In a vase on Monday

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Firstly, I’d like to apologise to all those whose Monday vases I didn’t find time to appreciate last week – if you are good enough to look at mine, then I should find time to enjoy yours!

But stolen wheels, dentists and contract endings – not to mention the referendum and the tricky situation in which many of us on mainland Europe now find ourselves – took over my life.

This is my contribution to Cathy’s meme at Rambling in the Garden. I’m hoping she’ll cut me a bit of slack in offering up a vase that sits in my kitchen, but doesn’t come from my own garden.

While visiting a dear friend, she was kind enough to trap and cut a small branch of flowers from the tulip tree, Liriodendron tulipifera. She planted two trees in her box parterre over 10 years ago and both are just completing their flowering here in north-east France on 27 June 2016.

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The trunks of tulip trees were used by American settlers to fashion dugout canoes – presumably because the wood is soft and easy to work. Since the timber rotted fairly quickly in water, the canoes had to be replaced every 2 to 3 years.

Yet another bush skill borrowed from Native Americans. The Lenni Lenape, a tribe in Delaware, called Liriodendron the muxulhemenshi or ‘tree from which canoes are made’. Daniel Boone and his family moved from Kentucky to Missouri (to an area at that time known as Upper Louisiana) in a tulip tree canoe in 1799.

They did use wagons to transport their household effects – but I’ve just had the picture of myself, husband and four cats crossing the Channel from Ireland to France in a canoe flash into my head.

And here I am (the small, rather tubby one in the middle) … safely arrived in France by means of more luxurious transport and able to enjoy the flowers of a young tulip tree in yet another French garden. I’ve included this picture because it emphasises that even quite small trees flower well. (With thanks to J. for the photo!) During the week I’ll be posting about that fascinating garden in Haute-Marne, which is open to visitors.

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When I came home from my friend’s house, I put my flowers, with their leaves, in a small green bowl and have allowed myself to be drawn into and lost in the unbelievable colours every time I pass – flowers as meditation!

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With thanks, once again, to Cathy for hosting this meme whose friendly contributors now come from all over the globe – England, Scotland, Italy, the United States, Romania, France.

Now go on over to Rambling in the Garden and have a look at their wonderful vases this week (I’ll be just behind you)!

 

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40 thoughts on “In a vase on Monday

  1. Christina

    Friends here have a tree, theirs was flowering in mid May, it is a beautiful thing. Do you feel as depressed as I do about the referendum result?

    Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      Good to have a date for it flowering near you! Fascinating stuff, geography and climate. Re the referendum: yes, so depressing Christina. I feel it’s like a train crash that I can’t seem to take my eyes away from.

      Reply
  2. Cathy

    What beautiful and fascinating flowers, Cathy – such an intriguing colour and formation. And thanks for the history – I love to hear background information like that. Thanks also for the introduction to yourself as ‘short and dumpy’… 😀

    Reply
  3. Annette

    Delightful and most unusual but the floating suits them well! I love Liriodendron and the flowers are true bee magnets. Hope you’ve recovered a bit from that silly referendum, Cathy, and I think the last word hasn’t been spoken yet. Bon courage 🙂

    Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      Thanks Annette and for the words of encouragement. I think it will be a while before anybody finds their feet again, but at least we are not too close to the dreadful things now happening in England – and we have a lovely garden to contemplate and give us some peace.

      Reply
  4. pbmgarden

    My childhood home had a tall tulip poplar along side it (they can grow 60 m (190 ft) high). The flowers are difficult to harvest unless picked up off the ground where they’re not usually in such nice condition as yours. I love how you’ve created this unique “flower meditation.”

    Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      Yes Susie – big trees, but my friend’s trees are still only about 25 feet tall and she managed to find a stick to hook a little branch down and cut it! In a way it’s rather a meditation in itself to think that all that beauty is going on up there above our heads where we can’t see it but the bees can enjoy.

      Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      Thanks Donna – yes, I rather wish I had one here as well now. Especially because I now understand that they flower when still young and enjoy the flowers from the ground.

      Reply
  5. Kris Peterson

    Those flowers – and the tree – are fabulous, Cathy. They grow in parts of the Pacific Northwest too but, sadly, I’ve never seen them here in Southern California. The turmoil of last week’s events have affected us across the pond too but not nearly to the extent you’re experiencing. My sympathies are with you. I hope all parties navigate their way through the current situation without too much hardship.

    Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      Amen to that Kris. I think it’s been the tide of racial attacks that have almost left us more stunned than the decision itself. It is hard to think of England as a ‘green and pleasant land’ when some of its inhabitants are so full of hatred. My heart bleeds for the young Europeans working in England who have loved their adopted country and now feel much less welcome.

      Reply
  6. theshrubqueen

    Wow, I am from Georgia, where Tulip Poplars grow in the woods and have never seen anyone cut the flowers! Amazing and they are lovely. Well done! My husband uses Poplar for wood trim. We are depressed about the goings on in the UK as well.

    Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      I guess your trees are probably so tall that the flowers are well away from human eye level. I remember big trees in a garden that I used to work in – but I would love to see them in your woodlands! How interesting about your husband’s use f the wood. I think that all Europeans are suffering a post-referendum shock at the moment. It has been divisive in such an ugly way, we can only hope that something happier comes of it in the end.

      Reply
      1. theshrubqueen

        The Tulip Poplars are commonly in the 90 foot tall range and grow everywhere in the Deep South to the point they are considered trash trees along with the Liquidambars so loved in the UK. Interesting how ones perspective can change? There seems to be a wave of conservatism in the world, we have it here as well. I would not have thought the UK would do that.

      2. Cathy Post author

        Neither would I – I always considered the UK to be the home of tolerance and the ability to speak one’s mind (politely!)

  7. Julie

    I don’t think I have ever see a tulip tree ‘in real life’ Cathy so thanks for sharing. I too feel that life has derailed since the referendum – I am still reeling from the shock result and struggling to contemplate such an uncertain future.

    Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      Yes – hard to find one’s bearings in a world that (while not at all perfect) was completely smashed – along with the dreams and aspirations of so many young people – overnight. Let’s hope we all recover our balance and our hope in the next month or so. Somehow!

      Reply
  8. Eliza Waters

    What synchronicity! Just today I was walking up the road with a friend and I spied a Tulip tree seedling next to the road and I exclaimed, “I ought to dig that up (to save it from its eventual demise) and bring it home!” The road crew cut everything next to the road – it won’t have a chance unless I do. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      And all that is usually going on well above our eye level – it’s a gift to the bees that nature didn’t imagine we had any need to see!

      Reply
  9. bittster

    Brilliant to bring them inside. I think here they are underappreciated as flowering plants since usually they bloom way up in the canopy and are only enjoyed when a squirrel nips a bud or some other trauma sends one down to earth.
    Good luck on the ref. I also don’t think the last word’s been spoken and it will be months before there’s a solid resolution… hopefully one more promising than the current situation.
    No man is an Island and apparently no country can fall back on that anymore either.

    Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      I think the best that can be said about the people who voted to leave is that they are extremely frightened and have found it impossible to adapt to our changing world. And nobody nobody noticed that they felt so frightened and lacking in power. I do ask French friends and acquaintances how they feel – they are mostly rather shocked as well. But although some say they believe Brexit was the correction decision, the vote for Marine le Pen (my greatest nightmare) doesn’t seem as strong as I believed among ordinary country people.

      Reply
  10. smallsunnygarden

    So lovely to see the flowers close up! I did not realize that Liriodendron was such a very useful tree. Oddly enough, when we lived briefly in Chicago during my childhood, the term “Tulip Tree” was used mostly for magnolia soulangeana, so later I was surprised to find there was another tree more commonly known by the name! It sounds as if you had a nasty week last; I hope this one is better! It’s hard to say much about the political situation from here; I was brought up to avoid doing that 😉 but I certainly hope it has a minimal negative effect for you!

    Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      How interesting Amy – I had no idea that M. soulangeana was sometimes called ‘tulip tree’ – thanks for the education! Re the referendum: we will all be profoundly impacted. There are great fears on the part of ex-pats in France (and, I am sure, elsewhere in Europe) that they will be forced to return ‘home’ for financial reasons – many live on British pensions and if these are frozen at (say) a 2018 level and the pound remains weak, life may just be too expensive here. So loss of homes, friends, money, etc. Plus a terrible blow to the French property market and the possible demise of beautiful, crumbling old houses much loved by the Brits. And that’s just retired people without touching on the hopeful young French people going to work in Britain or the young Brits coming here. Not a good time for anyone here, I’m afraid.

      Reply
  11. Cathy

    This is fascinating Cathy. I have never seen this tree before and at first was a little confused, as I have always thought of Magnolias as ‘tulip trees’. The flowers are so pretty. Isn’t nature amazing? Hope they have helped blow all those other troubles out of the mind for a while! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      Interesting Cathy about magnolias – Amy mentions that above too. I’ve learnt something today! The flowers are certainly beautiful enough to calm the mind and move it away from problems!

      Reply
  12. Joanna

    Thank you for your kind comment.
    You had a good trip by the sound of it.
    Our tulip tree has not flowered yet after four years.
    That trio of flowers looks sweet..s
    I am on iPad and am useless at. Cannot upload pix to blogger.

    Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      Hopefully it will flower soon – but it will be worth the wait! I think my friend told me she had planted her two trees about 14 years ago.

      Reply
  13. homeslip

    So interesting. We have a 100 foot tall and almost as wide liriodendron Tulipifera in the cottage garden. It is growing less than six metres away from the 18th century cottage! It only flowered on the sunny south side this year and the flowers were too high up to appreciate properly. I have been trying to age our tree and know that Tradescant brought the seed to England from North America in the 1600s. Our tree is much bigger than a multi-stemmed tulip tree at Polesen Lacey which was probably planted as a specimen tree around 1900 and about the same size as the tulip tree at Coleton Fishacre which is huge and growing in a beautiful open position in glorious south Devon rich loam and which was undoubtedly planted when the house was built in the 1920s so if the conditions are right they do grow very quickly. There is a 300 year old majestic specimen possibly nearing the end of its life in the parkland at Leith Hill House, owned by the National Trust. The Trust have recently planted a new tree close by to take over when the inevitable happens. Finally a friend has a tulip tree in her large one and half acre Edwardian garden. This has been well-pruned over the years and is a remarkable tree. We had our tree thinned by a tree surgeon this winter. We had to apply for permission as the cottage is in a conservation area. It looks much better now but the boughs are still almost touching the ground and really it takes up far too much space in a cottage garden.

    Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      Thanks so much for your information … wonderful to have one in the garden, even if they take up too much space. And so good to know that although you (sort of) resent the space it takes up you are tending it so well!

      Reply

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