Gardening Magazine

In A Vase On Monday – Blossom Time & Tulips

By Julie King

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

This week there was no choice to be made – my beautiful pale pink cherry blossom is making its fleeting visit to the garden, so I knew that would be the star today.


In the background is a little vase of tulip Chato, which I have picked largely in bud so that they will open gradually over the next few days and hopefully keep fresh until the weekend.


The stems of cherry blossom are in a new blue and white stem vase that I found on a jaunt to a vintage collectibles shop last week. I bought this as a pair, so I am sure I will be using the two together very soon. The tulips are in a cut crystal footed vase and both are displayed on my moroccan silver tray, which always bounces the light so well.


This blossom originates from a tree that was in the garden when we arrived. It was very small five years ago and flowered with a very sparse scattering of blossom. It is growing year by year but very slowly, although it does seem to produce more flowers these days. There are cherries to follow the flowers, but the birds always get to them before I do!


This pale pink blossom follows the white blossom of my dark leaved ornamental plum tree and the recently planted apricot tree (also white blossom). It always comes into flower the week after the forsythia opens up.


I make a point of visiting this tree every day when it is flower – the clouds of delicate blossom are so beautiful.


The tulips that I used today are called Chato. Purchased from Sarah Raven, this group were planted in the Cutting Garden in autumn 2013, so are flowering well for the second year. Chato is an early double variety which bears a strong resemblance to a peony when fully open. As many doubles do not repeat flower well I am delighted to see this group performing so well.


I included this tulip in a Flowers On Sunday post last year and love its rich pinky purple colouring just as much this spring.


I have spent much of today in the Cutting Garden cutting tulips for Saturdays wedding. My plan was to start cutting on Wednesday, but the recent high temperatures, with even higher temperatures predicted for the next couple of days, has meant many of my white tulips are opening up. I am worried that if I leave them they will be too open to use by the weekend. On the other hand cutting early is a risk – will they last the week? To maximise their chances I have bunched them into bundles of 10/12 and wrapped each bundle tightly in brown paper above the height of the flowers. The bundles are standing in trugs of water in the cool dark potting shed. Hopefully this will preserve the flowers until I am ready to start arranging on Thursday.

I am finding that many of my tulips in the Cutting Garden are coming into flower very early this year and on very short stems. A bit of research has revealed that a number of professional growers of British flowers are complaining of the same problem.

As recommended most of these tulips were planted in November and December. Interestingly my border tulips in the main garden which have been in place for 3 or 4 years now do not seem to have the same problem. The only one in flower at the moment in the borders is Purple Prince, which has lovely long stems. In contrast, Purple Prince planted late last year in the Cutting Garden is flowering on a stem barely 6 inches long. I would be interested to know if anyone has any views on this observation – it certainly has made me question whether I should be planting tulips earlier so that the bulbs have longer in the ground and less time in storage.

I will hopefully be back over the weekend to share some photos of the finished wedding flowers! Until then thank you as ever to Cathy for hosting and I hope you will pop over to her blog to see what she and the many others contributing to this inspiring meme have made this week.


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