In a Vase on Monday. The Winds of March.

‘Daffodils that come before the swallow dares and take the winds of March with beauty.’  W. Shakespeare.

I hate to disagree with the Bard, but he has got it the wrong way round.  It is the winds that take the daffodils. It happens every year; the first tall daffodils are standing proudly to attention, blowing their own trumpets and then inevitably we get strong March winds and they land face down in the  mud.  So a little dirty and humbled they end up in my daffodil vase. This year it was the tail end of Freya that caused the damage.

We all have daffodils that we didn’t plant. And I seem to have rather a lot of ‘King Alfred’ which given a choice is the last one I would choose as I prefer the dainty dwarf varieties. King Alfred is welcome to take this daffodil and his burnt cakes elsewhere. But having said that, I can’t bear to see him languishing all over the garden so in a vase he goes. And actually looking at him close up I do rather like his frilly corona.

You might remember from last year that darling Beatrice painted a picture of Hector enjoying a nice bunch of daffodils. Don’t let that innocent expression fool you he is probably plotting which to eat first, the bee or the daffodils.

I also picked a tiny bunch of sweet violets today. They are rather invasive but I have wildish areas where I let them do what they like.

I love the elusive perfume of violets and the way they play tricks with your olfactory senses. You remember the lovely lines about music being the food of love in Twelfth Night?  The Swan of Avon summed it up beautifully when he talked about:

‘…the sweet sound
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odour’.

That is exactly what violets do. It is a sort of magic trick. They get their scent from a chemical called ionone which stimulates the scent receptors and then temporarily shuts them down completely. After a while the scent comes back because the brain will register it as a new stimulus. So Shakespeare’s description is spot on and nobody told him about ionone.

You might have noticed that the daffodil vase has daffodils painted on it.

And the violet vase has violets on it.

I am a little embarrassed about this as it seems rather like having your name on the handkerchief. And what is that about? I am never quite sure whether the purpose is to remind you what your name is, or to stop other people stealing your handkerchief. Neither scenario seem very likely. And I do remember what daffodils and violets look like without having a specially painted vase to remind me. But never mind I think they are quite sweet.

I hope the other In a Vase on Monday enthusiasts have not had their flowers blown away in the UK, or buried under feet of snow in the States. But gardeners are a resourceful lot and I am sure there will be lots of spring delights on show today. Thank you Cathy at Ramblinginthegarden for hosting.

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37 Responses to In a Vase on Monday. The Winds of March.

  1. Christina says:

    Lovely! I found half a dozen tiny narcissus today; I don’t remember ever buying them so think they must have been seed attached to larger bulbs (which seem to have faded away).

  2. I’m really enjoying your daffodils, as they are difficult to grow here. We can grow violets. Here in the sunny south, we are expecting freezing temperatures tonight which are unusual this time of year.

    • Chloris says:

      Oh dear, freezing temperatures are a bore.What a shame not to be able to grow daffodils but I expect you have lots of other lovely plants that we can’t grow.

  3. bcparkison says:

    Which reminds me. Our freeze warning will be back tonight for a longer period. Better snip the remaining daffs and oh how I love wild violets.

    • Chloris says:

      Just as you think spring is coming you get more freezing weather. Here it’s strong winds and rain keeping us indoors. I love violets too.

  4. Cathy says:

    I am sure they would recommend artefacts like these vases to those with dementia so you can cross that off your list of Things to Put By For When I Get Old and Forgetful…;) It would of course be criminal to put anything other than daffodils and violets in them so it is good to see them being used for their proper purpose. I did buy a snowdrop mug from Anglesey Abbey but I might just stick to drinking tea out of it as it would take a lot of snowdrops to fill it. I am SO intrigued by today’s chemistry lesson (not bad for and English graduate) and all that about ionone – I wonder if any other flowers have the same chemical…?

    • Chloris says:

      Yes, but then I’d probably forget where I’d put the vases.
      I don’t know whether other flowers have ionone but violets are the only flowers I have noticed that have this trick of making their delicious scent so elusive. I looked it up years ago because I was so intrigued about it.

  5. susurrus says:

    I’d call that a serious look rather than an innocent one. Mum had a dog called Moss who looked a bit like that. He was a bearded collie.

  6. Peter Herpst says:

    I rather like your blooms in containers that bear their likeness. Hector looks adorable and I’m sure he’d never even think such naughty thoughts:) Nothing like sunny daffodils to trumpet spring’s arrival even if they do so on the ground. Interesting information about violets. I often wondered why the fragrance seemed to come and go.

    • Chloris says:

      Hector is adorable but he is always thinking naughty thoughts. I love all the little daffodils and they stand up better to the wind. The tall ones are quite cheery though.

  7. Island Time says:

    Thank you for this delightful post! Your daffodils and violets are beautiful. Pretty vases too, even if you do still remember what is supposed to go in them. The unusually late and freezing winter weather has put a stop to the daffodils in my garden, many of the buds that began to emerge a month ago have been nipped and crushed and broken off with the frost, snow and freezing wind. Sad. Hooray for the brave snow drops, that manage to survive even the most brutal conditions. Roll on spring!

    • Chloris says:

      Oh how sad to see your spring flowers ruined. Where is your island? I hope spring will come to you soon.

      • Island Time says:

        Our island is on the west coast of Canada. Normally a mild, temperate climate with the odd cold snap, much like the south of England. We are experiencing an unusually late winter, and extended freezing conditions. Normally it would have been pouring with rain by now, so things are unusually dry as well. It almost seems like spring is just around the corner though, thank goodness.

  8. Tina says:

    As gorgeous as your daffodils are, that doggie and his vase of flowers is a charmer!

  9. Noelle says:

    Those daffodils have done just the same as mine, which needed a wash. Thanks for all the science about violets. Aren’t they such a vibrant colour…sadly or maybe not I cannot smell violets..but the smell of daffodils now drives me crazy..and the bunches either end up with a friendly person. Rip Van Winkle doesn’t seem to have that effect!

    • Chloris says:

      Sad that you can’t smell violets they smell very sweet. I don’t like the smell of Paperwhites, it’s disgusting, but some of the little jonquils smell divine. I must go and sniff Rip Van Winkle.

  10. AlisonC says:

    Beautiful. You made me laugh with comments about the jugs. Perhaps it’s because jugs were made for – shock horror – milk or cream, rather than flowers! It made me think of knickers or socks with days of the week on them, in case you forget. Sorry to lower the tone. 🙂

    • Chloris says:

      Knickers with days of the week on? I haven’t heard of that. I’m sure I should get in a terrible
      muddle and it would ruin my day if I found myself wearing Wednesday’s knickers on Saturday.

  11. Kris P says:

    And here I was admiring how nice it was that you have such a selection of situation-specific vases when you launched into self-criticism 😉 I’d love it if I had wild areas full or violets, or a surplus of daffodils for that matter. My own daffodils, encouraged by some (surprisingly short) breaks in the rain here, are only now lifting their heads.

    • Chloris says:

      I have vases for every occasion, I can’t resist them. It seems odd that we have loads of daffodils in bloom when you haven’t. Do you think perhaps they need cold to stimulate them to bloom?

  12. Liz, I will admit to harbouring a distaste for monograms, but I do love the daffodil and violet vases and the King Alfreds. I hope you saved them all from the dreadful Freya (was she a Grendel monster, or a Nordic Goddess?)

    • Chloris says:

      Yes at least I don’t have my name on my vases, that would be weird. Freya seemed to confine most of her fury to the west of the country so we got off relatively lightly.

  13. tonytomeo says:

    Ours got knocked down by all the rain. Most were pretty anyway. There might still be a few out there. We have no violets though.

  14. So pretty, Chloris. You seem to have an endless supply of vases! I love daffodils, and although the violets run amok in the lawn and flowerbeds, they are pretty. Hector’s portrait is very handsome.

  15. Cathy says:

    I love seeing large daffodils swaying in the wind, but the storm was a bit too much, I agree. No daffs here yet though, so lovely to see yours in the pretty vase. And if you didn’t put daffodils in it, what would it be used for?! I hardly ever smell the violets as that trick they play seems to work extremely well on me! 😉

  16. I think you are awfully hard on poor ‘King Alfred’. I think he and all your other daffs look darn good. Love the painting of Hector.

  17. I’m fond of the small daffs, but I do love the pheasant eye’s. Fasinating about the on/off viola scent, I wonder why it does that. Maybe to attract a pollinator, then give it a chance to do the biz and leave before attracting another one. No queuing necessary. What do you think?

  18. snowbird says:

    Such pretty vases and posies. My poor bulbs are being battered by wind and hail as I type! I didn’t know that about violets. How interesting.xxx

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