In a Vase on Monday: tiny flower love

It is glorious outside today – sunshine on a glittering sea, a frosty nip in the breeze but you can feel warmth where it’s sheltered. I met a friend for a good stomp across the fields – mud frozen into peaks and troughs where the tractors have been. The sky was deep, deep blue overhead and a skylark sang its joyful song. Puddles were frozen solid and a sprinkling of snow crusted the grass. The sort of morning where you feel alive and uplifted, even if you start off tired and rushing (as I was). Our dogs were definitely happy to be out running about in the sun.

We are reaching peak snowdrop here in the garden – the tiny Galanthus navalis are almost all out in the lawn and borders, those that get most sun are ahead of the others. I’ve picked a few snowdrops, one crocus (a clump of these egg yolk-yellow beauties pop up at the base of an old apple tree each year) and a couple of tiny violets. These grow in nooks and crannies in the paths and steps and have just started flowering. All flowers are precious in the garden at this time of year, so I didn’t want to pick many; I’ve added some cyclamen leaves, which are abundant and looking particularly smart at the moment. I love their smooth purple undersides almost as much as their intricate silver-markings.

A month ago I used a few bare stems of Prunus padus (bird cherry) in my Monday vase and have kept them in water to see what would happen…

Spring. It’s coming… 🙂

In a Vase on Monday is hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden; do click on the link to see her vase and links to many others from around the world.

It’s half term here this week. My 16-year-old is sitting opposite me at the kitchen table scoffing a huge bowl of Cornflakes as I type. Yes, he’s just got up. My daughter has made her lunch, wandered elsewhere to eat it and left everything out on the kitchen worktops (hummus in the sun…) and my eldest boy has drained the coffee pot. I’ll be fitting in work, trying to keep some semblance of order and taking some time off to enjoy their company. Pancake-making tomorrow (for Shrove Tuesday), shopping (clothes for growing teenagers) and a trip the cinema are on the cards.

Whatever you’re up to this week, I hope you have a good one.

In a Vase on Monday: not a snow day

“Is it snowing yet?” asked my 16-year-old son last night, his nosed pressed against the window peering out into the darkness. “Do you think there’ll be a snow day tomorrow?” There’d been a weather forecast for snow overnight in the south east of England and all three were hoping fervently that today would dawn under a blanket of white. A snow day on a Monday would be such a rare gift of a day. But, sadly, no. So off to school they had to go.

There may be no snow but it is decidedly chilly outside with a brisk east-north-east wind coming off the sea, so I am staying indoors and cheating with my Monday vase of supermarket daffodils. They were just £1 a bunch, so I bought five and have dotted them about the house to cheer us all up.

I also wanted to show you the rosemary that I used in a vase in November and have been reusing in other vases since – all the stems have rooted and are growing (look carefully at the bottom of the jar above; the ivy is also growing). I’ll carefully transplant these (but not the ivy – we are overrun with ivy!) into a compost/sand mix, keep them out of direct sunlight for a few weeks and hopefully they’ll take. Moving rooted cuttings from water to soil isn’t always successful, so fingers crossed it will work.

I’m joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her popular international weekly gathering, so do click on the link to see more vases from around the world.

Have a good week, snow or not.


In a Vase on Monday: rule breakers

It’s absolutely revolting weather today – I’ve been soaked twice already (pantomime-style, bucket-of-water soakings), the trees are swaying alarmingly in the 50 mph winds, the swell is high and the sea is extremely lively. I’m glad I’m not out there on a boat. Lucky, then, that I ventured into the garden yesterday afternoon, when it was sunny and calm, to see whether there was anything vase-worthy for today. The afternoon light was so golden and soft that I cheated and took the photos yesterday, too!

You would normally expect only two of the flowers in my jam jar to be flowering in January – the hazel catkins and the Viburnum tinus (although this usually flowers in late winter–early spring). The Nigella and Cerinthe major usually flower from late spring into summer; the Ammi visnaga and Hesperantha  in summer/autumn. It’s disconcerting to find these, all apart from the Hesperantha self-seeded plants, flowering now, in mid-January, but we are on the coast and it has been fairly mild, and the usual rules do not apply it seems!

Accompanying them are a few stems of Prunus padus (bird cherry) which I’m going to keep in water to see whether they’ll come into leaf indoors, some rosehips from ‘Boscobel’ which I must have missed in the autumn, a few tendrils of variegated Vinca and a Pelargonium ‘Attar of Roses’ leaf from a huge plant still going strong by the greenhouse.

There is proper wintery weather forecast for later in the week with heavy snow for parts of the UK. The maps don’t show it reaching this corner of the country, though, so who knows what will be flowering next week…

It’s lovely to be joining in again with Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her weekly gathering of garden bloggers from around the world. She is showcasing three fragrant winter shrubs. Whatever the weather is like where you are, I hope you’re safe, warm and dry. Have a good week.

Sunrise earlier this week (on a much calmer day).

In a Vase on Monday: Chocolate Box


Today is the fourth anniversary of Cathy at Rambling in the Garden‘s weekly meme, In a Vase on Monday. She has posted 208 vases and visited and commented on all the other contributors’ blogs pretty much every week since 2013! That deserves a huge thank you, not least for brightening our Mondays but for supporting and encouraging our efforts at plonking (or carefully arranging) what we’ve picked from our gardens and surrounds in vases, jugs, bowls, and so on. To mark this week, she challenged us to use something unusual…


We had a furniture move-round yesterday and while I was clearing books off a shelf, I found this lovely empty box of chocolates. Hmmmm…. Chocolates, gift, celebration, flowers… You see how my thought process went?

So, to celebrate four years of In a Vase on Monday and to thank Cathy for hosting it is a fancy box of flowerheads (mostly pink Agyranthemums with one pelargonium in the centre). Thank you, Cathy 🙂

Do pop over to her place to see her flowers today and links to all the other IAVOMers (there are some clever and funny ones).

Have a lovely week.


In a vase on Monday: in denial

Joining in with Cathy’s Monday gathering of vases is a lovely way to keep an eye on what’s going on in the garden and to mark the seasons passing but my garden is still merrily ignoring the fact that it is 6th November. For my vase today, I’ve picked a snapdragon, osteospermums, nasturtiums, a single pink rose, a stem of hesperantha, some sprigs of rosemary, a few scented pelargonium leaves and a few stems of guelder rose (Viburnum opulus) to add some autumn colour.

My garden is in denial and so am I. Yes, there’s now a chill in the air and there was even a little frost in the fields this morning but it doesn’t seem that long ago that the children went back to school after the summer holidays. Bonfire night took me by surprise and I’m certainly not ready to be seeing festive adverts on the tv and the shops full of glitter. I haven’t made cake or puddings (we have one from last year in the cupboard, so maybe I’ll skip pudding-making this year), or really thought very much about it. I would quite like time to Slow Down!

How about you? Are you organised and in the zone or are you taken by surprise by the unstoppable Christmas countdown?

Whatever your calendar situation, I wish you a lovely week ahead.


In a vase on Monday: Octoberfest

The leaves may be turning on the trees, conkers may be falling, berries ripening and seed-heads forming, but there are still plenty of summer flowers in my garden. Cosmos, osteospermum, snapdragons, verbenas, nasturtiums – all continue to produce blooms in jewel-like colours. Joining these flowers in my Monday vase are a few Crocosmia seed-heads, a length of hawthorn heavy with berries, a twig spindle leaves, a sprig of old-man’s beard (wild clematis) and some field maple which is just starting to turn.

October (before the clocks go back and it starts to get dark in the afternoon) is one of my favourite months. There’s the prospect of a walk through crunchy leaves, burnished and shiny conkers to find in the soft autumn light, and fruit, berries and seeds to harvest. It can be warm enough to be outdoors in a t-shirt (like today) or chilly enough to need a coat and scarf. Whatever the weather, it’s a month when you can really sense the seasons turning and I find that reassuring and comforting.

Thank you to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting all the Monday vases. Click on the link to see her lovely collection of persicaria and links to many other vases from around the world.

Wishing you a good week ahead.


In a vase on Monday: autumn gold

Swallows wheeled about in the sky all around me on the clifftop this morning. Large flocks of them calling to each other and riding the thermals from the sea, feeding up for their long migration south for the winter. I walked along slowly, taking it all in while the dog snuffled in bushes – such a magical moment. There”s are sights, smells and sounds particular to autumn, aren’t there? Berry-laden bushes, cobwebs everywhere, flocks of birds leaving, others arriving, leaves turning… As I walked back to the house through the garden, I spotted a couple of golden bells of Clematis tangutica (golden clematis) in the wildflower patch under the fruit trees. We don’t want clematis growing here so I went back out again to snip off the tendrils and cut a few white Japanese anemones that are growing in the steps to put together a simple Monday vase.

Cathy at Rambling in the Garden also has a jug full of autumn gold today.

I also have jars and jugs of zinnias in the house – the colours are more muted than the very bright colours in summer but still lovely.

I used to spend more time than I had spare gazing out to sea when we first moved here. After a while, I got used to the view (you have to get on with daily life!) but there were several moments yesterday when we had to stop and stare at the dramatic skies and the serene view.

Wishing you a good week ahead.