat later in the season.

Christina also has  large and small island-shaped borders with mixed plantings, many old roses, and a vegetable garden.  Here is how she explains the name of her blog:

The garden of the Hesperides was where Hercules had to go to find the golden apples, references to it  in Italian Renaissace gardens are a symbolic way of comparing the garden to paradise, a way of achieving immortality through hard work. So this garden is, for me, my paradise and certainly the hard work in achieving it will bring its own reward.

The garden after a January snow.
The garden after a January snow.

All photos above ©Christina at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides. Thanks!

How do you define ‘elegance’?
“Simplicity and imagination.”

— from an interview with actress Helen Mirren