In A Vase On Monday – Lunaria


My vase this week is very simple. A neighbor up the road has Silver Dollar Plant (Lunaria annua) that she tossed in the field next to the road many years ago, and it has self-sowed each year since. Every fall, if I pass that way before they’ve fallen to the ground, I pick a bunch of the dried ‘fruit’ to bring inside for the winter. Rubbing the outer layers of the seed pods between thumb and forefinger dislodges the outer shell and seeds to reveal the luminous, papery interior called a septum.

IMG_9087The name ‘Lunaria’ is quite fitting, as they look like little opaque moons made of silk, especially when the light filters through them.

IMG_9085A native of Eurasia, it has escaped gardens and naturalized in much of the U.S. and Canada. Its species name ‘annua’ is a bit misleading, as it is actually a biennial. The first year the plants grow serrated, heart-shaped leaves with no flowers. The following spring, they produce racemes of purple (sometimes white), four-petalled flowers, followed by thin, 2″ pods of 4-6 seeds, wherein the cycle starts again.

IMG_9084The vase is a delightful, new acquisition that I picked up at a consignment shop recently. It is unusual as I’ve never seen one quite like it before. It looks Art Deco, but I have no idea how old it actually is. The glass is very heavy and rests on three legs.

Many thanks to Cathy at Rambling In the Garden, who hosts a weekly meme to showcase what is blooming in our gardens by creating arrangements to enjoy inside our homes.

Wander over to see what gardeners all over the world are arranging this week. Feel free to join in, sharing your own weekly vase with a link to Cathy’s blog.

About Eliza Waters

Gardener, writer, photographer, naturalist
This entry was posted in Country Gardening, My Photos and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

91 Responses to In A Vase On Monday – Lunaria

  1. Beautiful images, Eliza …

    The first one is top class 🙂

    Have a beautiful day 🙂

  2. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says:

    These are so cool! They really do look like little silk moons, but papery. Maybe, if you remember
    (which is never a given for me), you could show us the little flowers next year in one of your vases. Thanks Eliza. Really pretty. They look like Japanese art.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you, Mary. They are delicate and lovely. Another blogger posted lunaria this week, along with pix of the flower and the green pods in summer. You might want to check out how pretty they are – Julie does a lovely job:
      I sowed all the seeds so maybe in 18 mos. I’ll have flowers to post! 🙂

  3. Cath says:

    Oh that’s beautiful Eliza, and suits the vase so perfectly. I keep meaning to plant lunaria. It’s interesting that you need to rob the outer casing off, I didn’t know that.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Another blogger posted lunaria this week, with photos of its flower and green ‘fruit’ that she used in a vase this summer, which I loved. I sowed all the seeds I collected and hope that they sprout. There were at least 100, so fingers crossed!

  4. Enjoying your little opaque moons made of silk – so pretty!

  5. spanishwoods says:

    Such beautiful photos. I love this plant (wish I had some too).

  6. Val Boyko says:

    Lovely Eliza! In the UK we call it Honesty … Never knew much about it, but there was always a vase of it at my Gran’s house. Your arrangement takes me right back to her … 😊

  7. pbmgarden says:

    Well done Eliza. The Lunaria sets off the newly acquired vase perfectly and your photos are wonderful.

  8. noir33 says:

    They are beautiful in sunlight and wind. They shimmer like water.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you, John. What a beautiful observation, they do shimmer like water! Glad to see that you are planting more milkweed for the monarchs. It seems that their numbers are strongest in the Midwest, so they can use all the support we can give them. I’m praying for a mild winter down in Mexico. I appreciate your visit!

  9. Do I notice a new theme here on the blog eliza? Lovely and so magical…these Silver Dollar seed heads bring back memories. I remember my Aunt having them in a vase in her house for 40 years….the Money plant that brought luck!

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Ha, I hope they do bring lots of luck! 🙂 Yes, I did a seasonal change on the header and background. Thanks for noticing and stopping by. Always a pleasure!

  10. Kathy Sturr says:

    Such a wonderful arrangement Eliza for this time of year reminiscent of frost and ice. You have a very keen eye. Perfect!

  11. Mary says:

    Wow, love this display.

  12. Anca Tîrcă says:

    I remember my grandmother used to have these beautiful Silver Dollars in her garden and plenty of them in vases during winter. Beautiful!

  13. Christina says:

    Beautiful Eliza; simplicity is often perfect, as is proved here. Love your images if the seed heads.

  14. Cathy says:

    The unusual vase is perfect for the honesty seed heads Eliza – they look so ethereal. Thanks for sharing

  15. Murtagh's Meadow says:

    Simple but lovely

  16. Kris P says:

    I’ll have to try growing Lunaria next year, Eliza, if only for those wonderful seedpods. They’re perfect in your new vase, which adds interest but doesn’t detract attention for the pods themselves.

  17. ladygrace33 says:

    Simple maybe, but very elegant Eliza 🙂

  18. ladyfi says:

    What a great display – so pretty!

  19. Hannah says:

    The Lunaria is lovely in your buttressed vase that looks very stable yet shiny. I have it self-sowing in a couple of shady spots in my garden, the purple one gets very large while a white variety stays pretty small. I addition, being in the mustard family, it makes an enlarged root that is edible, but I haven’t had enough plants growing to sacrifice one, and I’ve also read the seeds can be ground for a mustard-like concoction but I haven’t had the nerve to try it. I am sowing a lot of seed this fall to hopefully increase the plants next year. I love the heart-shaped leaves and purple flowers, I had them on my blog this year in the garden.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thanks, Hannah. I didn’t know it was edible, but that it was in the Brassica family. I don’t eat a lot of mustard, so wouldn’t likely venture to try Lunaria. 🙂 I sowed the seeds from this bunch around the yard in various places, so hopefully, some will sprout next spring. It is a pretty flower.

  20. Julie says:

    We have a snap this week!! It is the first time I have had my own to enjoy and I will certainly be sowing them again – although I expect I have plenty of self seeded plants to choose from. Thank you for explaining that the white disk is called a septum.

  21. You introduce us to the most amazing pieces of nature. Thanks Eliza.

  22. Rebecca says:

    These flowers remind me of childhood. My mother had a vase of them on a small table near our front door. I seem to remember they were perpetual and she never had to replace them, since they are dry and paperlike, but perhaps that’s a faulty memory?

  23. Laurie Graves says:

    So very, very beautiful! Love the vase, too.

  24. arlingwoman says:

    Years ago, I had some of these growing in a yard and they were lovely. znice to see them in your vase and even more pleasing to think of them thriving in your neighbor’s ditch!

    • Eliza Waters says:

      She’s 88 years old, so I can just imagine how long they’ve been self-sowing there. It’s funny that I only notice them when they’ve dried and not when flowering or are green pods, but there are a lot of weeds there to hide them, I suppose.

  25. makingcamp says:

    Simple elegant beauty!

  26. Maria F. says:

    Have not heard of this plant before, how nice!

  27. Sue Vincent says:

    Lunaria grows wild here too. We call it Honesty.

  28. Julie says:

    Beautiful Eliza, you know this plant well, your photos are gorgeous.

  29. Cathy says:

    I love Lunaria, and giving it a vase all to itself was an inspired idea Eliza. And what a lovely unusual vase too! 🙂

  30. That’s two new names for what we call ‘honesty’

  31. albert says:

    Instructive, but more than that: beautifully surprising image! Also, it meant a lot to read all the comments, especially the ones about memories.

  32. srickman2014 says:

    So beautiful in their simplicity! The vase is simply gorgeous, and I really like the color of your wall:)

  33. MK says:

    I love the Lunaria plant — I seem to like all the papery silvery plants you’ve shown us. And I like the name Honesty. Also LOVE the vase. I haven’t seen anything like it. It seem Art Deco-ish, doesn’t it?

    • Eliza Waters says:

      I just fell in love with that vase – I have a gazillion vases, but I just had to get it! 🙂 It might be Czech glass.

      • MK says:

        I have only a couple of (like 3?) vases. I once worked with a woman who was proud of the fact that she had enough business outfits that she could go a full month without repeating. Now I am trying to think of any surfeit I can lay claim to…
        Still wondering … …. … 🙂

      • Eliza Waters says:

        Books? Didn’t you move like 96 boxes of them? 😀 Sounds like a surfeit to me – haha!

  34. Beautywhizz says:

    Love it. Great shots.

  35. Robin says:

    Beautiful arrangement, especially in that vase with the lighting you captured. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a silver dollar plant.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you, Robin. They often sell dried bunches in florists and craft stores. It is an old-fashioned plant often seen in older gardens like single hollyhocks, which are also biennial.

  36. Ann @ Ann Edwards Photography says:

    I have also known it as Honesty, but the name Lunaria describes it so much better. The second image down is quite stunning, Eliza.

  37. AmyRose🌹 says:

    These flowers do not even look real! I absolutely adore that face and must admit I am a bit green around the gills. Awesome post, Eliza. Thank you for sharing this with all of us. Keep on shining your light. You are so beautiful. Much love, Amy

  38. dorannrule says:

    The whole effect is ethereal for sure. And I love your new/old vase of undetermined age. You have an eye for beauty. 🙂

  39. Pingback: November 2015 | Spy Garden

  40. I’ve come to visit as a result of your having left a “like” on my site and, lo and behold, you have here one of my all-time favorites! We called them lunaria, money plant, and honesty, depending on the mood, but I love everything about them. It’s fun to sit and quietly massage the seeds away, a delicate, almost meditative process, and there’s something very zen-like about them, I think. I don’t have any, just now, but you’ve reminded me…..I shall get some and sow the seeds. So glad I happened by. It made my day!

  41. Debra says:

    You really bring out the best features of plants with your arrnagements. So silver. So simply beautiful. Love it.

  42. Such a beautiful arrangement and interesting to read about the Lunaria –I have an arrangement in a cobalt blue vase I bought while vacationing in Virginia years ago. I won’t tell you how long the lunaria has been in that vase! LOL Have a great day! You are an amazing writer! Have you combined all of this into a book?

  43. Mine bloomed for the first time this year (purple) and I had no idea what they were until the silver moon seedheads formed. They are so ethereal…

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