In a vase on Monday: Wishing you a Happy Easter


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I hope this Monday, the Easter bank holiday you might have time to pick a little something from your garden to bring into the house. If you do perhaps you could share it with Cathy. Send her a link and you could find bloggers from all over looking at your flowers. What a nice thing to do.

This is a sprig of sparaxis. Bold, bright and brash but small and in its own bottle as it does not want to share space with the others.

The others are tulips, Cerinthe, Forget me nots, Brunnera and Pulmonaria. In shades of white marked with plum to pinks and blues and darkest near black tulip Queen of the night.

A quick post this Monday. Food to prepare, tidying to be done. Happy Easter. D.

Six on Saturday: pulling away


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After some time away I am looking at the garden afresh. So much has pulled away thanks to the light and warmer temperatures. My favourite six to share with you and The Propagator this week are these.


Fresh foliage doesn’t come much fresher looking than Philadelphus coronarius aureus. Catching the sunshine it is luminous.


Euphorbias are such good plants somehow always interesting looking. This is Euphorbia griffithii Dixter showing its orange bracts to the sunshine.


Cerinthe major purpurascens

These are self sown from last year. I like the glaucous, slightly fleshy leaves and drooping purple heads. They make a good cut flower.


‘ Pleats please’ of the Hornbeam, Carpinus betula variety rather than the Issey Miyake creation. Such neat foliage.


A new combination for me Brunnera macro Dawson’s white ( yes I know the flowers are blue but the foliage is white) Tulips. I cannot find the note I will have made, somewhere, with the names of these two varieties. Sorry about that. So annoying when that happens.

And 6.

More tulips. These are the scented ones I had in my vase here this week. They are in a raised bed to help the bulbs keep out of the thick clay. It seems to work well as these are last years bulbs. In the foreground are Tulip Brown sugar and Ballerina.

Thank you for looking at my Six for this Saturday. Enjoy the long Easter weekend and some warm weather, perfect to enjoy the garden. D.



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I have just come back from a holiday in Japan, timed perfectly for the blossom season. Japan is a place I have always wanted to visit, perhaps thanks to anecdotes from Dad Dorris about his business trips in the early 1980s and certainly due to the gardens and a dash of ‘Lost in Translation’ as well.

We started in Tokyo Shinjuku-Ku district (above) where it was bitterly cold and grey. A smart district, clean and high rise. No street eating, drinking or smoking allowed. There’s a good idea Mrs May. We then moved to Kyoto for ten days. Further south, we used Kyoto as our base to visit Hiroshima and Miyajima. We then returned to a different area of Tokyo, Ikebukuro before returning home.

Before we set off my sister and I thought we might need to book a guide to help us navigate the city but in practice it was not needed at all. Destination signs on the metro and train network are helpfully translated into English and announcements are also given in English. At various times locals stopped to ask if they could help us find our way, one lady even leaving her place in the bus queue to help guide us. Without exception the locals were friendly, polite and happy to help.

We used taxis, metro, buses, trams, a ferry, the bullet and our feet, walking over 75!miles and it was fantastic. The bits we saw were fascinating. I can only describe the trip as like a weekend city break but for much longer, so not relaxing but completely absorbing and delightful and very exhausting!

You may not be surprised to learn that I have rather a lot of photographs of blossom and I have posted some of these Here already.

One thing I hadn’t anticipated was how much the Japanese embrace the blossom season. They party under the trees and merchandise is blossom themed.

Stationary, worthy of a post in its own right, food and sweet products, cola bottles, entrances to shops, all distinctly blossom themed.

The cleaning team waiting to go through the bullet train before departure. Actually this could be their uniform all the time but, you see my point.

Even the cars are blossom coloured. Ok may be I am getting carried away.

There are castles, temples and shrines to see and enjoy. The cities are densely built and high rise, full of convenience stores and vending machines and sushi bars and restaurants. There are neon lights, millions of people and I loved it all. Tokyo National Museum was fabulous, full of exquisite treasures, beautifully displayed. As I am no travel guide I do not intend to talk about any of these in detail other than to say that they are very interesting and fascinating and I wished I had time to see it all.

I shall share some pictures of the gardens another time but here are just a couple of the signs which amused me.

And finally

On that note, I shall sign off here. Thanks for reading. D.

In a vase on Monday: tulip mania


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When I left for my trip away, the tulips were just beginning to bud. Two and a half weeks later they are in glorious technicolour.

Delicious marmalade colours in an old Dundee marmalade jar.

Cathy our host of IAVOM always manages to find props to accompany her vases which I rarely do. Today however I have added some origami swans, yes they are swans! The colours compliment the tulip colours and indicate where my trip was to.

Back to the flowers, the tulips are Ballerina, Brown sugar, Avignon Parrot all of which are scented. Belle Époque is the soft smoky pink one. Queen of the Night is the dark one.

Cerinthe has self sown and is flowering beautifully, such an accommodating flower, mixing well with the tulips.

That’s it for me today. Enjoy the short working week if you are lucky enough to have the Easter weekend off. D.

Six On Saturday: Sakura


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It is cherry blossom time in Japan. It is wonderful. These are my favourite views so far. I do not know the varieties and I have not grown these but I love them and hope you will enjoy me sharing them with The Propagator and you too.

A potted tree outside a doorway in Kyoto.

Not actually cherry at all but flowering and celebrated at the same time. Japanese quince.

Against a blue sky in Kyoto. Pink and dreamy.

At the Golden Pavilion these had just opened. Such a strong pink.

The florists are selling stems or twigs of blossoms. This arrangement was in a shop entrance.

White blossoms against freshly opened Acer foliage.

Imagine how gorgeous the blossoms are and then know that the Japanese have blossoms on all their products including cola, stationary, sweets.


Have a great week. D.

In a vase on Monday: ikebana


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In the hotel reception this glorious and ginormous arrangement appeared. A combination of blossom branches, just beginning to flower and the strikingly bright, coloured twigs. I really liked the boldness of the painted twigs set amongst the dainty and pretty blossom branches.

Created by Hiroki Maeno artist (born 1970) Master instructor of the Sogetsu school.

A skilful arrangement described by those who know as transcending the boundaries of ikebana.

Pleased to share this with you and Cathy.

I am certain I could not create such a skilful arrangement or anything remotely of this scale and anyway it would not fit through the front door. That said, I love the use of brightly coloured twigs and blossom branches.

Have a great week wherever you are. D.