In A Very Special Vase This Monday

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A very special vase, made by our friend, Denis Orton, filled with budding branches and ivy, sits in our dining room this week.  I cut the Ivy, Forsythia, Magnolia, and Elaeagnus while our ground was still covered in snow last week.  It has had five or six days for the buds to swell, and our first Forsythia flowers began to open over the weekend.


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This is our first tribute to spring, although we still have piles of snow here and there in the garden.  I expect the last of the snow to dissolve in tonight’s warm rain.

Warm?  In February?  you might wonder…. Our sunny day today reached the mid-70s by early afternoon.


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But I noticed this lovely Magnolia bud while shoveling snow off of the driveway a week ago, and decided to bring one inside.  These are magnificent as they unfold each spring.  It is the first time I’ve added one to an arrangement of winter branches.


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Our Forsythia began opening an occasional bloom even before Christmas.  They are so sensitive to the littlest bit of warmth, and their buds have swelled throughout all the various shrubs around the garden.   We could cut a few branches of Forsythia every week between now and the end of March, and you’d never notice them missing!


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Whenever we are lucky enough to have a branch root in the vase, I find a place to plant it back in the garden.


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The ivy was poking out of a snow covered planter box when I clipped it last week.  It amazes me how hardy these delicate looking leaves prove themselves to be even when covered with ice and snow.  They keep growing right through our Virginia winter.

Our friend, a retired chemist and professional potter, has been experimenting with crystalline glazes for several years now.

I think this is his most beautiful crystalline glaze yet, filled with soft greens and blues and punctuated with sparkling metallic crystals.  He surprised us with the vase, filled with fresh flowers, a day or two before Christmas.  We were so excited and pleased to receive the vase, as beautiful hand made pottery is a special joy for us.


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These glazes produce pieces which are absolutely unique. 

I’ve been looking forward to using Denis’s gorgeous vase in a Monday post.  It has been sitting on our dining table, empty, through much of January.

But now that we have traveled a month into the new year, I am happy to fill it with flowering branches, and wait for the show to unfold!


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Appreciation, as always, to Cathy, at Rambling in the Garden, for sponsoring our Monday vases.   Please visit her post today to see a lovely antique vase filled with beautiful spring flowers.  If your heart needs Hyacinths and Daffodils, you will enjoy gazing at her photos today.  You’ll find a multitude of links to vases arranged by other gardeners around the world.

Woodland Gnome 2016


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About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

9 responses to “In A Very Special Vase This Monday

  1. What a gorgeous vase – so pretty! A perfect gift for a gardener. I can’t believe it was 75 only a week after your big storm. Amazing!

  2. I can tell from your writing that you are a good friend to have, and richly deserve all the riches that brings your way.

  3. What a fabulous vase….how lucky you are to have this amazing potter as a friend. Love the branches and forsythia blooming in a vase. And I adore the idea that you plant the branches in the garden.

    • Thank you, Donna. Our friend is quite amazing and fun to visit with, pottery or no. We share a love for Daffodils as well. We are quite fortunate to have these sweet people as our friends! Yes, everything which roots gets recycled to grow. Everything which won’t root, gets recycled as well….. ❤ ❤ ❤

  4. That is one gorgeous pot your friend has made – and is it one where he the final colour depends on the firing and you can never be sure in advance? SO lovely! And the branches you have filled it with are such a good representation of your garden at this moment in time – isn’t it heartwarming to see buds opening once you bring them inside?

    • Yes, the glaze must fully cool for the crystallization process to complete. You never can tell in advance how the final patterns will develop during the firing, which makes it endlessly fascinating and fun to see the finished pieces. It is great fun to watch the branches grow and flower early indoors. Between these and some Amaryllis, we are making our own spring inside ❤ ❤ ❤

  5. An awesome vase, one to treasure. That’s a pretty yellow.

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