Last fall I ordered three varieties of early Daffodils from Old House Gardens. I planted them in the new driveway border where we can enjoy them up close every time we go in or out the door. They are abundant enough that I felt free to bring a group into the house for a Monday bouquet. Since almost everything that's blooming in my garden at the moment is pink, yellow or white, the choice of vase was obvious.
I decided to use one of an unmatched pair of oversize mugs designed “To Commemorate the Coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 1953, Wedgwood, Made in England,” as they note on the bottom. They’re both 4” high x 4 ¼” in diameter with motifs in pink, yellow and metallic glazes on a white ground. One was designed by Richard Guyatt, the one I used by Eric Ravilious.
During the Depression in the 1930s, the venerable Wedgwood and Sons decided to invest in new designs as a way to deal with the economic slowdown. The company hired Ravilious to bring a fresh look to pictorial design. He designed my Coronation mug, first issued for Edward VIII in 1936 (before he became the Duke of Windsor), altered it for George VI in 1937, and it was reproduced in 1953 for George’s daughter, Elizabeth.
By this time Ravilious himself was dead. He became an official war artist in 1940 and failed to return from an air-sea rescue mission off Iceland in 1942. To me the design is pure 1950s so it is always a bit of a shock to realize Ravilious designed it much earlier. Though I own nothing else by Ravilious, the mug introduced me to his wonderful landscape and garden paintings as well as his war work.
I always reach for one of these mugs at this time of year because they seem the perfect container for the first riches of Spring. It seemed especially appropriate this time as the Queen just celebrated her 90th birthday.
Flowers include Narcissus 'Beersheba' (1923), N. moschatus (1604) and N. 'W.P. Milner' (1869). The history of all the flowers they offer is included in the Old House Gardens catalog descriptions. I am a sucker for flowers with history as you can see from my inclusion of the dates each of these Daffs was introduced. 'Beersheba' is the largest one and its trumpet opens yellow and quickly fades to cream. Also in the grouping are Helleborus Royal Heritage Strain and H. 'Sympathy'. There's a spray of Dicentra spectabalis foliage and a stem of Hyacinth 'City of Haarlem'.
To see what other gardeners are putting into a vase today, visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden who hosts this weekly meme.