Monday, December 24, 2018

In a Vase on Monday: Merry Christmas!

Each year before Christmas, my husband and I host an annual smorgasbord, a tradition I took over from my mother years ago.  The food selections have become less traditional over time - even my mother never served lutefisk and I've abandoned the stewed prune dessert she insisted on serving.  (Warning: the lutefisk video may not be suitable for all audiences.)  My husband, who isn't Scandinavian, made Swedish meatballs.  Other than salads, I picked up everything else from a local deli and bakery.

Our family is smaller than it once was but now includes friends who feel like family.  As our current home is a slog for most of our guests, we held this year's celebration on Saturday so everyone could avoid long commutes and the worst of the holiday freeway traffic.  I prepared floral decorations for the dining area on Friday evening, although as the light was terrible, my photos were taken on Sunday.

The Grevilleas were meant to be the stars of this arrangement but I think the Phylica pubescens (aka featherhead) steals the show

Back view, showing off the large flowers of Grevillea 'Peaches & Cream'

Top view

The vase contains, top row: Acacia cognata 'Cousin Itt', Agonis flexuosa 'Nana', and noID Cotoneaster
Bottom row: Grevillea 'Peaches & Cream', G. 'Superb', and Phylica pubescens


I reused the stems of Westringia 'Morning Light' (aka Australian rosemary) I cut last week in my second arrangement, along with a stem from the poinsettia I bought a few weeks ago.

The poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) occupies my outdoor shade house but I also wanted to enjoy it inside the house

The back view is boring but it faces a stone wall

Left to right: Leucadendron salignum 'Chief', Euphorbia pulcherrima 'Ice Punch', and Westringia fruticosa 'Morning Light'


For more IAVOM arrangements, visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.



Best wishes for a Merry Christmas to those of you who are celebrating!

I skipped the succulents I usually add to my store-bought wreath this year, just adding stems from my recently trimmed Magnolia grandiflora, Heteromeles arbutifolia berries, a bow, and a tiny gnome

It took awhile but I finally finished decorating the Christmas tree

Can you tell that Pipig is in a snit?   Presents have overtaken most of the area under the tree she'd claimed as hers.  I've explained to her that the tree will be hers again after Christmas morning but she's not mollified.  Oh well, I'm not sure it's ever possible to please a cat.



All material © 2012-2018 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party




33 comments:

  1. The lutfisk is very special and the sauce does the thing but I have never got use to it. It is even har to get in swedish stores nowadays.
    Beautiful bouquet.
    Merry Christmas
    /Anette

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    1. I prefer smoked salmon, Anette! Thanks for visiting and merry Christmas!

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  2. Lovely vases and your Christmas tree and wreath are very festive! I don't know how my current cat would react if I ever put up a tree. I think we adopted him about 4 years ago but haven't had a Christmas tree in all that time. Others in the past used to like sleeping under it so I understand Pipig's resentment. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

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    1. Many years ago, I adopted 2 male lynx-point Siamese kittens a few months before Christmas. We kept them upstairs, closed off from the tree on the bottom floor that year, which was probably a good thing. My husband referred to them by the acronyms SOS (spawn of Satan) and DD (destruction duo) and they did do considerable damage to some of our furniture that first year. They mellowed a bit in time and, when they had access to trees in later years, they never tried to climb it, although I did lose a few ornaments I'd foolishly hung on the lower branches.

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  3. We are having a Scandanavian Christmas Eve too with my daughter's home made gravad lax and Jannson's Temptation. I love your Christmas arrangements, especially with your gorgeous grevilleas. I am not usually a big fan of poinsettias but that is a pretty one.
    Have a wonderful Christmas Kris.

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    1. We NEVER have a smorgasbord without smoked salmon but I buy mine. My mother used to make a nice potato casserole - that's one thing I should reintroduce. As to the poinsettia, I'm not usually attracted to them either but this one called to me. Best wishes for a merry Christmas, Chloris!

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  4. Oh what a fabulous festive vase and wreath Kris. I'm not surprised that Pipig is sulking and making her feelings clearly known. If only cats could speak. Wishing you a most Happy Christmas xxx

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    1. Pipig does speak, or I should say squeak, Anna. ("Pipig" is Swedish for "squeaky.") Her squawks are quite eloquent and usually make her feelings, if not her thoughts, very clear. Best wishes for a merry Christmas, Anna!

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  5. Wonderful vases and wreath! Merry Christmas Kris. I hope Pipig eventually forgives you. Thank goodness there's no lutefisk...eew.

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    1. Pipig will forgive me - eventually, or at least when the tree is gone. My mother's favorite curse consists of 3 names for Satan, which doesn't seem too terrible to me but my surrogate grandmother, another Finn, was quite shocked when those words spilled out of my mouth and I explained I learned them from my mother. She gave my mother, who tolerated no English profanity, a good talking to afterwards.

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  6. Perhaps some of the presents will go walkabout overnight? Thomas is happy to clear strategic spaces in his garden!

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    1. Well, Pipig's already stolen some of the gift tags and she's notorious for removing - or destroying - ribbons. Her own present is still locked in a closet as, imbued with catnip, I don't think it's be safe under the tree.

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  7. Pipig does look a bit annoyed as only a cat can. I just ran out and bought a toy for my dog- I have had them get hurt feelings if they don't have a present, so I think he will be happy.Love the Peaches and Cream, envy it as well. Beautiful Poinsettia arrangement! Merry Christmas!

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    1. For now, Pipig's gift, a new scratching pad with catnip, is locked away for safekeeping but then she thinks the ribbons are her presents anyway.

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  8. Merry Christmas Kris! even annoyed Pipig is a real beauty!

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  9. Merry Christmas, Kris. I don't comment often but always read. The mention of lutefisk brought me out of hiding. My mother was Norwegian so we knew about lutefisk but never ate it. My sister and I just made lefse this afternoon - that was our standard Christmas treat, along with a variety of Christmas cookies. I don't know how my mother did all that with 5 of us darling children underfoot.

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    1. You should throw in your comments more often, Barbara - I always enjoy them. It seems lutefisk was a product of another time, thankfully. If my mother ever ate it, I didn't hear of it but it's entirely possible that my grandparents, Finnish on one side and Swedish on the other, did. I used to make lots of Christmas cookies myself but it's been so long since I've done so, I can barely recall it - where I found the time, I can't imagine.

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  10. I often learn something from your blog. Tonight it is lutefisk. I have never heard of such a thing. I do think it is interesting to read about the traditions of other countries. This one is a bit much. It is amazing what people will eat and be glad of it.
    Your tree is so handsome. I love the picture of Pipig. I have a picture of my cat sitting on a present under the tree. She would always pick one gift and use it for a bed through out the time it was under the tree. I was always glad she didn't make two or three packages her bed. ha...
    I bet you are happy to have the big party over so you can sit back and enjoy the rest of the holiday season. Love those big parties and all the commotion that goes with them.
    Cheers and Merry Christmas.

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    1. The party wasn't so big but it's a lot of work nonetheless and I'm happy that Christmas day will be calm and quiet. More family will be in town over the New Year's holiday but that should be relatively low-key. I hope you enjoy a very merry Christmas too, Lisa.

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  11. I think the Cousin Itt steals the show in that first arrangement, but they are all gorgeous (as usual!) Best wishes to you and yours for Christmas and the new year, and I hope Pipig gets her tree back and enjoys her present!

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    1. There is something festive about 'Cousin Itt', isn't there? I found Pipig squeezing herself in a corner behind the tree this afternoon so perhaps she's already over her snit. Enjoy your Christmas, Renee!

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  12. Poor Pipig! And yes, the Phylica pubescens are the stars, there’s no denying it. Merry Christmas!

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    1. All my visitors have been surprised to find the Phylica is as feathery to the touch as it is to the eye. I need more plants!

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  13. Merry Christmas, Kris! Your arrangements are lovely. I've always admired your 'Peaches and Cream' - such a lovely plant and the poinsettia is a pretty one. Hope your day is peaceful and relaxing. Hope Pipig (my last cat was named Squeaky, too) loves her new scratch pad and is happy to stretch out under the tree now.

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    1. I filled all the bird feeders, 3 or which Pipig can see from the upper shelf of her screened porch so she's busy watching our avian visitors at the moment. However, the area around the tree is now clear and awaiting her return.

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  14. Merry Christmas to you and yours! Your arrangements, tree and decorations are beautiful and the photo of Pipig is priceless! My kitties feel the same way about the tree being theirs. Must be universal!

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    1. Merry Christmas, Lee! I think all cats think the world and everything in it is theirs, don't they?

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  15. Wow - those arrangements are beautiful & the tree looks gorgeous! I've not seen a poinsettia like that one before - around here they are pretty much the standard red, white or pink. Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and all the best in the New Year :)

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    1. Thanks Margaret! I hope your holidays are wonderful too.

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  16. Gorgeous arrangements Kris, and that Poinsettia is amazing! Hope you had a lovely Christmas!

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    1. Thanks Cathy. I hope you enjoyed your Christmas too!

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