In a Vase on Monday: bud-burst

There was a lot of wet wind outside this morning, strong sideways drizzle; the dog and I were soaked through after our walk. She’s now curled up in a tight ball in her chair (I know) next to the radiator and I’m on my second mug of coffee. It’s the spring equinox today but it certainly doesn’t feel like the first day of spring!

Needless to say, I haven’t been wandering around the garden to find perfect spring blooms for a Monday vase. What I have to show you instead is a jar of prunings from our recently planted native hedge. The bare root plants (sticks) have been planted to fill a long gap in our boundary where the old hedge had died after becoming overrun with brambles and ivy. Rather than just replace it with a single species of hedging plant, we’ve gone for a mixture of native, wildlife-friendly species:

Hawthorn, Crataegus monogyna – apparently recognised by the RSPB as the absolute best species for wildlife value
Blackthorn, Prunus spinosa – prickly stems to protect resting and nesting sites and sloes in autumn
Field maple, Acer campestre – good for insects
Alder, Alnus glutinosa – its seeds are a food source for many birds
Guelder rose, Viburnum opulus – berries for birds
Wild privet, Ligustrum vulgare – semi-evergreen provides a great nesting site
Wild cherry, Prunus avium – good for wildlife and seasonal interest
Bird cherry, Prunus padus – flowers for insects, cherries for birds
Spindle, Euonymus europaea – good autumn colour
Juneberry, Amelanchier lamarckii – white flowers in spring

The advice is to prune off two-thirds once planted to encourage bushy, healthy growth but our plants are so short that I reduced them by one-third to a half, and cut back any side shoots quite hard. Rather than compost all the cuttings, I rescued the longest few and brought them inside. Since they’ve been in the warmth indoors, they’ve all started to come into leaf and even flower. I’m fairly sure that the white flowers are Amelanchier and one of the stems is Acer, but I’m not sure about the rest. Whatever they are, I’m delighted they’re doing their thing and I think they look lovely next to the little vitreous enamel panel by artist Janine Partington (a much-loved gift from my brother and sister-in-law).

I also photographed this burst of sunshine in a vase – cheap supermarket daffodils – which are cheering up the lounge on this dull day.

Big thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting the weekly gathering of Monday vases – I do so love joining in. She is celebrating five years(!) of blogging this week with a pretty vase, made by her daughter, full of pink spring blooms.

In other news – my daughter had a lovely birthday last week and smiled at the flowers :-). Thank you for the kind birthday wishes. She had further excitement at the weekend when we visited friends where we used to live but it’s back down to earth and normal life this week…

I hope you won’t mind me sharing a bit of thrilling Agnes news here: Olympic hockey superstar Crista Cullen has kindly answered a load of questions about her teenage years to launch our new blog feature. Do take a look if you have a moment. Thank you.

I hope you have a good week.

33 thoughts on “In a Vase on Monday: bud-burst

  1. My cat and your dog employ the same strategies in response to cold (although I suspect your version of cold and mine aren’t much alike). The forced flower stems are beautiful. Forcing blooms isn’t something I’ve ever tried but I may do so if I can find an appropriate subject – the appearance of blooms from what appears to be a dead stick strikes me as a very appropriate minor miracle to recognize spring!


  2. Your hedge sounds as if it’s going to be amazing, well done for choosing wildlife-friendly things. I can attest to birds liking cherries a lot. Our neighbour has a big tree at the bottom of the garden and the birds eat almost all of the cherries. I really must beat them to it this year. (Yes, not my tree, I know, but my neighbour likes to share). Great scoop for Agnes, I shall go and have a read, well done all. Hope you have a good week Sam. CJ xx


    1. Thanks, CJ. An old neighbour of ours used to net his cherry tree but I worried about birds getting caught in it. I guess you just have to try and beat them to some of the fruit!


  3. That is a good way to enjoy your new hedge by enjoying the first signs of spring. We put in a wildlife hedge in our old home you have a lovely mixture. We did regret using the blackthorn it was so prickly when we used to cut it. Congratulations on achieving getting the interview with Crista Cullen on Agnes! It looks as if you and your friend have been busy maintaining Agnes. Sarah x


    1. Hmm, yes, the blackthorn is very spiny. Oh well… Re Agnes, we’re ploughing on and hoping it reaches as many teenage girls as possible.


  4. The hedge cuttings seem so graceful and hopefully the hedge will follow suit. I love a tapestry hedge. I spent an afternoon repairing dog beds last week – the dogs may be more comfortable than we are!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Gosh, that really is a mixed hedge – what great species they are and what a good idea to use the prunings for your vase. I am pretty sure my amelanchier’s leaves appear before the blooms, a very pretty coppery colour when they are young, so I suspect your white flowers must be one of the others, possibly the bird cherry? I am so pleased that you are getting some high profile interest in Agnes – and do you have stats on how many people have visited the site?


    1. We do have stats – some days there are lots, other days not so many. It’s hard to get noticed among all the noise but we will persevere!


      1. The hard work has been done though, so at least that is behind you. It is publicity that will bring a wider audience I suppose


  6. Now I thought that it was raining hard here this morning but it looks even wetter in your neck of the woods Sam. The composition of your new hedging mix sounds just perfect – attractive, providing seasonal interest and wildlife friendly. It would be interesting to see the contents of your vase in a few days time 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. A lovely idea to put your hedge cuttings in a vase. I have a large bowl of amelanchier opening up inside right now as I lost a huge part of the tree in storm Doris. This constant wind is spoiling the garden and makes me feel like curling up by the radiator too.


  8. We are working on building a boundary at the front of our house and hoping to incorporate native plants so this has been very timely inspiration for me. We planted cobnuts last week. How tall to you expect to grow the hawthorn and blackthorn? I expect your hedge will be wonderful given some time and, in the mean time, your vase is a delight. Also, I adore that little panel!


    1. We’re going to keep the hedge a manageable size so we can still see the sea, so they won’t grow as large as they would if left be. I hope you get a harvest from your cobnuts.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I love your house and your arrangements Sam, everything looks so crisp! So happy to hear Agnes is going ahead in leaps and bounds. It’s funny how you said it’s not feeling like spring. It is officially autumn here yet today we are sweltering in sticky heat. The weather is a strange thing isn’t it? x


  10. Great selection for the hedge, Sam. I haven’t let Ted and pops read about a doggy chair – they would be furious they don’t have one 😆 X


    1. Ha ha, Ted and Pops would probably get chairs if they lived here. We were probably too soft on Cassie when she came to live with us (because of her hard start in life) and now she’s a bit of a princess!


  11. There is nothing wrong with a pet having their own chair. We currently have a cat with her own room… mainly because she is a tetchy rescue cat who needs to be introduced slowly to our resident lady of 15 who is very territorial.

    I am very envious of your coastal location but love the Monday vase idea and look forward to future vases. Hope the new hedge grows well, it is a lovely mixture.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Am really interested in your native hedge, and to hear how it gets on. I am planning one when we move up to Speyside at some point in the next 2 years. At the moment there’s a very high cotoneaster hedge which is going to come OUT. How tall do you plan on letting yours grow?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We’ll see how it does but I reckon about 5-6ft. Much higher and it would cut off part of the sea view which we don’t want to do. Yes, a cotoneaster hedge isn’t ideal – very dense and not brilliant for wildlife.


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