Sweet William(s)

Oh sweet, sweet william

To prepare you for one of my favourite flowers featuring in my boxes soon I thought I would tell you a little bit about them first. They really are as lovely as their name and last a long old time too. The exact origin of its common English name is unknown but it first appeared in 1596 in botanist John Gerad’s garden catalogue. Starting the long discussion of who they are named after!

A close up of sweet williams from our box
Sweet William from our box

Who is this is William and is he actually as sweet as the rumours?

There are many possibilities of who ‘sweet william’ took its name from. One is that the flower is called sweet william after Gerad’s contemporary William Shakespeare.

Another idea is that they are named after the 18thC Prince William, Duke of Cumberland to honour the Duke’s victory at the Battle of Culloden and his general brutal treatment of the king’s enemies.

A portrait of Prince William, Duke of Cumberland
Not so sweet William – Duke of Cumberland @wordpress.com

Now if you ask me, I think that they are named after the Duke. Why? Well i’ll tell you why. The Battle of Culloden was a battle in Scotland between the Duke, son of George II and Charles Edward Stewart, The Young Pretender. On the Young Pretenders side were the Scots. The Scots were on the losing side and their name for the flower ‘sweet william’ is ‘stinking billy’. Probably after the Prince who trounced them in the Battle. To me that makes more sense!

Our own sweet Williams

The Victorians with their love of the language of flowers, Sweet Williams signified gallantry. And we have a few favourite William’s of our own.

  • At the wedding of our Prince William and Kate Middleton, Kate had sweet williams in her wedding bouquet to symbolise her love for her bridegroom. Good choice Kate!
Kate Middleton's bouquet with sweet williams in.
Sweet Williams for her William
Etching of William Wilberforce
William Wilberforce @regencyhistory
  • William Wilberforce was a pretty sweet William indeed. He was the leader of the movement to stop the slave trade which led to the Slavery Abolition Act 1833 which abolished slavery in most of the British Empire. Well done Will, you sweet man!
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The man of many talents, William Shakespeare @woolf.cam.ac.uk

Playwright, poet, botanist and all round genius!

Who would we be if we didn’t mention the most famous sweet William of them all? Apparently, Shakespeare was not content with just being the greatest playwright ever in the English language but he was also an expert amateur botanist. With a deep knowledge of homegrown and exotic plants showing in his work.

”Shakespeare’s botanical references are not mere literary devices; they take us to the very heart of social life in Elizabethan and Jacobean England” Mary Willes

According to Mary Willes (Author of ‘A Shakespearean Botanical’), Shakespeare mentions 49 specific flowers, veg, fruit and herbs in his plays.

What is so genius about old Will is that he used his botanical knowledge to perfectly describe his characters. For example – he describes Falstaff (an overweight Knight in The Merry Wives of Windsor) as a ‘gross, watery pumpkin’. Have that Falstaff!

 

Wonderful William

We hope you enjoyed the sweet williams as much as we have and have a think of all the wonderful William’s in your life!

Here’s flowers for you;
Hot lavender, mints, savoury, marjoram;
The marigold, that goes to bed wi’ the sun
And with him rises weeping: these are flowers
Of middle summer, and I think they are given
To men of middle age.
The Winter’s Tale (4.4.122-7)

If you’d like to turn your home into the best flowery spot, why not sign up and have some Freddie’s Flowers delivered to your place? It’s only £24 a pop and I think you’ll be quite delighted.

Getting wild about wildflowers this Spring!

It might only be March, but with the weather we’ve been having it feels like Spring is in full force!

It might only be March, but with the weather we’ve been having it feels like Spring is in full force, just ask any hayfever sufferer and they’ll confirm it! But as a non-sufferer, I am just loving it. I even did an arrangement video in a t-shirt the other day! 

With the temperature rising and the sun beginning to peep out from the clouds, it is the perfect time to tear yourself away from your flower arranging and to get outside. And what better excuse to take in some of the floral delights of the British countryside. 

At this time of year, we are blessed with an abundance of fantastic wildflowers right on our doorstep. Here’s a guide a few of my favourites to look out for when you’re out and about. 

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Snowdrops 

One of the first flowers of the year to bloom, the adorable little snowdrop can be seen from early January. If it has been very mild you might even see a few in December. They are famous for their attractive little white buds and for carpeting forest floors, looking just like snow… perfect when the weather is getting a little warm!

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Primrose

The sweet yellow Primrose is a real sign that Spring is coming. Like the Snowdrop, they can be seen from January, but they tend to hang around a little longer and can be spotted in fields and forests right up until the early Summer. Seeing them never fails to lift the mood! 

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Daffodil 

Nowadays we think of Daffodils in little vases at home, but they are of course a wildflower that is native to the UK. Wild daffodils are a glorious sight, making me think of Easter and getting us all in the mood for roast lamb, Easter egg hunts and fighting your siblings over the last slice of cake. I love daffs, they are such a sunny flower and always put a big smile on my face.

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Bluebells 

The most iconic of all the British springtime wildflowers, the fabulous Bluebell is a national favourite. There is nothing better than stumbling across an untouched patch of Bluebells, silently carpeting the ground like a foresty sea. And they really do mean Spring is upon us, they tend to be around during April and May, leading us wonderfully into the Summer months. 

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Easy Purple Orchid 

These wonderful, deep purple flowers are seen towards the end of Spring. They’re recognisable for their interesting shape, striking colour and the fact their leaves are spotted. This purple flower is often found growing near Primroses so you might get a double spot! 

There are plenty of wonderful wildflowers to spot at this time of the year; these are just a select few. Do let me know if I have missed your favourite – I’m always on the lookout for more. 

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We’re wild for them

Even better, please do get in touch with pictures of wildflower spots, or of your own Freddie’s Flowers. In fact, if you pick a few wildflowers perhaps you could add them to your weekly arrangement, giving it a seasonal twist! 

You will find a little wildflower surprise in your box this week. I met the lovely Emily from a great new company called Seedball. Seedball are all about helping the butterflies and bees in our gardens and balconies. It’s a really simple way of planting wildflowers without too much knowledge. In each box, there are six seed balls, each containing about 40 wildflower seeds. I hope you enjoy and spread the wildflower love and plant your own!

 

Happy rambling, enjoy the weather and enjoy my Seedball video! 

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.

What really goes on behind the scenes at Freddie’s Flowers…

o what really goes on behind the scenes here at my Freddie’s Flowers HQ? There’s always a hustle and bustle in the Freddie’s Flowers office.

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So what really goes on behind the scenes here at my Freddie’s Flowers HQ? There’s always a hustle and bustle in the Freddie’s Flowers office. Whether it’s the sound of the phones going off or all the office dogs running around in total madness, there’s never a silent moment. I thought it was about time I shared with you what really goes on behind the scenes…

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Flower fights

Starting off the week with the Monday morning fight over who gets to arrange the boxes of flowers delivered to be displayed around the office. All the customer service team huddle around the boxes shouting orders ”Maddie, get the scissors. Dan, where’s the flower food! Alice, you haven’t followed the leaflet!” It’s nice to see that even though they are talking about flowers all day they still love the concept of the company and love what we sell. And with all the hustle and bustle that brings we start the week as we mean to go on.

Bacon rush

Now, this is equal to the end of the week fight, the Friday morning bacon rush. The bacon gets delivered on a Monday and one person each week is put in charge to be the ‘keeper of the bacon’. This usually consists of one of us standing watch over the fridge so no one takes any sneaky slices of bacon. No one is to touch the bacon until we can all enjoy it on a Friday morning. Munching on our bacon sandwiches over a cup of tea and a chat we are then all ready to start the working day.

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Va-Va Bloom

There is no time for a sit-down cuppa for the Events Team however, they are all go-go-go! Creating the beautiful displays you see around about London in our bikes or pop-ups. They whip together the most beautiful baskets of flowers all week long, this is usually done with Bruce Springsteen blaring and a lot of laughter. But my gosh, do these guys know their flowers. Then off they go in the vans all over England to spread the word of what we do. You may have seen them around? Next time do come and see hello. They are a really friendly bunch!

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For the Gram

Behind every Instagram post is a story of hard labour that doesn’t always go to plan. They do always say ‘a picture says a thousand words’ and those words can sometimes be words of joy and sometimes words that shouldn’t be repeated. We recently went to Hampstead to shoot some images of my flowers for the Gram. What you don’t see in the snap (see below) is two people squatting just below the shot in case the wind blows the vase off the ledge into the pond (it happened many times) and all the time getting honked and snapped at by the aggressive swans circling them like Great White sharks.

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All our lovely images are taken by our world famous photographer, Harry. He used to work in our Customer Service team but found out he was rather good at taking pictures of flowers. So, boom! One day we suddenly found ourselves with a flower photographer. And what a great job he does.

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And that’s just a snippet of a few things that happen around and about the office during the week. Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned the dogs!

At the top of the hound hierarchy is my French Bulldog Claude. She’s Queen Bee of the Freddie’s Flowers HQ and is usually seen barking orders at most people here. Especially me. Then we have Malt, Betty, Solo, Yoko and Toby. So if you hear any loud barks in the background of your phone call it’s the dogs, not because we’re barking mad.

I hope you’ve enjoyed being a fly on the wall in my HQ, there will be lots more behind the scene snippets to come.

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.

 

 

 

 

Flower Pressing

Fun things to do with your flowers after their vase life ends. Make your flowers everlasting!

At this time of year, it’s still a little bit too cold to stay outside too long to enjoy the great outdoors. But, just because I’m in the house rather than outside doesn’t mean I don’t want to have beautiful flowers around me at all times. Now, my Freddie’s Flowers deliveries are a great way to keep nature close at hand in the colder months, brightening the darker days. However, if you want another way of bringing them into your life, I thoroughly recommend pressing flowers.

It might seem a bit Victorian but everything comes back into fashion (maybe not mullets…). I love pressing flowers and it is a really wonderful way of preserving gorgeous florals to enjoy when there’s less greenery around outside. It’s also ridiculously easy.

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First, select your flowers. Why not use some from your Freddie’s box! Maybe when they are just on the cusp so you can enjoy them as much as possible in the vase. As the flower will be pressed to remove moisture you don’t want anything too chunky and flatter flowers work better. If you did want to press a rose or a bloom you can always cut the flower in half with a sharp knife or scissors.

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Once you’ve chosen your flowers you need to prepare them. I recommend giving them a drink for a few hours in some fresh water with flower food (FF customers, you know the drill!). If you’re taking the flowers from an arrangement that is already in a vase, you can skip this bit!

After giving them a drink make sure you dry them off with a paper towel. Take an A4 sheet of good quality paper and fold it in half. Place the flower carefully inside the paper, making sure it is flat and secure.

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For the pressing itself, you will need a good, heavy book. As the pages might get a bit damp, don’t use that priceless first addition you have on the shelf! Slip the folded paper inside the centre of the book and place on a table. Stack a few more heavy books or other objects (paperweights, bricks, children, dogs…) on top of the first book and make sure everything is balanced securely.

Believe it or not, when you’ve done this you’ve done the hard bit. Simply leave the flowers pressing for two to three weeks, changing the blotting paper every few days. You can use tweezers to pick up the flowers if they’re very small or delicate. After a few weeks pressing, the flowers will be fully dried and preserved.

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The rest is up to you! You can use your dried flowers in a variety of ways. Display them, frame them, stick them on cards – you’re really only limited by your imagination and how many heavy books you can get your hands on.

You know me, I’m all about regular fresh flowers. But our boxes are always stuffed, and a few buds could easily be snipped off and pressed. The fresher the flowers the better they will be preserved once pressed. In fact, our deliveries are perfect for the job!

I’d love to see pictures of any flower pressings that people get up to. Or even better, stick them to a card and send it to us in the office! It really will make us happy here in Freddie’s Flowers HQ.

It’s the perfect way to make flowers last forever!

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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.

Why flowers are not just for Valentines Day!

Have a read to see why flowers aren’t just for Valentines day. That way every day is Valentine’s day!

 

Why is giving flowers considered romantic?

Over the course of history, especially throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, there was a huge fad known as ‘floriography’, which officially solidified the start of floral wooing. Victorians used bouquets to deliver a message to their love interests to let them know they fancied them.

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Shocking Victorians!

Victorians established the enduring link between romance and flowers (especially red roses) as we think of it today. The Victorians were obsessed with the language of flowers, or floriography, developing distinct meanings for every shade of flower imaginable and using this language to send flowers to friends, lovers, and more. Think of it as the Victorian version of emojis. Professing feelings publicly was not considered acceptable at the time, so the language of flowers and the gifting of a red rose was a subtle way to express affection in this rather restricted era. How scandalous those Victorians were!

Have a look to see what some of the flowers meant:

Red rose                     romantic love

Narcissus                   unrequited love

Pansy                          you occupy my thoughts

Periwinkle                   fond memories

Ranunculus                 you are rich in attractions

Violet                           faithfulness

Lily                               purity

Thrift                            sympathy

Daisy                           innocence

Tulips                          I declare war against you!

Blimey, poor people that got tulips. Don’t take it this personally when I send you tulips. I just like them. I don’t want to declare war on you. I don’t think Freddie’s Flowers would do very well back in the Victorian era if people took each flower in my box this literally. I would be sending a lot of mixed messages!

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Getting with the floral times!

But in recent times flowers have moved away from just a romantic gesture. People are realising that rather than waiting for someone to send you flowers one must take control of the reins and realise we’re in 2019 and no one has to wait for anyone to do anything anymore. Secret courting flowers are a thing of the past. ‘Tis the era of having your own flowers. Which is why my deliveries are such a lovely weekly gift to yourself.

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Gosh, flowers really are good for your soul!

I want you to enjoy getting flowers weekly, because looking at a bunch of flowers you can’t help but feel anything but happiness. The fifteen minutes it takes for you to arrange your flowers is relaxing, it will take you to your happy place and relieve stress. Goodbye life anxiety (for 15-20 minutes). It is the perfect way to just switch off and concentrate on something solely for you.

It is scientifically proven that flowers actually do make you happy (whether you like it or not), looking at pretty flowers triggers your happy chemicals in your brain like serotonin for example. You automatically feel a sense of pride and excitement that releases serotonin. It is actually probably best for you to sign up straight away if you haven’t already for the happy endorphins we guarantee with each delivery.

Flowers give us a connection to nature too. Something to disconnect us from our fast past hectic lives. Bringing the outdoors in is what 2019 is all about, especially until it’s warm enough to actually go outside.

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Colour really does make a difference.

And the colour of them… let’s talk about what the colour does for us!

Chromotherapy is a theory invented by Edwin Dwight Babbitt that connects colours with a sense of feeling. There are seven colours that we connect with when we look at them.

Red – makes us feel grounded and instinct of survival

Orange – brings out emotions, creativity and sexuality.

Yellow – a sense of power, a sense of self and confidence

Green – unconditional love, sense of responsibility

Blue – Physical  and spiritual communication

Indigo – intuition, forgiveness, compassion and understanding

Violet – connection with universal energies, transmission of ideas and information.

So you might have noticed last week when I sent out the lovely yellow arrangement (lilies, Good Time roses, forsythia, waxflower and Solidago) you were feeling particularly empowered and self-confident.

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Surround yourself with floral fabulousness

So there you have it, flowers are not just for Valentine’s day no more than a puppy is not just for Christmas. Flowers increase nothing but positivity in your life and it is simply imperative that everyone must constantly surround themselves with them at all times. Think of the serotonin levels!

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.

Homemade flower food recipes!

Read my blog this week to find out how you can make your own flower food when it’s all run out!

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A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down

We’ve all been there. Your gorgeous Brassica are lasting longer than you thought they
ever could. You’ve changed the water every three days and, as we recommend, you go to
change the water again. But disaster strikes! You’re out of flower food! What can be
done?!
For some, this scenario is a regular occurrence, especially as Freddie’s Flowers tend to
last a couple of weeks. Our fabulous flower food does a brilliant job of keeping flowers
looking healthy and happy for longer… but if you run out all is not lost! I’m going to take
you through how to make some of your own.

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The following are the main elements you need to make your own flower food:

1. Sugar

The main nutrient in flower food is sugar, which gives your flowers the energy they need to
stay bloomin’ marvellous. When making your own flower food, you need to start with the
sugar. We recommend standard white sugars which can dissolve in water, though some
have been known to use lemonade or tonic water (full fat only, no diet options here). I’d
advise against using brown sugar or cola – if you have a clean vase it might look a little
icky!

2. Acid

A natural acid is important to add to your flower food. The injection of a small amount of
acid will balance the pH of the water and help to combat bacteria that can build up in your
vase. Lemon juice works a treat (and has added fragrant benefits!) but some swear by a
small amount of vinegar – white only, brown vinegar won’t be aesthetically appealing.

3. Anti-Bacterials

You may have heard that it is useful to put a copper penny into a vase to help flowers last.
Well, there’s some truth to this tale – what you’re doing there is engaging the anti-bacterial
properties of copper to help the flowers last.
Unhelpful bacteria in your vase will shorten the life of your glorious blooms, which isn’t
what we’re after at all. It might sound counterintuitive but a small amount of an anti-
bacterial fluid such as bleach will help keep the water, and the inside of the vase, bacteria-
free, and will keep your flowers looking better for longer! Standard-strength household
bleach will do – make sure you’re handling it carefully as you usually would.
As long as you’ve got the elements sugar, acid and an anti-bacterial you’ll be fine. In fact,
the gin and tonic contains these elements (tonic = sugar, lemon = acid, gin = anti-bacterial) so perhaps tip a bit of your evening tipple in the vase!

But, if you want to do it in a more exacting way, here is my recipe for homemade flower
food that will work a treat:
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons bleach
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Combine these three ingredients and add to 1/2 litre of vase water.
Please do give this a try and let me know how you get on! Be sure to adjust
measurements depending on the size of the vase and the volume of water used.
Also, please let me know if you have any tips of your own – I’m always amazed by the
things people add to their flowers to make them last.

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I’m off for some sugar, acid and anti-bacterial of my own, in the form of a well-earned G&T!

Get fresher than fresh flowers delivered to your door for £24 a pop!

My secrets to getting the most out of your flowers!

How To Make Your Flowers Last Longer. Read here to learn all about trick so of the trade.

How To Make Your Flowers Last Longer

There’s nothing like the moment your gorgeous fresh flowers all start to bloom. Suddenly, all the buds become petals and your arrangement bursts into life – we all wish this moment could last forever. At Freddie’s Flowers, we pride ourselves on how long our flowers last, but they can always do with a little bit of help. I wanted to share my top tips for keeping your flowers at their best for as long as possible. Vase, are you ready?!

It may seem obvious, but cleaning your vase is really important… yes, last week’s lilies were lovely, but this week’s Rossano Blooms don’t need to know about it! Make sure your vase is cleaned between arrangements.

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Vase… are you ready?!

The key thing here is to NOT clean the vase with washing-up liquid. I know it is tempting, especially when it all bubbles up to the top and makes your vase look like a big fizzy cocktail. But washing up liquid leaves a residue which can contaminate your water, so we recommend a small amount of vinegar, lemon juice or bleach to clean vases. Do make sure you rinse them well afterwards.

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Feeling the Inch

Because our fresh flowers come unarranged, all stems need an inch removing from the bottom, allowing the flowers to drink properly. This is best done on a diagonal angle, stopping the stem from sitting flat. We recommend using sharp, clean secateurs rather than kitchen scissors – they’re less likely to have any gunk on them which might upset your gorgeous blooms.

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Leaf Life

One of my biggest tips is to make sure that no leaves can fall into your vase water. I always tell people to remove any low-hanging leaves and any leaves or branches that will sit below the neck of the vase. You don’t want leaves falling into the water and contaminating things!

Simply use a thumb and forefinger to whip off any unsightly leaves, fronds or branches that you don’t want. You’ll be amazed at how this tidies things up!

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Fed and Watered

All Freddie’s Flowers customers know we send out flower food in out boxes. This is best added to room-temperature water – nobody likes an ice cold bath, not even fresh flowers!

We always say that water should be changed every three days to get the best out of our flowers. Simply take the flowers out of the vase, pop them to one side, change your water, add more flower food and return the flowers to their original spot.

If you run out of flower food, never fear! We recommend using a teaspoon of sugar in the water as a replacement – you’d be amazed at how effective this is. Some people have been known to try a bit of vinegar, lemonade or vodka to keep things going. Some even swear by aspirin!

I say anything sugary should do the trick; I’d avoid brown sugar, though… it might look a bit strange!

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Location, Location, Location

One of the biggest factors in getting the best from your flowers is their environment – I always encourage people to be careful where they put flowers.

They might look fabulous on your mantlepiece, but too long near the fire will dry them out. Always try and keep them somewhere not too warm, away from heat sources. Don’t worry, you can move them somewhere more prominent if you’re having people over.

Likewise, no flowers like to be too cold. If they’re kept near a draught they probably won’t be looking their best – rather like my lovely pup Claude.

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If we’re lucky enough to be having fabulously sunny weather, it is worth moving your arrangement away from direct sunlight as this can also dry things out faster. Even if you did want to keep them by a sunny window, make sure you give them a few hours off from time to time. And, turn them every so often to ensure your flowers open at the same time.

Flowers and fruit might be the stuff of a perfect Still Life painting, but in reality, they should be kept apart. Ripening fruit can hasten the wilting of flowers, so do keep your bananas away from your brassica!

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Man Down!

All flowers last for different lengths of time – your stunning irises will be around a fraction of the time your lilies are. This is entirely normal, and one of the joys of having incredibly fresh flowers.

You can maintain an arrangement by removing stems that don’t last as long as soon as they’ve gone over. This prevents contamination of the vase water and fights the spread of Botrytis, a mould that will shorten your floral life.

Those are my top tips for getting the longest life out of your flowers; I hope you give them a try! Whenever I speak to customers they’re always full of fantastic new tips for keeping their own flowers going and we’d love to hear them. Do get in touch if you have any nifty hints of your own.

I like the idea of putting a little bit of vodka and lemonade in with flowers – I wonder if it helps sustain people too? I’m off to find out. Maybe I might need an aspirin as well…

Click here to get fresher than fresh flowers delivered to your door for £24 a pop!

 

 

 

 

Bigging up the Brassica!

Welcome to the magical history tour of the wonderful brassica. Over the last few years, brassicas have become increasingly popular in flower arrangements, I love ornamental vegetables in flower arranging.

Vegetable – schmegetable!

Welcome to the magical history tour of the wonderful brassica. Over the last few years, brassicas have become increasingly popular in flower arrangements, I love ornamental vegetables in flower arranging. We love the bohemian idea of having a veg in with flowers so that is exactly what we have done in this week’s arrangement. It’s all about the weird and wonderful.

It might be only recently that cabbages have branched out of meals and into interiors, its history is extraordinary! Check out what the brassica’s edible cousin has been up to for the last 4000 years.

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Trending for millenniums

Cabbages have been cooked and eaten for more than 4,000 years. Other than its culinary prowess, the cabbage is said to have medicinal properties. For example, the Ancient Greeks recommended consuming the veg as a laxative and it was used an antidote for mushroom poisoning. The Roman philosopher Pliny The Elder recommended cabbages as a hangover cure! Similarly, the Ancient Egyptians ate cooked cabbage at the beginning of meals to reduce the intoxicating effects of wine.

Remind me to serve lots of cabbage before a Freddie’s Flowers Party!

You almost can’t open a history book without cabbage popping up. Manuscript illuminations show the prominence of our green leafed friend in the cuisine of the High Middle Ages and its seeds feature among the list of purchases for the use of King John II of France when captive in England in 1360. What was he going to do, dig a tunnel with them? Cabbage has been trending for yonks! The Instagram of the 1300s wouldn’t be awash with avocados and rainbow lattes, it’d be brassica, brassica, brassica.

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Roll out the red carpet for the ‘First Lady’ Brassica

This sophisticated type is the one you will be opening up in your box this week. The fringed purple centre of the first lady gives a beautiful alluring flower centre surrounded by dark green leaves. Who knew cabbages could be so pretty!

This weird and wonderful arrangement makes me think of Alice in Wonderland. It will certainly have you grinning like a Cheshire cat! The magnificent ‘First Lady’ brassicas beautifully juxtapose with the white ‘Avalanche‘ roses, while the pale pink bouvardia pop out and the eucalyptus Cinerea gives the arrangement a wonderfully peacockish look. Not only are edible brassicas an excellent side dish they also compliment other flowers in an arrangement perfectly. I hope you agree. I believe that we should always branch out of our comfort zone and venture into the unknown. Who knows, you might just love it?!

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A cared for cabbage is everyone’s favourite type of cabbage

Let’s see what Brassica is about… Brassica is the Latin name for a genus of plants in the mustard family (what a tasty fam). Unlike other popular flowers, Brassicas are sturdier, less fragile and longer-lasting due to their waxy but tough stems and leaves. They also have the ability to remain fresh as cut ‘flowers’ for well over a week. Especially if you change the water and keep trimming the stems every few days.

Hey! Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge. I give you a secret how to open your brassica to make it more like a full-bloom flower here:

Peel back the outer leaves of the Brassica, one leaf at a time. Work with the leaves carefully, but you can tug firmly to splay them out. If you find that some of the outer leaves are yellowing, simply pull them off and move to the next row of inner leaves. There will be plenty to work at as you open more leaves closer to its core.

And hey presto, you have a lovely fluffy brassica!

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Big up the brassica

So there you have it, my little lesson on why they are wonderful flowers (not cabbages) to have in your home. As much as I love eating cabbage I much prefer them when I’m looking at them alongside some roses and bouvardia. If you want to get on board the brassica train then click here to get them for yourself.

If you’d like to turn your home into the best flowery spot, why not sign up and have some Freddie’s Flowers delivered to your place? It’s only £24 a pop and I think you’ll be quite delighted.

A complete guide to eryngium!

As the days get shorter and the jumpers get thicker we start seeing more and more of one of my favourite floral foliage, eryngium.

The ultimate guide to eryngium.

As the days get shorter and the jumpers get thicker we start seeing more and more of one of my favourite floral foliage, eryngium. Beautifully mimicking the shape that the morning frost leaves on your car’s windshield, these wonderful deep ice-blue spikey thistles really do bring a sense of excitement to the bunch. Aren’t they just the perfect autumnal and wintery flower? well, A thistle to be precise.

From the Umbelliferae family, the name eryngium derives from the Greek word for thistle. Eryngiums can have blue or white flowers depending on the variety, together with a ruff of spikey bracts on branching stems.

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Spikey by look, spikey by nature.

Native to rocky and coastal areas, they have adapted to cope with the tough conditions on the seashore. Being battered by strong winds and baked in the suns scorching heat. This is one tough thistle and brings a strong look to any bunch.

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Just bee’ing wonderful.

Although they are unscented, eryngium seriously attracts the bees and other lovely pollinated insects. They are one of the biggest pollinated flowers around and the bees just can’t get enough. Plants rely on bees and other insects to reproduce and so they have adapted, over time, to become more attractive to them. And who could resist an eryngium?

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Not just for decoration

Eryngium’s roots were used as a medicine for many things but one of its main usages was to boost the libido of an ageing man. So there you go. Good to know. It was also crushed up as a herbal remedy and drunk for coughing and whooping cough. What can’t you use this spikey fleur for?!

Not just for autumn.

With Christmas just around the corner, these little blue beauties are perfect for drying and using them around the house as the perfect Xmas decoration. You can use them for the tree by tying a bit of thread or string around the stem. They will look like little blue stars of Bethlehem. Or you can add them to other arrangements or wreaths or garlands.

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The best way to dry your eryngium.

Find a dark, dry area with good circulation, such as an attic or unused closet. With unflavoured dental floss (or string will do), secure the bottom of the flowers’ stems to a hanger so that they hang upside down to dry. Leave the flowers for two to three weeks until completely dry and hey-presto! Your Christmas dried flowers are ready to go.

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The Queen of Eryngium – Ellen Willmott

I can’t write a blog about eryngium and not mention Ellen Willmott. If you haven’t heard of Ellen then luckily I am about to tell you all about her. Why? Because she is an absolute gardening legend. Born in 1858 she was a key member of the Royal Horticultural Society and even received the Victoria Medal of Honour in 1897 for her dedication to plants. She was said to have cultivated more than 100,000 species and cultivars of plants, and sponsored expeditions to discover new species

Her particular fancy was for Eryngium and wherever she went, she made sure she had a handful of seeds in the pocket of her voluminous skirts of black bombazine. Surreptitiously she would scatter a handful in every garden she visited, knowing that a year or so later – the plant is a biennial, growing one year and flowering the next – the eryngiums would flower their socks off and the garden’s owner would wonder where they had come from.

Alas, Ellen is no longer with us, but you can have her ghost in your garden if you get hold of your own handful of eryngium seeds, scatter them on to any patch of well-drained soil and rake them in. Or with slightly less effort get this weeks arrangement! 

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Too good to miss.

This lovely spikey blue thistle really is a favourite of mine. It just gives any arrangement a wonderful effortlessly aristocratic feel. So don’t miss out on their beauty and give my boxes a go and make your flowers be the talk of the street!

If you’d like to turn your home into an eryngium dream, why not sign up and have some Freddie’s Flowers delivered to your place? It’s only £24 a pop and I think you’ll be quite delighted.

A Guide to Flowers in art!

Flowers have featured in visual art ever since humans first daubed paint on a cave wall. It is easy to see why – flowers are beautiful, fleeting and symbolic… and far less fidgety than a human muse.

Flowers in Art

Flowers have featured in visual art ever since humans first daubed paint on a cave wall. It is easy to see why – flowers are beautiful, fleeting and symbolic… and far less fidgety than a human muse. I’m no artist myself, but I wanted to take you on a quick guided tour of some of my favourite flower-inspired art.

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Renaissance Fan

Everybody loves the Renaissance painters – they’re like the Jackson 5 of art. But we tend to associate them with Cherubs or Madonnas rather than flowers. But, look a little harder at some of the most famous art of the Renaissance and you’ll see flowers everywhere.

Botticelli painted many of the most famous works of the period. His Birth of Venus alone features both a flower nymph and the goddess Flora, spilling petals. Even more impressively, his luscious Primavera depicts approximately 190 varieties of flower, with 130 identifiable. After you’ve given our boxes a try, you too will be able to identify 130 types of flower!

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Dutch (Flower) Masters

The Dutch are skilled people. Not have they produced some of history’s most loved artists but they’re also the world’s best flower growers. It comes as no surprise to me that the Dutch painters turned to their national speciality for artistic inspiration.

From Van Dyck to Rubens, the Dutch Masters loved incorporating their national symbol into their paintings. In fact, Rubens’ Madonna with Wreath is giving me ideas for the Christmas season!

The Dutch are also keen painters of flower still life. Almost every Dutch painter of the 17th Century had a go – it was a bit like the Instagram of the day, with the noteable contributions from Brueghel, van Veerendael, Davidz de Heem and Frans van Dael. Honestly, stick a paintbrush in your hands and a few extra vowels in your name and you too could give it a go.

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Desperate Romantics

Back on home shores, our own Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood carefully incorporated flowers into their mythical, symbolic work.

John Everett Millais’ Ophelia is a British classic, and sure enough, it contains loads of amazing floral detail. For the natural elements, Millais actually painted from nature, in the Surrey countryside. Fortunately, he didn’t make his model lie in a real river, but painted her in a bath. It still didn’t stop her getting pneumonia – that’s the price you pay for art.

The flowers in the picture are so detailed that, according to the Tate, at least one Professor of Botany took classes to study the picture, as he was unable to get them out to the country. This wouldn’t be an issue now as they could just get the flowers delivered directly to their door for £22!

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First Impressions

In previous blogs, I’ve covered flowers in Impressionist art, and these can be found here.

But, I couldn’t do a post about floral art without mentioning the most recognisable flower paintings of all. No, not the ones your niece did in Reception, but Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers.

Given these are an iconic classic, it is amusing that many scholars now think he was inspired to paint these pictures because they were quick and easy money-spinners.

Even if this is true, as I write this I’m looking at our very own sunflowers, from our Indian Summer box, and I can confirm that a gorgeous sunflower is all the inspiration you need.

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Vienna to Tokyo

As we head into autumn, I’m reminded of my favourite painting by Gustav Klimt: The Kiss. It is an incredibly famous image, depicting two lovers smooching on the edge of a flowery meadow. Not only are the flower details beautifully realised, but the painting uses gold leaf to give the whole thing a shimmering, autumnal feel – it reminds me of the glorious golden Solidago we’ve got in our upcoming Autumn arrangements.

Klimt’s work was heavily inspired by the techniques of Japanese art and you can see the floral link – with gorgeous cherry blossoms and wildflowers, the work of painters such as Hokusai almost makes me want to take up a paintbrush too! Just look at his Bullfinch on Weeping Cherry and you’ll see where Klimt gets his ideas.

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Flowers that Pop

Now, at Freddie’s Flowers, we like to combine contemporary looks with classic blooms. One artist who did this amazingly was Andy Warhol. He might have been more famous for pictures of Soup Cans and Marilyn Monroe, but to my mind, the best of Warhol’s work was his series of flower prints.

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They’re colourful, sharp and distinctive, like all good flower arrangements. Warhol famously used silk-screen printing to produce his hibiscus blossom designs and this means that each of his Flowers is every so slightly unique – just like our boxes of flowers there is a slight variation. I think this is a great approach to painting flowers, as no two blooms are the same. That’s the fun of a gorgeous fresh bunch!

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Many other 20th Century artists also turned to flowers as a great subject for their work. Georgia O’Keeffe’s close-cropped, colourful and symbolic paintings could have been a direct inspiration for Warhol. The closeness of her work, such as the amazing Red Canna is incredibly modern, like the pictures you snap and send into me!

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Jeff Koons went one further, with his cartoonish sculptures of arranged flowers. His Large Vase of Flowers is an enormous, bright realisation of a 3D bunch that looks somehow real and completely false. Made in 1991, it has looked great for 27 years… slightly longer than one of our boxes, but only just.

The Modern Weiwei

Even today, artists are still featuring flowers in their work. Conceptual artist Ai Weiwei filled the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall with clay replicas of seeds in his Sunflower Seeds, a very modern take on floral art. 

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The dissident artist was unable to see his impressive work come to fruition as the Chinese government had confiscated his passport. In protest at this, Ai created another noteworthy flower piece, With Flowers. Every day, Ai would place fresh flowers in the basket of a bicycle outside his studio in Beijing – a symbol of his hope and independence. Finally, after 600 days (and 600 bunches of flowers!) Ai’s passport was returned and he was able to travel once more. Part-performance art, part-documentary piece, it is a thoroughly worthy addition to my run-down of flowers in art.

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You may have heard of the brilliant American artist Kehinde Wiley – he has just painted Barack Obama’s Presidential portrait for the Smithsonian Museum. Wiley specialises in photo-realistic portraits of African-American subjects, set against luscious and distinctive florals and patterned backgrounds. Obama is backed by flowers representing his history; blue Kenyan lilies, Hawaiian jasmine and Chicagoan chrysanthemums. That fabulous mixture almost sounds like one of our boxes!

A contemporary echo of the pattern-work of the likes of William Morris, Wiley’s floral backdrops makes his portraits distinctive and fresh while giving his work a hyper-real edge. 

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Both Ai Weiwei and Kehinde Wiley bring the idea of flowers in art right up to date, showing us that flowers still have a place in the gallery… or in your home.

Having a piece of conceptual art in your living room is probably not very convenient. But at Freddie’s Flowers, we can deliver the flowers that inspired the art, hassle-free directly to your door. What could be more simple – or artistic – than that?

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.

Behind the scenes at the latest Freddie’s Flower arranging event…

Flower Arranging with Freddie’s Flowers at The Garden Museum!
Yup, that’s right folks. We’ve started doing flower arranging workshops!
Read all about our evening event at the Garden Museum. And find out how you can come join us for any future events too!

New Beginnings and flower arranging!

It’s September and that means Back to School! The excitement, the anticipation, the nerves… I still have nightmares about forgetting my P.E. kit and doing it in my vest and pants. Fortunately these days, September makes me think of new beginnings rather than old gym shorts. 

So – in the spirit of new beginnings – I figured that just because we’re no longer at school doesn’t mean we can’t get together and learn a thing or two, right? So, in the past few weeks some of my brilliant mates have been running our first Flower Arranging Workshops to sharpen up your flower styling skills. 

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What a perfect place to start… The Garden Museum!

The sessions are a completely new thing for us, and we thought long and hard about where to launch them. Then it struck us: where better than the Garden Museum in South London, where we’re currently sponsoring their fabulous Flower Fairies exhibition?! It was a no-brianer; swing by the exhibition, learn some flower arranging skills and leave feeling florally enriched and ready for the new year ahead. 

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Here we go…

So, armed with 24 boxes of our freshly-cut flowers, 24 of our fab vases and a wealth of knowledge, some of my team hot-footed it across London (in our vans, we didn’t make them walk) ready to share our know-how. 

We set up our session in Lambeth’s wonderfully renovated Garden Museum; transformed in 2017, it is surely one of London’s best-kept secrets. Their main space is the perfect backdrop for our flowers, and we couldn’t wait to welcome our first class. Our vases were filled, our secateurs sharpened and our first participants welcomed into the fantastic museum space, excited to get going. 

And what a great couple of evenings we had, talking about different flower varieties, arranging methods and flower-care pointers. It was fantastic to meet both customers and non-customers, and to explain how to get the most out of our wonderful £24 regular arrangements. 

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A few of my favourite things…

We put together a wonderful box to arrange, including plenty of my favourites. Athena Roses – bread to be scentless and thornless – formed our stem-grid, accompanied by Snapdragons and Solidago. Next up were Irises, the gorgeous inspiration for the famous Fleur-de-Lis. The final element was fabulous Mohawk Aliums, a member of the chive family, but the one that inherited all the good-looks. Once the arrangement was complete, we wrapped them in the brown paper and string that come in all our boxes, ready to take home for further practice. It wouldn’t be school without some homework, now would it?

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A big thank you!

The attendees of these first sessions have been brilliant, and your questions have really kept us all on our toes. We’ve loved hearing about how you arrange your Freddie’s Flowers, and teaching you a few things we’ve picked up along the way. From mums and daughters on birthday outings, to friends having a catch up (and even one couple on a hot date!), we’re thrilled that people have jumped at the chance to get green-fingered.

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Stay tuned and have a go.

And the floral fun doesn’t stop there! Since the sessions at the Garden Museum, we’ve also held classes at the stunning Hayman’s Gin Distillery in Balham and our wonderful local Gail’s Bakery. We love doing the classes, and are planning loads more. If it sounds like your thing, make sure you are on our mailing list so we can let you know when we’re running a class in your neck of the woods. Flowers and a good laugh – sounds better than double Maths, right?

Or, even better, give our boxes a try – they’re £24 a pop and include arranging instructions. Once you’ve had a go, come to a class and we can sharpen your skills! 

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A floral education!

As I always say to my little pup Claude: you can teach an old dog new tricks. Even though I’m no longer at school, and nobody is nicking my lunch money, it doesn’t mean I can’t get together with a group of people and learn something new. So, next time we’re running a class, I’d love to see you there!

If you’d like to have a go at flower arranging, why not sign up and have some Freddie’s Flowers delivered to your place? It’s only £24 a pop and I think you’ll be quite delighted.

So what’s been in season this summer then?

Now that the temperature has dropped few degrees and jumpers are aren’t just making guest appearances after the sun goes down, it is time to have a look back to see what trends of summer 2018 got us the most excited.

Make more of your floral decor!

Now that the temperature has dropped a few degrees and jumpers aren’t just making guest appearances after the sun goes down, it is time to have a look back to see what trends of summer 2018 got us the most excited.

It is pretty safe to say that this summer has been quite possibly one of the most brilliant summers to date. The glorious heat wave that seemed to never end (until now). The World Cup… Poldark! What utterly feverish madness.

To match this wonderful summer we’ve delivered an array of different floral variations to your door; from phlox to peonies to agapanthus to alliums. Each box representing the wonderful summer we’ve had.

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So what are my favourite things of this years summer trends?

Happi to go more Wabi-Sabi!

To start off give the Hygge a hug goodbye and say wassup to Wabi-Sabi. The new lifestyle mood to live your life by.

Wabi-Sabi is all about bringing out those homey features that make a home a home. Beauty in imperfection. Celebrate life’s flaws with crumpled throws, distressed walls and messy(ish) beds.

Of course this doesn’t mean live like Tracy Emin’s Unmade Bed but by living with your house being imperfect it will clear your conscious of the modern stereotypes you believe you have to live up to and accept yourself for who you are. Leaving you with a happier way of life. Of course it is said Freddie’s Flowers go very well with the Wabi-Sabi way of life.

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Jungle prints that will send you wild!

Last year it was all about bright flower and tropical prints but this year it’s all about going deep into the jungle and bringing out the darker greens for your walls.

Framed jungle prints to feel like you’re looking out the window into the depths of the Amazonian rainforest. Transport your home to a forest far far away. When you relax in the evening after a long and stressful day I like to think if you shut your eyes you can hear the sound of the jungle animals. Or maybe… that’s just sound of your kids getting ready for bath time.

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Blurring the boundaries.

Blurred Lines maybe a song from 2013 but for 2018 it’s all about blurred boundaries. I’m not talking about squinting really hard at your living room but actually an architectural movement recreated as an interior movement.

Blurring the boundaries of your room is meant to reconnect your interior space with nature. By adding large plants or flower arrangements (like ours) in the corners of your room it is meant to break up the boundaries and make it feel like a larger more alfresco space. The indoors meets the outdoors without having any windows actually open.

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Absolutely berserk for astrantia.

We went mad for the gorgeous astrantia in our bike baskets earlier this summer. You may have noticed our lovely bikes around and about town, next time come and say hello. But if missed them I’m sure you would have certainly seen them in Meghan’s bouquet at the Royal Wedding to the lovable rogue Prince Harry earlier this year.

The name ‘astrantia’ comes from the latin ‘aster’ meaning star. And it really is a star of a flower in any arrangement with its beautifully crisp outer petals and soft pom pom inner stamens. The are discreet but certainly not missed.

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Traditional techniques that’ll make you go weak!

Finally all the things I have picked up from the little markets on my holidays have come into fashion. Begging my wife to take a moth eaten rug back to England has finally paid off and worth all the eye rolls I’ve got in the past.

Heavily textured and woven hangings, rugs and curtains are all the rage. It’s all about emphasis on the traditional techniques and handmade items celebrating the history and story behind each piece.

Who doesn’t love it when someone comes over to your house and says ”oh, well that is interesting… where did you get that?’ and you go ‘well, funny you should ask, Marjorie. I actually picked up this little number in a lovely little craft market in a hill village just outside of Granada”. Watch Marjorie’s face as she realises this is a one off piece and she can’t pop to Peter Jones to copy you.

We love all things rustic. Evident in our bikes across town and our boxes we deliver our flowers in. To avoid any plastic (plastic is sooooo lame) we deliver our flowers in recyclable boxes and wrap up our flowers in brown craft paper. The craft paper is also perfect to draw on or to wrap presents in.

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The big five.

So there you have it. My top five must have summer 2018 trends. Be more Wabi-Sabi and hang dark jungle prints on your walls to feel like your at one and happy with nature. Blur the boundaries of your room with plants and flowers to reconnect your interior space with the outside or as I like to call it your ‘exterior-interior’. And add more astrantia to your life because who doesn’t want to be like the new Duchess. I mean I know I do.

If you’d like to turn your home into the trendiest home in town, why not sign up and have some Freddie’s Flowers delivered to your place? It’s only £24 a pop and I think you’ll be quite delighted.