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. 😃 I plan to dedicate a post to my Forsythia shrub once it finally flowers outdoors… I hope that will be very soon!

Happy gardening!




In a Vase on Monday: Floating (Away)

After all the rain (and sleet and snow) we have had this winter our garden is saturated and parts of the garden are very squelchy. The trees will hopefully appreciate it although there is standing water all over the place, and we even have a little stream in one spot!

It therefore seems appropriate to show some flowers floating today. Thankfully the flower beds are on high ground and are not in danger of floating away, with well-drained soil helping considerably. 😉


But the Hellebores do float so nicely and I managed to find quite a few different ones to display.

Labels have been lost on many, and several apparently different varieties look identical to me, but I am happy to have these unnamed specimens on my table nonetheless. I do know that the yellow one is ‘Yellow Lady’, the others probably include Ice ‘n’ Roses Early Red and Early Rose, Penny’s Pink, Double Ellen, Carlotta and Noa.

This is undoubtedly one of the best ways to see the detail of each individual bloom, and my large footed Ikea trifle dish that I have had for years is ideal for it. (It has never had a trifle in it which I suppose should be remedied one day!)

My current favourite is the lovely double in the centre…

Which type of hellebore do you like best? Single or double? Pink, red or white? Or even yellow?

Many thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting this lovely meme. Do visit her to admire her beautiful hellebores today too!

And have a wonderful flowery week!


In a Vase on Monday: Beautiful Blue

It is always a pleasure to join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her weekly meme. Sometimes it is tricky to find anything suitable for a vase in winter, but when I ventured out today it was clear that some Iris reticulata had to come indoors.

They stand out so well in my winter garden and I am slowly planting more of them in various spots. They seem to be untouched by the mice too, which is an added bonus. I have several different shades of deep blue, simply because they show up best against the woodchip mulch. A few brave violas are also flowering, but they – along with the hellebores – are looking a little tatty after some hard frosts.

The little blue vase seemed just right. But there is another vase in the background… can you see the lovely hare peeping around the iris?

This gorgeous jug was a surprise sent over from my Mum last week. 😃 So naturally I had to find something large enough to go in it immediately – some bright and cheerful yellow tulips from my local supermarket!

I adore it! And it will be used more frequently once I have some tall flowers in the garden. (Perhaps my own tulips? Roll on Spring!)

Wishing you all a great week, hopefully with a better weather  forecast than ours! 😉




In a Vase on Monday: Ice Blue

Last year I planted a few grape hyacinths in pots to bring indoors for forcing. On the one hand the experiment was not terribly successful, as the leaves and flower stems got leggy very quickly. But on the other hand I do now have nice long stems for a vase!

As you can see, I have bought myself ‘The Almanac’ for 2023 by Lia Leendertz and am enjoying dipping into it. Annette sent me a link a few weeks ago to the monthly podcast Lia does in cooperation with a perfume company: ‘As the Season Turns‘. It is a lovely way to spend half an hour with a cuppa and I definitely recommend it. The new episode for March should be available on March 1st. 😃

My hyacinths (Muscari armeniacum) smell wonderful and although we have another dusting of snow at the moment (and an icy cold wind!), spring doesn’t seem quite so far away now.

Many thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting this meme every week, rain or shine. I look forward to seeing what she and the other contributors have found to share today. 😃

Hope you all have some warm sunshine this week!




In a Vase on Monday: Mini Spring Mix

It was gardening weather today: 11°C and hazy sunshine. At last! I could not only inspect the garden but also finally get some tidying up done. I cut back the last of the perennials still standing, and all the grasses. I usually feel sad to see them go, but this year they had been squashed and broken by the heavy snowfall we had a couple of weeks ago. Looks much better now!

The first crocuses opened while I was working. 😁

And I even saw a bee on one.

The early Hellebores have perked up while the later ones are just about to start flowering. So I picked one of the paler pink ones (incorrectly labelled so I don’t know what it is), for my vase today.

The tiny Narcissus is from a pot of spring flowers I received on Valentine’s Day, but the other items are from the garden.

The darker pink Hellebores are from last week’s vase – didn’t they last well! There is a sprig of Wintersweet in the tiny blue ceramic vase too. (The shrub is still looking lovely but is slowly going over now.)

So nice to have some sunshine – it makes taking vase photos much easier. 😉

I hope to have another day outside this week, before temperatures dip again. I can at least do a bit of weeding and tidy my pots and raised beds. I wonder if you have been able to do any gardening jobs this week?

Thanks to our host, Cathy at Rambling in the Garden, who encourages us every week to go out into our gardens (whatever the weather!) and find something to share in a vase.

Have a great week! 🌷

In a Vase on Monday: Thawing Out

The temperatures finally rose above freezing at the weekend after a week of snowy and icy weather. My garden looks terrible, with flattened grasses and muddy patches everywhere! Looking out of my window I can enjoy the view from a distance, but closer inspection is a little disheartening.

As the ground thaws my hellebores will perk up though, I hope. I managed to find some half decent ones for a vase today, along with some Cornus twigs and some Leucothoe which I have been protecting in my cold frame.


The grey winter skies have been pretty the last couple of days too.

And it is good to smell the earth and the scent of the pine trees again. We only need a little sunshine and warm breezes to dry things up and I will be able to do some tidying up before any spring bulbs start sprouting. I am itching to get out there!

In the meantime I will admire this sturdy little flower which has stood up to a heavy load of very wet snow and a week of permafrost. And yet it looks almost unscathed. 😃


Thanks to the host of this Monday meme, Cathy at Rambling in the Garden, whose garden is currently looking gorgeous with snowdrops, hellebores, witch hazel and more. Do go and visit her! 😃

And have a great week!

In a Vase on Monday: Winter Dreams

It’s cold and icy outside, so in order to join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden with a vase this week I am using some dried flowers again.

These Echinops were picked last summer while still in their prime and have stood in this old maple syrup bottle ever since.
In the search for good (well, still not brilliant!) lighting I stood the jar in front of the book rest I have on my desk. I always have a page of one of my garden books open here, for inspiration. This picture is of a Piet Oudolf garden – I love the choice of plants and the focus on late summer flowers and grasses.

This week I have been reading about one of Oudolf’s most recent gardens, created just within Germany at the Vitra Campus, on the border to Switzerland and France. You can read about it here. It would be a 5 or 6 hour car drive for me, but one day I will have to visit.

In the meantime, I can dream!

Have a great week (and sweet gardening dreams). 😉