In a Vase on Monday: Cheery Tulips and House Martins

This morning, as I was emptying the dishwasher first thing, I noticed the sparrows in the yard (they nest in the garage roof each year) were making even more of a din than usual. When I looked out I immediately knew why…. the house martins are back!

I can’t describe how happy that makes me, except to say that I opened the window with tears in my eyes and a broad grin on my face and called ‘Welcome Back!’ to them as they swooped up and down and around. πŸ˜ƒ

Two flew up to the eaves a few times and another two followed. These are the first arrivals and they will wait for the others before moving back in and repairing or rebuilding their nests. I find it a small wonder that these tiny creatures manage to fly the thousands of kilometres from North Africa and then find their way back to where they nested last year, to us. 😊 Here is a link to a short video I made of them all a couple of summers ago:

Wordless Wednesday: House Martins


Now to my vase… some lovely spring colours, with tulips, cowslips, narcissi and fennel.

As usual I am joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her Monday meme, where she invites us to share a vase of materials from our gardens. It’s a great way of keeping records of what was flowering when, as well as making the most of my flowers when it is too chilly to be outdoors.

The Actaea narcissi are so distinctive and that ‘eye’ goes perfectly with the Apricot Emperor tulips. They grow next to each other in the Herb Bed, by pure chance! πŸ˜‰ A yellow one planted out from old pots was thrown in, along with the Narcissi ‘Cheerfulness’ and ‘Yellow Cheerfulness’, also growing in the Herb Bed. The feathery fennel foliage is more or less the only foliage I have in abundance as yet, and I love the airy result.

I used my Forsythia vase, which hadn’t been aired for a long time.

Many thanks to Cathy for hosting. And thank you for reading.

Have a great week, and happy gardening!



36 thoughts on “In a Vase on Monday: Cheery Tulips and House Martins

  1. The apricot tulips are an outstanding color and perfect for a spring vase. Your House Martins sound very similar to our Purple Martins. Ours like to nest in groups and people put up Martin houses for them. I gave it a try, but I had too many trees on my property and they like the open spaces.

    • Our martins like to nest under the eaves of buildings, often houses but barns too. I suspect the farmhouses in our area all have them too, but there are fewer in towns and cities. It is interesting to hear of similar birds such a long way away. πŸ˜ƒ

    • Yes, Primula veris. They do grow wild, but are relatively rare these days. Mine are the true wild ones but grown in my flower beds and slowly seeding around. πŸ˜ƒ

      • Well, they still qualify as such. When I request native plants from other regions, I prefer them to be as they would be in the wild, rather than a cultivar. I can obtain cultivars from online purchases if I want to. I prefer to instead experience the real species.

  2. How wonderful that the house martins are back! They must love your home as much as you love having them there. While we have a lot of year-round residents (the lesser goldfinches, house finches, 2 species of hummingbirds, crows, mockingbirds, and hawks), I can’t think of any flocks of migrating birds that nest here – most, like the white-crowned sparrows, just spend the winter here before heading elsewhere to nest.

    Your arrangement is absolutely beautiful. I love the way the orange center of the ‘Actaea’ Narcissus echoes the color of the orange daffodils.

    • Hi Kris. Yes, seeing the birds return is a comforting reminder that the wheel of nature turns whatever is happening in the human world! πŸ˜ƒ

  3. How intriguing that they wait for the rest of the gang to arrive before they move back in and start rebuilding their nests…amazing! The combination of spring bulbs in your base works really well, with the colours complementing each other. Your forsythia vase is so pretty

    • The handful of house martins I saw that first day have only been back a few times, so I imagine them rounding up the rest of the ‘gang’! Not sure what they really do until the others arrive, but I suspect they just catch insects all day and find sleeping places in the woods at night. I do see them flying at night too, and I have been told they actually have a kind of ‘sleep’ modus while flying. 😜

  4. Beautiful! I love those Apricot Emperors…they go with everything, it seems.
    Very exciting that your Martins are back… I saw only one male tree swallow swooping around my garden today, briefly checking out the box they nested in last year. I hope a mate comes and they stay. I love the acrobatics of swallows and swifts!

    • They are fascinating to watch, and so fast! We had one fly in through an open window once, round the living room and out again before I could say ‘Look, a house martin!’ πŸ˜‚

  5. Oh what lovely houseguests Cathy – we have a multitude of noisy sparrows, a quacking duck on the roof but are not blessed with house martins. I can imagine your joy on their return. What an incredible journey! Love the oranges and yellows and your forsythia vase πŸ˜‚

    • A duck on the roof? What an unusual visitor! I have always wished for storks to nest up on our roof, but they do make an awful mess, so perhaps just as well!

  6. It’s not a small but a great wonder how these little creatures travel back and forth each year and I understand why you are moved. I feel the same! It’s such a dangerous trip with hunters lurking in Malta and Italy along the way. Today the golden oriol has arrived. Having seen those amazing birds in South Africa always brings back loads of happy memories. Your bouquet is stunning and reminds me that I must go and check on my secret woodland filled with poet’s daffodils :D. Happy spring days 🌷❣️

    • I have never seen a golden oriole, but think I used to hear one in the woods next to our old house. We also had a nightinggale one summer, which was amazing. Such a pretty sound at night. We have lots of colourful woodpeckers here and they have been so noisy this spring. A shame they don’t sing nicely!

  7. A beautiful arrangement, Cathy. And I hope you’ve enjoyed the House Martins this week! I do understand how thrilling it is when “your” birds return. We wait a year for those moments. πŸ™‚

    • Yes, it is always lovely to see the first butterflies, the first bees, etc. But the house martins are such a presence in the yard all summer that they are extra special.

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