In a Vase on Monday: a Walk in the Park for a Chicken

Unlike a chicken (or  certainly the black one shown strolling nonchalantly above), for whom choosing a title for this post would have been a walk in the park, I really dithered today.

Having anticipated picking some of the early blue blooms that are appearing – the first muscari and a sprinkling of Anemone blanda – for today’s vase, the sudden appearance of these tulips meant A Change of Plan… No, no props came to mind, except for a Yearly Planner that I know has been used as prop before – not for planning my year, just a Monday vase prop… Surprise, Surprise! No, none of those ‘party blowouts’ with a feather at the end (note to self: buy some from eBay ready for the next time). The tulips were, using the term loosely, planted a few years back in various pots on the paved area, hurriedly ‘shoved’ into the pots because I couldn’t think of anywhere else to put them at the time and where, despite complete neglect, they take me by surprise when they reappear every year, like a Phoenix Rises. I still have one of my childhood favourite books, The Phoenix and the Carpet, but no, I used that in another vase post although the emphasis then was on the carpet rather than the Phoenix….

The tulips had been picked on Saturday and wrapped tightly in newspaper (to encourage staright stems) and plunged in water, and I was still contemplating titles on Sunday whilst I made a cake prior to putting the vase together. In front of me in the kitchen were several pieces of this Zell pottery, all featuring the same handsome black chicken on a most appealing cream and green background – and thus the title of the post was born. I chose a small lidded jug, ostensibly a coffee pot I suppose, because the tulip stems were fairly short. Accompanying the jug is one of my Highbank Pottery (based in Lochgilphead, just ‘down the road’ from where my Mum now lives) chickens.

Sadly there is no record of the variety but I suspect I must have been bought them from Peter Nyssen because most freebies or Aldi bulb packs would have mixed varieties, so with time and a bit of sleuthing I might be able to work out what they are – and I do still have many of my PN invoices anyway. As well as the tulips, a most floriferous stem of Lonicera fragrantissima, erroneously accused of flowering poorly this year whereas in fact it was just a little delayed and is now a magnet for early bees, was also picked, although I was unsure whether the vase looked better without it. What do you think?

Within an hour or two or of being exposed to the warmth of the kitchen the tulips inevitably began opening wider, like a tentative patient at the dentist. A fully open bloom would reveal the two-tone yellow and black interior:

I have so enjoyed being able to pick tulips for this vase, far earlier than I would have thought possible, and why these poor neglected beauties are able to show themselves off before any more pampered tulips do I have no idea. It is, however, our gain – and at least flowering relatively early means they get my full attention which will inevitably be less likely when  the choice of flowering tulips is (maybe!) overwhelming a little later in the year. Have you got any surprises for your own Monday vases, or perhaps you will surprise us by posting for the very first time what  you have found in your garden or foraged locally to pop in a vase? Either way, please include the usual links so we can see what you have picked and plonked too.

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68 Responses to In a Vase on Monday: a Walk in the Park for a Chicken

  1. Pingback: In a vase on Monday – A real Princess – Creating my own garden of the Hesperides

  2. Christina says:

    Wow, that is early for the UK and for bulbs that have been outside all the time. I like the Lonicera because I know how wonderful the perfume is, but I’m not sure I don’t prefer the tulips on their own. My own vase is needless to say tulips yet again! here’s the link:

    • Cathy says:

      I agree with you on displaying the tulips on their own – and I am so thrilled to have them 🙂 Mind you, I have today also noticed a couple of solitary species tulips – but too lonesome to make it to any vase!

  3. jenmac13 says:

    Hi Cathy, Hi Christina, it’s lovely to see your beautiful vases this week. I’m way behind on tulips, I haven’t planted any recently but there may be some forgotten bulbs in random spots. I love how some things thrive despite (or thanks to) neglect!
    This week I have three vases, making up for a missed week last time. Hope you like daffodils and crabapple blossom. At least, I think it’s crabapple, I’m still learning what’s what in our new garden!

  4. I’m amazed to see those tulips, and the centre is so rich and buttery. What a charming coffee pot, and the little black hen goes so well with it, although she seems very unimpressed by the cock! Did they have a tiff?! Winter honeysuckle is new to me – I’m always learning wonderful things from you Cathy, I must get some, especially for the bees.
    Here’s my link:

    • Cathy says:

      Me too to see the tulips 🙂 I really like this pottery and have a few pieces, some bought 2nd hand and some new. The winter honeysuckle is non-climbing and is a shrub or small tree – not an especially attractive one, but worth it for the winter blooms and fragrance although you could always grow a clematis up it. My other two varieties are more shrub than tree and reasonably shapely but are still fairly young, so I shall be monitoring them and may prune them to keep them in trim

  5. Pingback: In a vase on Monday: red tulips, blue pot – enclos*ure

  6. I have tulips today as well — although not from the garden (only the tips of leaves are poking out as yet there). My vase is an old “Westerwald” pottery crock from this Saturday’s flea market.

  7. I love it when things just grow without fuss! Love seeing the tulips – the buttery insides are such a beautiful surprise!! My mind says March is spring and craves the flowers that go with it, but here we are anticipating fall. So strange to think I’ll be pulling sweaters out in the next weeks. Here is my addition for IAVOM:

    • Cathy says:

      You could just see a hint of black before they beagn opening, but the yellow certainly was a surprise. I went out yesterday with no coat/jacket on for the first time since late autumn, so things are looking up here!

  8. Cath says:

    What a beautiful vase and tulips, inside and out! And a cute black chicken. I have a black cat this week, and have brought home my tulips this week to put away in the fridge for the winter.

    • Cathy says:

      Thank you Cath. So do you lift all your tulips? Is your winter too wet for them?

      • Cath says:

        All my tulips are in pots, I think they would rot in the ground, so it’s easy to lift them. I think it’s the lack of sustained cold weather that makes it hard to get them through more than one year.

  9. pbmgarden says:

    The jug is perfect for your bundle of tulips. Beautiful. Love peering into the open flower–what a reveal. Thanks for hosting Cathy! Here’s my contribution:

  10. Beautiful to have a surprise and the tulips have so much color for being white. I agree with you about the Lonicera, though I would love to have one in my vase for the scent. Here is my link

  11. FlowerAlley says:

    Lovely flowers and darling chicken.

  12. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday: thirteen flowers | acoastalplot

  13. Sam says:

    Tulips already! How wonderful. I spied some fat buds appearing on some of mine yesterday – not long now 🙂 They look lovely in your chicken jug. Thank you, as always, for hosting, Cathy.
    My vase is here:

    • Cathy says:

      They certainly have both willpower and staying power by the look of it, especially as one of the pots had slate chippings in (I had forgotten about the tulips when I added them) and they have had to push up through this 🙂

  14. Linda B. says:

    I love the inside of those tulips but I especially enjoyed your description linking their open mouths to the dentist! Snowing here again so not limited offerings:

  15. Eliza Waters says:

    Such a pretty yellow interior to these tulips, a lovely contrast with the stamens. I have a fondness for chicken motifs in the kitchen, so am taken by your pot and prop. I’m amazed these tulips return for you, perhaps they are less hybridized? Species and smaller hybrids like T. kaufmanniana, I have better luck with being perennial. My post this week:

    • Cathy says:

      I have lots of chicken ‘stuff’ in my kitchen, Eliza so you would feel very at home here! 🙂 I will try and find out what variety they might be as here too the species are the ones that are most reliable

  16. Your tulips are lovely. This honeysuckle is invasive where I live. It is a beauty though. On this cold wintery day it is a delight to see all the vases full of spring flowers. Here are mine.

    • Cathy says:

      Oh it’s interesting to hear that the honeysuckle is invasive for you – and I do hope your cold wintry days will soon be over for another year!

  17. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Your tulips are beautiful! Mine are just peeking out of the ground. They look quite handsome on their own but who could resist bringing the delicious fragrance of Lonicera fragrantissima inside to enjoy? There are tulips in my vase this week but they were forced.

  18. Cathy those tulips are just gorgeous! The shape and the subtle coloration, I love them and wish I had them in my garden because they would go perfectly in my vase this week. Speaking of, it’s another of my frequent cheats. There is foliage from my garden in the vase, along with several purchased stems. It’s my 8-year blogoversary and I wanted to celebrate with a big arrangement. I’m also doing a giveaway for those in the U.S…

  19. Kris P says:

    I would find it wonderful to have any tulip bloom in my garden but I would be utterly overwhelmed to have them come back year after year. The chicken jug is a wonderful accompaniment. One day I hope you’ll give us a closer look at your prop cupboard (or is it a closet – or perhaps a warehouse?)! I offer a surprise of a different kind this week:

    • Cathy says:

      Well, at least you have other delights which we in the UK can’t even aspire to 😉 And prop cupboard? Oh dear, Kris, there is not such a thing (but I had to giggle at ‘warehouse’) and most of the props just happen to be bits and bobs that are around the house somewhere. I no longer specifically ‘collect’ anything these days, but do have lots of chicken things in the kitchen (egg cups and mugs and the like), as well as general vintage kitchenalia. Quirky miniature things have always appealed to me as well but it’s a long time since I have bought anything collectable (apart from the odd vase, of course, and only if they are cheap!).

  20. G.F. says:

    Wild tulips are all very well in their place, but these fat white ones are glorious. Lovely to have such satisfying bunches of them. You are clever to be able to coax them back year on year.


  21. Anna says:

    I had to a double take at those tulips Cathy and remind myself it’s barely the middle of March! Talk about ‘Treat ’em mean, keep ’em keen’ – it’s has payed dividends with those tulips. Vase, tulips and the sweet little black chicken compliment each other perfectly. In answer to your question I think that the vase would have been looked ‘better’ either with just tulips or with more than one stem of lonicera but it’s splitting hairs really 🙂 A simple splash of of yellow from me this week at :

  22. Alison C says:

    Such lovey tulips and so beautiful inside. They are very dainty and the splash of yellow is alluring. What a treat for you to have them flower so early. My Lonicera is flowering away beautifully and has been for weeks. Another treat.
    Here is my little vase:

  23. Cathy says:

    Your title really got me intrigued this week Cathy! That tulip is very pretty once it opens – a lovely buttery yellow. No tulips here yet, but a few early spring flowers made it into my vase this week. Thanks for hosting!

  24. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday: An Early Spring Posy | Words and Herbs

  25. Leanne says:

    I wish I could grow tulips. They are beautiful! Tried and tried, however the critters ate them every time. First time at this, so here goes! Thanks for hosting!

    • Cathy says:

      Welcome to the meme – good to have you with us! Sorry you have had no success with tulips – could you grow them in pots under cover perhaps?

  26. Pingback: Hellebore Hybrids | Country Garden UK

  27. Gillian says:

    Lovely early tulips and a delightful vase too Cathy. We’ve had squirrels eating our tulip bulbs in previous winters. Once they are growing they don’t touch them so now I try to pot up new bulbs in autumn and keep them in a cold greenhouse until they are growing well. A pot full of roots and 10cm shoots seems to deter the hungry critters! It’s Hellebores again for me today!

    • Cathy says:

      Oh that’s an interesting technique Gillian – we do have the occasional squirrel, but he only seems to be interested in the hazel nuts 😉

  28. Tulips? ! Wow Cathy you have not just green but magic fingers. They are rather elegant. I have lots of little Spring flowers today.

    • Cathy says:

      Honestly Dorris, I am in no way reponsible for these prompt flowerers – unless it was completely forgetting their existence that caused them to bloom early 😉

  29. karen says:

    Hi Cathy. I love those tulips with the beautiful centre. I must grow more tulips for next year. Also love your collection of jugs. I’m taking my mum to emma bridgewater’s factory soon, and hoping to stock up on jugs and mugs! Here’s my flowers for this week.

    • Cathy says:

      I have looked through my Peter Nyssen orders but they must predate the ones I have kept – perhaps planted in 2012? – so I am still none the wiser, sadly, as I like to know the varieties. Your Mum is lucky to have you to take her on all these trips – enjoy your visit to EB. I was looking at the website to see what you might be tempted by 😉

  30. smallsunnygarden says:

    The tulips are lovely, and sometimes it’s the little forgotten ones that have the most charm 🙂 I’m not sure about the Lonicera one way or the other, but there is something to be said for bringing the scent indoors! My post this week: well, it was certain to start with freesias!:

  31. What fun, Cathy. I do like your description of the tulips opening!

  32. Brian Skeys says:

    The one on the jug really thinks he’s ‘Cock of the Walk’!

  33. Annette says:

    very sweet, your chicken parade, Cathy, I was planning to join you but alas, it’ll have to be next week, best xx

  34. rickii says:

    Aesthetically, the tulips are better on their own, but who could resist that fragrant addition?

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