Freddie’s Flower People: Rosie Millard

Freddie’s Flowers customers are all naturally lovely people. Here’s one of them – broadcaster, author and North London resident Rosie Millard…

Freddie’s Flowers customers are all naturally lovely people. Here’s one of them – broadcaster, author and North London resident Rosie Millard…

Have you heard of ‘nominative determinism’? It basically means your destiny follows your name. So our own dear Freddie Garland was bound to get into flowers wasn’t he?

How about journalist, broadcaster, author, marathon runner and mother of four, Rosie Millard? With a name like that of course she loves flowers. But are roses her favourite?

“I do love roses of course and we have a wonderful Rambling Rector currently going mad in our garden, but my absolute favourite flower is the glamorous and luxuriant peony, inspiration for artists and lovers alike.”

We got to know Rosie as an appreciative customer: “I think it is a brilliant and inspired service and it gives me joy every day.” And we wanted to know more about her as she seems to be, well, flower-powered.


‘Naughty bits’

She was the BBC’s Arts Correspondent for a decade and continues to contribute to TV and radio as a freelancer. She writes columns and features for a variety of publications. Her first novel, The Square, an entertaining romp through one of London’s leafy (and, secretly, quite licentious) squares, was published last year (available here). Rosie lives on a square herself but insists she made all the naughty bits up.

She also supports some interesting and very worthwhile projects. Most recently she was appointed Chair of Hull City of Culture 2017. Is Hull a flowerful city?

“It certainly is. When we won the title City of Culture 2017 the name of the city was spelt out in flowers at the Marina. It is a surprising city too; independent, distinctive and very warm, with its own train service, its own phone exchange and now a Premiership football team!”



And did we mention she’s a mother of four who runs marathons? She once ran a marathon on the Great Wall of China. Her next challenge is the slightly shorter Humber Bridge Half Marathon at the end of June, then the Vitality British 10k, which follows a fabulous route in central London on 10th July and then the Chicago Marathon on October 7.

“My training has just been boosted by news that I’m doing a training run with Olympic athlete Perri Shakes Drayton along the Thames. Followed by eating RAW FOOD at Rawligion, a restaurant which saves on cooking costs by not doing any. Plus the news that my friend Colin Hancock is coming over from Africa to do the 10K with me. All of which is very exciting except when a mate of mine ran with marathon legend Haile Gebrselassie and he was so brilliant that he (the mate) felt like giving up. NEVER.”


We guess if nominative determinism was really a thing she would probably have been named something like Rosie Superwoman.

Anyhow. We like to think our flowerful stuff helps keep her on top of things. Here’s a lovely photo she’s taken of a recent arrangement (lilies, alstroemeria and ruscus – these are just a third of them, she divided her most recent super-abundant Freddies Flowers delivery across three vases):


Rosie’s lilies, alstroemeria and ruscus arrangement
If you’d like to try to keep up with Rosie, she blogs here and tweets from here. She’d love to hear from you.

Are you one of Freddie’s Flower People? We want to see how you’ve done your arrangements! Share your own Freddie’s Flower pics with on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, or drop us an email at

Or if you haven’t already done so, sign up for lovely flower deliveries at £24 a pop here!


Freddie’s Complete Guide to Snapdragons

They’re bold, they fill your home with lovely colour and the Romans used them to ward off witchcraft. Here’s everything you need to know about snapdragons, including how they got that weird name…

Snapdragons. They’re bold, they fill your home with lovely colour and the Romans used them to ward off witchcraft. Here’s everything you need to know about snapdragons, including how they got that weird name…


As flowers go, the snapdragon is a bit of an animal. The genus name (Antirrhinum) is Latin for ‘like a snout’, but we all call it a snapdragon because once upon a time somebody reckoned that if you squeezed the flower’s head it looked like a dragon opening its jaws and then snapping them shut.

That slightly beast-like quality may be why snapdragons have featured in so many myths and legends: the Ancient Romans and Greeks thought they warded off witchcraft (the Greek physician Descorides recommended wearing them around the neck for magical protection) and in medieval Europe they were planted around castles as an extra line of supernatural defence, just in case the walls didn’t work.

But snapdragons are not really beastly at all, of course: they’re beautiful.

‘Snapdragons’ (1921) by Australian artist Elioth Gruner. Image credit


Displaying snapdragons in your home

Snapdragon flowers are cultivated in lots of different colours, from a showy white to a brilliant yellow to a slightly risqué crimson – and they also range in height classes from ‘midget’ (6-8 inches) right up to ‘tall’ (a whopping 30-48 inches).

When we use them in our Freddie’s Flowers weekly flower deliveries,  we like to combine them with something scented and some vivid complementary colours. In this delivery from April we used some phlox (to fill your home with glorious smells), along with greeny-gold solidago and a purple trachelium for a bit of soft, fluffy texture.

Our snapdragon arrangement from April 2016


In Britain snapdragons have been popular since Victorian times (long before you could buy flowers online – though I’m pretty sure you could have flowers delivered to your door, by horse, of course). In fact, if a young lady received a bunch from a chap it meant a proposal wouldn’t be far behind – which is possibly why in Victoria’s Dictionary of Flowers, a snapdragon means ‘presumption’). So if you’ve got a lovely vintage vase or an Arts & Crafts-y ceramic pot to put them, they’ll look splendid.

vintage seed packet

On the other hand, there was a particular craze for breeding snapdragons in 1950s America, so if you’re going for a bit of a retro Americana look in your home, a bouquet of snapdragons will be a suitably authentic choice.

Important tip – snapdragon flowers open from the bottom to the top, so as the lower flowers at the bottom die, snip them off and this will encourage the upper flowers to grow.


Growing your own snapdragons

If you’re thinking of growing snapdragons in Britain, you can sow snapdragon seeds between January and March for a spring/summer flowering. They’re not too hard to grow if you have the space. They’re fine in any kind of garden soil and you can grow them on indoors until they reach 8 to 10 cm in height. The height of a fully grown snapdragon is pretty impressive. Snapdragons grow up to 50 inches high so you may want to grow them outdoors, lest your home starts drifting into some kind of strange flowery Game of Thrones parody.

You can plant them out once all risk of frost had passed, into large pots or straight into the ground 30cm apart. (For more detailed growing instructions, the RHS has a nice succinct step-by-step summary here.)

But if you don’t have the space (or the time) for gardening, you can always let us surprise you with a lovely bunch in one of our delivery boxes. That way you’re certain to get your snapdragons at just the right time to make your home naturally lovely… and quite free of all forms of witchcraft.


Four unlikely appearances of snapdragons in culture…


1) Van Gogh’s oddly realistic bouquet

Van Gogh Bouquet of Flowers c1886
Crimson snapdragons feature in this still life (‘Bouquet of Flowers, c1886) by none other than Vincent van Gogh. They’re jolly nice, of course, but just two years later he unleashed his expressionistic, hyperreal sunflowers  and changed the history of art.


2) A dodgy movie starring Pamela Anderson

film snap
Baywatch bombshell made this Basic Instinct-style erotic thriller in 1993, but if you haven’t seen Snapdragon (1993), don’t worry, neither has anyone else. On review site Rotten Tomatoes it has a rating of 0%, based on zero reviews.


3) A trippy psychedelic song from obscure 1960s band

The almost entirely forgotten British psychedelic band Kaleidoscope included a song called Snapdragon on their trippy 1969 album Faintly Blowing. The funny thing is, it’s actually quite good…


4) A bizarrely dangerous parlour game

From about the 16th to 19th centuries, snapdragon was a parlour game – deemed suitable for children, note – which involved getting a big bowl of brandy, setting it alight and then attempting to fish out flaming raisins, which you were required to extinguish in your mouth.


…and one very lovely painting

Finally, if you love snapdragons so much you want something permanent in your home, we found this gorgeous painting by Emma Carasimo over at Artfinder (those fine purveyors of affordable original artworks). You can buy it here.

af snapdragons
‘Snapdragons’ by Emma Carasino. Image credit


Love flowers? So do we! Make your home naturally lovely all year round by signing up for a delivery box for just £24 a pop here.