In a Vase on Monday – @ashnurs @GdnMediaGuild

Vases full of spring tulips and daffodils are frozen solid in the potting shed today. They will be fine when they thaw out. Hopefully. Meanwhile, I’ve run round the garden and collected some flower heads to float in water. All the window ledges in the house now shine with colour and cheer. I’m determined not to be downhearted by the big freeze. The Beast from the East- I’m not scared!

Inspiration for my flowers this week comes from John Massey’s garden at Ashwood Nurseries. I was incredibly lucky to be invited to a tour of John’s private garden. It’s three acres of sheer delight. A plantaholic’s paradise. I couldn’t stop looking at this gorgeous bowl of jewel-like flowers. John, who has a passion for hepaticas, says they last a week outdoors in a shallow stone trough. They have been frozen overnight several times, and still look fresh the next day. You learn something new every day!

I’ve seen hellebores floating in water before, but never hepaticas. And it’s useful to know they last so long. I’ve put a bowl by my front door as a welcome to visitors.

Some more photos from the garden, which is open on selected days for charity. There’s a link for more information on John’s Garden.

I came home and copied theses pink-themed hellebores. Such a simple idea for a spring display and so effective.

On a tour of the nursery, I fell in love with a deep red hellebores.

And this cream hellebore. In the sunshine the petals look like satin.

These are the new 2018 Evolution Hybrids; double and anemone centre golden forms. This is the first year they have gone on sale.

We learned how to grow hepaticas. They need really good drainage. Some of the pots had virtually no bottoms. That much drainage!

White flowers are always quite difficult to photograph, but I persevered with this one.

Here’s John explaining how to grow hepaticas from seed.

John’s garden is open on March 17, April 22, June 2, and other selected days through the year. See website for details. All entry fees will go to Wings, Wombourne special needs support group for children and young adults. Last year, the garden openings made almost £25,000 for the Beacon Centre for the Blind.

My behind the scenes tour was organised by the Garden Media Guild. I’m pleased to have been a member for about a year. Membership can be for full, probationary and associate membership. I’ve found the GMG networking and training events very useful and I’ve met a lot of new friends. A recent newsletter states: “The guild welcomes any new garden communicator who wishes to embrace professional standards and work towards earning an income from their work. ” Courses, trips and mentoring schemes all assist probationary members. A lot of people have helped me with my work over the years. I’m always thinking of ways to help others. This might be the incentive you need to go for it and join in. Let me know if you do. Find out more Here .

Opening times and details for the nursery Here

Thank you to Cathy ramblinginthegarden for hosting this meme. Why not go over and see what everyone else is growing, and putting in their vases this week for IAVOM.

And feel free to share this blog on twitter, Facebook and Instagram (crediting me with the pics and words, thank you). This photo of hepaticas appeared on my twitter account this week @kgimson. And on Instagram at karengimson1. Do come over and say hello.

70 thoughts on “In a Vase on Monday – @ashnurs @GdnMediaGuild

  1. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday | Bramble Garden

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  3. Pingback: In A Vase On Monday: Drifting | Nomads By Nature: The Adventures Continue

  4. Oh what beautiful floating beauties Karen – both yours and those at Ashwood Nurseries. I’ve seen floating hellebores before but never hepaticas. Now there’s food for thought 🙂 Did John say how long they take to flower when grown from seed? I hope that you are managing to keep warm and cosy.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve always liked seeing floating hellebores but I’m completely blown away by the Hepaticas. Stunningly beautiful. Great post highlighting how much gardening people do for each other and charities through their gardens.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Christina. Me too, I knew about hellebores, but had never seen hepaticas. So pretty and much needed in the cold cold weather. Amazing how much money can be raised by gardening, open gardens and garden charities. Much needed. Many thanks for reading and getting in touch. Keep warm xx

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  6. Such fabulous displays of flowers, I’d have never thought to float them in water in this way but it’s the perfect way to see flowers such as hellebores, which grow with their heads hanging down. Just beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Jo. I’d seen them in magazines before. They look fabulous in any shallow dish, and they survived the frost last night. Still looking good outdoors today. Cheering up the window sills indoors. Thanks again for reading.


  7. Those hepaticas are absolutely drop dead gorgeous. I too had a bowl of floating flowers, hellebores this week but I can honestly say these are my faves. No wonder the postman stopped. Lovely idea to put them by the front door. Sounds like an interesting visit.

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  8. I had no idea that there were so many beautiful hepatica. We only have the wild one here. Seeing them all floating in a bowl is inspiring, as are your hellebores. A great way to show off their beauty. Thanks for expanding my knowledge!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Alison. Well, isn’t it good to find out something new. I was amazed to hear how hardy they are for such tiny delicate flowers. Mind you, the greenhouse they were growing in was blooming perishing! We stood there for ages with a North wind blowing in through the side vents. I nearly froze on the spot. That gives a good idea about the conditions they like. It was a really fascinating trip. I’m going back next month to see all the primroses and dwarf narcissi and other bulbs that were just poking through.


    • Thank you Susan. The greenhouses with all the hepaticas and hellebores were quite beautiful. Such a fantastic day out. I can’t wait to go back next month to see all the spring flowers that were just poking though this time. Such a treat. Thanks again.

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  9. Your dish is so lovely! And I absolutely adore that bowl of Hepaticas! They are one of my favourite flowers but I only have one or two in my garden. There are hundreds just beyond the garden gate though, but all blue H. nobilis. So many different shades and forms. Lovely! 🙂

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    • Oh Cathy, I can just imagine what that must look like. How wonderful to have hundreds behind the garden gate! The little pressed glass dishes belonged to my grandmother and I have very happy memories of her serving all kinds of treats on them. I still use them a lot today and they look very pretty with water and flowers in them. Having them all along the windows has cheered me up today. The weather is just so horribly perishing cold. Brrr. Thanks for reading. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  10. So pleased you posted these lovely flowers. They reminded me of my visit to Ashwood Nurseries and our personal tour of his garden back in June 2015. He is such an enthusiast and loves sharing his knowledge.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Noelle. Yes isn’t John an amazing person. He was so kind and generous with his time and passed on lots of tips. He also cooked lunch for us all and set up a huge long table in his lounge and one in the kitchen for us. We had a delicious casserole followed by cheese cake and fruit jellies. Such kindness! I’m just writing him a thank you card now. I was so grateful. thanks again for reading and getting in touch. Karen


  11. Karen your aquatic vase of white and pink hellebores floating is magnificent, beautiful. All the photos are magnificent. You were inspired by Ashwood Nurseries, Jhon Mossey’s private garden; but your hands are in your aquatic vase. I love the stone trough with liver flowers. The deep red and cream colored hellebores are very beautiful. The new Evolution 2018 hybrids are beautiful. The photos of liver flowers are wonderful. How about Jhon’s class? I love photos, especially potted irises. Jhon is a person with a very good heart: to allocate all registration fees to Wings. I see you very happy with GMG: I am very glad that you have found a network of gardeners to do activities. And I quote, “I’m always thinking of ways to help others, this could be the incentive I need to get it and participate.” Karen your heart is wonderful, always thinking of helping others: you are a treasure. I have entered the link for the nursery, and you can see all the beautiful flowers of the garden in each season: Jhon’s garden is wonderful. Karen, your last picture of liver flowers is really beautiful. Many memories with love to your Mother and to you Karen a lot of love. Take care. Greetings from Margarita.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Margarita for your wonderful, enthusiastic summary of my slide show. You are so kind and encouraging. I always think if you can do some good each day you should. And it doesn’t have to be big gestures. Sometimes it can just be lots of little things that might make a difference to someone. I’m always looking for opportunities for other people, things that might help them out somehow. It’s not difficult to do. Lots of love and take care Margarita. Greetings to you and your family xx


      • Karen you have helped me. I’m worse with my legs and my spine: I have more pain. But nevertheless to be saying goodbye to the garden you have made me have many plans for this spring for my garden. I already have my three dahlias and a lot of seeds. I will try to clean the weeds. Otherwise, when I plant, I will remove the ones around and that’s it. You made me an optimist with the garden. And when I imagine it full of flowers, I love it. Also I will put drip irrigation that is easy and comfortable and you forget to water and save a lot of water. Thank you Karen for giving me back the joy of having a garden. Lots of love. Greetings from Margarita.

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      • That’s the nicest thing anyone has ever said ! I’m glad to have given you back the joy of the garden. Like you, my legs and spine are not good. But when I’m in the garden amongst such beauty I sometimes forget my health problems. The garden is half wild and half cultivated and I have learned to love both sides. The wild has brought me tawny owls nesting in the garden, and woodpecker fledglings and family of hedgehogs born in the garden. The garden is full of pheasants today and I’ve spotted a hare -sheltering under the unpruned overgrown hedge. It’s as if we knew to leave it for them. The blackbirds are tossing all the leaf mould aside to find worms. Again, I couldn’t gather all the leaves up, but the bonus is to see that when the ground is frozen, the birds can still find food. There is always something to be grateful for. I will do what I can with the garden, and not fret about the things that can’t be achieved. I will be kind to myself- and to the creatures that share my garden. I love to see them as much as the flowers to be honest. Lots of love and greetings from karen xxx

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      • Karen you said just what I think! I will do what I can in the garden and it will be a half-wild jadin, with animals living in the brambles and in the canine roses. Full of weeds that serve as food. Hope you feel better. A lot of love and a lot of health Karen. Greetings from Margarita.

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  12. John’s garden has been on my wishlist for a long time even though it is such a trek to get there as it is completely the opposite side of the conurbation. Must look at the dates and get one on the calendar but can’t do the 17th March. The bowl of hepaticas are absolutely stunning! I remember his interview on the BBC at Chelsea (2016?) when he won an award for his hepaticas. Your bowls are wonderfully springlike too and hopefully will see you through this cold spell

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    • Thank you Cathy. It was a bit of a trek to get there, but I just set my sat nav and started off early. The best way to get there is via south of Birmingham. The northern circular route is full of road works and tail backs. I know because I tried that route on the way home- and wished I hadn’t. Will go back the other way when I return. Oh yes, I’d forgotten that interview. Well he is as enthusiastic in real life as he is on the tv. A genuinely lovely, generous man, and very knowledgable and kind in passing on his knowledge. The hepaticas and hellebores were a real treat. Such fabulous colours.


      • I think you are right that the southern route is the better way, even though it may be (for us) longer. He always gave the impression that he was a really genuine and lovely person so it muts be lovely to meet him in the flesh. I wonder if he is always around on these open days?

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      • I think he is and he gives guided tours. Yes, I was very taken with him. I instantly liked him. He seems to have a very loyal staff too. I stopped to chat to two who had both worked there for over 30 years and they spoke highly of him. That says something too doesn’t it. The Southern route is definitely quicker – even though it’s further to drive.


  13. Loved your bowl of floating flowers. Sometimes when things are frozen we have to improvise! Thanks for the tour of John’s Hepaticas. I have a few, but none quite as lovely as these. Great shots! You captured their ethereal loveliness nicely.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Alison. I wasn’t going to give in today and really needed something cheerful to line the window ledges and front doorstep with. Thanks for your kind words. I’ve only used a camera phone but the jewel- like colours shine out don’t they. Thanks again for reading and getting in touch. Karen. I’m @kgimson on twitter


    • The postman – who is usually in a tearing hurry- stopped to sniff the flowers today and chat about the front door display. Then a delivery man came and chatted. Then a neighbour turned up with some bread. Then someone called in with a magazine they had read. My dishes of flowers cosy nothing but cheered us all up. Thanks for reading 🙂

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