In a Vase on Monday. Apple Blossom Time.

Only kidding , my apple trees looked like this last week.

But I do have apple blossom in my vase  because when I pruned the trees a few weeks ago, I saved some branches and now I have snow white blossom opening up.

Actually , they look like the ghosts of apple blossom.

Of course the whole point of apple blossom is that it is supposed to be pink like in this picture by Martin Johnson Heade. And if it is set off by a humming bird so much the better. But we have to wait until April for pink blossom and there’s no chance of humming birds in Suffolk. But we should have lots of bees and maybe some Brimstone butterflies by then.

Martin Johnson Heade. Apple Blossom and Humming Bird.

Monet once painted a picture of white apple blossom so he must have done what I did and brought it in to open up inside.   Ribes sanguineum, pink Flowering Currant does the same thing by the way.

It does look a bit washed out I’m afraid. Some of my apple trees are very old and gnarled and covered with lichen. I quite like the elephant grey bark  and lichen against the white of the flowers.

So we have washed out blossom and although the snow has gone, the garden is rather washed out too.  It  looks as if it is recovering from a long illness or some terrible trauma.

Azara serrata feeling a bit bruised

Snowdrops of course contain their own anti-freeze so they are quite unconcerned by  polar vortices. This is Galanthus plicatus. The cold weather has made the trachelospermum leaves turn red.

Galanthus plicatus

You notice I cunningly slipped in another snowdrop there. I know there are some bloggers out there who don’t get them, so I slip them in when you aren’t paying attention. I am not quite as fanatical as my friend Christine who is well known amongst Suffolk gardeners for her devotion to snowdrops. Every season she has different snowdrops painted on her nails. Now that’s what you call galanthophilia. These aren’t just any old generic snowdrops they are all named varieties.

That is ‘Flocon de Neige’ on her left thumb which is gorgeous but eye-wateringly expensive.

Snowdrops and  bleached apple blossom are all very well, but what we are starved of at the moment is colour.  My vase offering today,  is rather white and all ‘alone and palely loitering’ like Keats’s knight- at -arms. You remember the poem ‘La belle Dame sans Merci’?

Oh what can ail thee knight- at- arms alone and palely loitering.

The sedge has withered from the lake

And no birds sing’.

It’s been a bit like that round here lately. Except without the knight -at -arms obviously. I’m the one who has been ‘palely loitering’. The snow has gone but we still have ice  and withered sedge.

So this week I am going to stretch Cathy’s meme a bit to include ‘In a Greenhouse on Monday’ because that is where the colour is. And I am sick of a monochrome world. My greenhouse is an oasis of scent and colour  and I have been so glad to have somewhere to retreat to escape from the Beast from the East.

So with thanks to Cathy at ramblinginthegarden for hosting the popular meme and  my apologies for bending the rules.

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58 Responses to In a Vase on Monday. Apple Blossom Time.

  1. You had me there for a moment Chloris! Love the apple blossom and the snowdrops. Not sure about the manicure though. Hopefully things will emerge unscathed

    • Chloris says:

      Yes, things usually perk up eventually. We need s bit of sun now to dry everything up.

      • Thanks Chloris, a week of dry weather so that we can out there and do some work. My perennial grasses are not all cut back yet. I have weeds to clear and a ton of mulch to get spread. And it’s March. Yikes!

  2. Ali says:

    I think I’ve said it before, but that greenhouse is amazing. I love your friend’s fingernails! Bonkers gardeners are the best sort of gardeners! That is very interesting about apple blossom
    being white if it is brought on early inside! Do we know why? And poetry! What a wonderful eclectic mix.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Ali. Bonkers people are the best. I do love a bit of eccentricity. I don ‘t know why apple blossom and flowering currant turn out white if you bring them indoors. I wonder if anything else does this. I think I will cut some dark pink crab apple blossom and see how that opens up inside.

  3. Kris P says:

    You weren’t kidding when you commented about your garden being buried under snow a couple of days ago! At least it’s moved on out and you and your garden can begin the recovery process. Your smashed hellebores look a lot like my flattened Freesias, although it took less precipitation to force the Freesia blooms head-first into the ground. As to your greenhouse and your friend’s fingernails, both are utterly fabulous.

    • Chloris says:

      We only had snow for 5 days which I suppose isn’t long in the grand scheme of things. But it seemed to go on forever, and I’m so glad to get my garden back even if it does look a bit bedraggled. The greenhouse is probably costing me a fortune to heat but it’s worth it. I can’t live without flowers.

  4. janesmudgeegarden says:

    Inside your greenhouse Is so colourful-a lovely retreat from the storm damage outside. But gardens are forgiving in the main, aren’t they and soon there’ll be as much colour outside as in. Wow those fingernails are something else: it must have taken ages to complete. Quite a work of art!

  5. rusty duck says:

    Wowser. Your greenhouse is the place to be. What is the plant with the pieris like (but pink) bells?

    • Chloris says:

      The greenhouse is givng me a lot of pleasure. The pink bells are Pieris japonica ‘Valley Valentine’. It is acid loving so will have to live in a pot here.

  6. Oh, yes, I do think the greenhouse view is fabulous. Whoever paints your friend’s nails is quite the artist! I have a few Snowdrops here, but the voles got into them and now they are about to be covered with snow. I wonder if I’ll have any blooms this year when the snow recedes again. They bloom at risky times. I’m with you on the gray/brown landscape: I’m craving color, too.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Beth. Snowdrops normally survive being buried in snow. I find snaiis eat the heads of mine if I’m not careful. I hope your snow goes quickly, it’s time we got on with spring.

  7. Alison says:

    Oh, you do have quite a lot of color in your greenhouse! Lovely. Our news even way over here in the PNW corner of the U.S. is full of tales about your Beast from the East. I hope you are starting to warm up a bit now. Thanks for letting me know that Ribes sanguineum will open when branches are cut. I have lots of that growing in the garden, so I might try forcing them inside at a later date.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Alison. The snow has gone and it is quite mild today. It’s bliss to get outside. You can pick the flowering currant any time and it will open up even if it’s in tight bud. It is pretty with snowy white flowers.

  8. Cathy says:

    Crikey! I guessed you were somehow teasing us with your apple blossom title, but even so who would have thought that cutting them now would prouce blooms? Did they even have visible buds when you cut them? My goodness, what experiments we will have to carry out – I have some VERY slow ornamental quince that I would like to kickstart into blooming so I may just start with that. And your friend Christine’s fingernails – WOW! I love the eccentricity of it even though I wouldn’t do it myself – and I was in awe when you first told us but then you went on to say it was a different snowdrop on each nail…! What an exciting post this has been because you then went on to La Belle Dame sans Merci which brought memories flooding back of a poor young classics teacher (male) whom we christened ‘Alone and Palely Loitering’ after studying Keats. And then your greenhouse – I am sure I must drool every time every time I see this. Do you think if I asked you very nicely to make a list of everything in it when you retreat there one of these times that you might oblige…? (pretty please?)

    • Chloris says:

      The buds were tightly closed when I picked them a few weeks ago They were a few bits left over from pruning.. I have often picked foliage to open in water but apart from forsythia and flowering currant I haven’t tried blossom. So let’s experiment.
      Yes, of course I will make a list of plants in the greenhouse. Many of the plants I am enjoying now will be planted out in the garden when they have finished blooming to make room for other beauties.

      • Cathy says:

        Thanks Chloris – and I shall be picking your informed plantperson’s brains in due course on another matter…

  9. pbmgarden says:

    Your greenhouse is quite the respite. Apple blossoms seem lovely in white. Wishing you warmer days.

  10. Love the apple blossoms even white ones and especially the branches with all the lichen…..and those snowdrop nails are a hoot. I too am craving color so your greenhouse was a treat!

  11. Anna says:

    Oh the apple blossom flowers may be pale but they are definitely most interesting Chloris. Is there any scent to them? My apples trees are barely taller than me so no useful prunings. Your trees sound like those that grew in my parent’s garden. I have seen your friend Christine’s finger nails elsewhere on the web but didn’t know that you were acquaintances 🙂 They are quite fabulous and I imagine are a perfect excuse not to wash any dishes.

    • Chloris says:

      The blossom has a faint scent if you stick your nose in it.
      I think Christine’s nails are famous. In Suffolk we plantie people all know each other.

  12. Cathy says:

    I can imagine the warmth (just) and the pleasure your greenhouse must bring you. Full of all that colour it is a lovely contrast to your pale apple blossom.
    Oh, and those nails are amazing!

  13. tonytomeo says:

    Okay, that got my attention. I knew your apple trees could not be blooming before ours.

    • Chloris says:

      No, they won’t be blooming for a while yet. I was surprised that the tight buds opened up in water.

      • tonytomeo says:

        Some types of home heating will dry out the tightly closed buds before they can bloom. If the humidity is not lacking too much, they can survive for quite a while, even if they do not bloom right away.

  14. mrsdaffodil says:

    Lovely post. The fingernail art is really quite amazing. And, you know, lichens on old fruit trees are one of my favourite things.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Mrs. D. I love old apple trees. Some of them are covered in moss and others have lichen. The very old ones are wonderful shapes. Sometimes I am tempted to climb them despite my great age. But I’d feel such a fool if I got stuck.

      • mrsdaffodil says:

        I was never a tree climber and it certainly wouldn’t be advisable now. When I was a child, there was a weeping willow I liked to sit under, all hidden and secret.

  15. Christina says:

    Such an enjoyable post Liz; I think we are all feeling the same – just longing for spring. I think I’ll try bringing a piece of my crab apple in to see what happens. Your greenhouse is WONDERFUL; you’ve inspired me, at least I’ve begun by buying some primulas on offer at 10 for €2.29!!!!

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Christina. I thought I might try some of my really dark pink crab apple, I am intrigued to see if all pink flowers open up white in the house
      Wow, that’s a bargain. I have gone a bit mad on primroses, they provide instant colour in the greenhouse..

  16. Brian Skeys says:

    A wonderful idea to bring some apple tree prunings into the house to flower. I guess having the nails done like that is less expensive than buying the snowdrops, although your friend probably has the ‘drops’ as well.

  17. What I learned today: “galanthophilia” — love it!

  18. Alison C says:

    It’s very interesting to see your white apple blossom, it’s very beautiful if lacking some pink. Patience is obviously necessary for that. The snow was a trauma for me so must have been for the garden too, it has almost all gone and the change is dramatic and welcome. Let’s hope things survive. The snowdrop nail are fantastic, an amazing piece of art.

  19. bittster says:

    Oh my gosh. I can’t believe each nail is a different cultivar. That’s absolutely nuts and I love it.
    But then you lost me completely with the greenhouse. A perfect hideaway and such an improvement from what was there before. Brilliant way to enjoy the newest hellebores and other goodies even on the bleakest of days!

    • Chloris says:

      It is nuts, isn’t it? That’s why I love it. Yes, the greenhouse is a great success, it kept me sane whilst the Beast from the East raged.

  20. Peter says:

    Oh my, Christine’s nails are truly impressive. Thank goodness you have a color and scent-filled greenhouse into which to escape from the pale monochrome left by the beast from the east. Here’s to sunshine and warmer weather!

    • Chloris says:

      Yes, not many people have snowdrop nails.
      I have been very envious of your fabulous greenhouse and actually it was you who inspired me to have a winter retreat myself.

  21. susurrus says:

    You’ve tickled my fancy today with the snowdrop nails. That’s dedication!

  22. Great post, what I am wondering is what artist did the nails? When (on the odd ocassion they get done, but are in fact gold at the moment) I do mine they are more like splodges in the general nail direction, especially when I can’t find my glasses. Your garden will be looking spritely in no time. As for your greenhouse …… *green eyes* 🙂

  23. Perhaps it’s Galanthomania rather than Galanthophilia. I wonder if I could force some of my Crabapple blooms – you’ve got me thinking.

    • Chloris says:

      You are right it is a mania, but a very pleasurable, if rather expensive.
      Yes, go for it and try cutting some crab apple. I should be interested to hear how you get on.

  24. Well, my fingernails look dreadful today – the snowdrop manicure is really something, with named varieties! I love the apple blossoms, they remind me of Japanese woodblock prints.

  25. What a lovely series of apple tree/branch pictures and a great idea to bring some inside. I can’t keep nail varnish on for more than a day so I googled false nails with painted snowdrops and your friend is all over the internet! How wonderful.

  26. Noelle says:

    And she gardens with nails like that?!!! Love the apple blossom.

  27. Noelle says:

    Hi Chloris, I linked into your blog via the Biking Gardener when I was seeing what he had to say on Euonymuses…Is there a search engine anywhere on your blog? They are such useful addons..I shall search around Nov 2014 when you left your comment on his site.

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