In a Vase on Monday: Refreshed

We finally had a short rain shower on Thursday night, and when I got back on Sunday night from a weekend away the garden had changed noticeably. And my surprise Iris had flowered!

As you can guess, it had to go in today’s vase, to join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her lovely meme. 🙂

The contents of the vase on the left were actually in the taller carafe to begin with, but I started fiddling and fussing and eventually the stems were all too short and I started again! It consists of Irises and Moon Daisies, with the addition of Aquilegias and an early deep red peony.

I had no qualms about cutting another iris, as the hot weather is ensuring short lives for everything this spring. So, on the right is another of the lovely surprise irises which rarely flower. It must have been planted in the former water feature before we came here and for some reason only flowers every few years. I was extremely surprised this year as the ground is so dry. And I was also surprised at its scent. Mmmm! It is accompanied by some Siberian Irises, Moon Daisies, Vinca foliage, white Geranium phaeum, some white Dicentra, a few wild grasses, Hosta leaves (still intact before the slugs and snails discover them!) and a couple of sprigs of Aruncus dioicus flower buds – I love them best at this stage!

The bright sunlight and strong wind outside made photography difficult today, so I resorted to indoors in front of our fireplace…

It has just started to pour with rain as I write, with rumbles of thunder all around us, making my chosen title even more suitable! Rain! At last!

In a Vase on Monday: Restraint

I had to exercise restraint when choosing flowers for my vase this week, as I join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her Monday meme. 🙂  Despite our continued dry spell (no rain apart from one short shower for about four weeks now!) the plants are flowering earlier than usual responding to the sunshine and warmth.

This early peony is a lovely deep pink and five flowers opened all at once on Sunday.

The iris on the left was a broken one – a bird? a cat? – rescued just in time for the vase this morning. And on the right are two Cammassias – they both opened at the end of last week, but the pale blue one seems to have stood up to the heat better.

 The Aquilegias have also started opening over the last few days, so I picked some of the deep purply blues…

… like silky petticoats!

And the vase itself, which some of you may have noticed making a sideline appearance a few weeks ago, now has centre stage.

It was a rather cheap purchase from a furniture store(!) in winter, and I was waiting for taller stems to pick so I could show it off. It is a simple flimsy wooden frame with three extra large ‘test tubes’ inserted. They hold several stems each, and plenty of water for thicker stems too. The butterfly cut-outs were what attracted me and I must say I am rather pleased with it! 🙂 (Although peonies look great in anything! 😉)



Thanks as always to Cathy for hosting. I shall spend the next few days enjoying not just my own, but also all the other vases posted from around the globe.


In a Vase on Monday: Gold Dust

The pollen has been dreadful the past week or so. Thank goodness I am not a hayfever sufferer, but even I have felt my eyes itching and nose running. It seems everything flowered at once: the maples and sycamores, oak, lime, beech, all the evergreens, the larch, and the birch. The birch is apparently releasing extra pollen this year too, as it is a ‘mast year’ (see links below). Apparently birches have mast years every other year, while other trees only every 6-8 years. We have had ‘pollen storms’ where the sky has literally been a hazy yellow, and everything is coated with yellow dust – hence the title ‘gold dust’!

And my vase, as you can see, is golden this week. 😉

The Kerria japonica is looking gorgeous, as are (don’t laugh!) the dandelions! I added some more weeds – Lamium (yellow archangel) and some fern leaves as well as a sprig of green Euphorbia (unknown/forgotten) and some of the small Euphorbia polychroma. Then a stem of Epimedium ‘Amber Queen’ went in, and finally this elegant lemony yellow tulip. The Forsythia vase was used again simply to complete the colour scheme, but with the plain back facing.

Why not join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden too? Her addictive meme is such fun, and visiting vases from other parts of the world is always an inspiration!



Information on mast years:

In a Vase on Monday: A Fairytale

Monday has come round again and I am happy to join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her lovely meme.

Many of the ingredients for a fairytale found their way into my forsythia vase today. After all, the hot weather has made the forsythia look past its best, and the vase deserves to be used more than just once a year!

The inspiration was the wand-shaped stems and fairy-like white petals of my sweet-smelling shrub which I assumed was an Exochorda, but since it looks so different to all those I have seen elsewhere I have decided it must be a Spiraea. The flowers are so tiny and the scent quite sweet, but the growth is somewhat wild!

At the centre a prince and a princess – I will let you decide which tulip is which, or is the red one perhaps the wicked stepmother and the pale one Cinderella?

The perfect white Anemone captured me in its spell – it shines out from beneath the yew tree in my spring corner amid wilting naricissi and tulip foliage. Can you hear it whispering its magic spell over you?

Then the Epimediums, called ‘elf flowers’ in German, always entrance me with their nodding little heads and pretty frills. The orange one is the fairytale queen ‘Orangekönigin’ and the yellow one is E. versicolor ‘Sulphureum’, which I think sounds rather sinister but she is wearing a pretty disguise.

The hint of blue is Omphalodes verna and in royal purple a Geranium Phaeum (the first to open!). White Brunnera also makes a fleeting appearance as well as an unfurling fern, looking rather like an evil uncle, but which I seem to have missed in my photos.

And finally, a second vase with three tulips… the magical fairytale ‘three’ being the link here. You know, three little pigs, the three bears, three wishes, etc.

The one in the centre is possibly one of Cinderella’s ugly sisters! LOL!

We have had fairytale weather over the past two weeks now (but would love some rain if anyone has any to spare?).

Have a great week!


In a Vase on Monday: Growth

The grass is growing, the fields are losing that dirty mud colour as fresh crops start pushing upwards, and the trees are rapidly turning green – you know that fresh lime green of sycamores that stands out so dramatically against a blue sky?

Talking of blue, my Grape Hyacinths are looking exceptionally good this spring, having spread everywhere I look. Plenty for a vase for Cathy’s Monday meme.

In fact, there are quite a few white ones too, as well as the pale blue Muscari ‘Peppermint’ which I especially love.

But not only the Muscari are enjoying the unusually warm temperatures this April, with the odd shower and cool nights as refreshment…

A jar of joy!

Tulips, daffodils, pulmonaria, cowslips, mahonia, snowflakes, hyacinths…

I must also show you a photo I took on our outdoor table so you can see what the rain brought with it – no, not pollen, but Sahara sand!

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting this meme… I am late posting today, but am always glad if I have the time to join in! 🙂

In a Vase on Monday: Violets etc

I am joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden again for her weekly meme, and am pleased my violets have lasted long enough for me to use this week as it has been hot!

They look sweet in my collection of miniature violet Hammersley chinaware, some of which was given to me by my Mum, and the rest belonged to my late grandmother.

In the little pitcher there are two shades – the normal purple found growing in the wild around here too, and a paler one which I think is a truer match to the painting on this jug.

The tiny perfume bottle contains purple again, with some reddish ones which have also been turning up for a few years now.

And in the miniature ginger jar are the yellowy creamy ones – Viola odorata ‘Sulphurea’, which seem to be a deeper colour than usual this spring. I bought one plant many years ago and they have sown themselves all down the pathway now.

I just couldn’t resist picking a few other little treasures while walking around the garden and ended up with this little vaseful.

Primulas and cowslips, pinky red Corydalis, hyacinths, puschkinia, forsythia, anemones, forget-me-nots, and a daffodil. All proper names forgotten, but I am so happy to see them I am not bothered about details!

It is so lovely to have lots of vases of flowers indoors again – as I have said many times before, this meme has had a profound impact on me and my garden! Thanks to Cathy and I look forward to visiting all the other vases over the next couple of days.

Have a good week!



In a Vase on Monday: A Rainbow of Flowers

Cathy at Rambling in the Garden, who hosts this weekly meme, has posted a beautiful photo of her vase from Scotland this week and it seems they had some glorious sunshine on Easter Sunday.

Here, April began true to its reputation; with wind, rain, hail, sleet and tiny bursts of sunshine in between. Luckily I had picked my flowers for today’s vase on Saturday, for a table decoration on Saturday evening.  🙂



I went out between showers with the scissors and a little bowl in my hands, wondering if I would find enough for a small arrangement, and what a pleasant surprise it was to find I could stuff this vase full! The vase has two compartments, each with three ‘vases’, and is perfect for short-stemmed flowers.

In the above picture, from left to right:

Red Bellis (from a spring pot), Pink Glory of the Snow (Chionodoxa), purple and yellow crocus, small Narcissus, purple Primula, blue Glory of the Snow, blue Hepatica, Hazel catkins, Early Harvest tulip, Viola, another daffodil, more crocuses and a creamy yellow primula, pink scilla, a snowdrop (possibly the last), more of the same and in the last vase the early pink tulip I still haven’t identified, a white crocus, and the first Pulmonaria to flower in pink and white.

Thanks to Cathy as always, and a wonderful week to you all!