In a Vase on Monday: In the Garden!

Monday is the day I join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her lovely meme. The title of today’s vase refers not only to where the photo was taken, but also to where I spent all day – working in the garden. It was wonderful! I saw the first bee. I saw the first crocus. I ache all over!

And I picked some snowdrops.

😀

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To fill out the vase I added a few Spring Snowflakes (Leucojum vernum), which also have a lovely name in German – March Bells (Märzglöckchen).

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In addition, I still have some Hippeastrum flowering, including this beauty which is almost the same as the red one I posted a few weeks ago.

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As it started to lean to one side I decided to cut it, and discoveed another two shoots coming.

Today was a good day.

Hope you have a good start to the week too!

In a Vase on Monday: Catching the Light

For the first time this year I have a late winter/early spring flower from my garden to put in a vase for this Monday meme hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.

Last week I managed to remove a lot of the winter debris from my rockery and flower beds, including Miscanthus leaves strewn across the garden (it never gets cut sown in time to prevent that happening!). While gently raking up twigs and leaves left behind from the storm in January I saw something white. “Ooh, a snowdrop!”

Yes, just one!

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It was in the coldest possible spot on the north side of the house, and since it looked so cold and lonely I decided to bring it indoors!

😉

A little sprig of Euphorbia, some white Erica and some Heuchera leaves provided the support it needed to stand up in a vase – the tiny green vase was bought in Norfolk last summer. The glass candle holder behind it and the mat below it remind me of the ripples of the sea…

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I hope you can also see signs of spring in your garden today. Even if they are sparse, they are so very welcome!

In a Vase on Monday: The Second Breakfast

‘Das zweite Frühstück’ – the second breakfast – is something I think of as being very typically German… school begins at 8am here, and most people are in their offices by then too, so the tum starts to rumble at about 10 am! (I suppose the British equivalent would be ‘elevenses’.)

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I went to the baker’s this morning to fetch fresh pretzels (how German can you get?!). This one here is a speciality pretzel recently made popular by one particular bakery chain, but now available at local bakers too. ‘Bierbrezen’ are sprinkled not just with salt, but a spicy peppery seasoning that is quite delicious, especially if the pretzels are still warm from the oven! Perfect with that second cup of coffee.

But before sitting down to my second breakfast I took a walk around the garden, which is still partially white, but rather muddy as the snow slowly thaws. No new shoots yet, but I managed to find a few bits and pieces for a Monday vase, so I could join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her weekly meme.

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A few remaining grasses, some somewhat shabby Epimedium leaves, a sprig of reddish brown Mahonia (not flowering yet),  some Erica, a couple of sprigs of pine and some Silver Ragwort (Jacobaea maritima) that amazingly survived being in a (still) frozen pot all winter.

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I am so pleased I found something this week and am hopeful now that spring might not be too far off. If, like me, you are still looking for snowdrops in vain, go and visit Cathy and you will not be disapppointed!

😀

In a Vase on Monday: January Sparkle

It was a real joy to see Cathy’s golden Narcissi this morning. And then Christina’s tulips to follow! I was in need of something cheerful on this grey and icy day and was almost considering myself defeated in terms of a vase this week, but Cathy and Christina inspired me to make an effort and find some January sparkle of my own.

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The recycled Hydrangea head, still looking pink, is starting to lose its petals. But the iris and coneflower seed heads are in still intact.

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I will be looking through the other vase posts later on this evening too, which will certainly also raise my spirits.

Hope you find some sparkle this week too!

Freeze-Froze-Frozen

One of the major inland waterways for freight carried across Germany, the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal, is currently closed to traffic…

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It has been below freezing point for several weeks now (apart from a couple of days around Christmas), at times reaching -17°C and frequently staying at around -9°C during the day. I have seen the canal freeze over once before, but it never freezes completely, being built into the bed of a slow-flowing river. Last Monday it was officially closed to traffic, as the locks froze up and no ice breakers could get through.

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The canal links up the North Sea (Rotterdam in the Netherlands) with the Black Sea, and millions of tonnes of heavy building materials, grain and coal are transported via this route on long deep barges each year. Passenger cruises also regularly use this route, the most popular trips being from Rotterdam or Nurenberg, down past us to the Danube, and then on to Vienna and even Budapest. This part of the canal near to us was the last section to be built, involving high costs to reduce the environmental impact and secure habitats for wildlife. The completed canal is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

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Today it is a balmy +1°C, with +3°C  forecast by the weekend. Still cold at night though, so it will take a while before we see boats coming this way again. In the meantime it is pleasantly quiet…

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Have you seen local waterways freeze this winter?

Stay safe and warm everyone!

In a Vase on Monday: What’s in a Name?

As Juliet so famously declared in Shakespeare’s well-known play:

“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet…”

Yes, we all (well, most of us) call our Amaryllis by the wrong name. Strictly speaking the bulbs we in cooler climates grow indoors in winter are Hippeastrums; the South American lily. And not Amaryllis, which is the African belladonna lily.

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Hippeastrum hybrid “dunkelrot”

But I don’t think we should care too much about this error. As Celia Fisher writes in ‘The Golden Age of Flowers’,

‘When European hybrids were developed the original confusion about provenance intensified, while ordinary plant lovers blithely regard them all as amaryllis.’

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Monday 11am, -9°C

I consider myself an ‘ordinary plant lover’. How about you?

😉

Thank you to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting this lovely meme. Why not visit her to see what others are finding for their Monday vases/flower arrangements this week.

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