In a Vase on Monday: Salad Days

IMG_7053Salad Days? Bear with me, as this wasn’t the original title but as with many Monday vases the contents, props and title took on life of their own and ended up somewhere a little unexpected – not that there is often a definite place in mind when the process begins!

IMG_7055It had to be tulips today, and apart from much activity amongst the smaller and often earlier species tulips, the ones shown are the first to flower. As tulips are often reluctant to continue for another season these are all the more welcome as they are not only in a container but it is their third year of flowering. They came from Aldi in a mixed batch of named varieties and I am fairly confident from the original packaging that they are the Darwin tulip ‘Ollioules’. The way the buds emerge in a pinky red fading to white at the base of the petals is especially appealing and noting that Peter Nyssen stock this variety I may buy more of them, particularly having read recently (but now can’t find the reference) that Darwin tulips have more stayability than some types.

Keeping the contents simple I added only some simple foliage from Sarcococca humilis, the shiny dark foliage offering a pleasing contrast with the tulips and the blue of the bottle shaped vase. But what about props? At this point in the creation of a Monday vase I often have a title in my head in which case props tend to follow easily, but not so this time…. so let’s go back about 23 years when I experienced the joy of winning ยฃ3000 of Sanderson’s products (fabrics and furnishings) in a magazine competition. Even though the majority of products I chose were left behind in the ex-marital home some came with me, including a roll of the delightful fabric that forms the backdrop for the vase. Smothered in spring blooms,ย  a red wallpaper version adorned the previous dining room walls whilst this sunny yellow colourway was destined, I recall, for curtains.

IMG_7053-001Let’s now go back a further 30 years or thereabouts, to a child not quite in her teens who through gifts or her own pocket money was slowly building up a collection of Britain’s miniature garden products, oblivious as yet to how involved she would be in her own very real garden many years hence. I was fairly sure the collection included tulips and daffodils and delving into the loft produced the goods which joined the fabric backdrop as today’s props.


Having travelled back so many years during the creation of the vase, by this stage the title was going to be something along the lines of ‘Mixed Memories’, but when for added reference I checked the selvage of the fabric, knowing all Sanderson’s designs have a name, I recalled that this design was ‘Salad Days’. On a whim I checked the actual definition of the phrase ‘salad days’ … coined by Shakespeare in Antony and Cleopatra, it is anย  idiomatic expression that refers to a ‘youthful time, accompanied by the inexperience, enthusiasm, idealism and innocence that one associates with a young person’. Recalling both my younger pre-teen self and the older and wiser self that left one marriage, then ‘Salad Days’ is indeed the perfect title for the memories triggered by this Vase on Monday.

What memories might be triggered by your vase today? Please share your vase of material found in your garden or nearby with the rest of us, with or without memories, by leaving the usual links to and from this post.


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75 Responses to In a Vase on Monday: Salad Days

  1. Hannah says:

    Your tulips are so pretty, Cathy, given relevance by the tulips in the lovely cloth and the tiny memento tulips collected by your younger self. I seldom get to enjoy tulips here because of the squirrels and voles, but also found a tulip to share, and was reminded of a song from a movie my kids liked to watch as teenagers. My link is-

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  3. Christina says:

    Very nice tulips Cathy, I’ll look out for them too. I’ve found that Darwin tulips do indeed return for many years. I’ll show some later this week. The fabric is lovely and timeless, do you still have enough for curtains? Here’s my contribution:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks for confirmation of the Darwin tulips – I cannot for the life of me remember where I read it!! I have to admit to not having any curtains at all in this house, just blinds at some windows but mostly nothing at all – I might make a dress from the fabric at some stage (I’ve only had it 20 years…)….and could wear it to celebrate spring!

      • Christina says:

        Or maybe a table cloth. It is so pretty it seems a shame not to use it.

        • Cathy says:

          I could do both – there is plenty of it! When I ‘spent’ my prize money all of the fabrics I ordered came ‘on the roll’ and were often way beyond the length I ordered ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Pingback: Pink Sticks & Pinking Shears | Petal & Pins

  5. I love your cheerful tulips and props and the life story they tell. Part of the blessing of spring is it makes us all feel a bit young again, don’t you think?

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Marian – certainly spring renewing our gardens makes it feel as if things haven’t changed and perhaps time has stood still… so yes, we are still young in that case (and it doesn’t seem very long ago that the photograph of me with my miniature garden was taken…)

  6. Petal & Pins says:

    Hello Cathy, I do love seeing your Spring flowers as my garden starts to become dormant! I am joining you today with some Autumnal colour

  7. pbmgarden says:

    A most fascinating and satisfactory search for a title. The tulips are beautiful–wonderful to have them return. With you in mind props made their way into my vase this week too:
    Thanks for hosting and have a great week.

  8. I like the story behind the title, you’re right it did pique my interest. Beautifully illustrated too, thanks Cathy.

  9. Beautiful tulips, I would buy some more as well. I have never quite understood the term ‘Salad Days’ so thank you for sharing the meaning. Tulips look their best when simply arranged, I think, so Bravo! Here is my spring offering

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, I agree that the tulips look better for only having foliage with them. Interestingly, Wikipdia suggests that more modern use of ‘salad days’ and ‘especially in the United States, refers to a heyday, a period when somebody was at the peak of their abilitiesโ€”not necessarily in that person’s youth’

      • The definition from Wikipedia from the US is what I have heard – I think I like the English version better, salad is certainly better when younger!

  10. What a wonderful fabric backdrop and perfect with the tulips. I’ve always loved the phrase salad days but it is not one you hear used except in novels, so I enjoyed seeing it in our modern world. And your story reminded me that my little purple vase in my arrangement was purchased on a trip to Chicago many years ago with an ex-boyfriend on a visit to his sister. She and I have remained friends through all the years. my vase is here:

  11. FlowerAlley says:

    I loved this. I had tiny gardens, though not as magical as yours. Isn’t it amazing how life circles back on us.

    • Cathy says:

      Indeed – and as the garden peices were left in disarray by the last user (one of my Girls, who are both very much grown up now!) I shall have fun sorting out and putting all the little bits away!

  12. Your vases are full of more than flowers. They hold memories, stories and a lot of thought. It is such fun that you share them with us.

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  14. Cathy I adore the name of this vase and what it means…so special. And then it is filled with tulips…swoon! I have heard the same about Darwin tulips which I hope to plant in the fall for this reason. Today I should call mine, ‘Winter won’t stay away’. At least 6 inches of heavy snow is covering my flowers and I fear many will not survive as the cold weather will be here all week. We shall see….here is what I picked before the snows came:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Donna – it’s strange how easily a vase or contents or props can demand a rethink out of the blue becuase of thoughts and memories they conjure up… And more snow for you, so sorry to hear that … ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

  15. Your blue vase looks like it’s floating in front of that wallpaper.
    I’ve kept it easy today with some pansies.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Cindy – I wasn’t sure if the pattern would be too busy and detract from the vase, but decided that the tulips could probably hold their own

  16. johnvic8 says:

    Ah! The Salad Days! To go back in time to those days when we knew so much, would last a million years, and didn’t think a lot about tomorrow. Just today. Thanks for your vase and the trip of memories.

    • Cathy says:

      To be honest, I didn’t used to know how much there IS to know, John – finding out new things is such an enjoyable experience and I wouldn’t want to be ‘young’ again. I like being older and wiser! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  17. Peter Herpst says:

    Beautiful tulips and fabric and such great memories to go with your props. A wonderful title & arrangement. Thanks again for hosting this fab floral fiesta! My contribution is here:

  18. Renee says:

    Your tulips are beautiful! Hopefully we’ll see mode vases featuring them in the future?

  19. Cathy says:

    The flowers are beautiful Cathy, as is the fabric. But the stories behind your props really made this post a winner. Thanks for sharing those memories… I had a farmyard as a child, and I do believe there were a few plastic potted plants in it too! That pink is just gorgeous…
    I’m posting some yellow this week:

    • Cathy says:

      Thank you Cathy – I had some of the farm things too, but equipment (tractors, trailers, etc) rather than animals. My Mum had (still has) the original lead version of the Britain’s garden.

  20. Oh that little miniature garden plot is so wonderful! Is the black and white photo you/your Flora garden? My contribution this week involves a few memories as well, as I put it together while visiting my parents:

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, Loree, that’s me … (just avoided showing my face which has not been seen on this blog! Look forward to hearing some of your memories too

  21. Kris P says:

    To have tulips bloom here at all, not to speak of having them bloom a second year, would be pure joy. And yours are gorgeous to boot! I smiled at the evolution of your post’s title. My own went through something of a metamorphosis as well this week. Thanks for hosting, Cathy, and here’s my post:

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, I look at blooms growing in US bloggers’ gardens and have to accept that some of them just won’t grow here. I did try sowing lisianthus, but nothing germinated so next year I shall buy some plug plants – but at least I tried

  22. Your tulips are early and are looking,well, in the pink.I love your little dolls house stuff from the loft. I think I may have had some a bit like that now long lost. I have used old bottles this week

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Dorris – it certainly surprises me that it’s ones in containers that seem to be flowering first. Strangely perhaps, I never equated these little garden bits with doll’s houses – and played with them quite independently

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  24. rickii says:

    The boldness of your vase makes it stand out beautifully against the delicately patterned background. Delightful trip down memory lane as well. Let’s take a trip down Delusional Drive for my vase:

  25. Eliza Waters says:

    Wonderful background story, Cathy and beautiful tulips – love that rich color.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Eliza – Monday vases are a bit of a lucky dip… you put your hand in but can never be sure what you are going to pull out! Only very rarely do I know in advance exactly what I plan to do ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  27. Sam says:

    These tulips are lovely, Cathy, and what an interesting background story to go with them. It is amazing what memories are triggered with these vases. My very simple offering is at:
    Better late than never! Have a lovely week.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Sam – I am sure there must be other garden bloggers who had these miniature garden things when they were a child, but no-one’s mentioned it so far!! Oh, and you are not late – with time differences it is good to be flexible – and it spreads out the responses I make and vases I check out, so that’s definitely a good thing too!

  28. homeslip says:

    Your title had me singing a song from “Salad Days” the musical, which premiered at the Bristol Old Vic in 1954. My tulips are wind-blown and suffering from various debris including a sheet of greenhouse plastic landing on them duting last week’s storm Katie. The stems are also very short which I’m told is a result of our chilly Spring. Like rhubarb and asparagus I think tulips need rising temperatures to encourage the stems to lengthen. I may try arranging them with some foliage to improve their appearance as yours look lovely against the dark green sarcococca. I always love the story behind your vase Cathy and your props, as always, are a delight.

    • Cathy says:

      I knew of the musical but nothing about it – must check if there are any familiar songs in it. What a shame about the effects of the wind – hope there was no permanent damage. We missed the worst of Katie (and her predecessors) here in the Midlands. Interesting to read about the effect of rising temperatures which of course makes sense – but then why not for everything, one wonders? I had been scouting in the garden for potential foliage for Younger Daughter’s wedding flowers and was reminded how attractive sarcococca foliage was but never though to use it before. Thanks for your kind comments

  29. Rebecca says:

    Gorgeous tulips. You always put so much thought into your vases – I love the backdrops, props and accompanying stories! Here are my first documented vases after a 6-month blogging hiatus.

  30. Amy says:

    Beautiful tulips and wonderful mementos! I love the way one’s interest in plants sometimes shows up in unexpected forms in childhood ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Not much personal nostalgia to my vase, but a bit of excitement as the first of my heirloom sweet peas are blooming:

  31. Annette says:

    Didn’t get around to do a vase post but as usual I enjoy yours and especially the memory that comes along with it. Your vases are certainly among the most unusual and quirky ones I’ve ever come across. ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. Elizabeth says:

    Your tulips are beautiful and look striking against the dark green foliage. I’ve discovered that Ollioules is the name of a charming preserved village in the south of France so it’s a fitting name for this lovely tulip. I’ve been unwell so not able to join in this week but couldn’t resist taking a peek at your lovely vase. I enjoyed the story behind the title too ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Cathy says:

      Sorry you have not been well again, Elizabeth – hope you have picked up again now. Thanks for the info on Ollioules – don’t know why I hadn’t looked it up myself as I have an insatiable curiosity for who/what/where/when/how!

  33. Chloris says:

    Well, what a story behind your arrangement today. I used to make miniature gardens too. I love the tulip; Darwins are well worth growing for their staying power.

  34. Anna says:

    Now that’s some prize to win. Am I right in thinking that you’ve mentioned your miniature garden before Cathy? I had one too complete with flower beds, fences and a pond too. I wish that I had kept it. Must ask my mum if she can remember its fate.

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, it was so exciting and took me ages to spend it all so I had packages turning up for months! I have mentioned the miniature garden before and I am intrigued to hear you had one too. Mine was all out of its boxes from when one of my Girls played with it many years ago and sadly there are more bits missing than I expected. So many tiny bits for children to swallow!!

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  37. Bec says:

    Those are really beautiful tulips – and great memories. I’m late to the party as usual, and my arrangement isn’t a really a vase – I went on my first flower arranging course (it took me all week to recover because I was so tired). All the ‘In a vase on Monday’ crew have inspired me – especially you.
    Have a good week and I’ll try to be more prompt for this week’s vase ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Cathy says:

      Aw thanks Bec – and don’t worry, it doesn’t actually ahve to be a ‘vase’! I am so curious to hear about your course – I once signed up for one through an Amazon offer but it was cancelled… Hope your week goes well too – and good to hear from you, by the way

  38. Bec says:

    it was really really good (3 day course – not cheap because it’s full board) and the tutor Christine was a big advocate of foliage from the garden or near by (she even uses the moss from her garden to wrap things). I’ve been lurking on the internet (and looking at beautiful flowers) but not had the energy to write blogs (or take photos). Hard going at work at the moment too. Take care – sounds like the wedding arrangements are coming together. Love Bec xx

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