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!
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 ….!
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?
Only a few sprigs of this and that were peeking out of the snow this morning, but I do love joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden with a vase each week, so they made it into a little red tealight holder that a friend gave me at the weekend.
And then a few cookies were added as a peace offering, since the ingredients of the vase are far from wonderful!
Or perhaps you’d prefer a homemade mince pie?
The rosemary went into our pasta and tomato sauce for dinner, and the mint smells lovely if I touch it. 🙂 So bringing a little of the frozen garden indoors does have its benefits!
Other snippets that made it into the container were golden Euonymus, yellowy-green Vinca, Pennisetum, some Erica, the very last Scabiosa and a shy Hellebore flower that insisted on turning away every time I pointed the camera at it!
(The artistic photo bottom right is courtesy of my Man of Many Talents, and a torch! 😉 )
If you have had snow, do take care. It is slippery out there. And if you live in warmer climes, please send me some December sunshine!
No vase today I’m afraid. I think this picture may explain why…
But not to fear, I have a card up my sleeve and some Hippeastrums (Amaryllis) on my windowsills!
This is Jewel…
Jewel has produced one very tall stem and one very short, both flowering at the same time. I like its simplicity. Just white, no frills.
And this is Lady Jane…
I really like this one, not least because it has flowered at the perfect height of about 20cm, requiring no support whatsoever. And it is a lovely peachy orange colour with pretty markings.
Now go and visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden, the host of this weekly meme which encourages us to find things from our gardens to plonk in a vase. (And forgive me for cheating a little this week! 😉 )