In a Vase on Monday: Fiery

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 souvenirΒ  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.

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29 Responses to In a Vase on Monday: Fiery

  1. A lovely and cheerful vase for gloomy winter days.
    A very Happy New Year

  2. Witch Hazel has long been on my ‘Plants to buy’ list…rabbits love them, so there’s an * beside the entry… Still, worth a try, eh?

    Here’s my vase to start the new year…

    • Cathy says:

      Oh! WE don’t have an issue with rabbits in this garden Chris, but I have never heard of it being an issue in the UK – but yes, worth a try, although an expensive mistake if they fail… πŸ™„ Good to see you have been able to produce a vase for today πŸ‘

  3. Jelena fireworks for New Years. Wonderful. I like the vase and dramatic dark backdrop, too. Happy New Year, Cathy. Thank you for hosting.

  4. Noelle says:

    I can see why you were drawn to that matt black vase, with the dark background, you have shown your choice Witch Hazel to the very best advantage. You may not be able to have a fire in your grate, nor would we be able to fire our canon. A Very Happy New Year to your and the Golfer. Here is my first vase of 2023:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Noelle. The vase was reduced and literally just a pound or two, so although In no way do I ‘need’ another vase, I knew it would be useful

  5. Pingback: Phloral Arrangement – IAVOM – It’s not Impossible! – MINDING MY P'S WITH Q

  6. Timelesslady says:

    Lovely colors, I am hungry for natural brightness when I walk around outdoors. I found a few things for a winter bouquet. Not sure how often I will be able to participate in the winter, but I am glad to start the New Year out with you today.
    My bouquet:

    Phloral Arrangement – IAVOM – It’s not Impossible!

  7. Anna says:

    Oh that is a most pleasing vase Cathy and how rewarding it must be to be able to pick so much witch hazel. I like the new addition to your vase family but take it from your comment that IKEA was perhaps unpleasantly heaving when you visited πŸ€” We must take ourselves off there before too long. We have similar post titles this week. It must be the time of year πŸ˜‚ My post is here :

    • Cathy says:

      The IKEA visit really was foolish, not just with the twixt Christmas and New Year timing, but also because the local section of the M42 was closed – but we were going for something specific so it was just a matter of sourcing that and getting home and we hadn’t planned to browse anyway – but would like to do so at a more favourable time as there will aways be things we don’t realise we need! Is teh Warrington branch the nearest for you? It was actually only 5 stems of witch hazel I picked but it looked more than that – and I think I have only ever picked 2 or 3 at a time before… πŸ˜‰

  8. Kris P says:

    I do envy you the witch hazels. With ‘Jelena’, I couldn’t help but think how delicious it’d be mixed with either my Grevilleas or Leucadendrons πŸ˜‰ But then I wish I could grow all manner of things that can’t survive in my climate, while simultaneously wanting to hang on to all the things I can grow that many others can’t. I took advantage of my old reliables this week but 2 of my the foxgloves are developing flowers spikes, probably spurred on by the recent rain, so the flower palette may be opening up. I hope you enjoyed a pleasant New Year’s Day, Cathy. Here’s my post:

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, we have to learn to accept what we can and cannot grow – and there are even things in the UK I have never had any success with which I have taken the decision to stop trying with! Good to hear you ahve had some rain, Kris

  9. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday: Happy Hellebore | Words and Herbs

  10. Cathy says:

    Jelena is quite spectacular Cathy. How lovely to have so many blooms that you can bring some indoors too. Fiery is a good title, and your prop is sweet! Here is my contribution – it is so nice to be able to find something to bring indoors!

    In a Vase on Monday: Happy Hellebore

    • Cathy says:

      It was actually only 5 stems Cathy, but it looked more as they are laden with blossom, I still tend to cut just wayward stems for a vase, but am aware that witch hazels can be pruned to keep them smaller

  11. tonytomeo says:

    ‘Jelena’ was one of the few cultivars we grew on the farm in the mid 1990s. Unfortunately, witch hazels were discontinued because of their limited marketability. Not many people here know what they are.

    • Cathy says:

      And that’s not very different from here, Tony, except for those who consider themselves plantspeople

      • tonytomeo says:

        It is uncommon? I get the impression from catalogs that it is more familiar in other regions. I saw a bit of it in the Pacific Northwest, so got the impression that it is more familiar there than here. Of course, it does not take much to be more familiar than here.

        • Cathy says:

          Well, only inasmuch as the average person wouldn’t know what they were, and not every one who did would want to pay the necessary price to have one. Jelena is certainly one of the more readily available ones. Garden centres that stocked them are likely only to have them at this time of year, when there are blooms on them, and mostly they wouldn’t be much more than ‘sticks’, perhaps a 2-3 feet in height

          • tonytomeo says:

            Our large specimens were only about two or three feet high, and, of course, sold immediately prior to bloom. It was ‘suggested’ that we grow them after some exemplary specimens were exhibited at the Seattle Flower and Garden Show. I was none too keen on the brief fad. It annoys me that such an excellent species only becomes a brief fad because some nursery in the Pacific Northwest happened to provide an exemplary pair of them to a landscape designer who did not know or care what they were the day prior to the event. They really should be more popular than they are. Their foliar color is exemplary for autumn, even in our mild climate.

  12. Happy New Year Cathy! What a show … and that shy vase looks great.

  13. Annette says:

    Truly gorgeous! Mine would be just a big hadn’t Rudolf broken off the main stem. My Diane lost all leaves in summer due to the drought, I thought she’s a gonner but a few days ago I saw big buds, I was delighted. Happy new year to you both!

    • Cathy says:

      Some of mine completely lost their leaves too, Annette, and especially as the buds are generated over the summer I was really surprised to see how many buds almost all of mine are sporting. Could even be the best season ever for flowering…

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