In a Vase on Monday: Windfallen

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Here I am, rushing in at the last minute and skidding to a halt with my simple offering for Cathy’s weekly gathering of vases. I wasn’t sure I’d have anything to show you but I quite like these spare, pared-back tulips and hope you do too. They’re not looking as they should. Sadly, they were victims of the storm last week – snapped off before they’d reached their glorious flowering prime. I couldn’t bear to compost them, so I popped them in some water to see if they’d recover and colour-up. Their colour isn’t developing – these are Princess Irene and should look like this – but they’re interesting nonetheless. I’m fascinated by the way the stems have gone all curly. Happily there are other tulips left standing in the garden and they should be looking gorgeous in a couple of weeks.

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The tomato seeds I planted on 13th March are growing merrily on the kitchen windowsill and the greenhouse is full of mini summer-blooms-in-the-wings. It fills my heart with gladness to witness their perky growth and I’ll fill any spare moments potting on over the next few weeks.

We visited Great Dixter last week. It’s one of those magical places, with an organic design feel, and all rustic with beautiful old buildings (part of the house dates from Tudor times) and glorious gardens. I’ve been once before for a one-day course – Succession Planting in the Mixed Border – which was a Christmas present from David several years ago. I remember it as a brilliantly inspirational day with a talk by head gardener Fergus Garrett in the great hall of the house followed by a tour around the gardens with him and the other gardeners and I’ve wanted to go back ever since. It was wonderful to wander around the gardens and see it all again. Even though it’s early in the year, there was plenty to see and gardeners to chat to. One guy was up to his knees in mud tidying up the prehistoric-looking gunneras just starting to emerge from their winter sleep; others were planting out in the cutting garden and potting on seedlings. It’s a generous place where everyone is keen to share in their joy and knowledge of plants and gardening. It’s the kind of place that fires you up and fills your head with ideas.