Thursday, 30 April 2015

Last of the spring blue, white and yellow

I cut the last of the narcissi whose flowering times overlapped, so I could make a nice mixed posy. The 'Geranium' narcissi smell incredible, and a couple that I cut for a bottle lasted a good week, and the scent filled the room. They have pretty orange cups and beautiful white petals. There were also white 'Cheerfulness' narcissi from last year, which have flowered much better this year. And bright yellow 'Double Smiles' (can you spot a theme here?!). There's one 'White Lion' narcissus here too.

I found some forget-me-nots growing in the cracks of the pavement. There were only a few, so I cut some of them and put them in a tiny vase. I meant to take a picture of them by my little finger so you could see how the flowers are smaller than my small fingernail. A flower for fairies, if I ever I saw one!

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Shakespeare's birthday

What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet

As well as being St George's Day, 23 April is also the day that Shakespeare was born. It's the day he died as well, apparently. So here's an arrangement from the archive, before I half-killed my poor David Austin rose bush! A hat box with scented William Shakespeare 2000 roses, Sweet Williams, clematis and jasmine.

Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey will always be my favourite Romeo and Juliet, so here's the balcony scene in Zeffirelli's 1968 film. It's the play that taught me to love language and Shakespeare when we studied it at school - girls would walk around the playground reciting this scene off by heart just because we loved how it sounded!

Romeo: What shall I swear by?
Juliet: Do not swear at all;
Or, if thou wilt, swear by thy gracious self,
Which is the god of my idolatry,
And I'll believe thee.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Cherry Blossom Boy

I keep banging on about this, but plenty of boys and men like flowers too. So it was a joy to do these flowers for a wonderful man who's a writer and an artist. His vase went perfectly with the pink cherry blossom.

It was lovely to use cherry blossom while it flowered for such a short time. It's amazing stuff - you see nothing, then tiny buds for weeks, then suddenly there's pink blossom everywhere. It means impermanence, the European Victorian meaning taken from the Asian countries where the trees originated from.

I used garden spiraea for the first time. It made me think of Maggie Smith in Alan Bennett's Talking Heads. 

"In the best tradition of my floral arrangements they look like the poles of a wigwam, so I go and see if I can cadge a bit of backing from Mrs Belcher. 'Are you using this?' I say, picking up a bit of mouldy old fern. 'I certainly am. I need every bit of my spiraea. It gives it body.'"

I used some more at the Garden Museum. It will probably only last until the end of the week, and then the petals will fall like pink confetti. That's the thing about impermanence - it encourages us to enjoy things while they are around.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Double smiles and sisterly love

My narcissi have been late to flower. I see other people's have finished but some of mine have yet to bud. The warm weather last week gave them a bit of an adrenaline shot!

I had bright yellow 'Double Smiles', cream and orange 'Broadway Star' and cream and yellow 'White Lion' narcissi last week. The bulbs were from Peter Nyssen, as were the first of my tulips - pink 'Design Impression'.

There are a few 'Cheerfulness' and 'Yellow Cheerfulness' narcissi and miscellaneous daffodils scattered around the garden, which are also peeking up now.

I did a few posies with all homegrown flowers, which is lovely, and so appreciated by the recipients.

Especially when they do that automatic thing people do when given flowers - lift them up to smell them - and the narcissi and muscari are actually scented!

I had an order for blue, white and green flowers for a special birthday dinner.

I was given a vase to use for them - it was an old vase that had been restored with a lick of paint. It was a big birthday and the dinner was for three sisters, so special flowers were called for. Delphiniums are one of the biggest, special blue flowers you can get, so I mixed them up with some green celosia, and a few flowers from the garden - white blossoms and blue flowering rosemary.

My own sister has been in a really bad over the last week, and will be going to hospital this week, so I gave her a broken-off delphinium flower to wear as a buttonhole. It means "lightness" in the language of flowers, and she could do with that in the next few days.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

From the archive: The Faberge Big Egg Hunt

In 2012, there was an egg hunt in London. 209 giant eggs had been designed and decorated by different artists, and were auctioned off for charity. They were spread out over London, and they really were spread out - everywhere from Canary Wharf to Kensington to Hyde Park. Ok, they were spread out over the more monied parts of London! The first Faberge Big Egg Hunt broke the world record for the Easter egg hunt with the most participants - more than 12 000.

I saw several of them when I was doing flower deliveries at the time, and made lots of mental notes to go back (on foot!) with a camera. I especially remember this striking egg cup design outside The Dorchester hotel. I would sit in the van just gazing at it as we went past. When I went back to photograph it, there was a family having their photo taken outside the hotel, which I thought was sweet.

I went to Canary Wharf one day...

...and the rest of London on days when I'd been delivering, after I finished work. I must have walked for miles and miles, but I still only found about 80 of the eggs. These are some of my favourites. I love the postbox one!

And here are some of the others - I'd love to share all of the egg photos, but there are way too many! This was in the window of the National Geographic shop - I'd forgotten, but then I noticed Harrods in the reflection. You may remember that I adore polar bears.

The egg at the top of this post was in the window of Peter Jones, where I once worked many years ago. Here are more around Sloane Square.

And more around other parts of London. Some of you can probably tell where some of these were.

Carnaby Street had several, but you had to look up sometimes.

There was the occasional disappointment. This missing egg was called Rose as well!

One of the lovely things about this egg hunt is that it got me to walk around London and see things I hadn't before. Such as this monument "in memory of the five million volunteers from the Indian sub-continent, Africa and the Caribbean who fought with Britain in the two world wars".

And the eggs in St James's Park led to a lovely walk around the park.

At the end of Easter, all of the eggs were transported back to Covent Garden to be displayed together, and I got to see some of the ones I'd missed. Another post is needed for those - there are too many photos here already!