In a Vase on Monday: On the Early Spring Catwalk…

img_8888… can be seen this delightful frilly white concoction, edged with green; a flamboyant lilac satin creation with an egg yolk yellow trim; a demure primrose yellow negligee in soft flannelette; wild and wacky blue silk, shot with white and sporting an extravagantly patterned lapel, and for the fashion conscious young ladies a cheeky number designed to complement their fresh faced freckly complexions. Complementing these on-trend creations are  yellow fragrant fascinators and the latest accessories in deepest burgundy, oh and polka dot parasols and mint green wedges too!

catwalkI couldn’t resist taking advantage of these early spring delights for today’s vase, even though I knew some of the blooms would not last many days – last week’s irises certainly didn’t. In the Caithness Glass dish and held in place with a stainless steel frog covered with tiny polished pebbles are Iris reticulata ‘Katharine Hodgkins’, Galanthus nivalis ‘Flore Pleno’ (common double snowdrop), Crocus tommasinianus ‘Barr’s Purple’, Clematis cirrhosa ‘Freckles’, Hamamelis ‘Arnold Promise’ and Pittosporum ‘Tom Thumb’. The tiny shoes belong to Barbie, and the cocktail umbrella was bought in anticipation from eBay some time ago after regretting not having one as a prop for a previous vase.

img_8896I am enjoying seeing all these fashionable creations as I ramble round my garden but for a few days I can enjoy them inside too. What is fashionable in your garden today? Do take a few minutes to pick something if you can and plonk it in a vase to bring you pleasure in your home too – and if you have time to upload a post about your vase then do share it with us by leaving links to and from this post as we know from experience how much joy our Monday vases can bring.


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Sap is Rising

feb17Each day
Brings new signs
Of spring.
Spikes of bulbs,
Young foliage,
New buds
And early blooms
Gladden the heart
As evidence mounts.
Lengthening days
And Jack’s absence
Are boosting growth
And causing
Sap to rise.

Sap rises also
In the veins
Of gardeners,
Bringing the urge
To cut,
To prune,
To tidy,
To sow and plant,
Once again
Spend more time
Outside than in,
Get dirt
Under the nails
And feel the
Comforting ache
Of tasks well done.

Posted in Gardening, Gardens, Poetry, Spring | 25 Comments

Garden Bloggers Blooms Day: Let’s Hear it for the Bulbs!

img_8865Carol of May Dreams Gardens hosts GBBD on the 15th of every month so I am a day ‘late’ in showcasing what is blooming in my garden around the middle of the month.

Although there is still colour and fragrance from winter shrubs, it is the naturalised bulbs that are increasingly beginning to make themselves known, such as the snowdrops in the woodland edge border shown above, which are just beginning their display and supplementing all the special ones in the border nearer the house which are mostly at their peak. Here are just four of them, clockwise from top left Cornwood Gem, Ginn’s Imperati, Walrus and Scharlockii with its split spathes:

gbbd-feb17I had noticed splashes of colour from Cyclamen coum here and there last week…


…but having inspected my Crocus tommasinianus I was delighted to find that the emerging foliage had now been joined by emerging flowers, completely out of nowhere! These are in planted in the streamside grass but are also in what is now the shrub border but which was previously also grassed. A pleasant surprise indeed!

img_8873 Also in the shrub border are those clumps of Iris reticulata ‘Katharine Hodgson’ that I showed recently, looking as if they are multiplying nicely:

img_8872Although mostly finished, there is still a little colour on some of the witch hazels but especially on Arnold Promise, which is invariably the last to start flowering although mine seemed to be well in advance of other bloggers’ specimens this year:

img_8871Fragrance is also still emanating from the sarcococca, unlike the winter flowering honeysuckles which have been a rather a non-entity this year:


There is almost always a primrose flowering somewhere in the garden but they are working up to their peak at the moment, shown here in the woodland:

img_8863A few more hellebores are coming into bloom now but most have still not pushed their flower buds out of the soil yet – it certainly seems as if this winter was not at all to their liking.

img_8866 img_8867 img_8868img_8869Aren’t they lovely though? So generous with their blooms and the length of their flowering period, so whenever the rest of them arrive they will have been worth waiting for.

However, I never have to wait long for blooms on my faithful friend ‘Freckles’ which, like the primroses, seems to be bloom all the year round:



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Wordless Wednesday: Keeping Regular


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Ina Vase on Monday: Inky Blue

img_8841Not having read any ramblings for a week, my Mum wondered if I had disappeared off the face of the earth but no, it may have been quiet on this blog but I was still enjoying my daily ramblings and just not writing about them. Admittedly they were very short rambles as it has been a consistently cold and not conducive to outdoor gardening, and I have been otherwise gainfully occupied stripping wallpaper and mopping a streaming nose. However, the forecast is for slight better weather this week, our bedroom is now naked of wallpaper (including the woodchipped ceiling with its two coats of paint) and my cold has virtually gone – AND it’s Monday, when we need no excuse to find something from our gardens or nearby to pop in a vase to give us pleasure in the coming days 🙂

img_8844I did reluctantly think I might pluck a few of my Wordless Wednesday Katharine Hodgkin to brighten the week, but then realised I had these iris in a basket of bulbs given to me last week as a thank you gift – so, thanks to Judith we have five inky blue Iris reticula in vintage ink bottles with an equally vintage pen. Sadly, in real life I can see these are a gloriously deep purply blue and not the much brighter blue that you will be seeing in the pictures. To help them stand upright in the bottles, tiny pebbles were inserted in those with necks wide enough and, not venturing far from the back door, they were photographed on the retaining wall in front of the hedge border.

Meanwhile, further down the garden new shoots continue to push their way upwards, hellebores continue their go slow, witch hazels and special snowdrops still delight and the greenhouses are just as full as they have been all winter. What’s happening in your garden today and what have you found to pop in your vase? Do share it with us by leaving links in the usual way.



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Wordless Wednesday: Time to Get Dressed


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In a Vase on Monday: Simple Pleasures

img_8833It is such a shame that the simple pleasure of a few snowdrops in a vase is invariably marred by the difficulty of getting an acceptable photograph of them, even with my otherwise half-decent compact camera!

Having the real deal here instead of the slightly fuzzy photograph that you will be viewing on the blog is indeed a simple pleasure, and the clutch of blooms picked in the woodland edge border from several little clumps of the double native snowdrop Galanthus nivalis img_8834‘Flore Pleno’ have welcomed being in a warm house, demonstrating their thanks by flinging their petals out wide. My double nivalis are always in flower before their single cousins which are only just beginning to show a hint of white, and both are way behind my specials which began flowering at the end of December. They are joined in the tiny green crocus vase by three yellow stems of Cornus sanguinea  ’Midwinter Fire’,  not the usual fiery colour seen on  thicker stems.

A half-eaten jar of lemon curd may seem an unlikely prop for a Monday vase – but as another of life’s simple pleasures it is indeed wholly appropriate, for me at least. You can have a really interesting conversation discussing what we each see as simple pleasures, some small thing that for a brief moment satisfies one of our senses whether it be taste, touch, smell, sound or sight or perhaps something even less intangible. Lemon curd is definitely there for me as far as taste (and mouthfeel) goes, along with really dark chocolate (Aldi’s 85%) and a decent black pudding. Touch? The feel of a conker in my pocket. Sound? Certain songs that stop me in my tracks, whatever I am doing, like ‘Bridge over Troubled Water’. And then there are the slightly bizarre simple pleasures, like coloured paper clips…

img_8836But that’s enough of that and back to the simple pleasure of finding things from our garden or nearby to pop in a vase on Monday; please share this pleasure (and other simple pleasures you would like to admit to) by writing about your vase and adding links to and from this post. Perhaps your vase will still be going three weeks later like this kalanchoe and cornus one, which looks just as fresh as it did back then but is now also enhanced by the opened buds. Whatever else I think about kalanchoe, it is definitely a good ‘do-er’!


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