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.