Tag Archives: Thalictrum speciosissimum

In a vase on Monday

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We had a very heavy frost again last night. So many young shoots destroyed! My Magnolia soulangeana ‘Lennei’, which has just flowered for the first time, is a mass of drooping, sad leaves. As is the little Cercis silaquastrum. I do hope they come back again.

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I’ve chosen Narcissus poeticus for my vase today. Included is foliage of Thalictrum flavum ssp glaucum (which I persist in calling Thalictrum speciosissimum!) plus some rather jolly spikey shoots of Campanula persicifolia.

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Thalictrum foliage

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Upright shoots of campanula

The narcissus look like they are about to fly away. I hope the campanula and thalictrum anchor them a little!

Then there are chives, just waiting to go ‘pop’ in the garden …

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and the reddish stems and flowers of blue aquilegias …

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I’ve just read that the scent of the poet’s narcissus is so strong that it can cause headaches and vomiting. Let’s hope not, because they are now sitting on the kitchen table! Someone noticed their scent as soon as I put them outside in the sunshine to photograph this morning.

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N. poeticus is the type species for the genus Narcissus. It is thought to have originated in the Middle East or the eastern Mediterranean area, but now it is naturalised all over Europe.

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In Britain (where it was reputedly brought during the Crusades) we know it as  ‘Pheasant’s Eye’ narcissus. Possibly taken directly from the French ‘Oeil de Faisan’? It is widely used in the perfumery industry here in France – a staggering 11% of perfumes include it as an ingredient.

There are vast natural fields of it in the the Massif Central and the Haut Var region of Provence. Many gardeners in our area of Lorraine advocate planting narcissus around special things if you want to ward off vole visitors (which eat roots and can kill plants almost overnight). So I was  bit distressed about a year ago to read that voles are decimating those wild populations of the Massif Central. The photo below is courtesy of the Fauna Flora Fonge website dedicated to the wildlife of the Massif Central.

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Have the voles changed their tastes?

Whatever – we have voles here, but I am slowly increasing the plantings of this lovely, late-flowering narcissus in the garden. So far, so good – and we do have a lot of voles!

I had imagined it under my four Prunus ‘Tai-haku’. This year the penny finally dropped:  I’m going to have to use the cultivar ‘Actaea’, which flowers a lot earlier. The cherry blossom is a memory by the time the species Narcissus poeticus makes an appearance.

I made an interesting discovery this morning: my ‘new-to-me’ iPad takes better pictures (automatically!) than I can with my camera.

Here’s the picture I took with the camera in the kitchen …

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And here’s what my clever iPad can do (without any of the deep thinking my camera requires!)  …

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Of course, I had to work out how to share the pictures with my computer. It took an age. The eventual solution – works niftily – was via Dropbox.

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Now go on over and see what the others are doing for Cathy’s addictive In a Vase on Monday meme at Rambling in the Garden. I’ve just taken a peek and those tulips are luscious, Cathy!

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In a vase on Monday

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This is probably the most luxurious (and expensive) bunch of tulips I’ve ever bought myself. They are bulbs of ‘Carnival de Nice’ bought from Peter Nyssen last autumn and planted in my cut flower garden.

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It’s a fancy tulip that speaks to me of the period of the Dutch tulip boom in the early 17th century. The ‘broken sorts’, like the famed ‘Semper Augustus’, fetched the highest prices. I I think ‘Carnival de Nice’ must be a distant relative and that’s possibly why the flowers in my home make me feel as if I’m enjoying something particularly decadent.

These broken types with the white streaks on a pink or red background were known as ‘Rosen’.

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It’s just as well I wasn’t around then, because I expect I would have gambled all I have and not even ended up with the kitchen table where they are now being admired and mused over every hour.

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I tried to do quite a few things with them. Nested them on a little bed of purple berberis and then arranged them with Thalictrum speciosissimum as foliage.This is what I actually did with the thalictrum and its young flowerbuds – far too nice for the compost heap, so it is joined by red campion (Silene dioica).

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Foliage and incipient flowerbuds of Thalictrum speciosissimum

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Red campion – Silene dioica

In the end I felt that the tulips looked the part on their own in a vaguely Dutch-looking vase (also another vide grenier find last summer).

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And I couldn’t get it out of my head that they would look just right in my old kitchen that dates from almost exactly the same period as the tulip bubble. The kitchen is pretty impossible for photography, but the flowers really do look their best there.

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As a little addendum – here are my valiant anemones from last week, joined by Tulip ‘Flaming Spring Green’ (this flower refusing to ‘flame’, but nonetheless pretty).

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If you leave a comment, I’d love it if you told me what your favourite tulip of the moment is. A voyage into the world of tulipomania!

Now hop on over to Cathy’s Rambling in the Garden and see what other delights the Monday vasers are offering.

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