In a Vase on Monday: Winter Warmth

Yesterday promised to be thoroughly grey and damp and, having already taken advantage of a break in the rain for a walk, the clouds lowered, the sky blackened and any hope of remaining dry whilst foraging for flowers for today’s vase was but a forlorn one. I could have resorted to some of summer’s helichrysum, nicely dried out in the heat of the kitchen, but the show must go on and I have picked blooms in worse weather.

Any hangers-on from warmer seasons would undoubtedly be thoroughly bedraggled, so instead I focussed on winter season contenders of which there are a number: distinctive blue flowers of a passalong plain-leaved brunnera, winter honeysuckle Lonicera ‘Budapest’, shiny green leaves of Sarcococca humilis with emerging flower buds and a little sprig of witch hazelΒ  Hamamelis ‘Orange Peel’ cut from just above ground level from where it wouldn’t be missed, all placed in my teeny sample Bretby Pottery jug to form an arrangement with a total height of less than 5″ (<13cm). A small offering, but full of promise for the season ahead and enough to warm the cockles of any heart, however hard….

It is rare for my Monday vase photoshoots to take place indoors, but yesterday was one of those days, and a spotlight lamp was pressganged into service to boost the lack of natural daylight, creating some interesting shadows. On a whim, my first choice of prop was abandoned, replaced instead by a mince pie, the best seasonal antidote to a potentially dismal December day (sadly, it wasn’t warm and straight out of the oven, but cold and straight out of the freezer to which it was duly returned when duty was done…). Having politely nibbled on a shop-bought mince pie the previous day, it reminded me how sorry I am for those who have never experienced homemade mince pies with homemade mincemeat, a far cry from shop-bought ones…

I am happy to report that the Cold Stone Tea from a fortnight ago is still looking tasty, just going to show that a vase is not just for Monday, but Tuesday, Wednesday, maybe the rest of the week and sometimes into the next week or even the one after that. I know pickings are lean for many in the northern hemisphere and the weather may not be conducive to pootling in the borders, but if you are able to share a vase with us today we would be delighted to see it, so please leave links to and from this post.

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36 Responses to In a Vase on Monday: Winter Warmth

  1. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday: My Christmas Tree | Wild Daffodil

  2. There are still a few blooms hanging on in my garden, but they haven’t made it inot a vase today – instead: https://daffodilwild.wordpress.com/2020/12/14/in-a-vase-on-monday-my-christmas-tree/

  3. pbmgarden says:

    Cathy, I’m so surprised to see brunnera. I thought it would wait for early spring. What is its normal bloom time for you? The blue looks wonderful against the brilliant orange witch hazel. We had a mild weekend but back to cold weather ahead. I hope you have a great week. Thanks for hosting.
    https://pbmgarden.blog/2020/12/14/in-a-vase-on-monday-december-etude/

    • Cathy says:

      I checked back to see when brunnera is normally in bloom here and it seems to be March that it first becomes evident, although I have got a feeling this one is usually earlier than ‘Jack Frost’, the one with variegated leaves, though. And admittedly this was the only sprig flowering now!

  4. I thoroughly enjoyed your post, Cathy, Pootling in the borders is a new and wonderful term. And I enjoy doing just that. And I never knew what mincemeat really is, my father loved the pies but it was always canned. This time of year I always wish I could have Witch Hazel – they are so pretty and I never had Brunnera…love the blue. Here is my non vase..https://theshrubqueen.com/2020/12/14/a-wreath-on-monday-pups/

  5. Pingback: In a Vase on a Monday: Precious – Annettes Garten / Annette's Garden

  6. Annette says:

    Such little treasures – I must admit that small things touch my heart a lot more than the showy, impressive ones. It seems like a wonder to have anything in flower in December. No sign of flowers on any of my Hamamelis yet but the Sarcococca is almost ready. Most unusual to find a Brunnera now, it must be in a very sheltered spot. Here’s my little vase: https://personaleden.wordpress.com/2020/12/14/in-a-vase-on-a-monday-precious/ Wishing you both a good week with some sunshine πŸ™‚

  7. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday: Warm and Cosy | Words and Herbs

  8. Kris P says:

    I’ve tried and failed to grow Brunnera here and I admire the witch hazels every time I see them but those are plants that grow in Southern California either. Kudos to you for braving the weather to collect your prizes. There were no such weather challenges here as we still haven’t had rain and, by some accounts, aren’t likely to see any of that until February but flowering plants are still in shorter supply. Thanks for hosting, Cathy, and here’s my post: https://krispgarden.blogspot.com/2020/12/in-vase-on-monday-fragile-flowers.html

    • Cathy says:

      I think I have now learned to accept that there are some plants which do well for other people in the UK but don’t seem to work for me, for whatever reason

  9. Cathy says:

    Definitely full of promise and already looking like spring can’t wait to arrive. I can’t believe you have Brunnera in flower in December! Just had a peep at your recipe… I will use that as a guide next year as mine was very similar but definitely didn’t have enough brandy in it! πŸ˜‰ Here is my small (and warm) offering for today:
    https://wordsandherbs.wordpress.com/2020/12/14/in-a-vase-on-monday-warm-and-cosy/
    Thanks Cathy. xx

    • Cathy says:

      I don’t think I have seen brunnera here in December before, but it may just be a one-off sprig. The brandy really does make a difference to the mincemeat – and it’s what gives it its keeping properties. I think I posted the recipe back in 2012 and will go back and add a note about the pastry I make them with

  10. bcparkison says:

    I was surprised at the small size. Really pretty. I do love mincemeat and have made a copy of your recipe. May never make it ..but then you never know.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Beverley – hope you like the mincemeat if you do make it 😊

      • bcparkison says:

        Fun trip to the maibox today. I can’t wait to peak into this lovely book. Now…if you would be so kind as to send me, by email, your proper mailing address I will send you a proper than you. btparkison@gmail.com……Stay safe and healthy during the holidays. Beverly Parkison

        • Cathy says:

          Oh I am so glad it has arrived – and that it has not taken TOO long 😊 I am not sure I need anything other than the thanks you have already expressed, but if you insist I shall forward you my details as requested. I am sure you will enjoy the book

  11. the running wave says:

    What a joy to see witch hazel flowering again! Mine are a long way off! No vase from me on Instagram today but a few photos of our Christmas tree which we brought in over the weekend – about ten days earlier than usual but frankly needed the joy of the twinkle!! Your little vase of sweeties is also a joy! Thank you Cathy! Amanda

    • Cathy says:

      And it was such a mild day again yesterday that another has suddenly begun to open its flowers too. Hope your tree is providing a suitable degree of twinkliness! 🌲

      • the running wave says:

        It is!! I am beginning to worry now that it will start to fade too soon, in the warmth of the house! Fingers crossed the dribble of water I can pour in to the tree stand reservoir will keep it hydrated a bit!! The Christmas tree is my favourite part of the whole event!! A

  12. Pingback: In a Wreath on Monday – Rejuvenation | Frogend dweller's Blog

  13. Wow, your ‘stone cold tea’ has lasted brilliantly!
    I love your witch hazel, but I don’t know how you can bear to cut it. It seems so precious. I am also surprise to see brunnera this early. Thanks for hosting, Cathy.
    I am cheating slightly, with a wreath, not vase this week: https://wp.me/pM8Y1-84K

    • Cathy says:

      I am amazed at the cold tea, especially as there is very little water in the tiny teapot. I don’t cut my witch azels very often, but when I do they are always stray branches, perhaps crisscrossing another or, in the case of this one, about two inches long and a similar distance above ground level ps wreaths are not cheating!

      • Ah, judicious pruning is a good thing and we all enjoy the rewards! πŸ˜‰

        • Cathy says:

          Yes, my witch hazels are too precious for a ‘bunch’ of blooms, although at least one of them is getting to the point where it could do with more judicious pruning than it has had so far – no sign of blooms on it yet though

  14. tonytomeo says:

    Who cares about honeysuckle when you got a mincemeat pie?!

  15. Alicia says:

    To be honest the first thing my eye was drawn to was the pastry. lol It looks amazing. Then the witch hazel and the brunnera. I didn’t realize before now that it bloomed this time of year.

    • Cathy says:

      Haha 😁 – thank you Alicia! These witch hazels aren’t native to the UK and usually flower between December and March, so it’s a little bit earlier than some years. The brunnera usually starts flowering about March so is definitely earlier, but it has been a relatively mild winter here so far

  16. I’ve been gazing in amazement at your bunnera in flower Cathy. Just what is going on with our weather? I shall rush out to inspect mine come daylight. Last time I looked it was just a soggy mess. A lovely vase full of little gems πŸ˜„

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