In a Vase on Monday: Cuckoo in the Nest

I certainly did not expect to have a hippeastrum (aka amaryllis) flowering in the middle of April, but something clearly went awry with my plans to have amaryllis blooming in the Coop when visitors came to our open garden in February. This and three or four others were planted up in mid-December and kept frost-free but not warm in the Coop, as I think I did the previous year when we did not have such a mild winter. In future, I need to plant them earlier, or start them off in the warmth of the house and take them to the Coop when the buds first appear. One advantage of its slow progress is the length and straightness of the stem – 26″ or 66cm of vertical poker-straightness, which you may have seen in context on yesterday’s post about the greenhouses.

Putting what we might think of in the UK as an indoor winter flowering bulb in a vase with spring blooms might seem a bit like a cuckoo in another bird’s nest, especially with the typical hugeness of the bloom – all the more appropriate then that the variety is not the expected pure white ‘Intokazi’ but possibly the bi-coloured ‘Happy Memory’ instead. Whatever it is, having cut the stem down by more than half and seeing the blooms at close quarters I could now admire their deep green centres, something I definitely missed when they were towering above my head.

Joining the hippeastrum are unidentified tulips, not what I expected to be putting in my vase again today after offering tulips last week, but they seemed to complement the stripe of the petals. These tulips are in several of the pots on the paved area, mixed with two other varieties, one of which is ‘Elegant Lady’ and the other an as yet unidentified multi-stemmed one that has not opened. I have come to the conclusion that today’s are an unlabelled variety from Aldi although they do look familiar and I am sure someone will recognise them.

Rather than cut the stems further and attempt an ikebana style arrangement I used a clear slender vase that supported the stems well and added glass pebbles to keep them upright, and in the absence of any handy cuckoos to act as a prop I requisitioned a chicken on its nest instead.

I know not everyone would choose to cut an amaryllis stem to put in a vase but I got over that stumbling block a few years of IAVOM ago! Perhaps there will be something else you would be happy to cut from your garden instead and pop into a vase or jamjar to share with us today – just leave the usual links to and from this post if you do.

ps here are the graceful remains of last week’s tulips, still elegant in their frailty. For those, like Susie, who are interested in how much water the vase holds I can tell you that it is exactly one imperial pint or just a little over 500ml.

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45 Responses to In a Vase on Monday: Cuckoo in the Nest

  1. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday: Tulip Love | Words and Herbs

  2. Cathy says:

    An unexpected combination indeed, but rather lovely. 😃 I also had some very late flowering hippeastrum. One is still going strong. I think I should have brought mine into the warmth of the house earlier too. I have found in past years the planting time rarely has any influence on the flowering time, so I am always surprised! I have tulips to offer this week. Thanks Cathy!

  3. the running wave says:

    I do enjoy the grandness of amaryllis! They always remind me of great ladies, a bit like the character played by Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey. Very gracious and stately! Your twin girls have a beautiful fine lines and I love the very narrow outline of red, all the way round each petal. Just lovely! I have a much simpler offering this week! Have a good week, stay safe and well – hopefully in continued sunshine! Hooray! Amanda

    • Cathy says:

      I haven’t watched DA but can visualise MS as a dowager and agree with the comparison! Well done for spotting the red edge as I hadn’t – Nature has a deft touch with her paintbrush, doesn’t she?

  4. I think they make a lovely and striking combination and are exquisite! I have never grown hippeastrum before and really know nothing about them. I have little patience for plants that can’t support themselves, so most likely that is why since they get so tall. But also since I have poor light in my house and we have severe winters. So, I will just enjoy yours, and their lovely green centers.
    No vase today, as for some reason, my photos were damaged when downloaded into the computer. Happy Monday!

    • Cathy says:

      I have found when they are grown in a warm house they can get very leggy but because this has grown slowly and it has more light it is (was) really strong and didn’t need supporting, despite being in a small pot. Shame about your pictures, but do enjoy your vase yourself

  5. pbmgarden says:

    And how did your chicken feel about standing in for a cuckoo? Your hippeastrum is lovely Cathy, as are the tulips. It’s part of gardening I suppose to have these surprises in timing. So, another surprise that your last week’s vase holds so much water. Very cool vase. Have a good week.

    • Cathy says:

      I was really pleased with this very simple and almost imromptu vase, Susie, so thanks for the kind comments

  6. Cathy says:

    I recognise the tulip! It’s a pink one from Aldi!! That’s kind of the level I’m beginning to descend to now – but it feels comfortable. I know what you mean about it being an odd combination – but it works very well just the same. And the stems in the vase and your little chicken next to it echo the lovely colours on the back of the hippeastrum. Lovely! Here’s my vase:

    • Cathy says:

      Haha! Aldi are usually pretty good at giving variety names and for the last few years I have bought several packs of mixed but named purple tulis but they didn’t have them this time, just mixed with daffs or unnamed single varities like this. I agree the combination works well and I was pleased with the vase

      • Cathy says:

        It’s lovely Cathy. Be proud. Incidentally, I don’t think I mentioned that my mum’s hippeastrum (she died in 2017) flowered for the first time when I opened the garden here at the end of May 2018. A very odd time for a hippeastrum! Personally, I believe she was saying ‘hello’. Perhaps yours was saying something as well?!

        • Cathy says:

          Aw, that is so lovely to hear, Cathy, and I would certainly like to believe that your Mum was there supporting you at your first opening

          • Cathy says:

            It was kind of a special time – the amaryllis flowering just then (and the opening, of course). Not this year, sadly, although I was scheduled to open 4 days.

  7. What a perfect and beautiful combination – that first photo looks like a still life painting or drawing. So wonderful!!

  8. I like the combination, it is graceful in the vase. Chicken ceramic collecting is common where I am from. The vase reminds me of home. The Amaryllis grow outside here and flower in March, they are spring bulbs. I have a few but they decided not to bloom at all, so far! Maybe they are cuckoo, too. My vase for this week. Thank you for hosting

  9. johnvic8 says:

    Quite nice this week…lovely color. Thanks for leading us through this meme.

  10. Chloris says:

    That is surprising to see a hippeastrum in April but how pretty your cuckoo looks with the tulips. I couldn’t let tulip time go past unmarked so I have joined in today. I am sorry if I have taken liberties with your meme.

    • Cathy says:

      Well, if you want to feel chastised then go ahead and do so, but there is no need as you know very well that it can be any sort of container, or even none at all – so no liberties taken!

  11. Anna says:

    That’s a rather stunning hippeastrum Cathy and what a special treat to enjoy a little bit later than usual. The chicken on her nest is an eggscellent substitute for a cuckoo. I have done what I said what I wasn’t going to do and there is a tulip in my vase this week :

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, perhaps I should see it as a special treat, Anna, and not just late – and I have two more special treats to come!! Look forward to seeing your unexpected tulip!!

  12. Noelle says:

    I had a peep at the Amaryllis in your glass house, and short of putting the pot on the floor, the likes of you and I would need a stepladder to admire its flowers. So pleased you used it for the Vase this week. Here is my contribution:

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, you are right, Noelle – perhaps I need to keep a step-stool in the Coop! I like to see them in a vase without their long stems but I know plenty of others don’t…

  13. Kris Peterson says:

    The combination works and I love the title you used, Cathy. Hippeastrum planted outside here bloom in early spring (which usually means late February/early March in this climate) so yours don’t seem all that out of place to me, not that I’d ever have a chance of combining mine with tulips! I do have scented blooms to offer this week, though:

    • Cathy says:

      It’s always refreshing to see different combinations and blooms from different parts of the world. No scent in mine so yours has a different attraction!

  14. Pingback: In a vase on Monday. April 20 2020 – Garden Dreaming at Châtillon

  15. Alison C says:

    It’s very beautiful and makes an interesting vase with the tulips. The glass beads are a good idea and one I never remember. I always keep tulips until the petals fall off , I think they get more wonderful and elegant as you say. Here is my vase:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Alison, I haven’t used the glass pebbles for ages and had all but forgotten about them but they worked really well with this vase

  16. Pingback: IAVOM (believe it or not) |

  17. rickii says:

    Unusual and striking…I love it! Here I am, after a long absence:

  18. smallsunnygarden says:

    What a surprise to see amaryllis in your post today–I would never have guessed what the “cuckoo” would be! 😉 With its red stripes it reminds me of the first Hippeastrum I planted out into my Arizona garden, “Ambiance”, though I know there are other lovely striped varieties. Anyway, it is a delightful surprise with the tulips!
    I also used a flower I had not expected to cut. It took a little extra nerve, but I managed…:

    • Cathy says:

      I coudn’t NOT use it, Amy, especially when there was a second spike left on the bulb, so I can still observe it in situ as well. I wonder what you have been brave enough to cut…?

  19. Annette says:

    A lovely surprise indeed, Cathy, and the way you’ve arranged the flowers is most cute, it almost looks like an exotic bird! Our cuckoo came back from Africa about 10 days ago and 2 days ago I heard the golden oriole for the first time. They also come from Africa and I always worry about them as they probably pass Malta. Have a lovely week xx

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Annette. Good to read about ‘your’ birds’ arrival, although I did have to Google why you were concerned about the oriole flying over Malta!

  20. tonytomeo says:

    There is a species of what seems to be hippeastrum that looks very similar to this cultivar, that blooms randomly in the Santa Clara Valley. They do not seem to have a season, and can bloom at a different time every year. Weirdly, they all bloom at the same time! It is so strange, like they are all thinking the same thing. They need a bit of shelter from the frost, even here.

  21. that’s a lovely combination – the hippeastrum is massive! I’ve got tulips in my vase this week too no idea of the names – oops but it got me thinking about simple pleasures.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Bec. The hippeastrum had to stems but the other one was shorter and the flowers weren’t as large. Definitely tulip time right now!

  22. Cathy a lovely bouquet, I love it. The hippeastrum is divine and looks wonderful with the pink tulips. The glass beads inside the vase are fabulous, I love them. Vase and flowers make an ideal match, I love them. The hen in her nest is adorable because, given the blog title, she will be hatching an egg that a cuckoo will have put in her nest. I hope you and the golfer are fine. Keep both of you safe and secure. Take care. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita.

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