Salad 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!
It 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 £3000 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, a red wallpaper version adorned the previous dining room walls whilst this sunny yellow colourway was destined, I recall, for curtains.
Let’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 an 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.