In a Vase on Monday -March 16 2020

On the first warm, sunny day of the year, I’ve made a comfy place in the garden. I sit here, surrounded by familiar things: flowers, fresh from the garden, favourite books, magazines, tea, and mum’s lemon cake. And for a few minutes, I forget my worries. I am determined to enjoy the garden, birds singing all around, frogspawn in the pond. Trees bursting into leaf. I watch a wren creeping along the eaves of the house, searching for spiders. Spiders webs are used to glue their nests together, so I never clear them away. All of nature carries on, oblivious to the crisis we humans are facing. My small ginger spaniel Meg sleeps at my feet. My cat, Grace, chases a fly. They too are unconcerned. And yet I am a boiling cauldron of concerns. One minute panic stricken by the ‘what ifs’ the next, in warrior mode ready to fight. If only I knew exactly what I’m fighting. I return to voices, advice from my childhood, that some things cannot be changed and what will be, will be. I desperately try to remember comforting phrases from the past. I know my family, going back in time, suffered many illnesses and setbacks and survived. The suffering though. Those photos are etched on my mind. We, in modern times, have had it easy. Until now. And now, none of us know what’s going to happen. To give some respite from my thoughts, I turn to familiar things. For comfort I walk around my garden picking spring flowers, as I have done for the 30 years we’ve lived here. I’m posting them for you to enjoy, hoping they will bring you some comfort too, and for a few moments give you something else to think about. Stay safe all of you and keep in touch. Our gardens and our gardening community have never been needed more than they are today.

Dark, plum-toned Hellebore Rachel, with ruby hyacinth Woodstock, surrounded by Prunus Kojo-no-mai, ribes, Viburnum Eve Price, and pink comfrey.

The first of the wild cherry blossom. Simply beautiful. Pure and bright.

The last of the paperwhite narcissi and some skimmia. Deliciously scented.

Keep in touch and let me know what you are doing in your garden. Are you managing to get any seeds sown yet?

Sending love, hope and good wishes to you all. xx

Links: In a vase on Monday:

25 thoughts on “In a Vase on Monday -March 16 2020

  1. Lovely vases of flowers, but for me it is a little early to sit out in the garden, but although I still do a lot in the garden, I watch my wildlive through the windows of my conservatory.

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  2. Hellebore and Hyacinths together with Prunus Kojo-no-mai are the stars of your magnificent bouquet. Viburnum and Russian Comfrey is the charming touch. It is a wonderful, divine vase, I love it and I love it. Like the fabulous photos of the flowers, I love them and they make me smile and make my heart happy. Who wouldn’t be glad? Spring finally came with the Plum blossom, I love it. I love the vase of white daffodils and skimmia, its perfume so close to your armchair must be delicious: enjoy it. The place you have chosen in your garden to spend the day with all your beautiful hobbies, I love it. But you don’t have to be so fatalistic or panic. The Coronavirus is there and you can do nothing to avoid it, nothing more than calmly and calmly face its arrival. Take preventative measures: hand washing for a minute, disinfecting with a mixture of water and bleach, the door knobs on the street inside and outside, and anything that is touched when coming from the street before washing your hands. Wear latex gloves to go outside and a mask. If you do not have a mask on YouTube there are a lot of videos to make one with super easy fabric. And if you do not have gloves, put on some dishes to wash and buy more at the supermarket, as they are for single use only. Karen, yes, unfortunately many people are dying in the world but many are also cured. Look at China as it was and now it is 100% recovered from new infections and those that exist are from foreigners who come by plane and immediately quarantine them. Hope my dear friend, even if the worst is coming, it will pass and you will stay confined at home and going out only when you have the empty pantry to go out only to buy food with a mask, gloves and keeping distance with people of at least 1m, make a big purchase that lasts two weeks to eat or more (meat, chicken and fish freeze in portions). Then you disinfect your hands and food containers well. With these recommendations, nothing will happen to you: you will be in your garden for 30 more years picking flowers. Enjoy the day with your favorite hobbies, Meg at your feet and carefree as Grace with a gardening magazine and leave your brain to enjoy because suffering you will not get anything, I tell you from experience. Karen keep you safe all your family, Mr B and you confined at home, washing your hands, not putting your hands to your face, lots of strength, lots of encouragement, lots of health, lots of hope and lots of love. Take good care of all of you. Loving caresses to Grace and Meg. With all my love I wish you the best. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita xxx

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      • Thanks to you Karen. What I am telling you I am also saying to myself: it is a therapy for two friends at the same time, even if only I write it. I wish he had caught me at the country house: there with the garden I wouldn’t notice. Here I have a terrace with a table and four large chairs and a wing chair because the terrace is closed with glass and aluminum but the aluminum and the windows can be opened entirely, they are sliding. I have a tree just in front that had to cut some branches because they hit the glass. Its leaves have already started to come out and when it is totally with the leaves sitting on the terrace and looking at it is wonderful and if the noise of cars and people disappeared, I could imagine being in a garden. In the window of my room I have another tree like it and the same thing happens to me. Planting food is the best thing you can do! For the pantry and for relaxing with gardening. Much love to all. Take care. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita xxx

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  3. Hi Karen. Your vase with that deep pink hellebore is gorgeous, and your place to sit in the garden is very tempting. It is good to focus on positive things in our own little space at the moment. We sat in the sun for a cuppa a couple of days ago, and today it is already over 14°C! I shall spend as much time as possible outdoors now and may be able to sow some seeds soon too if it stays this mild. My UK trip has been postponed. So disappointing for my parents. But I am sure it won‘t be as bad as the horror scenarios in our media, so stay calm Karen. 🤗 Sending you warm thoughts and wishing you and your family good health! xx

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    • Thank you Cathy. So sorry you can’t travel. I can’t even see my mum or the inlaws. I’m staying positive as there’s no other way to be. Stay safe over there. Sending lots of love in return xx 😘

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  4. Wise words Karen – we will need a lot of those in the coming weeks and months. As you say, our gardens should be able to bring some calm in the midst of all the turmoil. I fear our June NGS openings will have to be cancelled, and I have 2 groups booked for July – so many charities will miss out this year with events being cancelled. Your vase is such a good balance of shape and colour – the pink hints in the white blossoms reflect the deep pink and purple of the hellebores and hyacinth. Lovely! Do take care

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    • Thank you Cathy. All my garden talks have been cancelled. That’s a lot of money lost for rainbows. I’m looking to do some Skype type lectures instead, if I can manage the technology. Radio programmes are coming from the potting shed. I’m not going into the studio for a few weeks. I did see some NGS gardens taking videos and posting them. People are then donating to support even though the gardens aren’t open. Let’s hope things return to normal by the end of the year. My travel plans are trashed. Should be at Borde hill garden this week for a lovely holiday. The magnolias there are superb . Have unpacked my suitcase and put it away so it doesn’t upset me. Take care xxx


    • Thank you. It was a lovely day. It’s been warm but not so sunny today. I’ve managed to prick out lots of seedlings and I’m littering about the garden getting on top of things. Thanks for reading .


  5. Keep on with your soul affirming ways. Gardening is a great remedy if one is fit enough, and gardening can keep one fit too. That dark plum hyacinth is beautiful nestling in amongst other special blooms.

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    • Thank you Noelle. I’ve had a few days when I just didn’t know what to do with myself. I was totally panic stricken. Yesterday, I just decided to calm down and think of practical things to do. I’ve made a good start on the seed sowing and pricking out. I’ll sweep the summerhouse tomorrow and clean the windows. It won’t change what’s happening in the world. But then, neither will making myself ill with worry. Thanks for reading. xx


  6. What a comforting image Cosy. I notice there are two cups laid ou for tea. May you have the company you desire and wonderfully warm and sunny weather for your crafting. And if not out, then seated in your summer house.

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    • Thank you Sue. I’m sweeping out the summerhouse today and plumping all the cushions. Then I’m splitting all my plants to sell in the village for NGS and rainbows charities. All my garden talks have been cancelled, and they will be needing funds. xx

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  7. In A Vase On Monday was not so cheerful today. So many are worried about all that is going on. The flowers are just as exemplary. I worry too, but I still enjoy everyone’s flowers. With so much time off, I will get to catch up with some of my neglected obligations and work in the garden too.

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  8. What a lovely spot you’ve carved out to enjoy your garden, Karen. As you pointed out, we need these healing spaces now more than ever. It is still early days yet in my garden, the snowdrops are blooming, so we’re barely beyond the snows. Thanks for sharing your beautiful bouquets, their cheer is most welcome!

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