In A Vase On Monday – Welcome Back Tulips!

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Welcome to this weeks ‘In A Vase On Monday’ when I am linking up with Cathy at Rambling In The Garden to join in her challenge to find something from the garden to put in a vase every week.

Today is a Red (or rather pink) Letter Day – the first of my tulips are ready to be displayed in a vase! Any readers who were here last April will remember how much I love tulips and how many different varieties I grow! Todays beauties are tulip Angelique and are fresh from the greenhouse – it will be a week or two before I have any garden tulips to show.

Pink-Tulips -and- Blossom.

These lovelies were planted in the greenhouse border towards the end of December when I realised I was running out of time to plant them outside. I am so glad I made this decision – it is such a treat to have a pretty pink tulip in time to use with my first blossom.

Pink-Tulips -and- Blossom.

As with shop bought forced tulips the flowers are not quite as big as they would be if grown outside, but I have plenty planted in the garden to look forward to in late April or early May. When picking tulips it is best to cut them just as the bud starts to show colour, but before it has opened. That way they will have the longest vase life – they quickly open once brought inside. I picked these as closed buds yesterday.

Pink-Tulips -and- Blossom.

I mentioned my first blossom – this comes from my flowering plum tree (prunus cerasifera), which has been in flower for just over a week now. I noticed this morning that it has been joined by my apricot tree and the peaches are not far behind, so the blossom season is finally here.

Pink-Tulips -and- Blossom.

Pink-Tulips -and- Blossom. Pink-Tulips -and- Blossom.

As easter is rapidly approaching I spent a little time today rounding up my easter decorations. I have made an easter tree with the twigs which have been adorning my hall table since January and I have added a few bits and pieces to my dining room shelves. In the photo below you can see an egg wreath and a glass jar filled with blown eggs.

Pink-Tulips -and- Blossom.

I purchased two of these egg wreaths a few years ago and every easter they decorate the shelf above the Aga.

Pink-Tulips -and- Blossom.

Blowing eggs and decorating them is one of my favourite easter activities. I am no artist, but this is not to be taken seriously – just a little fun with paint to enhance the beautiful eggs. This Darlington crystal cookie jar was a wedding present which I kept safely behind glass for a long time. These days I am more of the mind that you should use your treasures, so I often fill it with something seasonal and place it where it can be enjoyed. It has never been used for cookies though – those are best for an unbreakable tin!

Pink-Tulips -and- Blossom.

The light was lovely in the kitchen today, tempting me to play a little longer with my camera. The two shots below show the difference in moving your point of focus. In the first I had the camera focusing on the blossom and in the second on the tulips. I love the effect of the blurry blossom in the second photo.

Pink-Tulips -and- Blossom.

Pink-Tulips -and- Blossom.

Whilst I was digging through my easter things I came across these paper decorations that were unused last year. I loved Cathy’s fancy little cakes on Words and Herbs last week and I have bought some marzipan with the intention of making them for the easter weekend – I think these little decorations will look perfect on top of the cakes.

Pink-Tulips -and- Blossom.

Finally this week I have to announce the winner of my Cutting Garden Giveaway! Thank you to everyone who left a comment and the name out of the flowerpot this month was Christine from My Hesperides Garden! If you email me your address Christine I will get your copy of Slow Flowers into the post for you.

I hope to be back before the weekend with a few more easter images to share with you. I have a whole window ledge to decorate in our local church on Saturday morning and plan to take some photos of the goings on as the flower ladies put together their creations. I am not a regular flower lady at church, so am honoured to have been asked to contribute flowers to such a special occasion in the church calendar! Easter Sunday itself sees 14 around the table for lunch and all the bedrooms full for the long weekend, so I will be taking a break from the garden and putting my pinny on (thats an apron to those of you from across the waters!). Before that I have a birthday to celebrate, so all in all a very busy week ahead!

I hope you will all pop over to Cathy’s blog to see what she and the others have made from their gardens this week.

The Cutting Garden In March & A Giveaway

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I am starting my Cutting Garden post this month with a slight feeling of disappointment – I had hoped to have lots of progress to show you since my last review at the end of February, but spring is hesitant to stay here in East Anglia –  temperatures have remained quite low and the wind has been exceedingly chilly throughout March.

Looking back at the same time last year, things were very different! My hyacinths had been in bloom for weeks, the borders were full of muscari and tulips about to burst and my Monday vase was made up of tulips and forsythia. This year the only flowers I have in the Cutting Garden are these few hyacinths that are just beginning to open up.

The-Cutting-Garden-March

The photos this month look very similar to last month. The only difference is that the ground has finally drained and is starting to dry out. I have spent today working in the borders, getting them ready for the season ahead.

The-Cutting-Garden-March

Whilst very little is flowering this week, there are plenty of tulips just waiting for some warmer temperatures to tempt them into flower.

The-Cutting-Garden-March

My biennials sown last June and planted out in the autumn are looking very promising! Below you can see sweet rocket – in other beds I have foxgloves, honesty, wallflowers and sweet williams and I am hoping that all of these will be flowering soon. I will be making my order for this years biennial seeds later in April and sowing them in June in a seedbed in the vegetable garden. They should be strong little plants by the autumn and I will transplant them to their final flowering positions as I clear the Cutting Garden borders.

The-Cutting-Garden-March

If you have been following the Cutting Garden series you will remember that I direct sowed a few rows of hardy annuals in late September and they were protected with hoops covered with fleece throughout the winter. The fleece is now off and I am pleased to report that the rows of ammi majus and nigella germinated and made it through the winter. The cornflowers and larkspur did not survive. I have thinned out the seedlings and it remains to be seen how well they flower compared to the much larger plants that were sown and grown in the greenhouse and have now been hardened off and planted out in the Cutting Garden beds.

The-Cutting-Garden-March The-Cutting-Garden-March

Whilst I am waiting for the tulips to flower, these narcissi planted last October look ready to pop in the next few days – possibly a candidate for Monday’s vase! The empty bed behind these flowers is my asparagus bed – the chickens are laying again and I cannot wait to dip those first spears of asparagus into a freshly laid poached egg later in April!

The-Cutting-Garden-March

Earlier this month I planted lots of new roses in the Cutting Garden. Today I have been pruning and feeding the roses that I planted last year.

The-Cutting-Garden-March

Over on the other side of the path in the vegetable garden I have been planting some new peonies to bulk out the peony beds. These beds were mulched with garden compost in the autumn and have now been weeded and the peonies fed with rose food. I leave the peony foliage standing throughout the winter, cutting it back after this spring weed and feed. I have found that if I cut the foliage back as it browns in the autumn I lose the placing of the peonies and end up damaging those precious buds as I weed the beds in spring.

The posts running through the beds are used to wind string around to support the peony foliage. This year I am going to plant my gladioli bulbs in amongst the peonies as the string will help support these tall flowers. I will be planting these bulbs shortly after Easter and then the string will be added ready to support the growing peony foliage.

The-Cutting-Garden-March

The sweet pea frame is in place ready for the netting to be attached. I have just moved the January sown sweet peas out of the cold frame to finish hardening off and plan to plant them after the Easter holidays.

The-Cutting-Garden-March

Whilst writing I thought I would quickly show you how the vegetable garden is progressing. I have 4 beds like this one and after years of losing crops to the birds I am making sure to cover everything I plant this year. The square frames are from Agriframes and have proved a perfect way to cover a variety of crops. Under the tunnel I have cauliflowers almost ready to eat (I am planning a home grown cauliflower cheese to accompany the Easter Sunday roast) and rows of newly sown carrots, spring onions, beetroots and turnips. At the back you can see two pea frames, complete with jute netting, also from Agriframes.

The-Cutting-Garden-March

The peas were sown in the greenhouse in February and planted out yesterday. I also have a couple of rows of broad beans in another bed.

The-Cutting-Garden-March

Looking back across the vegetable garden I am really excited to finally be able to show you my fathers greenhouse – now finished and being used in my garden. I also have 2 new raised beds, which I hope will allow me to grow crops throughout the winter. I have mentioned before how wet this land is in the winter, so I am planning to install 5 raised beds to improve the growing conditions. These first two have yet to be filled – it will be quite a project and not something that will happen in a hurry.

The-Cutting-Garden-March

I chose these very deep raised beds as they are a perfect height to sit on whilst enjoying a cup of tea!

The-Cutting-Garden-March

The first crops to be grown in my new little greenhouse are some 1st early potatoes in bags. They were planted yesterday, at the same time as the outdoor crop, so it will be interesting to see if the potatoes mature more quickly in the protected environment of the greenhouse.

The-Cutting-Garden-March

I have also mentioned in previous posts that we have been installing a fruit cage to protect the fruit bushes from the many birds that feed in my garden. For a variety of reasons work has been held up, but it is nearly finished and I am hoping that the easter weekend will give us the time to secure the netting. Both my raised beds and the fruit cage came from Harrod Horticultural and have been very easy to install. If you are thinking about a fruit cage I would recommend you purchase the additional ground sockets as these made it much easier to put the uprights in place. Also make sure that you are very careful with the measurements – double check everything as you go.

The-Cutting-Garden-March

Whilst I was taking photographs tonight, Nelson asked if he could say hello!

The-Cutting-Garden-March

Hardy noticed that Nelson was being photographed and rushed over to join in the shoot!

The-Cutting-Garden-March The-Cutting-Garden-March The-Cutting-Garden-March

Finally for this month I have another Giveaway to share with you. This month I am offering a copy of this lovely book Slow Flowers by Debra Prinzing, from which I have found much inspiration for my flower arrangements.

The-Cutting-Garden-March

Very much in the spirit of ‘In A vase On Monday’, this book shows 52 arrangements taken largely from the authors garden with tips on growing, arranging and containers. I loved this quote from the introduction:

“I didn’t realise that those few hours I spent each week, gathering and choosing petals and stems, arranging them in a special vessel, and then figuring out where and how to capture the finished design through my camera lens, would be so personally enriching.”

She has perfectly summed up why I have enjoyed joining in with Cathy at Rambling In The Garden every Monday for so long!

As usual, if you would like to be entered for the Giveaway, please leave a comment – all names will be put in a flower pot on Monday and I will announce the winner in my Monday post.  I am happy to send abroad, so everyone can enter this month!  This is a great little book for inspiring you to use your garden blooms, so if you are not the winner on Monday, do think about buying a copy.

My next Cutting Garden review will be on the last Friday in April, when I am confident enough to promise you some flowers!

In A Vase On Monday – With Daffodils & Hyacinths

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Welcome to ‘In A Vase On Monday’ when, as usual, I am linking up with Cathy at Rambling In The Garden to join in her challenge to find something from the garden to put in a vase every week.

This week my mind is turning to the wedding that I am doing the flowers for in mid April. With four weeks to go I am keeping my fingers crossed that the garden will be looking much more full than it is at present – but like ‘A Vase On Monday’  I will be working with the material available from the garden, with the exception of a few choice blooms that I will buy in for the brides bouquet. The bridesmaids bouquets will be based on either white narcissi or tulips – which ever is flowering at the time and these bouquets will also double as table decorations during the reception. This weeks vases are in a similar theme to my plans, but using the yellow daffodils and blue hyacinths that are available at the moment.

Daffodil-Bouquet

I have quite a variety of yellow daffodils in flower this week, so have made these small bouquets to showcase a few of my favourites. The hyacinth flowers were added to dress up the jars that I am planning to include in the wedding reception table decorations.

Daffodil-Bouquet

I have another batch of Paperwhites flowering in the greenhouse this week, so I have added these to all three bouquets to add continuity and scent. I am hoping the final batch of Paperwhites will flower in time for the wedding, but that really is in the lap of the gods!

Daffodil-Bouquet Daffodil-Bouquet

Daffodil-Bouquet

Daffodil-Bouquet

February Gold is one of my favourites of the early daffodils, although it does tend to flower in March. This year I am going to make sure that my order for daffodils and narcissi includes some of the very early flowering varieties such as Rijnveld’s Early Sensation and Cedric Morris.

Daffodil-Bouquet

I just love the delicate colour of this one – it was here before I took over the garden and there are only a few which never seem to spread. The colour is almost a pale apricot, so it really stands out against all the yellows that are flowering at the moment. I have tried to identify it, but so far without success.

Daffodil-Bouquet

Daffodil-Bouquet

This multi petalled yellow daffodil is another favourite that predates my arrival here – again I have searched through many images without finding a perfect match.

Daffodil-Bouquet

This beauty is White Cheerfulness, a delicate scented narcissi that is just coming into flower. It will be followed later in the month by the very similar Bridal Crown (how I hope that is in flower for the wedding!). I have planted both in drifts in my woodland area, where they add a sumptuous but delicate scent.

Daffodil-Bouquet

Finally a touch of whimsy – I have taken the flowers off a hyacinth stem and threaded them onto a wire to create a floral handle for these jars. With the touch of lace on the bouquets I think this arrangement is beginning to feel quite bridal. Used like this the hyacinth flowers will be lucky to survive 24 hours, but they add an unusual flourish which could easily be adapted as a napkin ring for an easter lunch.

I cannot believe that the end of March is already in sight – I am busy tidying borders, planting seeds and generally sprucing the place up now that the ground is finally drying out. In the midst of all this activity though I am trying to remember to enjoy my garden as it is today – in its beautiful yellow dress of early spring with a touch of blossom and lots of lovely green shoots.

I will be back on Friday with my March Cutting Garden review and in the meantime, if you are enjoying the daffodils, you might like to have a look back at a Monday vase I made last year.

As ever a big thank you to Cathy for hosting and I hope you will pop over to her blog to see what she and the others have made this week.

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