Friday, 20 June 2014

British Flowers Week: the flowers!

Here are some details of the beautiful British flowers and foliage I have been using for British Flowers Week. The Sarah Bernhardt peonies, stocks (matthiola), alchemilla mollis (lady's mantle) and poppy seed heads were all from Pratley at New Covent Garden Market. You can imagine the incredible scent of the peonies and stocks.

The blue cornflowers, brodiaea, astrantia, Sweet Williams, rosemary, contorted hazel, and eucalyptus were from Tregothnan. The other bits were from the garden - William Shakespeare 2000 David Austin roses, sweet peas, pink cornflowers, scabious, caraway flowers, Genova dahlias, nigella flowers and seedpods.

It was wonderful to use British poppy seed heads, alchemilla, and astrantia for the first time. The imported seed heads and astrantia I've used in the past are all very uniform in size, but these looked more natural, and there were sometimes four seed heads on a stem! The astrantia was absolutely stunning. Unfortunately, the intense heat meant that my peonies opened up, even after I'd stored them in a cold shed overnight. Usually I have the opposite problem - I buy them a few days early for an event and they just won't open in time!

I made three bouquets for Woman's Hour, Time Out London, and my local newspaper, the News Shopper.

Ten minutes after I had delivered the News Shopper bouquet, I was sent a nice thank you tweet from the Lewisham and Greenwich reporter, Mark Chandler. He said he'd never been sent flowers before and the whole office was happy with the flowers. Hurray! That's what the #Britishflowers community hoped to do - make people smile by giving them some beautiful British flowers. I think I wrote more letters to the News Shopper when I was a kid than I did to my Basque penpal. There was a children's section that ran competitions every week, which I would always enter. I used to keep all of my replies from the children's editor; I'd love to dig them out and have a look again! I also did work experience at their sister paper, the Kentish Express. The first time I went to report from the Magistrates' Court in Ashford, I embarrassed myself by saying, "Oh! It's just like EastEnders!" as I walked in.

Back to the flowers: I made a spray and left a lonely bouquet in Postman's Park, which I'll post about separately.

I also made some lonely bouquets which I left dotted around Lewisham and Bromley. And a blue, white and red posy for a journalist friend who invited me over to watch the football yesterday. Well...he enjoyed the flowers at least.


  1. All so beautiful and home-grown! Wonderful! XxX

  2. Thanks Debs! I think British growers can be very proud of this lot.