Flower of the week: avant garde tulip

When you think of the term avant garde, alternative flowers may not jump to the front of the list.

When you think of the term avant garde, alternative flowers may not jump to the front of the list. You may, more naturally, conjure the works of Matisse, Virginia Woolf and James Joyce, yes?

Well, at Freddie’s Flowers, we know one thing for sure; flowers can be ahead of their time, too!

If you’re going to apply avant garde to a flower, a tulip may not be the stem that springs to mind. Why is that? Is it because we know a tulip when we see one? They’re as popular in Holland as pancakes and bicycles and they’re not exactly short of fans in this country, too.

Quintessentially Dutch. Image credit

Well, I’m here to shake your preconceptions. I’m going to make a claim for flower of the week on the humble tulip’s behalf. Say hello to the avant-garde tulip and the lengthy history its contemporaries hold.

 

Alternative flowers in the form of a tulip

I hope you’ll soon agree that the tulip is pretty pioneering in its own flowerful right. But we’ve got a variety so exciting it truly deserves the name and title flower of the week!

These tulips have petals that span out completely, revealing the stamen within. They look more similar to a fully bloomed peony than a regular tulip. They toy with conventions and I reckon they’re probably the most stunning alternative flower I’ve ever come across.

our avant garde tulips are alternative flowers
Our beautiful avant garde peonies, I mean, tulips!

Tulips seem to make a little habit of criss crossing conventions. Have you noticed how tulips will bend towards the light? A little waywardly, at times. I can’t be the only one to have come back to a bunch and realised that the sprightly stems have racked up an inch or so in height, too! That’s pretty alternative for a cut flower. 

Freddie's Flowers bending tulips
Look at them bend!

Now here comes the history bit ….

 

Over from Ottomans and into Dutch delirium

Did you know that tulip means ‘turban’ in Latin? Intriguing, no? Let’s find out more…

Tulips were sourced from the Pamir and Tien Shan mountain ranges in central Asia. But it was botanists within the Ottoman Empire who thought these alternative flowers wouldn’t look half bad in a garden.

Some stunning wild tulips in the Tien Shan mountains! Image credit

Tulip history starts hotting up when you take the tulip out of the Ottoman empire and into Holland in the late 16th Century.

Carolus Clusius, a French botany pioneer, published a book about his new floral interest, the tulip. What happened next was quite unexpected. People started raiding Clusius’ private garden in Leiden, Holland.

Carolus Clusius, the European tulip enthusiast. Image credit

People went bonkers for these alternative flowers.

Forget diamonds and pearls, tulip mania had begun and boy-oh-boy did it get out of control. Hair pulling, shin kicking, elbow jabbing – it was like the first day of the sales! Only kidding. But the value of tulip bulbs began to rocket so extremely that a handful of bulbs could equate to the value of a prime location Dutch townhouse and could feed a family for half their lifetime.

Fancy living in one of these? That’ll be a couple tulips bulbs, please. Image credit

Cobblers, carpenters, blacksmiths abandoned their jobs to get in on the floral gold rush.

 

Beauty and the break

It became Clusius’ life mission to decipher the tulip’s ‘break’.

The break is when a tulip, which has flowered multiple times in the same colour, suddenly blooms with petals that have flame-like licks of colour. Beautiful but baffling.

Varying degrees of breaking. Image credit

In the 19th Century it transpired that such changes in colour and feathering petals were the result of a virus, meaning that a breaking tulip was actually diseased. Beautiful, poorly petals.

 

Clusius and the rest of the Dutch cultivars admired such tulips in blissful ignorance of the diseased reality.

The most prized variety, the Semper Augustus tulip. Image credit

So much so that the Semper Augustus, with its stunningly beautiful white and red stripes, like a candy cane, became the most prized tulip bulb out there.

 

Bye bye beautiful bountiful bulbs

And then, in February 1637, came the break of all breaks. Tulipmania disappeared overnight. The vast expense of even the cheapest bulbs became so extreme that demand plummeted. All that remained were debts and disarray.

This moment in history is considered to be the first example of economic collapse. That makes a tulip quite the avant garde flower, if you ask me. Cheery times, eh?

 

Hello heavenly bunch

With such gorgeous avant garde tulips on the way, we thought we’d bring you some really rather beautiful accompaniments.

Aster, part of the daisy family, reflect the tulip with their white petals and yellow centres. The roses have silky bountiful petals that’ll put all other roses to shame. And why not add some long-lasting, lovely white alstroemeria to bring the bunch together in perfect harmony?

Need a little help arranging? I’ll happily show you how to work these alternative flowers. I hope you love this arrangement as much as I do!

Don’t go waiting around for tulips to become the price of a small house! Give us a go for £24 a pop!

Ode to Scotland

Did you know Scotland’s national animal is a unicorn?

O my Luve’s like a red, red rose,

That’s newly sprung in June;

O my Luve’s like the melodie

That’s sweetly play’d in tune.

  A red, red rose – Robert Burns

Robert Burns
Robert Burns

Did you know Scotland’s national animal is a unicorn?

It’s Burn’s Night and did you know, I have a bit of Scot in me. The name Garland lived among the Pictish people of Ancient Scotland. Garland means ‘triangle land’. I feel my inner William Wallace thundering about. ”FRRRREEEEEEEEEEEE-flowers when you sign up a friend using your code”.

Bagpipes, whisky, tartan and the kilt are just a few things that come to mind when thinking of Scotland but for me it’s all about fauna and flora. The thistle, the heather, the good old bog myrtle.

Picture of heather in Scottish landscape
Scottish perfection

History of Burns Night

On the 5th anniversary of Robert Burn’s death in 1801, Burn’s mates decided to throw a dinner party to honour him. Like most good dinner parties it was a raucous, drunken affair. It was so fun they decided to make it a tradition.

Bringing in the haggis
Bringing in the haggis

The order of the night

Burn’s Night starts with ‘piping in the guests’. It usually involves someone playing the bagpipes looking like they’re near about to explode. Then there is the ‘brining in the haggis’ (the bagpipes start up again). The haggis, resembling a giant brain on a platter, comes charging in with its host in tow and everyone ‘ooooo’s’ and ‘ahhhhh’s’. Finally the ‘Ode to a Haggis’ by Burns is recited many more toasts and speeches. During all of this it is only respectable to down a generous dram of whisky every couple of seconds.

A thistle, symbol of Scotland
The Flower of Scotland

Legend of the thistle

Ever why wondered why Scotland chose the Thistle to be their symbol? There is no historical evidence why it was chosen, but there is a legend of how it came about…

During Alexander III reign from 1249 to 1286 an army of Vikings being led by King Haakon intended to conquer a party of sleeping Scottish warriors on the coast of Largs in Ayrshire. In order to be more stealthy and get nearer to the Scotsmen the Vikings removed their footwear. Unfortunately, one of King Haakon’s men stood on a prickly plant and yelled in pain. This woke up and alerted the Scottish clansmen of invaders. Needless to say it was the Scots who won that day. From that moment the prickly purple thistle became the Guardian Thistle and was adopted as the symbol of Scotland.

White heather
Magical white heather

More myths and legends

When you think of heather you think of the lovely purple haze and not maybe white heather. Legend has it that in the 3rd Century AD, Malvina (daughter of the legendary Scottish poet, Ossian), was betrothed to a Celtic warrior named Oscar. Poor old Oscar died in battle, and when Malvina heard the news she was heartbroken. The messenger who delivered the bad news also delivered a spray of purple heather that Oscar had sent as a final token of his undying love for her. It’s said that when Malvina’s tears fell onto the flowers in her hand, they immediately turned white, This magical transformation prompted her to say:

‘although it is the symbol of my sorrow, may the white heather bring good fortune to all who find it.’

Today white heather is considered to be very lucky for a bride who adds it to her bouquet.

Scotland's national animal
Scotland’s national animal

And finally back to why the unicorn

A fictitious creature may seem an odd choice for a country’s national animal, but perhaps not for a country famed for its love for, and long history of, myth and legend. The unicorn has been a Scottish heraldic symbol since the 12th century, when it was used on an early form of the Scottish coat of arms by William I.

In Celtic mythology, the Unicorn of Scotland symbolised innocence and purity, healing powers, joy and even life itself. It was also seen as a symbol of masculinity and power. Not quite what I think when I think a unicorn but you know, each to their own.

I’ll leave you now with a final word from Robbie.

 

On a bank of flowers – 1789

On a bank of flowers, in a summer day,
For summer lightly drest,
The youthful, blooming Nelly lay,
With love and sleep opprest;
When Willie, wand’ring thro’ the wood,
Who for her favour oft had sued;
He gaz’d, he wish’d
He fear’d, he blush’d,
And trembled where he stood.

Her closed eyes, like weapons sheath’d,
Were seal’d in soft repose;
Her lip, still as she fragrant breath’d,
It richer dyed the rose;
The springing lilies, sweetly prest,
Wild-wanton kissed her rival breast;
He gaz’d, he wish’d,
He mear’d, he blush’d,
His bosom ill at rest.

Her robes, light-waving in the breeze,
Her tender limbs embrace;
Her lovely form, her native ease,
All harmony and grace;
Tumultuous tides his pulses roll,
A faltering, ardent kiss he stole;
He gaz’d, he wish’d,
He fear’d, he blush’d,
And sigh’d his very soul.

As flies the partridge from the brake,
On fear-inspired wings,
So Nelly, starting, half-awake,
Away affrighted springs;
But Willie follow’d-as he should,
He overtook her in the wood;
He vow’d, he pray’d,
He found the maid
Forgiving all, and good.

Not interested in tasting haggis? Why not try some flowers instead. Flowers delivered to your door for only £24 a pop!


Featured photo by Simon Migaj

Freddie’s friends’ flower fuelled hobbies

How are you feeling this week? Full of joy and leaping out of bed or full of the January blues, hitting snooze and wishing it wasn’t morning quite yet? Poor old Jan – it gets a bit of a knocking. Not its fault but still. It can be a miserly old bugger.

By now most people have broken dry Jan (never mind, you tried) and are falling behind on their new year’s resolutions (oh well, the sauna facility is great use of that gym membership).

What if we reframed resolutions? A hobby sounds infinitely more fun, don’t you think?

Something you can pick up and drop, as and when you have the time? No guilt, no regrets.

I know, cracking idea!

Well, there’s no better moment than now – January is hobby month! I thought I’d uncover some flowerful time fillers to aid you in your January journey of discovering that ‘new you’.

With a little help from our Freddie’s Flowers gang and their flowerful hobbies, of course.

Hello, flower extraordinaire, Jim.

 

First, it’s hobby history time

‘Hobby’ is an abbreviation of the early 17th Century child’s toy, a hobby horse. Named as such because of a popular breed of horse at the time.

Hobby horse to get rid off your January blues
Hobby Horse inspo. Image credit

For those not in the know, hobby horses are in the same gene pool as rocking horses. However, upon your hobby horse steed you have freedom of movement or, should I say, trotting, cantering or galloping into whatever fabricated action scene your heart desires.

A traditional hobby horse. Yeehah! Image Credit

For those a little old to chase one’s playmates around whilst straddling a stick with a horses head stuck on, a hobby means ‘a favourite pursuit, object or topic’. In a nutshell, something that’ll whisk you away from your January blues.

 

Freddie’s Flowers hobbyists

Flower arranging is of course close to my heart. And though it’s my livelihood, it’ll never cease to be a hobby too. Why? Because flowers are my favourite pursuit, object AND topic. Remember when I showed you how to flower arrange better than my mum?

The Freddie’s office is bursting with a bunch of flower arranging fanatics. Let’s see who’s taken their love of flowers to the next level.

 

The under-press-timated hobby

We’ve got a couple flower pressers in the office; Clauds and Emily. Clauds is our marketing magician and occasional photographer, immortalising flowers through both photography and pressing – what a way to spend your time!

Claud’s all time favourite piccy. Rightly so!

And here’s Emily. She’s an impressive presser. She knows a thing or two on things floral and flattened.

Me: Hello Emily. Let’s talk flower presses. How long have you been hobbying with horticulture?

E: Ever since I started working at Freddie’s. Flowers are beautiful so I wanted a way to save them – my flower box now lasts forever! Someone told me that you can pick up a press in almost any charity shop. So that’s exactly what I did for the ripe old price of £2! It was the beginnings of a cheap and cheerful hobby.

Me: So it wasn’t a hobby from your childhood?

E: Nope. My sister and I did try to make perfume when we were little by pressing lots of flowers in a wheelbarrow but it just smelt of grass to be honest.

Me: What’s your favourite flower to press?

E: Oh a white lisianthus for sure. When you hold it up to the light it goes translucent so you can see all the detail. Also it’s super easy to press as it’s not too bulky – that’s the key.

Me: I don’t want to dig up old bones but what are your worst flower pressing experiences?

E: Oh I’ve had a couple shockers. Dahlias for one – what a nightmare.

Me: Oh no, I’m sad about that. I love dahlias.

E: Me too! I love them but they have too many petals that they all just fall out and don’t dry properly. I’m going on instinct to stay away from lilies and their pollen, too.

Me: What do you do with the finished product?

E: I like framing them and giving them as presents.

Me: Oooh, good idea. Christmas presents?

E: Yep. I gave my favourite pressed lisianthus to my mum, she loved it. I also like to hide them in books my friends are reading as a little mid-way surprise. Solidago works really well for that as it doesn’t carry much moisture so doesn’t need long in the press.

Me: What next in the world of flower impressing?

E: I’m about to press an eryngium which will be interesting. I also really want to press lavender to see what happens to the scent. To be honest I’m always keeping an eye out for any flowers I can pick and press. Is that naughty?

Me: No, Emily I think you’re quite alright if it’s only the one.

 

Threading flowers for fun

Imy, who makes our event stands look lovely, is another one with a keen eye for flowerful detail. Here’s a little look at some of her embroideries:

flowerful hobbies to erase those January blues

She’s showing the conventional carnation who’s boss. Pantone’s colour palette would agree with the violet hyacinth, too.

We like foliage, she likes foliage. How about a Monstera Deliciosa leaf on a dusty pink velvet cushion?

We’ve got ourselves one talented flowerer.

 

Drawing on deliveries

Hattie loves drawing flowers almost as much as she loves speaking to you – our wonderful customers.

An oriental lily

When she’s not on the phone with you, she finds time to draw the flowers that crop up in her Freddie’s Flowers boxes.

Double petaled lisianthus stem

Dan (you may have spoken with him on the phone, too) felt left out so decided to put his pen to post-it note and created a floral masterpiece anyone could do, I mean, would be proud of.

Pure talent

Surround yourself in hues and hobbies of flowerful glory

If drawing, pressing and stitching aren’t your thing, you should certainly take up flower arranging. It’s good for the soul and makes your home look fantastic. What more could you ask for on a dreary day to dispel those January blues?

Flower arranging to beat the January blues
One mighty therapeutic hobby

Wave goodbye to your January blues and find your floral niche for only £24 a pop!

 

California dreamin’

You might need to put your shades on for this one, it’s a blinder. This stunning yellow bunch will bring sunshine flooding into your home.

Hit the road, Jan

You might need to put your shades on for this one, it’s a blinder. This stunning yellow bunch will bring sunshine flooding into your home. Swapping grey skies outside for a lovely sunny burst of light indoors.

Who’s in need of a holiday?

Think of this arrangement as a mini getaway. Maybe not mini, one that lasts up to two weeks. Starting in LA like our LA Lilies. Cruising down the Big Sur in your convertible mustard mustang is how you’ll feel when these guys open up.

Forsythia is part of the oceaceae family. Well that makes me think of the ocean, and there’s the Pacific up ahead!

Time to wax up your surfboard to ride those gnarly waves with this weeks wonderful waxflowers.

Later, watching the sunset go down over the Pacific makes me think of solidago with its cloudlike, fluffy texture

And let the good times roll with this weeks roses being unbelievably appropriately named Rose ‘Good Times’.

Are you feeling like you’re in sunny California now?

This weeks sunny arrangement
This weeks sunny arrangement

Beat the January blues

This week you might notice we’re all about the yellow. I always say that fresh flowers are good for the soul and these flowers are all about well-being. Bring in the positive with the New Year. Well, I hope this arrangement will transport you to far away, warm lands. It also reminds me of Sunday breakfast for some reason.

Los Angeles
Los Angeles @soitgoesmag

And… Back to reality

LA lily doesn’t actually stand for the star studded city of Los Angeles. It stands for something far more glamorous. Longiflorum Asiatic. Which is two different types of lilies in one. You can practically see the Longiflorum Asiatic taking off it’s Raybans and flicking it’s hair with an explosion happening in the background. Or maybe that’s a bit of a stretch.

LA Lilies
Too Hollywood

 

Surfs up

The lovely little white flower in this arrangement is called waxflower. Named waxflower because it’s petals look waxy. I’ve got a real soft spot for them. I think they’re charming. I hope you enjoy them too. If you squish them they will give a lovely aroma.

Waxflower is actually a native to Australia. Ahh, to be in Aussie now. Well just look at the flowers and you can pretend you are. Just imagine that sunshine on your skin.

Australian outback
Hot. Hot. Hot.

Roses that just want to have fun

Bask in the dazzling rays of some Good Times roses. They remind me of going past the orange orchids on my hypothetical road trip in California.

Fancy forsythia

Forsythia may look a bit stick like on arrival, but hundreds of yellow flowers will burst open over the week like a hundred little suns.

 

How to arrange forsythia, lilies and waxflower

Start with your structural forsythia. Snip off any low branches, so there are no stems below the water line. Arrange the stems evenly around the edge  of the vase. You’ll make a triangle-like teepee.

Forsythia
Standing strong forsythia

Take your lilies and do the same, filling the gaps left by the forsythia. This creates a grid for your waxflower and roses to stand up in.

LA Lily
Lush lilies

Next up, your fluffy waxflower. Place the stems in the centre using the stem grid for support and carefully pull its branches out in opposite directions.

Waxflower
Waxy waxflower

Finish with those good times roses. Tucking them over the edge of the vase.

Good time roses
Good time roses

And there you have it. Your own holiday in a vase. The perfect arrangement to beat the January blues.

Seeing as January’s all about new beginnings, start the year right by getting flowers delivered to your door for only £24 a pop!

January hues to banish those January blues

In the wake of Blue Monday, January blues might feel rather present and correct right now. Poor old January isn’t known for much on the positivity front. But let’s look on the bright side shall we? I for one would rather January wasn’t accused of harbouring the most depressing day of the year! I reckon the answer to beating these January blues lies in bringing fresh flowers into the home.

So here’s my suggestion: revoke traditional thinking and look for all the positives that January can offer. Here are my glorious January Hughs. I mean hues. (Or do I?)

 

It may be known for Blue Monday but January belongs to Violet

Be gone January blues! No one wants to dwell on the fact that someone has actually calculated the most depressing day of the year. Let Pantone’s official colour of 2018 step into the foreground instead, please. Hello Ultra Violet, thank god you’ve turned up to relieve the drizzlingly drab days with some much needed vibrance.

Pantone's Ultra Violet to beat the January blues

All things in moderation though, eh? I’ll avoid recommending you embrace this hue by painting all your walls, dip dyeing your dog or buying a new violet car.

Image credit

Instead, how about you find it wrapped up in brown paper, tied up with string and delivered right to your doorstep? This month’s bunch of Freddie’s Flowers will bring just the right amount of January hues to your life and home.

Our double headed lisianthus are worthy of our own version of a pantone square. Accompanying the lizzies are a beautiful array of complementary purple-y tones.

Freddie's Flowers violet lisianthus beat January blues
Ultra Violet or what?!

We’re lighting things up with some beautiful lilac limonium known as the milka variety. Pretty spot on if you’re comparing it to the milka chocolate packaging! Designing with limonium always adds a new dimension to textures as it is wonderfully crunchy. Kind of like tissue paper.

sea lavender in the Freddie's Flowers boxes this week

To top it off, I’ve found the most stunning alstroemeria.

Together the limonium, lizzies and alstroemeria shades burst out of the green stems to dramatise the arrangement. Set against the grey skies, this arrangement is an eye-catcher for sure.

 

A couple of Hughs to abolish the January blues

Purple colour palettes and flower filled homes are now a safely established way of bringing January back from the brink of dreariness. So let’s light a fire, fix a floral tisane and cosy into our new, fabulously flowery living room. Then invite the Hughs over to admire the new and improved flowerful view.

Hugh Grant

Notting Hill, surely a family favourite.

It’s up there in the Christmas movie bundle alongside The Holiday and Love Actually. Oh come on, you can’t let go of all things festive in one go.

Whether it’s for Hugh Grant’s bumbling ‘whoopsie-daisies’ or the love of London, Notting Hill’s got it covered on the flower front. Remember Hugh wandering through Portobello Market, amidst buckets of flowers?

There he is, Mr Thacker. Image Credit

I like ambling through flower markets too (with a little more purpose, admittedly). Maybe I am the real William Thacker?

 

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

Now here’s a man with a talent for flour over flowers but he’s still one great Brit to admire. He’s a nature man and so am I. Already an advocate for crystallised violets, I think Hugh F-W might approve of looking on the bright side of life and beating the blues right out of January.

Image credit

Hugh’s to say there’s no need to palm off all things sweet just because it’s New Year. Moderation is key though so well done, Hugh. Try these fatless ‘veg patch’ gnome fairy cakes out for size and flavour.

Who would even suspect the healthy veggies that lie within? Image credit

Long live the fatless veggie filled cupcake!

 

Winter warmers that won’t break your dry January stint

Out you go, mulled wine and mince pies. Same for you, Christmas colours. The focus is now on January’s menu. Palettable pinks and purples are the sure to help you ease into 2018.

flowers to beat January blues

Seeing as January’s all about new beginnings, start the year right by getting flowers delivered to your door for only £24 a pop!

 

It’s been a big old year!

My flower diary of 2017

The year 2017 has been my biggest year yet. Well actually December was the biggest and best month. Not only did I turn 30 but I also got hitched. Yup. Married!!! If that’s not a big year for you then I don’t know what is!

How I like to sleep

Looking back

Having a look back over the past year has made me all nostalgic. Reminding me of the arrangements over the year makes me think what a blast we’ve had here at Freddie’s Flowers. Each arrangement holds a special place for me as if it represents what was happening in the world of flowers that week. It really is a flower diary of my life. And I hope when you look through my flowers they remind you of a particular momentous occasion you had going on that week or month.

WEEK 1

Iris, Solidago, Soft Ruscus
Iris, Solidago, Soft Ruscus

WEEK 2

Roses, Waxflowers, Silver Sussex
Roses, Waxflowers, Silver Sussex

WEEK 3

Pink Tulips, Solidago, Eucalyptus, Phlox

WEEK 4

Snapdragons, Pussy willow
Snapdragons, Pussy willow

WEEK 5

Forsythia, Alstroemeria, Roses, Waxflower, LA Lily
Forsythia, Alstroemeria, Roses, Waxflower, LA Lily

WEEK 6

Lisianthus, Eryngium, Greenbell
Lisianthus, Eryngium, Greenbell

WEEK 7

Freesia, Genista, Trachelium, Alstroemeria, Eucalyptus robusta
Freesia, Genista, Trachelium, Alstroemeria, Eucalyptus robusta

WEEK 8

Hyacinth, Tulips, Silver Sussex
Hyacinth, Tulips, Silver Sussex

WEEK 9

Snapdragons, Lilies, Limonium, Eucalyptus Moorei
Snapdragons, Lilies, Limonium, Eucalyptus Moorei

WEEK 10

White Amaryllis, Solidago
White Amaryllis, Solidago

WEEK 111

Tulips, Waxflower
Tulips, Waxflower

WEEK 12

Naomi Roses, Limonium, Eucalyptus
Naomi Roses, Limonium, Eucalyptus

WEEK 13

Lisianthus, White Iris, Blooms, Fountain Grass
Lisianthus, White Iris, Blooms, Fountain Grass

WEEK 14

Avalanche roses, Limonium, Greenbell, Alstroemeria
Avalanche roses, Limonium, Greenbell, Alstroemeria

WEEK 15

Oriental Lily, LA Lily, Snapdragons, Bouvardia, Waxflower
Oriental Lily, LA Lily, Snapdragons, Bouvardia, Waxflower

WEEK 16

Blooms, Greenbell, Alstroemeria, Campanula, Solidago
Blooms, Greenbell, Alstroemeria, Campanula, Solidago

WEEK17

Stocks, Roses, Iris, Soft Ruscus
Stocks, Roses, Iris, Soft Ruscus

WEEK 18

Lily 'Brindisi, Alstroemeria, Greenbell, Astrantia
Lily ‘Brindisi, Alstroemeria, Greenbell, Astrantia

WEEK 19

Allium, Solidago, Lisianthus
Allium, Solidago, Lisianthus

WEEK 20

Trachelium, Phlox, Solidago, Snapdragon
Trachelium, Phlox, Solidago, Snapdragon

WEEK 21

Aster, Blooms, Phlox, Astilbe
Aster, Blooms, Phlox, Astilbe

WEEK 22

Pink Peonies
Pink Peonies

WEEK 23

Pink and white Peonies
Pink and white Peonies

WEEK 24

Lily, Roses, Roselily, Solidago
Lily, Roses, Roselily, Solidago

WEEK 25

Peonies, Phlox, Snapdragons, Greenbell
Peonies, Phlox, Snapdragons, Greenbell

WEEK 26

Sunflowers, Phlox, Bupleurium, Eremrus
Sunflowers, Phlox, Bupleurium, Eremuri

WEEK 27 – Wimbledon

Lisianthus, Limonium, Fountain Grass, Alstroemeria, Phlox
Lisianthus, Limonium, Fountain Grass, Alstroemeria, Phlox

WEEK 28

Gladioli, Ornithogalum, Lisianthus
Gladioli, Ornithogalum, Lisianthus

WEEK 29

Gladioli x5 colours, Soft Ruscus
Gladioli x5 colours, Soft Ruscus

WEEK 30

Aster, Agapanthus, Solidago, Phlox
Aster, Agapanthus, Solidago, Phlox

WEEK 31

Eryngium, Lisianthus, Sea Lavender, Alstroemeria
Eryngium, Lisianthus, Sea Lavender, Alstroemeria

WEEK 32

Oriental Lily, Ornithogalum, Eucalyptus Viktoria
Oriental Lily, Ornithogalum, Eucalyptus Viktoria

WEEK 33

Blooms, Roses, Phlox, Greenbell
Blooms, Roses, Phlox, Greenbell

WEEK 34

Celosia, Allium Mohican, Soft Ruscus, Solidago, Glamini
Celosia, Allium Mohican, Soft Ruscus, Solidago, Glamini

WEEK 35

September Flower, LA Lily, Laurel, Snowberries
September Flower, LA Lily, Laurel, Snowberries

WEEK 36

Delphiniums
Delphiniums, Sweet William, Gladioli

WEEK 37

Teddy Bear Sunflowers, Alstroemeria, Crocosmia
Teddy Bear Sunflowers, Alstroemeria, Crocosmia

WEEK 38

Lisianthus, Sedum, Roses, Eucalyptus 'Baby Blue'
Lisianthus, Sedum, Roses, Eucalyptus ‘Baby Blue’

WEEK 39

Brassica, Eucalyptus, Alstroemeria, Ornithogalum
Brassica, Eucalyptus, Alstroemeria, Ornithogalum

WEEK 40

Orange Lilies, Fuego Blooms, Alstroemeria
Orange Lilies, Fuego Blooms, Alstroemeria

WEEK 41

Brassica, Avalanche roses, Eucalyptus cinerea, Bouvardia
Brassica, Avalanche roses, Eucalyptus cinerea, Bouvardia

WEEK 42

Lisianthus, Avalanche Roses, Waxflower
Lisianthus, Avalanche Roses, Waxflower

WEEK 43

Carthamus, LA Lily, Soft Ruscus, Kangaroo Paw
Carthamus, LA Lily, Soft Ruscus, Kangaroo Paw

WEEK 44

Red Naomi Roses, Mariyo Roses, Solidago, Eucalyptus
Red Naomi Roses, Mariyo Roses, Solidago, Eucalyptus

WEEK 45

LA Lily, Iris, Oriental Lily, Eucalyptus Cinerea
LA Lily, Iris, Oriental Lily, Eucalyptus Cinerea

WEEK 46

Avalanche roses, Laurel, gypsophila, bouvardia
Avalanche roses, Laurel, gypsophila, bouvardia

WEEK 47

Lilies, Alstroemeria, Limonium, Phlox
Lilies, Alstroemeria, Limonium, Phlox

WEEK 48

Lisianthus, Alstroemeria, Solidago, Lily
Lisianthus, Alstroemeria, Solidago, Lily

WEEK 49

Avalanche Roses, Lisianthus, Eucalyptus Cinerea, Eucalyptus Parvifolia
Avalanche Roses, Lisianthus, Eucalyptus Cinerea, Eucalyptus Parvifolia

WEEK 50/51

Amaryllis
Amaryllis

If you’d like to turn your home into the best flowery spot for 2018, 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.

 

 

 

 

 

Misti’s flower diary; “Milk?! Father Christmas doesn’t drink milk. He drinks port.”

All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth

My daughter has her second wobbly tooth. This has raised many questions like what happens if you accidentally swallow it? Or what happens if it falls out on Christmas Eve? Are Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy allowed to come on the same night? Honestly, I don’t remember having so many questions. I was just excited by the prospect of getting 50p to buy sweets. I suppose she is a deeper thinker than I was at that age. Granted, she is rather mature what with her most recent birthday and all.

Birthday Ballerina
Birthday Ballerina

Now we are six

We celebrated her golden birthday when she turned six on the sixth of December. I finally got to give her a copy of A.A. Milne’s Now We Are Six. I’d been holding on to it since I discovered it at a local bookshop when she was three. It’s a third edition from 1927 and she spent the whole evening reading it to her friends, Kanga and Roo.

A Nutcracker
The Nutcracker

Other than the tales from the Hundred Acre Wood, my daughter is also obsessed with The Nutcracker. We have three editions. My personal favourite is the one illustrated by Maurice Sendak. Hers is the one with buttons to push that play Tchaikovsky’s music. For her birthday, she didn’t have a party but she did have a few friends round for tea. The theme? You guessed it. It was perfect because the fresh flowers from Freddie’s that week were fit for the Sugarplum Fairy–Pale pink and purple lilies and lisianthuses that filled our flat with a scent sweeter than candyfloss. The accompanying solidago added a bit of warmth and made it feel as if we were in sunnier climes.

Pale pink and purple lilies
Sugarplum Fairy–Pale pink and purple lilies

Here comes the sun

A few weeks ago, I received a box of Spanish sunshine via the post. It came from the kind women of Ave Maria Farm who sent me their first kilo of this season’s organic Seville oranges. When I opened the box I couldn’t believe how beautiful its contents were. The paper wrapped oranges were so fragrant, I almost cried. Though London is my home, Southern California is where I was raised and when I was young, there were citrus trees all over our garden. The scent of orange blossoms makes me nostalgic. It reminds me of how my mother always pinned those small, white, fresh flowers in our hair or placed them about the house. It makes me remember the way our garden smelled on warm summer evenings and it conjures up memories of my last family trip to California where I got to pick oranges with my daughter at my childhood home.

Homemade marmalade
Marmalade madness

Obviously, I had to make marmalade. That’s not all I’ve been cooking up though. I’ve also been making blinis which my daughter says are just Russian pancakes. But she is wrong. They are not just Russian pancakes. They are made with yeast and are ever so slightly sour. It’s a flavour note that’s delicate but noticeable and necessary.

Cooking blinis
Russian pancakes

Sour has been the flavour of the month here in our home. Not only because I’ve stocked the pantry with marmalade or because I’ve frozen bags full of blinis but because I have discovered the joys of sourdough.

Bellini mixture
The Queen Mother

In the beginning . . .

I made a starter that was equal parts flour and water. I fed it each day and waited for the wild yeasts to start fermenting. After twenty-four hours, I saw bubbles in my mixture but only at the top and there they stayed. Patience is not a virtue I have so I interfered and tried to expedite science. I added a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar one day, then a pinch of acidophilus on another. On day nine, it happened. Bubbles were all throughout my starter and I knew it was ready. I have baked several boules since then and I continue feeding my starter that I have affectionately named The Queen Mother.    

The Velveteen Rabbit

In April, we saw this quintessential Christmas story on stage at The Unicorn Theatre. Last weekend we saw it again per my daughter’s request. We even had the privilege of having tea with Dora who plays the rabbit once he becomes real. Dora is spectacular and deserves an Olivier Award.  When we came home, Helena noted that the white roses and other fresh flowers from Freddie had opened. “Dora did it with her magic.”

Photo of a strawberry flower
Strawberry flower for Christmas

Speaking of magic, my strawberry plant has flowers on it. Fruit too. Never mind that it’s December and it’s been snowing, my plant is thriving.

Photo of Misti's daughter
Concentrating on carols

Last Saturday, we attended a carol service at St. Paul’s Cathedral. Until that day, I had never been inside. Sir Christopher Wren’s architecture is really something to behold. I couldn’t believe how gilded and glorious it was. Even Helena was in awe of the splendour. As the congregation passed a gently flickering light between their candles, the cathedral filled with a heavenly glow. It was the perfect way to ring in the holiday.  

Later that afternoon, my daughter watched a special on Cbeebies about different families and how they celebrate Christmas. One family put out mince pies and milk on Christmas Eve. Helena laughed. “Milk?! Father Christmas doesn’t drink milk. He drinks port.” I wonder what the Tooth Fairy drinks.

Helena meets Father Christmas
Helena meets Father Christmas

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!  

 

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.

Love flowers? Fancy being one of Freddie’s Flower People? Sign up to try our lovely flower deliveries at £24 a pop.

Festive flower of the week: amaryllis

Being the flower enthusiast that I am, I dream long and hard about the day I get my Christmas flowers delivered.

So let’s think for a moment. Red is the colour of Christmas, guaranteed. How do I fill a vase full of the epitome of Christmas? With a floral arrangement bigger than Father Christmas’ belly, brighter than Rudolph’s nose and easier on the eye than mulled wine is on the lips.

Step down poinsettia, step aside Christmas cactus and make way for our flower of the week and, quite frankly, the flower of the season; amaryllis! Continue reading “Festive flower of the week: amaryllis”

Flowers that look like festive things

It’s that time of year when it’s almost impossible to do anything without feeling at least a bit festive. You look around and you find yourself immersed in festive floral things morning, noon and night. Okay maybe the floral aspect is just me but still! The lights have been turned on, the shops are rammed and wrapping paper rolls are knocking peoples’ knees at every turn.

The Christmas countdown is upon us!

While everyone else is shopping until they’re dropping, I’m unveiling how my flower-filled brain sees festive floral things in everything. Continue reading “Flowers that look like festive things”

Five things you didn’t know about Christmas history, from festive wreaths to crackers.

A potted history of christmas, from wreaths to crackers

Is there anywhere better than London at Christmas? This is the city that inspired Dicken’s ‘A Christmas Carol’, after all. Just walk through Covent Garden and the whiff of mulled wine tickles your nozzle and the wonder of the magical lights put the Northern Light’s to shame. Of course you would be wearing at least 14 jumpers and coats whilst doing the walking because my lord, it’s got chilly hasn’t it?!

A picture of Covent Garden at Christmas time
Christmas wonderfulness

The origins of the great Christmas classic, the wreath

For thousands of years people around the world have enjoyed midwinter festivals. With the arrival of Christianity, pagan festivals mixed with Christmas celebrations. One of the leftovers from these pagan days is the custom of decking out houses and churches with evergreen plants like mistletoe, holly and ivy. Some believe that initially wreaths were hung on doors in Ancient Rome to represent victory.

In Christianity, the Christmas wreath was used to symbolise Christ. The circular shape, with no beginning or end, represents eternity or life never ending. The wreaths were typically decorated with four candles, three on the exterior and one in the middle. The middle candle was lit on Christmas Eve to symbolise the arrival of the Light of the World – Jesus. Most wreaths these days just symbolise a good looking door.

A wreath designed by Freddie's mum
A Mrs Garland special

The wreath leactures

I love Christmas and I love wreaths. So this time of year I love a bit of light wreath-spotting. There are some beautiful wreaths out there making Wandsworth and the rest of London look simply to die for. When I walk Claude (more like she walks me) across the common I pick up bits and bobs to help my Mum with the lovely wreaths she makes. I recommend making your own. It’s lots of fun.

If you’re not much of a DIY-er, there are some lovely wreaths about. Like this beautiful example from The White Company

A Christmas wreath
DING DONG (Image credit: The White Company)

I’m also rather partial to this edible wreath from the lovely chaps at Rocket Gardens. Very cool.

 

Edible christmas wreath
TASTY! (Image credit: Rocket Gardens)

 

An etching of Charle's Dicken's novel
Dicken’s ‘A Christmas Carol’

Bah ‘actually not so’-humbug

No era in history has influenced the way in which we celebrate Christmas, quite as much as the Victorians. Before Victoria‘s reign started in 1837 nobody in Britain had heard of Santa Claus or Christmas Crackers. No Christmas cards were sent and most people did not even have holidays from work. The wealth generated by the industrial revolution of the Victorian era changed the face of Christmas forever. Praise the Victorians because Christmas really is my favourite holiday by miles. The even I managed to take a couple of days off!

Photo of Freddie whilst arranging
Thumbs up to the Victorians

Christmas Cards for one and all

The “Penny Post” was first introduced in Britain in 1840 by Rowland Hill. The idea was simple, a penny stamp paid for the postage of a letter or card to anywhere in Britain. This simple idea paved the way for sending the first Christmas cards.

Sir Henry Cole tested the water in 1843 by printing a thousand cards for sale in his art shop in London at one shilling each. The popularity of sending cards was helped along when in 1870 a halfpenny postage rate was introduced as a result of the efficiencies brought about by those new fangled railways.

An old Tom Smith crackers poster
Cracker jackers!

Totally crackers

Christmas crackers were invented by Tom Smith, a London sweet maker in 1846. The original idea was to wrap his sweets in a twist of fancy coloured paper. But this developed and sold much better when he added love notes, little sayings, paper hats, small toys.

However, one night, while he was sitting in front of his log fire, he became very interested by the sparks and cracks coming from the fire. Suddenly, he thought what a fun idea it would be, if his sweets and toys could be opened with a crack when their fancy wrappers were pulled in half. What would crackers be without a bang eh?!

Christmas tree Nelson's column
Nelson celebrating Christmas

The iconic tree

Queen Victoria’s German husband Prince Albert helped to make the Christmas tree as popular in Britain as they where in his native Germany, when he brought one to Windsor Castle in the 1840’s.

The kings and Queens of Christmas
The kings and Queens of Christmas

Three cheers to the Victorian’s

I think the Victorian’s deserve a big round of applause don’t you?

If your home isn’t already bedecked with cut flowers, you better get festively furnished and give us a go for £24 a pop!

Here’ the glorious arrangement we’re delivering from Monday 18th December

Amaryllis delivered by Freddie's Flowers
Amaryllis from the Realms of Glory

Freddie’s guide to festive flowers and firs

As an avid Christmas lover, the idea of choosing festive flowers and the tree of all trees fills me with joy. I remember running around the carpark-turned-tree-maze sizing them up, trying to find the biggest one to beg my parents to buy. All the while with a childish disregard of the fact that it wouldn’t fit in the house, let alone the front door. Or the car.

I was young back then but not much has changed.

Festive flower and festive firs
A common sight at this time of year. Image credit

Flora and fauna are one in the same. As with your festive flowers, your Christmas tree deserves to flourish. From picking the right shape to the right stand, here are the bits and bobs you need to be the envy of all the evergreens.

 

The delight of the right conifer

When you’re buying a Christmas tree you’ve got two thought processes; to drop or not to drop, and spiky versus soft. Such conundrums put the spruce and the fir head to head.

The Norway spruce

All you need to set the scented scene for Christmas is the smell of pinewood and mince pies. You’re in luck; the Norway spruce is at the forefront of fragrant firs!

The classic Norway spruce. Image credit

Did you know that the Norway spruce is Europe’s most coveted Christmas tree thanks to Prince Albert? in 1841 he dressed this delightful evergreen in lights for his beloved Queen Victoria. The Norway spruce is a real beauty that doesn’t disappoint on looks and hosts fairy lights like no other.  If you want to keep it right royal this Christmas, this is the tree for you.

Illustration of the first Christmas tree
“The Queen’s Christmas tree at Windsor Castle”, 1841. Image credit

I suppose Prince Albert didn’t need to worry about hoovering though. Norway spruces fall foul of some hefty amounts of early needle droppage. A real problem for carpet lovers. No one wants to get a needle through their new Christmas socks.

Lovely but mighty spiky! Image credit

And you certainly don’t want your kids tree hugging for the first time, only to come out looking like a pinewood porcupine.

 

The Nordmann fir

On the other side of things, we have the Nordmann fir. Finnish botanist Alexander von Nordmann (hence the name) brought this tree over from the Caucasus mountains to compete with the popular Norway spruce.

The fluffy Nordamann fir. Image credit

And compete it does!

The Nordmann is climbing the Christmas wishlist with it’s non drop needle claim. Its softer spikes makes it child friendly too. Not that i’d encourage kids to hug this tree either.

A real softy. Image credit

You will have to sacrifice an extra couple of quid and find a fabulously festive candle to fill the forest fragrance void though.

Too much? I think so! Image credit

The demand for needle rights

Okay, so you’ve chosen the nature of your tree, let’s make sure you know how to nurture it! There’ll be no unnecessary needle droppage in your household.

  • Ready it, steady it and saw the bottom

We know to snip the ends of all our festive flowers. And the Christmas tree is no exception! When you’re ready to take the green giant (or not so giant) out of the cold and into your home, saw a bit off the base (about an inch is perfect). This will  allow the trunk to take up the water good and proper.

Approach with saw-tion! Image credit

And just as every bunch of festive flowers needs the right vase, every tree needs the right stand. If your tree trunk’s a little too thick, don’t go sawing the bark off to wedge it in – the bark actually absorbs the most water. Instead it might be time for a stand upgrade.

  • Give your tree a very regular festive refill

Trees drink a lot. We’re talking up to 2 pints of water a day. That’s definitely more than your average bunch of festive flowers! Top up your tree’s tipple just like you do Grandma’s sherry glass and all will be well (and merry).

 

  • More festive away from the fireplace

Tempting as it is, your Christmas tree won’t thank you for the cosy spot by the fire. It’ll go that ‘i’ve just been on holiday in Barbados’ brown. And for a tree, that’s not a good look.

It’s not a good look for Ross in Friends, either. Image credit

Festive flowers to finish

Now you know the secrets to the almighty evergreen, how about you pop the icing on the Christmas cake? We’ve got the flowers to compliment that little bit of forest you’ve brought into your front room. 

festive flowers
Feeling festive! Here’s our roses, bouvardia, eucalyptus cinerea and silver parvifolia.

 

So what are you waiting for? Get festively furnished and give us a go for £24 a pop!

A solid(ago) choice

Solidago

A solid(ago) favourite of mine in the plant world. Which is why I include it in our flower boxes every now and then. Solidago is a splendid plant with very green leaves and a glittering of tiny yellow flowers on top.

Solidago is usually found in large open areas such as meadows, prairies and savannahs and graces the land it grows on with a wonderful golden sprinkle. It’s also rather aptly known as ‘goldenrod’. It’s name comes from Latin ‘solidare’ meaning ‘solid’ and it’s a relative of our dear Daisy.

A solidago field in India

Golden fields

Soli-yay-go

Inventor Thomas Edison aka -Mr Light Bulb-, experimented with goldenrod to produce rubber, which it contains naturally. His experiments produced a 12 ft-tall plant that yielded 12% rubber.

The tyres on the Model T, given to him by his friend Henry Ford were made from good old solidago. Old Henners was deeply interested in the regenerative properties of soil and the potential of alternative crops. He was keen on the idea of using plants like peanuts and soybeans to produce plastics, paint, fuel and other products. Ford had long believed that the world would eventually need a substitute for gasoline, and supported the production of ethanol as an alternative fuel. Wise chap that Mr Ford.

Edison and a solidago plant
Edison and his solidago plant

Solid-useful

In herbal medicine solidago is used in a traditional kidney remedy. Some practitioners use it to counter inflammation and irritation caused by kidney stones. Solidago is also believed to help with cleansing of the kidney or bladder during a healing fast. Some Native American cultures traditionally chew the leaves to relieve sore throats, and the roots to relieve toothaches. Please don’t start gnawing away on the solidago that arrives in your flower delivery. Our stuff is purely for decorative purposes.

People arguing over their gardens
Garden Wars

Garden wars (should be a tv show)

Solidago is, in some places, considered a sign of good luck or good fortune. Considered weeds by many in North America, but they are prized as garden plants in Europe. British gardeners adopted good old solidago to have in their gardens long before Americans did. Goldenrod began to gain some acceptance in American gardening during the 1980s. Finally they realised solidago was cool. Us limeys are so ahead of the times, are we not?

Catherine Jeltes - Abstract Flower Blue
Catherine Jeltes – Abstract Flower Blue

I spy with my little eye, something that looks like flowers

Sometimes I look at paintings in galleries and a flower just pops into my head. Almost all the time the painting will not have any link to the flower I think of. Not even in the background. Think I’ve gone mad? Probably. But here are a few examples. Decide if i’m mad after.

Solidago

Klimt's Woman in Gold
Klimt’s Woman in Gold

Chrysanthemums

Van Gogh's - The Starry Night
Van Gogh’s – The Starry Night

Carthamus

Jackson Pollock - Hot 9
Jackson Pollock – Hot 9

Oriental Lily

Degas - The Star
Degas – The Star

A Red Rose

Rothko - Mauve and Orange
Rothko – Mauve and Orange

A work of art, or Freddie’s Flowers?

A Freddie's Flowers arrangement
Purple lisianthus, pico lilies, purple alstroemeria and solidago

 

Chagall - Blue Violinist
Chagall – Blue Violinist

The verdict…

”Yup, Freddie’s definetly lost it”.  But still a fun thing to do when you’re in a gallery. I recommend giving it a go. A bit like our flowers if you haven’t given us a go yet.

 

 

A Freddie's Flowers arrangement
A Freddie’s Flowers arrangement

See how I arrange this bunch here:

Our fleurs are so incredibly fresh that some of them will arrive closed. They’ll open up over the next few days and we hope you enjoy watching them open up.

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.