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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The Tuesday View in January

As promised, here is a picture of the Tuesday View under the snow!

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It is very frosty, so I didn’t stay out for long with my camera. But here are a couple of other images from today too.

Clematis tangutica – a tangle of stems with straggly seed heads, but the snow makes them seem quite comical!

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My beautiful Miscanthus ‘Adagio’ still looks pretty with some sun catching the top…

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There is no warmth in the sun outdoors today, but it does add some welcome sparkle…

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Hope you have blue skies this week, wherever you are!

In a Vase on Monday: A Small Collection

I suppose many of you have heard of the icy weather that has much of northern and eastern Europe in its grip. First of all a cold front from Russia stretched across to Germany, then a hurricane brought snow and icy rain (and took down our old pussy willow too), and now another cold front from Norway is rushing down our way.

This Monday, as I join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her lovely meme, I briefly considered filling a vase with snow, but that’s a bit boring and I couldn’t bring it indoors. So once again my vase this week contains materials from my garden that were collected and saved in the summer months…

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Cones from our fir trees: pine, larch and spruce.

Also on my windowsill a beautiful red amaryllis is teasing me, opening so very very slowly. I am hoping it will be fully open for next Monday. I wonder if you have any flowers on your windowsills?

Have a good week, and stay warm and dry!