Freddie’s Flower People: Judith Mackrell

Author and dance critic Judith Mackrell tells us about her latest book, the ‘spectacular possibilities of pinkness’ and an improbably named rose…

Freddie’s Flowers customers are all wonderful people… and here’s another one! Author and renowned dance critic Judith Mackrell tells us about her latest book, the ‘spectacular possibilities of pinkness’ and an improbably named rose…

It’s one of the great traditions of the world of dance that dancers are presented with bouquets of flowers to celebrate a performance. They might be more worried about whether Judith Mackrell, the longstanding dance critic of the Guardian, will be presenting them with a virtual bouquet or a brickbat in her reviews of their work.

She was persuaded to try Freddie’s Flowers and receive her own garlands. Judith says, ‘Fresh flowers in the house are a treat for me and I couldn’t resist the idea of having them delivered to the door. It’s like being sent a bouquet every week.’

‘Flappers’ – Judith’s acclaimed biography of six women in the 1920s


Judith is an author and biographer as well as a critic, and the year ahead is looking a busy one. She says, ‘I’ve got several features on the go for The Guardian, including one about Javier De Frutos’ new version of the Phillip Glass dance opera Les Enfants Terrible – based on Jean Cocteau’s cult novel.’

Judith is also in the last stages of seeing her latest book into print. ‘It’s called The Unfinished Palazzo and it’s a group biography of  three very different women who lived in the same Venetian palazzo at different moments in the 20th century,’ Judith tells us. ‘They are a hugely rich Italian Marchesa called Luisa Casati, who was like the Lady Gaga of the belle époque, a very wicked English socialite called Doris Castlerosse, and Peggy Guggenheim – whose astounding modern art collection is now housed in the building.’

Even if she isn’t occupying her own palazzo, Judith loves bringing flowers into her home and the atmosphere they help to create.

‘It’s always great to have something coming into the house from the outside, something that has its own life. I like being able to clock the changes of colour, texture and smell that happen to a bunch of flowers over a week — buds unfolding, petals expanding and slowly beginning to drop.’

She enjoys the unexpected mixture of flowers and foliage in her Freddie’s delivery and the fact that it’s different every time. And if Judith were to choose the flowers we’d shower her with?

peonies by Sarah Collicott via FB
‘Spectacular possibilities of pinkness’ – a Freddie’s peonies delivery arranged by customer Sarah Collicott.


She likes peonies for ‘their spectacular possibilities of pinkness’, hellebores and paper narcissus. ‘Climbing roses are very special and I’m easily seduced by their names. I like to wonder about the people who they’re named after, like the wonderful Parkdirektor Riggers.’*

But, Judith says, she’s undemanding and grasses, twigs or autumn leaves will do if there are no flowers around — but with Freddie’s on hand, there always are.


*To help Judith, we looked up a bit more about Parkdirektor Riggers. It’s a rose variety developed by Wilhelm Kordes Söhne, a German family firm that’s been around for five generations and is one of the world’s biggest rose producers. This variety was bred in 1957 at their farm in Schleswig-Holstein. We can only assume that Parkdirektor Riggers was a park keeper known to the Kordes family. But if you know more, do tell us.


The rose variety Parkdirektor Riggers. Image credit.


Are you one of Freddie’s Flower People? You don’t have to be famous – we just want to see 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!

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