Flower of the week, alliums

Alliums, lisitanthus and solidago

It’s almost impossible for me to think of alliums without singing The Chordette’s 60’s pop classic, Lollipop.  

I love the power that flowers have to transport you.  Whether it’s the sweet scent of honeysuckle, caught on the breeze, that evoke memories of childhood bike rides, or the wonderfully fragrant aroma of stocks that bring back university holidays. Or even, just random cultural references that flowers conjure. Bubblegum pop definitely classifies as a cultural reference.

So, alliums remind me of a song. Also, fireworks, pom poms and balloons. What do they make you think of?

Alliums belong to the onion family. The clue is in their alternative name, ‘ornamental onion’.  Don’t worry though, your home won’t smell like your local curry house! Though they do have a very faint and delicate onion-esque aroma, which I love, actually. Though, to be fair, there’s not much I don’t love about flowers.

Alliums and solidago
Alliums and solidago


Flower box small talk
Allium is a genus of monocotyledonous flowers plants, thankfully shortened to monocots, for all your drinks-party-small-talking needs. The Latin meaning for allium is garlic – though it’s now used as the family name for all those lovely ingredients – and flowers! – onions, garlic, shallots, chives and leeks.

The allium season starts with the purple headed pom poms that are being delivered in our flowers boxes this week. If you’re a little perplexed because you’re looking at your box and it’s full of stocks and bouvardia, you may like to read this. Throughout the season they move through a veritable artist’s palette of floral colours – from purple in spring, then lilac, rose-red, pink and crimson through to yellow and white. Monet, eat your heart out.


Double headed lisianthus
To go alongside the very certain shape and architectural nature of the alliums, I’ve contrasted them with an unusual pairing of double headed, cream lisianthus.

Trimming lisianthus
Trimming double headed lisianthus


Lisianthus, or Lizzies as they’re affectionately known, are absolute darlings. They look a little like small, slim, elegant roses. And – a little like roses – you can tell when a florist has scrimped on these. I always choose double headed lisianthus for our flower boxes because single headed lisianthus are a little light.*

Why double headed? Firstly, they look absolutely gorgeous – especially, I think, in the rather chic cream colour we have this week. Secondly, they’re fuller and provide more texture and volume than the single headed varieties.


How to revive your flowers after their journey

If it sounds like I’m writing about shampoo, I’m not, although I do recommend you condition your flowers as soon as they arrive.

  1. Trim them on an angle, with sharp secateurs – you want to create the largest surface area possible.
  2. Place them in fresh, room temperature water that has 1 sachet of freddie’s flower food per litre.
  3. Keep the flowers away from draughts, direct sunlight and other heat sources (radiators, ovens, that kind of thing).
  4. Refresh your flowers every few days (3 is best) with fresh water and new flower food, and re-trim the stems by a few millimetres, too.


Solidago – shaken, not stirred
The final element of this glorious arrangement is some fluffy, textural yellow solidago, or Golden Rod, which sounds like a spoof James Bond film. The solidago is not a regular choice for lisianthis yet it creates a contrast, both in colour and structure, and I think it’s quite artistic.

Solidago golden rod
Botanical drawing of solidago golden rod

You can see how I arrange this design here: https://youtu.be/5M2_7ynotuk

*Something that sets Freddie’s Flowers apart from other flower deliveries is that I design the boxes so they always include a good amount of interesting flowers, and I only use excellent quality stems. (If you’re as obsessed with flowers as I am, you’ll often be found counting the petals on a rose to ascertain its virtues. Don’t worry – you have more important things to do – I do it so you don’t have to!) This means that our flower boxes are really fantastic value for money. Including double headed varieties as well as unusual and rare varieties – like alstroemerias that have been grown especially and exclusively for us – alongside packing high grade, long stemmed flowers, all make for booming, blooming, stunningly beautiful flowers.


If you’d like to have Freddie’s Flowers in your home every week. You can sign up here. Or give us a ring on 0208 396 6696. It’s just £24 a pop!

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