In a vase on Monday – Blossom

Last week I mentioned that I expected the Mimosa to be opening its flowers for this week’s vase.  They are nearly there but the continuing cold weather means that I will have to wait for a few more days at least.  Until yesterday I was unsure of what I would find for my vase to join with Cathy at Rambling in the Garden‘s Monday challenge to find flowers from our own gardens to cut and enjoy in our homes

Then yesterday returning home after a very wet morning spent bird watching with my husband I noticed that the wild plum was beginning to  bloom; I say ‘wild plum’ singular but there are in fact many of these trees in the lane, too many so I didn’t hesitate to pick some branches to bring into the house.  There is nothing like blossom  to say that spring isn’t too far away.

In a vase on Monday

Whenever I see branches of blossom I think of Susie at PBM Garden‘s beautiful, elegant Ikebana designs.  This is my attempt; I know that what it needs for balance is some bold flower heads at the base of the branches but sadly even 2 extra wanders around the garden didn’t produce the required blooms.  I did think of using some tulips but I felt their colour was wrong.

Wild plum

I love seeing the pure white blossom of the plums.

The tulips bought at Lydl and a DIY store continue to disappoint!  All the bulbs that should have been white are coming up yellow!  Almost worst is the fact that all the bulbs are growing at very different rates.  I picked another T. ‘Daydream’ today to add to the vase with the others – these are gorgeous tulips but these have flowered one at a time virtually for the last three weeks!  The yellow frilled ones are behaving in much the same way.

Mislabelled tulip

Mislabelled tulip

I do like the crystalline effect of this tulip and the White one shown on the pack was this type of tulip but it just proves that I should stick to the company in the UK where I usually buy my bulbs (yes I have had the odd bulb that has been incorrect but never a whole pack)  Plus their bulbs are slightly larger and have always flowered together allowing for a full vase of one variety.  The Orange Emperor that I was very pleased to find here after being so pleased with them last year have all come up with a tiny flower bud that doesn’t open.

Where do you buy your tulips?  Have you noticed a big difference in quality between different suppliers?

Do visit Cathy to see her choice for today and vases from around the globe.



48 thoughts on “In a vase on Monday – Blossom

  1. Hi Christina, it surprises me how often bulbs and plants are mislabelled and come up completely differently to how they were supposed to. I like Peter Nyssen bulbs, Sarah Raven and Avon bulbs. This year I did have a few that had gone a bit crumbly from SR – I’m sure they would have given a refund if I had complained, but I had left them in my utility room where there’s a tumble drier, so I wasn’t sure if that was my fault. I club together with my mum and bulk-buy from Peter Nyssen, as it’s wholesale. It’s much better value that way.

    • I usually buy from Peter Nyssen and almost always spend too much!!!! But the bulbs, especially his tulips are very reliable and good value if you buy 50. I think I’ll just have to buy fewer varieties in future.

  2. Christina, this blows me away. Fantastic! (Had that word in my head even before I saw Lidia’s comment!) You’re too hard on yourself. This design is an achievement. I think the juxtaposition of the plum branch with the shapely leaves of the greenery (not sure what that is) makes a strong statement. Proportions are great and the woven basket container is perfect choice. Just lovely my friend! The tulips are pretty but it would be disappointing to get so many mislabeled items. Hope you and R. had fun bird watching. We are beginning to see a lot of our favorite feathered friends returning from their winter retreats.

    • Thank you, you are very kind but I do trust your judgement so will feel that this is something I can do if I put my mind to it. The bird watching was a complete washout, sooo much rain where we were and virtually none here!

  3. I don’t think you can ever tell for sure what you will get with bulbs and other plants. Hopefully, the price was not too high. I have two shrubs with 2 different colors of flowering branches grafted to them. At least they bloom at two different times.

    • I haven’t had this problem with my usual supplier. No, they weren’t expensive and I bought them because they were available earlier than I would get them from the UK which meant they could be chilled sooner.

  4. Oh well done, Christina for your ikebana style vase which, despite what you imply, looks most effect. The acanthus (is it?) foliage certainly does the job of drawing the eye in, and it will be lovely for you to watch the plum buds blossoming – what wonderfully yellow stamens it has! Regarding bulbs, I have never had a problem with PN in terms of quality or labelling and of course they are such great value for money. Three friends of mine now add to my ordder so we get free postage. I have had the occasional special offer from SR, again good quality but expensive. My special snowdrops tend to come from Avon and their customer service is very good too. I do buy some tulips from Aldi each year but they are in mixed packs of 3 varieties although they say what the varieties are and they have always been good quality and at £3.99 for 25 are very reasoable too. This year I have ‘Purple Tulips Blend’ which includes Candy Prince, Purple Prince and Flaming Flag

    • Obviously I never get free delivery for sending them here but I think it is worth it for the quality now that I’ve seen how bad what’s on offer here is. There is a specialist bulb company but they are very expensive! I will probably buy just a couple of packs of tulips here for extra early forcing, ones that were a success this year if they have them again next year.

  5. Beautiful arrangement. Yes, you could put a big flower at the bottom but I don’t think it really needs it. One of the spiky leaves going outward instead of upward is a possibility, but it really looks lovely as is. I buy my bulbs from two old and reputable USA sources: Brent and Becky Heath and Old House Gardens. No mistakes and no problems and large bulbs. I did get a wrong Dahlia once from OHG but they contacted me before it bloomed to alert me to the problem and the next season sent the correct bulb.

    • Thanks for the feedback about bulbs; I’ll certainly be buying from the supplier I’ve used in past year after this experience with ‘local’ bulbs. Both companies are German and I’ve had great success with their dahlias.

  6. I love your Ikebana vase…those plum flower branches are stunning and I think a perfect match to the foliage you chose. When I did plant tulips I did notice a difference from suppliers. It has been a while but I hope to plant some again this fall and will carefully choose.


  7. Your first arrangement sings the promise of spring with it’s bird’s nest-like container and the sweet blooming branches! On the bright side, the tulips opening one by one over a longer period of time allows for a longer period of enjoyment. I order bulbs from the same couple of places but, like everyone else, sometimes find a few at local nurseries and box stores. I always forget what I’ve planted so don’t know if I’ve ever received mislabeled tulips. (No brain, no pain.)

  8. How lucky to have wild plum to pick, it conjures up all sorts of romantic notions. It’s beautiful in close up too. The tulips are cheerful but disappointing for you. I’ve never been disappointed with anything from Peter Nyssen or Sarah Raven but a cheaper collection I bought from elsewhere was very disappointing and the company didn’t answer when I emailed. I never followed it up though. Then again, I’ve bought plenty of bulb packs from various cheaper shops and they’ve mostly been fine. I can’t help myself!

  9. Christina your Ikebana vase with the plum branches with its beautiful flower and the green foliage of acanthus? It is a magnificent arrangement, I love it. The tulip of last week has become lighter yellow and now it is prettier. Be the disappointment that you give when you ask for a variety and they send you another under the same name; or when the bulbs that were previously of excellent quality now are not so much and are just as expensive. I hope with all your heart that you find a good provider of tulips. But do not be discouraged, it’s not worth it. Although I already know that tulips are your favorite flower. Sarah Raven does not send outside the United Kingdom, I know because I tried to make a purchase and I could not. I hope the cold is gone and sunny days come: that will encourage you. Take care. Greetings from Margarita. 🙂 🙂

    • Peter Nyssen sends to Europe at reasonable cost and his bulbs are very reliable. To get a cheap price per bulb you need to order 50 of each variety. Do have a look at his website. There must also be some Dutch companies that deliver throughout Europe.

  10. Cutting branches to force flowers into bloom isn’t something you see done much here but I find the idea very romantic – like inviting spring to pay a personal visit. Your tulips may not be what you expected but I still think they’re very pretty. Tulip bulbs are offered by local garden centers here but often too late to properly chill them for early spring bloom and, as I’ve complained before, even when I’ve mail-ordered bulbs and chilled them prior to planting, untimely winds tend to kick up at precisely the wrong time.

  11. I love the plum blossom, and I think your woven basket makes a perfect base. I have bought bulbs from Lidl and had delightful surprises, but stick to P Nyssen mainly. As you say, the bulb sizes are better, and the types reliable. Garden centres OK here, but quite expensive, and not a huge choice.

  12. You are correct about Susie’s Ikebana arrangements. If that is your first attempt Christina, you should be very happy, it has just the right look and balance and if you cannot have cherry blossom, plum is the next best thing.

  13. Oh your arrangement flows so naturally and is a beautiful shape Christina. The vase reminds me of a bird’s nest, so fitting for the wild plum blossom. I can almost hear chirping. I don’t have much luck with tulips as I’ve mentioned before but it’s down to me and not the quality of the bulbs. Have always had sound tulip bulbs from both Peter Nyssen and Sarah Raven.

  14. I usually order my tulip bulbs from John Scheepers. They import their bulbs from Holland, I think. They have very good quality, and I trust their labeling. We sometimes buy tulips as cut flowers at the grocery.

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