In a Vase on Monday: Christmas Eve

A dried up branch was spotted and retrieved from the floor of the woods some time ago and carefully tucked away in a corner of the garage. Then yesterday I brought it indoors, stuck it in a vase with some brown paper to keep it upright, added some greenery and then started unpacking my little baubles and bits and pieces to decorate it. Such a pleasing and relaxing activity, and satisfying too. My favourite little tree decorations have been collected mostly from Christmas markets over the years since living here – this will be my 25th Bavarian Christmas – and each bring back memories as I unwrap them from their tissue paper.

The standing angel was given to me by a student many years ago, the vase itself a gift from my Man of Many Talents when we still lived in a flat in the town centre! My goodness, that seems like a lifetime ago! We had a ten metre long balcony that overflowed with flowers and tomatoes each summer!

The red fairy was a gift from my sister, while the pretzel decoration was found on the Christmas market in Regensburg fairly recently. And the tiny little green Christmas tree bauble and the little green house bauble were bought with my Mum when she visited one Christmas – we visited so many markets over the years that she flew over in December!

Christmas is always full of memories for me, and I try and make new ones each year. This will be our first Christmas in the new house, where we seem to have settled permanently now. But my thoughts are already streaming ahead to next year and all the plans I have for the garden…

I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a wonderful new gardening year! Thank you for reading, liking and commenting throughout 2018. And special thanks go to Cathy who has tirelessly hosted this Monday vase meme for another year.

 

(Not) In a Vase on Monday: Advent

I may not have any flowers left in my garden for sharing with Cathy (Rambling in the Garden) for her Monday meme, but a walk in the woods provided me with material for this Advent arrangement instead of a vase.

A piece of bark, probably spruce, was found on the ground, along with some spruce and pine twigs which must have come down in the last storm. There were also plenty of spruce and pine cones and I took some lichen too. I added a few walnuts given to us by friends, and a chestnut and acorn or two gathered earlier in the autumn. At the front is a piece of the silver fir from our old garden – I love using it in Advent decorations as it lasts so well.

Wishing you all a peaceful Advent with lots of cosy candlelight.

🕯️🕯️🕯️

 

In a Vase on Monday: Festive

After the snow last week I was determined to be prepared for a vase this Monday, as I always like to join in this meme hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden when I can. So a few grasses and hazel catkins were gathered during the week. I then added dried Sedum and some poppy seedheads collected in the summer and autumn. I came across this coffee pot, hiding away in a cupboard, and decided it looked quite festive and was perfect as a vase!

There are also a few cornus twigs and some Mahonia foliage which is drying up fast as I haven’t added water to the vase.

This morning Hippeastrum ‘Lady Jane’ decided to open yet another flower for a snapshot too. She is definitely at the top of the list for next year’s bulbs as she has flowered beautifully on relatively short stems.

Here you can see her alongside my second festive vase filled with fir and larch cones and Silver Fir needles from the garden (with a couple of shiny baubles!).

If you only visit my site for the Monday vases, then I would like to wish you a very Happy Christmas and a joyful festive season!

❄️☃️❄️

 

 

A Visit to the Christmas Markets

I mentioned Christmas markets in some comments last week and several people asked me to share some photos. I do find it hard to take photos that capture the atmosphere, but here are a few snapshots.

All over Germany the Christmas markets open throughout Advent attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world. Some are spectacular, nestled into candlelit hillsides or in the parks of great houses and castles. Some are world-famous, like Nuremburg with the angel (Christkind) opening it in an age-old ceremony. Others are simpler, offering just the traditional well-known specialities and crafts. Whichever type you visit, you will be caught up by the magic of a Christmas tradition going back centuries. Surrounded by the soft babble and chatter of other visitors, the smell of fried food and cinnamon sweets, the glitter of decorations for sale, and the cheerful faces around you, it is hard not to smile or be a little frivolous, splashing out on an extravagant candle, a glass of punch, a bag of roasted almonds or a huge jam-filled steamed dumpling covered in vanilla sauce!

I visited two markets this year – first of all Ingolstadt, which is about an hour’s drive north of Munich.

With the New Castle in the background, a sprinkling of snow, and good company, the market has all you can wish for… the traditional wooden decorations and crib figures, food and drink, jewellery, warm socks, cookie cutters, candles, more food, more drink, more decorations ….!

This man has been selling his wares on this market here for at least the past 25 years.

A smaller area nearby offered a quieter repose for another glass of punch (non-alcoholic, I assure you!) and a chat with my friends. But it was very cold that day, with a north wind.

Some of the stall-holders looked frozen to the bone, despite being well wrapped up…

On another day last week I took myself off to Regensburg, a beautiful city on the Danube, and not far from the Bavarian Forest. I always walk over to the old stone bridge if I visit, and the River Danube looked particlularly cold (but blue!) on this occasion…

Despite some bright sunshine it was a chilly day again, but the markets are so enticing and I did all my Christmas shopping there. Take a stroll with me around the markets in Regensburg and see the traditional goods they offer. (Click on any image for a slideshow…)

 

The markets take on a different atmosphere at night, which I have never managed to capture in photos as there are always SO many people and it is hard to move! The thing I love about them most of all is the cheer and friendliness which is definitely lacking in the shopping centres and supermarkets at this time of year. And the food of course. This year I had my favourite warm snack – potato noodles with sauerkraut – as well as some roasted chestnuts, roasted almonds and pumpkin seeds and some delicious non-alcoholic fruit punch. It was nice to go into a cafe afterwards to warm up properly though! 😉

What is your favourite tradition in the run-up to Christmas?

 

 

In a Vase on Monday: Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all of you!

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I am joining the now famous Monday meme hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden: A single Amaryllis flower (Lemon Star) in a cocktail glass seemed to capture the spirit of New Year yesterday. The accompanying mini Sekt bottle is empty…. 😉

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I hope you had a lovely break over Christmas and are refreshed and ready to start the new gardening year with optimism. It is still frozen here, with a light sprinkling of snow, so my garden will be slumbering a little longer.

Have a good week and a good start to the new year 2017!

In a Vase on Monday: Lemon Star

When I walked into my dining room this morning I knew something was not quite right. It was only later, while having breakfast, that I noticed that the first of my Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) to flower this winter was bent over at a dangerous angle threatening to uproot the bulb and put the second bud at risk. So I cut it immediately and put it in a tall vase. Then I realised it is not only Boxing Day, but also Monday – serendipity! I have a vase to share with you after all!

‘Lemon Star’

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A neighbour gave me this bunch of red Amaryllis which are also lovely and cheerful on my windowsill.

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Do take a look at some of the other festive vases posted for Cathy’s meme on Rambling in the Garden.

🙂