In a Vase on Monday: We’ll Gather Lilacs

Although you’re far away
And life is sad and grey
I have a scheme, a dream to try
I’m thinking, dear, of you
And all I meant to do
When we’re together, you and I
We’ll soon forget our care and pain
And find such lovely things to share again

The song ‘We’ll gather lilacs in the spring’ is an evocative song from the late ’50s*, invoking the belief that a time will come when things will be back to how they were before, a situation that all of us may be looking forward to during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Not that we can expect things to be exactly the same as before, but we can at least hope that there will be positives to come out of the unprecedented experience alongside the mental and emotional impact, and the huge financial burden that nations and ultimately the public will inevitably be left to bear.

*my apologies, as the source of this information was incorrect and the song, by Ivor Novello, was in fact written for the troops in the second world war and included in the musical ‘Perchance to Dream’ in 1945

For me, one small positive that has already come out of it is a more intimate knowledge of the local countryside, and a daily walk has been one of the highlights. Once a return to more structured exercise is possible I will go back to my regular swimming and exercise classes, so these walks will become a less frequent treat but looked forward to with great anticipation.

There has been much to discover over the last seven weeks, and the white lilac garden escapee is just one of them. Having promised I would pick some for a Monday vase, here it finally is, along with cow parsley from a nearby verge and a clutch of the remaining tulips from the garden.

The final result, in the Caithness Glass ‘Ebony’ vase I used a few weeks ago, actually looks better in the flesh than the photographs suggest, the result of not taking the photograph from the same level as the vase – perhaps I need to get down on my knees in future! It’s not often I manage to create such a substantial and chunky display on a Monday so it’s always a pleasure to use of my larger vases that don’t see the light of day very often. This one smells good too!

Will you be able to create a relatively chunky vase with pickings from your garden today, or will it be a more modest grouping of stems and foliage? Both will bring pleasure, I am sure, to you and those you choose to share it with. If you choose to share it with the IAVOM community too, please leave the usual links to and from this post.

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50 Responses to In a Vase on Monday: We’ll Gather Lilacs

  1. Jaye Marie says:

    stunning vase, Cathy. That white lilac is ethereal!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks. With not having lilac of my own it is not something I have ever picked before – but I know where the shrub is now!

  2. the running wave says:

    Lovely lilac and cow parsley is an absolute favourite of mine. It is just beginning to show itself here and it is always a joy! A delightful trio in your vase Cathy! I have a quartet today! Have a good week and keep safe and well. Amanda

  3. Linda CASPER says:

    I was breathing in the fragrance of those lilacs as I read your lovely post.

  4. Pingback: this week's bouquet - In My Spare Time

  5. What a visual beauty and I’m sure the lilacs smell wonderful too. I love white bouquets and yours is so sweet and lovely with its different and delicate textures. How nice you can glean flowers form your walks, making them more special memories.

  6. pbmgarden says:

    A frothy dreamscape. Love your exuberant vase today Cathy. Glad you’re finding positives to keep yourself going. Our weather has been magnificent this spring, granting us a longer bloom time for irises and peonies, and so the garden has been even more so, a peaceful refuge.

    • Cathy says:

      Frothy dreamscape? What a lovely thought, Susie! I may still not have found/made time to do much sitting in the garden, but I have done an awful lot of standing and gazing!

  7. Frothy is the perfect word for it! Frothy AND fragrant – perfect! I’m looking forward to Lilac time here but for now still have tulips tulips and more tulips. I used one of my chunkiest vases this week as well (‘chunky’ is relatve, right?). Enjoy your walks this week!

    • Cathy says:

      It’s interesting to hear how the seasons affect plants in different parts of the world, and of course you are several weeks behind us. I agree, chunky is relative, but then again I suppose all adjectives are!

  8. Helen Johnstone says:

    Love the simplicity of your vase. Here is mine – very simple, it was very windy!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Helen – simple is good, on many levels 😉

    • Cathy says:

      ps after seeing your vase: your glasses are the perfect finishing touch and I am sure this vase will give you as much pleasure as anything more elaborate…one of the joys of IAVOM

  9. I like the dramatic contrast, light and dark, and fine and coarse textures. Wish I could smell it. I have seen more people walking than ever before. My vase is pretty chunky this week

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Amelia. Here, we rarely saw other walkers, except perhaps the first week or two…the novelty must have worn off for some, perhaps

      • Odd, seems like it would be a great time of year for walking.

        • Cathy says:

          I suppose the novelty might have worn off for some – but the weather has been brilliant for almost all of lockdown and it is the easiest form of exercise. Of course living in a village (population perhaps 500) makes a difference, as people were advised to exercise as near to home as possible, but we are only 2 or 3 miles from other villages and the nearest town

  10. Ah ha! Here are those tulips. And lilac. Lovely combination! I have all sorts today

  11. Noelle says:

    Love the composition of whites and purple, then that green leaf. All I can manage today is a little flotsam.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Noelle – the lilac was quite leafy and I removed several of them, but decided it needed at least some of them

  12. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday: Pink, White and Grey | Wild Daffodil

  13. I do like that colour combination and what a n apt choice of song for the times.
    I have gone a bit marshmallow this week. 🙂

    • Cathy says:

      I had to look up the lyrics to the song and wondered if might even date from the war years – but it didn’t. My brain is mulling over your marshmallow reference…hmm

  14. Kris Peterson says:

    How I wish lilacs grew here! Our “California lilac” (Ceanothus) isn’t the same at all. While I think your arrangement is absolutely beautiful, I laughed when I read your comment about the arrangement looking better in person – NOT because I don’t believe you – but because I made the very same comment about an arrangement in my post today; however, I suspect your vase also has a lovely scent, which I can’t say for mine. (It doesn’t smell bad; it just doesn’t have any noticeable scent at all.) Thanks as always for hosting, Cathy. Here’s my post:

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, I certainly wasn’t fishing for complements, Kris, but just making an observation – where I sit at my laptop the vase is at eye level and it really does look different.

  15. Chloris says:

    All the lovely white froth reminds me of a doily. I have a late blooming white lilac looking fabulous right now. I am intrigued by your garden escapee, do you mean you liberated a few sprays? It looks lovely with the dark tulip, is it Queen of the Night?

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, I was thinking doilies too and actually intended to put one underneath – but forgot! The lilac is either a sucker (if lilac has them) of one in a garden, or is growing outside the property. It’s very much on the verge, and ripe for picking I would say 😉

    • Cathy says:

      Oh, and the tulip might be Q of the N or it might not – see Sunday’s post

  16. Anna says:

    I can almost smell the scent from the lilacs Cathy and am sneezing over the cow parsley. They are both outstanding May blossoms 😄 A deliciously dark tulip too – well rescued from those cruel winds. I do think that there will be some positives to emerge from the pandemic although undoubtedly great hardship too. A modest gathering of old friends from me this week here :

    • Cathy says:

      Hay fever is a cruel thing, Anna, and I am so sorry you have been suffering. As we have no idea yet when lockdown and isolation will end it is soon to assess the long term emotional cost

  17. Hi Cathy, thank you for your post with those lines from ‘We’ll Gather Lilacs’. Had me in tears and couldn’t be more timely. My husband is in hospital, on oxygen, with pneumonia following Covid. We’ve both been in hospital because of the virus so it’s been a terrifying time but we are staying optimistic and have been talking about what we will do when this is all over. In a Vase on Monday will hopefully return to my blog just as soon as I have less to distract me. I love your choice of flowers this week. The froth of white from the lilacs and cow parsley is just perfect with the dark purple tulips. Thanks again for such a lovely post. Elizabeth.

    • Cathy says:

      Oh Elizabeth, I am so sorry to hear you have both been stricken in this way and that your husband is still poorly. Have you been unable to vist him since your own recovery? Using the word ‘terrifying’ brings home just how awful it must be for those affected and their families. I am glad it was worthwhile for you to read my post today, as your mind must be on so many other things. Take very good care, love Cathy x

      • I have not been allowed to visit him – no one is allowed. We keep in touch by phone so I was able to copy the lyrics to Messenger for him. He was as moved by them as I was. Terrifying is just how it is, for now, but the garden is a distraction, for both of us – he’s enjoying my daily updates. Thanks for the kind words. x

  18. The song “We will gather lilacs in the spring” and the reflection you make afterwards enchanted me. White lilacs are like ethereal lace: I love them. And its perfume must be wonderful. It is a magnificent vase with the contrast of the white and the dark of the tulips, and the mediation of the green of the cow parsley: I love it. Your daily walks through the local countryside have brought you many good things, getting to know the local environment and flora, in addition to having discovered many lovely plants growing wild. Keep you and your husband safe. Take care of both of you. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita.

    • Cathy says:

      It is the first time I have picked lilac and I agree that it is like lace – I shall certainly pick from there again another year! I am pleased you enjoyed the post and felt motivated to read it. Take care

      • Thanks Cathy: I like that you are happy that you enjoyed your blog. How could I not? If your blogs are wonderful for the content and for the photos of the flowers: I love them. I have cooled down again because of a soak of rain so strong that I had to shower when I got home. And my throat and my ears and my body have gone cold without fever. Especially the ears that have hurt a lot. This is the first day that I take the computer. Take care. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita.

  19. Cathy says:

    Our lilac is only just opening and the cow parsley is in bud, so it is lovely to see your vase as a taste of what is to come! May is the month of froth and your arrangement certainly has captured that. So glad you could rescue the last tulips. Mine have been battered by rain… one reason why I have no vase to share today. But we are so happy to have had real heavy rain over the last few days! 😃

    • Cathy says:

      You have your froth to look forward to, but in the meantime I’m sorry to hear about your rain, Cathy – very much a mixed blessing. It has been very windy here and grey, but sadly no rain, so it is still pretty dry – and we have a few cold nights this week too.

  20. Eliza Waters says:

    A beautiful combination, Cathy, and your poem is very apt.

  21. magpiesue says:

    You’ve achieved a very dramatic vase of flowers with such common flowers! I love it.

  22. tonytomeo says:

    Lilacs are still one of my favorites. I used to grow the French hybrids, but would have preferred to grow the common sort that I remember from when I was a kid. There was only one at the farm, and we never put it into production. There is only one here for my own garden; but of course, they spread.

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