In a Vase on Monday: Inspiration and Anticipation

Having picked a handful of emerging ‘Tête-à-tête’ to make a posy to take out with me yesterday I was reluctant to pluck more, as well as being pushed for time. Despite hoping for a relatively (I don’t ‘do’ lazy!) lazy week, it just didn’t happen, with a combination of expected and unexpected things getting in the way. Lacking inspiration of my own, I fell back on Cathy of Words and Herbs’ inspiring hellebores which she shared with us last week and which so far have lasted six days. She wondered if being on their own in separate vases made a difference to their longevity and will investigate further.

Accordingly, I picked a single stem of Hellebore ‘Harvington Double Apricot’ which actually has two buds, not just the one visible in the photo, but I succumbed to the simple accompaniment of a twig from twisted hazel Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’, complete with pollen saturated catkins, and popped them in a stoneware inkpot. The buds are swelling, but not yet beginning to open, so I am hoping the warmth of the house will give them a boost. So apologies Cathy, but thank you – it was a real timesaver!

Anticipating their opening, I chose to use Mary Berry’s ‘Fast Cakes’ as a prop (written back in the ’80s before she was particularly well known), on the premise that cake baking involves inspiration and anticipation the same as today’s vase does – the book provides the inspiration, the baking provides the anticipation! I have had my copy since the mid ’80s and you can see it has been well used, although there may only be a dozen or so recipes that I use with any regularity.

Apologies for my brevity, and if you can find time to cut material from your garden to share with us then please do so, leaving links in the usual way.

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31 Responses to In a Vase on Monday: Inspiration and Anticipation

  1. Pingback: IVAOM: moss on a plate | Wild Daffodil

  2. That is such a well loved recipe book and tells of many a family gathering I’m sure. More moss-on-a-plate from me, with an added ingredient or two:

    • Cathy says:

      Actually less family gatherings and more friends and with children at school (the highlight of their week!). I plan to put all my favoured recipes together into a book form in case my daughters want a record for their years without me…

  3. Noelle says:

    I love that you have kept all your old recipe books Cathy and still use them. As always an interesting post, and I look forward to your sharing the outcome on the Hellebores in a vase. Three slices of the IAVOM cake today:

  4. I like the shapes and baked mini rum cakes over the weekend. Hope your next post is delight..thank you for hosting

  5. It is interesting that I never heard of Mary Berry until I started watching the Great British Bake Off, two years ago. But I love a well loved and used cookbook like this one. Just as I love your vase today– I think it portrays anticipation so prettily.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Angie – looking at it now I wonder if I cut the stem prematurely, as it is currently looking a little droopy… Mary Berry will have been known in the cooking and baking world for a long time, but certainly wasn’t a household name until Bake Off

      • Noelle says:

        I think she was early on Cathy, which is why I had so many of her cookery books. I gave them all away some time ago to a National Trust Property when they were covering the history of home baking. I bought a couple of her more recent ones a few years ago, and her recipes are very easy to follow. I think she went into the background when Delia took to the stage, but she was a very kind judge on Bake Off.

        • Cathy says:

          Among people who baked, I agree, but programmes like Bake Off has a more universal following. I like the way she tells us she still doesn’t bother with butter in her (Victoria s/w type) cakes and uses soft baking marge and the all in one method, just like the rest of us! I have bought an updated hardback version of Fast Cakes, which has some new cakes in, but I will still buy a secondhand copy of my original. Do you have any of the BeRo books? I’m sure you will do!

  6. Kris P says:

    The hellebores I cut a couple of weeks ago also hung on for over a week despite being mixed with other flowers so I suspect yours will do just fine. I hope the rest of your week is less harried. Here’s my post:

    • Cathy says:

      That’s amazing Kris, as in the past I have always found that they droop after a few days, unless the blooms have begun to fade in which case they are OK. There seems to be no definitive way to successfully display them in a vase…🙄 Yes, this week should definitely be quieter, unless something unexpected crops up!!

  7. pbmgarden says:

    Hope your hellebore does well Cathy. I’d love an apricot colored one. The curvy willow adds an interesting touch. I used hellebores too this week. Hope life settles down for you soon. Thanks for taking time out to host.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Susie – it is cyrrently not looking hopeful as the stem is already a bit droopy. I suspect it may not have been mature enough as it is a fairly young plant – and sadly when/if it blooms the flowers will not be as apricot as one might have liked. Yes, should be a relatively quiet week I think 😉

  8. Anna says:

    The shape of that hazel branch is most appealing Cathy. I have a 1980s ‘Good Housekeeping’ recipe book ( As a newly wed I wanted to impress the man in my life) which is in a similar vintage condition to our book. Hope that perhaps you have a calmer week. I have to my head and confess to to some convenience food in my vase this week :

    • Cathy says:

      I used to subscribe to GH for a number of years and have a number of their recipes cut out and saved and part of my repertoire…I wonder if any of them are in your book?

  9. Cathy I love your cake book, it looks very used and loved: it reminds me of a cookbook of my mother from the sixties, when she got married, it is in the same condition. Your vase is divine: the bud of the hellebore with the twisted twig of the hazel full of catkins are wonderful, I love them. I hope your hellebore will open and you can enjoy its magnificent flower. Hopefully the golfer is fully recovered and he is in good health just like you. Take good care of both of you. I wish you a great week. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita.

  10. Oh, I’m so looking forward to the Hellebores making an appearance! We’re still a few weeks off from that, but soon many plants will begin to poke through with promise. Happy almost spring!

  11. tonytomeo says:

    Hey, I could have done that! . . . or something similar. I lack the twisted hazel. I really should get back into this. I am just not up to it yet. Those done by others are much more interesting than mine anyway.

  12. Cathy says:

    And those hellebores of mine are still looking good….. 😁 I hope yours will open and stay looking pretty. I intend to repeat the experiment next week as soon as a few more are at picking stage. 😉

    • Cathy says:

      That’s really astonishig, Cathy – and you may have read that I picked last week’s stem too early… but hey ho, not the end of the world 😁

  13. Donna Donabella says:

    A simple and stunning vase…just love it!

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