In a Vase on Monday: Magic Moments

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I was half-prepared to be posting an apology of a vase today, as the Golfer and I have had variations of a virus that is going around and for a few days I have felt rather like the hellebore shown below (accidentally cut alongside its leaves having failed to notice even the fully open bloom) after it had been in the bottle for a couple of days, unlike the freshly cut version which is more like my usual self (but prettier).

magic.moments.notFortunately it seems to be out of our systems now and we can get back to normal. Whilst thinking about hellebores, I was surprised to read Carol Klein in the December issue of Gardeners’ World magazine telling us that what we tend to think of as the petals of a hellebore are in fact the sepals – or was I the only person who didn’t realise this? These sepals which delight us by remaining on the plants for weeks or even months and aging beautifully serve to protect the developing seedpods. Well well – Nature and hellebores are wonderful…

Back to today’s vase though, which although simple brings me the same degree of satisfaction as more complex vases… snowdrops, witch hazel and the latter’s non-related twisted cousin. The snowdrops are Faringdon Double, the potted replacements kindly given by Green Tapestry’s Anna, and a variety usually in flower by Christmas but possibly rarely as early in the month as this year. The witch hazel is Hamamelis ‘Jelena’, one of several that are almost in full flower and certainly a few weeks ahead of any norm, and the twisted hazel Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’ is sporting its pretty catkins; the stems were just pushed into the pot of snowdrops.


Enjoying the unexpectedly early magic of the snowdrops and witch hazel (and those hellebores) had already given me a title for the post, but despite telling the Golfer as I brought the pot of snowdrops inside that the buds would open in the warmth of the house I was not prepared for the magic that was then to take place before my very eyes. It took a moment to realise that after only five minutes there was the slightest hint of green already visible between the previously furled outer petals so I sat and gazed at the pot for several minutes and although the movement was imperceptible to my eyes they were most definitely unfurling and opening as I watched, the green heart shaped mark on the inner segments becoming more apparent every minute…truly a magical moment. It took no longer than half an hour for the flower to open to its full extent by which time the distinctive snowdrop fragrance was also evident the closer you got to it. Who needs magic tricks with wonders like this? I don’t suppose I needed the magic hat either – nor the magic wand or magic handkerchief (aka Christmas napkin) – but they have been included anyway!

What magic will you find in your gardens today to sprinkle into a vase on Monday? Do share it with us by posting links to and from the post – let’s make it a Magical Monday!


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78 Responses to In a Vase on Monday: Magic Moments

  1. Pingback: In a vase on Monday – Not what I expected | Creating my own garden of the Hesperides

  2. I had a nasty virus here too and it took the wind out of my sails this past week. Glad you are better…and what garden magic. I won’t see my snowdrops until at least March, although if we have little snow it could be February. Now that would be magic. Love the props!

    Here is my vase this week…not really a vase, but you will see. Time to be a bit creative with no blooms:

    • Cathy says:

      Just a minor hiccup in the scheme of things really – but I am sorry you were laid low for the week. Our snowdrops are almost a full month earlier than usual – still mild here. Thanks for your kind comments about the ‘vase’ which of course wasn’t a vase either!

  3. Christina says:

    I was wondering what I would find when I read your title, how lovely that you were able to watch as the snow drops opened, a very magic moment indeed! My vase is much less seasonal than yours. Thanks for hosting Cathy, here’s my link:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Christina – I had to check I hadn’t used the title before as I knew I had already posted a vase with ‘magic’ props 😉

  4. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday: The Past, the Present and the Future | Words and Herbs

  5. Cathy says:

    That is beautiful and fun too Cathy! I only discovered the joys of seeing snowdrops open within minutes of bringing them in last spring. Magic! We have also had a virus of some kind – hope yours is well and truly gone, as ours hung around for a good fortnight. Here’s my vase for this week:
    Thanks Cathy!

  6. Ann Edwards Photography says:

    what a lovely magical experience you had to cheer you up after feeling poorly. Witch hazel is a great favourite of mine at this time of the year although I have never grown one myself and the snowdrops are so pretty. Here is my link –

  7. Pingback: Vase on Monday: red, white and green | Wild Daffodil

  8. Magic indeed! All that promise of when the days get longer – not long now!
    Here’s my link:

  9. Pingback: Salvaged | Petal & Pins

  10. pbmgarden says:

    Cathy, I smiled when I saw your hat trick, but the real magic is that you were present to enjoy the snowdrops opening. Great moment and great post. My vase today is

  11. Cath says:

    Your Snow drops are so beautiful and pure looking – it does sound magic, and very cheering, I would like to try it myself. I have a small witch hazel but I think that it takes a few years for them to flower – something to look forward to.
    Here’s my vase, taking advantage of the longer summer evenings I photographed it as the sun went down.

    • Cathy says:

      For some reason your comment didn’t make it to my notifications so I nearly didn’t see it… All my witch hazels have flowered even when small so you never know – what month would you expect them to flower in NZ?

      • Cath says:

        Oh that’s something to look forward to. I saw them flowering in another garden and I think it was in August, so maybe they would start in July.

  12. What a beautiful Snow drop, such a delicate looking flower, lovely

  13. Jeanette says:

    What a wonderful way to display your flowers – you must be quite the creative lass. The hat, the wand, the “handkerchief,” and the flowers make a wonderful display. And I like the way you showed us, with hellebores stems, how you felt while sick and then how you felt went you got over your illness. Ingenious!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Jeannette – I always like to have a satisfying title to my posts, and with the vase posts adding appropriate props brings yet another degree of satisfaction. Often the ideas just come in a flash!

  14. Petal & Pins says:

    I’m going to have to plant some of my snowdrops in a pot to bring inside after your delightful retelling of watching them unfurl and I do like that witch hazel – does it need a lot of space?
    Here is my effort for in a vase on Monday!

    • Cathy says:

      I will sometimes dig some of my common snowdrops and pot them in a pot specifically to bring inside, but these were in a pot as they were new to me this year and will be planted in the ground after Christmas. Height of witch hazels vary a little but most may reach 4-5 metres. They grow very slowly – perhaps only a metre in 10 years – and are not dense in terms of foliage.

  15. Anna says:

    Oh I’m sorry to read that you’ve been under the weather Cathy but glad to read that your va-va-voom has returned in time for the festive season. Well that certainly looks and sounds like a spellbinding vase. I’ve noticed that the pots of my specials in the greenhouse can go from closed flowers to open as the day proceeds but have never lingered to watch the process. I will have to linger one of these days and gaze. No fully opened hellebores here as yet. My gathered in the rain vase is here :

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Anna – nothing full blown, but it really saps your energy and you never know how long it will last. It was such a surreal experience, as I knew they would open in the warmth but I had no idea it would be as quickly as that

  16. Magic is the word indeed! Something is happening around, my garden has also surprised me this week, look:

  17. Glad you are feeling well enough to have done a vase today as this one is a charmer. The weather here is crazily warm but no flowers yet. We are all enjoying the lack of snow even though we know it is a disturbing sign of climate change. My vase for this week is here:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Linda, I was back to my normal self yesterday and raring to go! The UK has such variable weather and next year could be the complete opposite, with or without climate change

  18. Magical, indeed. Witnessing the snowdrops opening is one of those rare pleasures of gardening. Love the props. Here is my vase:

  19. FlowerAlley says:

    I enjoyed this post so much. Lovely idea with the hat.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks – I had all but forgo9tten I had this hat which I must have got in the 70s or 80s and was with ‘dressing up’ things in the loft!

  20. Eliza Waters says:

    A sweet little arrangement to succor the heart on these short, gray days. I love your description of the unfurling flowers … Magical indeed!
    My post this week:

  21. Snowdrops and witch hazel, it’s sounds quite exotic from these sunny climes at my end 🙂

    • Cathy says:

      That’s what makes these Monday posts such fun as people post vases from all sorts of plants and it is intriguing to see the differences

  22. Brian Skeys says:

    As someone once said about magic “Just like that”.
    An inspired arrangement Cathy.

  23. Noelle says:

    Just magic…..I think the smell of snowdrops is wonderful too. Beautifully photographed, and great props. Here is my contribution……..

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Noelle – and I am glad you like the photographs as it is the first time they have been taken inside for ages. The vase and post was put together on Sunday when it was too grey and murky to do it outside

  24. Snowdrop and Hellebore blooms are such a wonderful way to announce the beginning of a new week…

  25. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Sorry to hear that you were feeling like the hellebore in the first picture and hope you’re feeling much better soon! Your magic post is great! I continue to admire your themes/props that add so much to the enjoyment of your arrangements! I cheated a bit with my arrangement this week and included some tropical plants from inside and poinsettias that came from a store with my cuttings from the garden.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks so much Peter – I had bounced back by yesterday and normal service has been resumed! Glad you like the themes and props – I enjoy giving myself the challenge!

  26. Kris P says:

    Another clever presentation, Cathy! Snowdrops aren’t common here as we just don’t get cold enough to give them what they need but I was delighted to share your amazement at the flowers’ response to the warmth of the house. I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been ill but I’m glad you’re on the mend. Thanks, as always, for hosting IAVOM. Here’s my post:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks for your kind thoughts – ‘under the weather’ rather than ill though, although I normally shrug off any viruses or the like. Because warm days in Jan/Feb are rare here they tend to take their time opening outside, but of course there is instant warmth in the house. It’s been interesting to hear how snowdrops fare in other places.

  27. You have Hamamelis already in bloom? And Hellebores? And snow drops? That is magical. I loved your image of the deflated Hellebore, just a great visual of how it is to be sick, glad you’re better.

    Here’s my entry:

    • I love your post in the silver pots – looks like a wild party going on with that splash of poinsettia – I tried to leave a comment, but could not – sometimes Blogspot and WordPress don’t seem to like talking to each other.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Loree – this snowdrop would usually flower before Christmas but is still a little early; meanwhile others are pushing their way up a few weeks ahead of any norm. Hellebores and hamemelis and hellebores are similarly ‘early’.

  28. Pingback: In a vase on Monday: a hint of Christmas | digwithdorris

  29. Magic! Certainly your collection brightened my day Cathy. I love the witch hazel and imagine you are enjoying lovely scent from the snowdrops. I spent part of my day today clearing last years leaves from the emerging Hellebore flowers at work. They are only just showing so yours are a good few days ahead.
    As for all this Spring in December, I wonder what will be around when Spring arrives.
    I have something which usually flowers in Spring in my vase today but compared to yours all very grey.

    • Cathy says:

      Aw thanks Dorris – and the hellebore I accidentally cut was the only one fully flowering (and on a longish stem which is probably why I missed it). The others have mostly got buds just emerging from the ground. I was wondering that about spring too…

  30. Pingback: In a vase on Monday: Mrs Bouquet | Edinburgh Garden Diary

  31. Cathy, I am so envious you have snowdrops already. I have a few green tips no more than a centimetre high, but no bulbs in flower yet. You are lucky! Here is my vase this week, a cheat as I explain in the post, but hopefully I will be forgiven!

    • Cathy says:

      This snowdrop is an early variety, but my other ‘specials’ are a few weeks ahead of themselves although my natives are barely showing yet. We will enjoy them whenever they appear 🙂

  32. Sarah says:

    How special to watch snowdrops open in front of you. No time here to make a blog post despite having a big jug of holly and ivy on my kitchen table. I’ve been dealing with roofers, glazers and carpenters today and could do with a bit of magic!

    • Cathy says:

      It was indeed! Glad you have at least been able to bring some holly and ivy inside to enjoy despite everything else that is going on – and just ask for some magic amidst the roofers and glazers and carpenters and everything else and it will be there…

  33. Pingback: In a vase on Monday – A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…. | Views from my garden bench

  34. Sam says:

    Beautiful snowdrops and witch hazel. How magical to witness the flower opening. Lovely.

  35. Pingback: an outdoor vase | sprig to twig

  36. rickii says:

    You’ve outdone yourself with this theme!

  37. Amy says:

    Coming by oh, so late, but so happy to see your snowdrops beginning to arrive on the scene!! Definitely a magical moment 😀
    We are just now beginning to have the threat of frost here; not sure what the next few nights will bring… In the meantime here is this week’s vaseful from the desert:

    • Cathy says:

      It makes it easier for me not having every vase post arriving at once as I can spread my replies out more easily!! Still mild here, and at least a cloudy day means cloudy night and no frost 😉

  38. Bec says:

    I’m glad you’re feeling better – I’ve felt a lot like that helibore this year – nackered…. Your snowdrops are lovely and wonderful to watch them open… I’ve got flowers in my vase that shouldn’t be here either – fuchsias – it’s still very mild here still. Here’s my vase
    Have a lovely week love bec xx

    • Cathy says:

      You will perhaps be glad to see the back of 2015, Bec – hope next year proves to be a happier one for you in every way… My hardy fuchsia was still going strong till the w/e we were in Edinburgh when there were those really cold few days and it was desiccated when we came back

  39. Julie says:

    Hi Cathy – sorry that I did not link in this week but you already know what I was preoccupied with! Apart from the new site, my camera has gone to Norway with my daughter and husband who are chasing the Northern Lights whilst I am keeping the home fires burning. I love what you have done this week – it must be exhausting to keep coming up with such original themes! !My earliest snowdrops have been and gone and I am watching my witch hazels closely. I hope to be back next week – it is hard to believe it will be Christmas when it is so warm!!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Julie – so much going on at the moment and I hope the family managed to catch up with the Northern Lights. Seems strange to have your early snowdrops over and done with already…

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