‘I Have Gone Plant Crazy’

In which Misti goes to Spain for the sun and returns to England for the sunflowers…

So what’s it really like having lovely flowers delivered by Freddie every week? Writer, mother, former LA actress and now London-dweller Misti Traya tells all in her exclusive monthly Flower Diary…

I don’t know when I stopped riding on roller coasters, but I do know when I stopped jumping into pools: 2004 . I was 23 when I decided that as a woman with Irish, curly, frizzy hair, it was a pity and a nuisance to ruin a good blow dry. As much as I loved a good splash, I hated looking like a woolly sheep’s behind even more. Well on a recent trip to Spain, I put an end to that nonsense and took a much overdue plunge.

My husband and daughter were on a postprandial stroll when I decided to go skinny-dipping in a red-white-yellow-and-pink-hibiscus lined pool. It was a wonderful jolt to the system and I had to laugh when a frog jumped in to join me.


Our Andalucian holiday was paradise. Each morning, we awoke to the scent of jasmine. After breakfast, we’d head to the beach where Helena and Henry would have a paddle while I basked in the sun. We built sandcastles and sea turtles and ate our weight in helado. We explored the Old Town in our espadrilles and never said no to ice cold beer.

Helena and hibiscus flowers


Back in England, summer was still showing off, rather like the glamini and freesias Freddie’s delivered that week:



We took walks through the woods near my in-laws’ house where the bees buzz about the borage and the birds are never short of song. We collected berries from the hedgerows and wildflowers from the fields.

bees borage

This time of year, the harvest, is one of my favourites. So many delicious things are in season, from squeaky green beans to damson. I love it all. The best thing I’ve baked this September has got to be Claire Ptak’s wild bramble crumble tart. The flavour can only be described as high summer.

wild blackberry crumble tart


Alright, I have a confession. I have gone plant crazy. It started after Freddie’s sent some white roses a few weeks back. I was going to discard them when the next arrangement arrived, but I couldn’t. I noticed that the leaves I pulled off the stems before placing them in a vase had regrown.

propagating roses

The roses seemed to be telling me they wanted to live. So I read up on rose propagation and now I have lots of pots full of leafy stems on my balcony. There are several theories about how to best keep the stems’ environment humid.

  1. Cover the stems with a jar to create a greenhouse effect.
  2. Place the pot in a clear plastic bag.
  3. Plant the stems in a potato before planting them in a pot.

I have tried all three. You would think that’s where this experiment would end but it hasn’t. Not only am I trying to propagate roses, but also African violets, a clog plant, and a funny little succulent I picked up at the farmer’s market a few month’s back.


Like a Victorian gone mad, I’m saving all my spare money for wardian cases and tropical ferns. Luckily for my husband, Freddie’s last delivery of sunflowers can’t be propagated. I guess I will just have to bask in their glow while I can.

sunflowers (1)


at Coworth Park

Misti Traya fell in love with an Englishman and moved from Los Angeles to London in 2009.  After her daughter was born, she began a blog called Chagrinnamon Toast that won the writing category at the 2014 Young British Foodies. She was also named runner-up for the Shiva Naipaul Prize. She has written for Gawker, Jezebel, Look, Mslexia, The Pool, The Spectator, and Stella Magazine.

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