In a Vase on Monday: From East to West

So many of our garden shrubs and plants originate from the Far East, having been brought back from China, Japan, the Himalayas etc by ambitious and brave botanists hundreds of years ago. One of them is Forsythia, frowned upon by some, but loved by most for its early cheerful colour signalling Spring.

Well, mine is still not opening outdoors, but I had the foresight to cut some last week so that it would open in time for a vase this Monday. So I am joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her weekly meme, with an oriental theme today.

Many willows also have their home in Eastern Europe and Asia, although Pussy Willow (Salix caprea) is native to much of western Europe too. The buds are just opening on ours, but in milder spots further down the hill I have seen them fully open for a couple of weeks already. A sure sign that the ground is warming up at last!

My prop is a Chinese carved scene which I inherited from my Nanny. I assume it was bought or given to her when she visited my Aunt and her family who were living in Taiwan/Hong Kong in the 1970s. I also assumed for many years that it was made of ivory, but I am not so sure now as I have had to make several repairs to it over time. Nonetheless, even if it is plastic I have always viewed it as a work of art – the willow tree and the moving mill wheel fascinated me as a child.

I wonder if the Forsythia is flowering in your part of the world yet? I can recommend bringing a sprig or two indoors to enjoy up close!

I used my hare jug again, and thank Kimberley for the suggestion of putting Forsythia in it. πŸ˜ƒ I plan to dedicate a post to my Forsythia shrub once it finally flowers outdoors… I hope that will be very soon!

Happy gardening!




53 thoughts on “In a Vase on Monday: From East to West

  1. What an interesting post, I find that several books I have been reading alludes to botanists or even rich patrons, botanic gardens etc collecting from early times and of course new introductions are arriving into our gardens now. I like Forsythia and you’ve shown it to great effect in your pretty jug. It such a sweet little momento too and lovely to showcase it with your arrangement. I’ll post my forsythia now that you have got the ball rolling.

    • I tend to seek out that type of novel too and read one called The Botanist’s Daughter by Kayte Nunn not long ago which was really enjoyable. Yes, I can’t wait for my Forsythia to open and brighten up the garden!

  2. I know my forsythia at the old house is going to be bursting soon. I miss it. And my goodness what a perfect sign of spring with that bright yellow flower celebrating the shaking off of winter!

    • I expect you do miss your old garden Donna. But I imagine it would be hard to still have a large garden and not be able to tend it. Forsythia is very common here and I hope you also get a glimpse of some on your walks. πŸ˜ƒ

  3. These are beautiful, and very well laid out, this post was really nice to read, and I love the Chinese carved scene! I just got into re-selling and have seen things like this, but not exactly, it is very unique. The whole post was very enjoyable to read, you have a wonderfully peaceful writing style.

  4. Forsythia does not grow in my part of the country, but I enjoyed when I grew up in the North. Once I while flying, I was in a holding pattern over New England and could see forsythia from the sky. I also really like your Chinese craving.

  5. Nothing says Spring like forsythia. I know some look down their noses at it, but I find it a cheerful, if ubiquitous sign of spring. A friend brought me some twigs a week ago and they are on the cusp of blooming. Looking forward to it!

    • I find it incredibly cheering too Eliza. It really signals the arrival of spring and watching it open in all the gardens I regularly drive past is a joy!

  6. Yes, the little carved scene is utterly charming, and a child would be especially entranced by it, especially with a working mill wheel! Well done for thinking ahead and bringing forsythia inside – and the pussy willow too. They will certainly bring you joy over this week and perhaps beyond too. My pink pussy willow was badly damaged by the cold spells so is looking very sorry for itself. I am not sure if it will fully recover as one side seems completely dead so far… πŸ™„

  7. Bright yellow flowers and spring go together in my view! The Forsythia look wonderful in the hare jug, as do the pussywillows. Neither are plants that I see in my part of the world (except perhaps in a florist’s shop).

    • I forget that it doesn’t grow in some parts of the wolrd as it is so common in Germany and the UK. The spring yellow is something I look forward to every year. πŸ˜ƒ

  8. I have always loved pussywillows and forsythia, and enjoyed seeing yours. A true symptom of spring. I had some in the garden when I lived further north. Now you can enjoy them twice!

  9. Lovely captures. I brought the forsythia on indoors at the end of February and they were such a bright spot indoors. Outside they are just coming into bloom.
    Love your vase and setting πŸ’

    • Thanks Val. I have had two sprigs of Forsythia indoors over the past few weeks, but seeing them bloom outside is just the confirmation that spring is here. I am waiting for them to open any day now!

  10. Happy gardening to you, too, Cathy. I love your bunny vase/jug. It’s so cheery. I don’t see forsythia growing in our area, so I’ll have to investigate why. Perhaps it craves humidity which we lack. Your posts are always uplifting. I’m so glad to have more time these days to read posts.

  11. Forsythia here bloom in late April to early May. I always bring some branches inside to bloom for Easter. I hang hollowed out, hand-painted eggs on them. I like to bring pussy willows in with them, but sometimes Easter is too late and they’ve gone to pollen by then. Your arrangement is beautiful and says Spring for sure!

    • Thanks Kimberley. My Forsythia finally opened at the end of last week, and the pussy willows are opening out into fluffy balls of pollen now. πŸ˜ƒ

  12. This beautiful arrangement is a work of art, Cathy. I don’t grow willow, but I did purchase a bunch about a month ago and they are still blooming and just so satisfying. How lovely that you have them in their natural setting and can bring them indoors! Your arrangement is peaceful!

    • Willows do like a lot of water, but even with our summer drought last year they have put on more growth and are doing really well here. πŸ˜ƒ When I was a child we had weeping willows in our garden, which are just so romantic!

  13. Forsythia bloomed late this year because of the wintry winter. It still has color on it. I moved one that was in the yard here to a pot in a more public situation at work so that others can see it. I will put it into a landscape after bloom. There are only two other nice speciemns and four very small specimens at work. I got a picture of it for the garden column for next week. The topic is forcing.

        • December 4th (St Barbara’s Day) is the traditional day here to cut a ‘Barbara branch’, usually cherry, forsythia, plum etc. If it flowers by Christmas it is supposedly lucky. Mine usually flower around the 22nd or 23rd. πŸ˜ƒ

          • What a delightful tradition. You know though, although such species likely bloom earlier here, I doubt that they could be forced so early. When I force such stems, I wait until the buds are beginning to burst.

              • I forced a bit of forsythia already, but only because the stems were damaged while I was working on it. They were already starting to bloom, so bloomed nicely inside. Forced stems tend to dry out here. I do not know why. I always thought that it is because home interiors are so arid because of heating. However, homes in cooler climates are likely more arid because of more heating. Anyway, because the weather has been so extremely strange this year, spring bloom of many species is very delayed. I could still bring in some flowering cherry.

  14. The forsythia and pussy willow go so together well in your hare vase. I’m enjoying the forsythia in our next door neighbour’s garden along with their beautiful magnolia tree which has just opened. Yes a good number of our plants originate from Asia Cathy – it’s so interesting to learn about their history.

    • Oh, Magnolias are wonderful aren’t they. And some of them come from Asia too. I would love one but they need a sheltered spot which we do not have up on our hill!

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