This week’s surprise appearance of a fully clothed ‘Jelena’, seemingly triggered by several days of relatively mild temperatures, has encouraged me to cut a generous number of stems (albeit low-growing or crisscrossing) for today’s vase. This is one of my very favourite witch hazels, loved for its fiery, coppery, tissue paper shreds, and will have been one of my first witchy purchases, nearly 20 years ago; still no more than 2.5 metres or so tall and with a very open habit, witch hazels are a great choice of large shrub or small tree for the garden, providing colour at leaner times of the year and attractive foliage in the autumn. The spicey fragrance of H japonica is more subtle than the Chinese H mollis, but still evident if you bury your nose in the blooms or experience it outside on a very mild and sunny day or in a warm house.
Today, the stems have been popped into a matte black vase, newly purchased on a foolishly-timed visit to IKEA last week, which in the context of this post reminded me of the matte black of a fireplace grate or stove. Echoing this is the prop of a chipped piece of crested souvenir Carltonware, depicting a welcoming cooking range with a good fire burning, the kettle on and a teapot warming on the hob, reinforced by the doggerel ‘East or West, Home is best. The Kettle on the fire is singing, The old clock ticks And the Teapot is on the hob. Sure it’s good Old Home Sweet Home’, a sentiment many of us will agree with.
I am pleased to say I still have my last two vases on display, the holly and ivy still looking festive and the sticks from a fortnight ago only just denuded of the flowers that opened from the original tight buds. It may be January, but I have no doubt I will always find something in the garden worthy of being brought into the house and popped into a vase. How about you? If the garden profers little, how about something from a houseplant or twigs from a hedgerow? Please consider sharing any findings you make with the rest of the IAVOM community by leaving the usual links to and from this post – or just pop in and say hello.