The best of friends throughout time

Flowerful fave – Iris and lily

This week is an absolute banger. Not only are we mega fans of it but the flowers in it have been a favourite of peeps for thousands of years. They were big with the Ancient Greeks, Egyptians and pretty much every person in Europe since people could even say the word ‘flower’. So I mean it’s pretty much got the approval of every one… Ever!

Book cover for Iris & Lily
Iris and lily – The best of friends

Since Iris is the Greek goddess for the Messenger of Love, her sacred flower is considered the symbol of communication and messages. Greek men would often plant an iris on the graves of their beloved women as a tribute to the goddess Iris, whose duty it was to take the souls of women to the Elysian fields” ~ Hana No Monogatari: The Stories of Flowers

 

The blue Lotus aka iris
The Ancient Egyptian dream flower @worldofluciddreams

(Has always been) so hot right now

Ancient Egyptian kings and queens totally dug the iris’ exotic nature. Drawings have been found of the flower in a number of Egyptian palaces.

Irises were used to make perfume, and used as a medicinal remedy. The dried powder from the iris is said to act as a good snuff, useful to excite sneezing to relieve cases of congested headaches. Pieces of the dried root are occasionally chewed for bad breath. Bet it didn’t taste too good though.

During the Middle Ages, irises were linked to the French monarchy, and the Fleur-de-lis eventually became the recognised national symbol of France.

According to French historian Georges Duby, the three petals represent the medieval social classes: those who worked, those who fought, and those who prayed. It’s also meant to symbolise the holy trinity.

Fleur de l’ets figure out if its an iris or lily…

The exact French translation of Fleur de lis is: Lily flower

So which one is it, lily or iris? Basically it’s both. However predominantly it symbolises a lily but it depends who you’re talking to.

 

The symbol of France
Fleur-de-lis

Not so silly lily

Created from the breast milk of Hera, wife of Zeus in Greek mythology, the lily flower is the symbol of purity. The Roman goddess of beauty, Venus, was so jealous of the lily’s white purity that she caused the pistil to grow from the flower’s center to ruin is beauty. Good luck, Hera. It didn’t work. Although cats might disagree.

The first lily picture that I can find a record of appeared in Crete around 1580 BC. I told you people have liked them for a long, old time.

The Old Testament, New Testament and many other ancient books across a variety of societies mention lilies. The flowers still represent purity and abundance in Greece, where brides wear crowns made of lilies and wheat. I know I keep banging on about it but people really are big fans!

Photo of a lily
Phoooarrr!!!

Symbolising sensation

In most cultures in history, the lily represents purity, chastity and virtue. However, the lily is a symbol of death in some civilizations. Sprinkled on the graves of innocent children, saints and martyrs, lilies can represent purity in passing.

Flora explorer

European explorers crisscrossed the globe, searching for medicinal plants during the Victorian era. One notable explorer, Augustine Henry, became so obsessed with lilies and switched the goal of his expedition from finding medicinal plants to locating new types of lilies.

Augustus Henry
Flora explorer – Augustine Henry

Lilies have been raised as ornamental, medicinal and food plants for millennia. In Asia, the bulb of the Madonna lily (Lilium candidum) was cultivated for use as a poultice on tumors, ulcers and skin inflammation. Lilies to the rescue!

Food for thought

In China, lily bulbs have long been prepared as food. They are starchy and similar to potatoes when cooked. The ancient Greeks and Romans also raised lilies as a food crop and for ornamental gardens. Greek soldiers even carried the bulbs to eat and use as medicine.

Many First Nations tribes in North America used wild lily bulbs. They were boiled and steamed fresh, flattened into thin cakes for storage, or ground into a flour to thicken soups. I wouldn’t recommend mooshing up your arrangement to make cakes though. The bulbs were also used for healing wounds, swelling and snake bites.

Now let’s have a look at our bunch

Brindisi Italy
Brindisi – Italy

LA Lily ‘Brindisi’

Named after the Italian town for its soft pink colour, this lily shines out against the deeper Oriental variety.

Painting of irises by Monet
Monet was a big fan

Iris ‘Blue Magic’

A favourite muse of Claude Monet, these will quickly pop open to reveal an explosive centre.

Photo of a lily
Looking babes

Oriental Lily ‘Mambo’

These lilies are simply incredible with a lovely appley scent, their beautiful deep red colour is hard to beat.

Photo of eucalyptus
Eucalyptus in all its glory

Eucalyptus ‘Cinerea’

A touch of silvery green foliage grown by my good friend James in Ireland

Photo of lilies, iris, eucalyptus
Whambam thank you man

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 £22 a pop and I think you’ll be quite delighted.

A rose and a Rose

When flower talk crops up, fresh roses delivered to the doorstep might spring to mind. For a birthday, perhaps. An anniversary, or a heartwarming gesture of you’re-great-and-a-good-friend kind of thing. Maybe for no other reason then just because? I like the idea of that the best.

Seeing as us Brits love roses, it’s only natural to dwell on them. So let’s uncover more about our favourite flower and my favourite Rose. Continue reading “A rose and a Rose”

Double, double toil and trouble…

Fang-tastic flowers

In this weeks blog I’ve decided to explore some of the weird and wonderful flowers out there. All inspired by the flower carthamus which you will find in our arrangement this week, oh, and it’s halloween too of course.

Carthamus Tinctorius

This flower rather reminds me of a pumpkin and what an apt flower to put in the halloween arrangement. I mean look at it… It’s a hybrid of a pumpkin and a little firework and with it being halloween and bonfire night season it’s a perfect autumn arrangement.

A photograph of the flowers carthamus
Pumpkin, firework hybrids

Cartha-must-have

Carthamus, also known as Safflower is one of humanities oldest crops. The Ancient Egyptians used it to dye their clothes and made garlands out of them. They even found them scattered about in the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun.

Death masque of Tutankhamun
Death masque of Tutankhamun @brisitishmuseum 

Not just a pretty (fluffy) face

Traditionally, the carthamus crop was grown for its seeds. The seed oil was used for preventing heart disease. And it was used as a cooking oil. It was also used to colour cosmetics and to dye fabrics.

Photograph of this weeks arrangement with carthamus, lilies and lorel
Lanterns, pumpkins and fireworks in this weeks arrangement

Shakespeare and his potions

To get in the spirit of all hallows eve here are some spells and potions. You may know Will Shakespeare for his poetry but did you know he’s a master of potions, too?

A image of love potion taking over Bottom from a midsummer's nights dream
Love potion taking over@thistleandtoad

Love potions

One of Shakespeare’s most famous potions is used by the fairy Puck in A Midsummer Nights Dream.  It’s made from a flower called ‘love-in-idleness’, otherwise known as the wild pansy (viola tricola).

The juice of it on sleeping eye-lids laid
Will make or man or woman madly dote
Upon the next live creature that it sees –
Oberon

As you’ll remember, the stuff actually works (in the play) and it wreaks havoc on several characters. After Oberon drops the love juice in sleeping Titania’s eyes, the Fairy Queen wakes up and falls in love with Bottom. Puck also squeezes the love potion in Lysander’s eyes and, when he wakes up and sees Helena, Lysander forgets all about his girlfriend and becomes fixated on her instead. This goes on and on until Oberon and Puck take pity on their victims and whip up an antidote, which is the “juice” of a different kind of flower – “Dian’s bud”.

Poisons

Is it really a Shakespeare play if there is no poison or potion in it? I don’t think so.

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 home grown and exotic plants showing in his work.

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

And another one bites the dust

Upon my secure hour thy uncle stole; With juice of cursed hebenon in a vial;And in the porches of my ears did pour.’

Hamlet, Act 1 Scene 5

King Hamlet, father to Prince Hamlet and brother to Claudius dies seemingly in his sleep, but the young prince soon discovers that poison in the ear was in fact the cause. With Shakespeare’s knowledge of botany he knew exactly what to mix up to make a deadly potion. (In the plays).

Scientists and scholars have wondered what Shakespeare meant by “cursed hebenon”. There may be a few possibilities including hemlock, nightshade, yew, ebony and henbane. Indeed henbane looks the closest in spelling, and the active ingredient in henbane is hyoscyamine, which if concentrated to a high degree could be lethal to humans.

A painting of the three witches from Macbeth
Double, double, toil and trouble @gettyimages

As it’s Halloween we can’t ignore the most evil and probably hands down the scariest characters in the whole of Shakespeare’s works; The Three Witches from Macbeth. I thought I would include their most gruesome spell. Don’t try it at home.

The Witches’ Spell

A dark Cave. In the middle, a Caldron boiling. Thunder.
Enter the three Witches.

1 WITCH. Thrice the brinded cat hath mew’d.
2 WITCH. Thrice and once, the hedge-pig whin’d.
3 WITCH. Harpier cries:—’tis time! ’tis time!
1 WITCH. Round about the caldron go;
In the poison’d entrails throw.—
Toad, that under cold stone,
Days and nights has thirty-one;
Swelter’d venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot!
ALL. Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
2 WITCH. Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and owlet’s wing,—
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
ALL. Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
3 WITCH. Scale of dragon; tooth of wolf;
Witches’ mummy; maw and gulf
Of the ravin’d salt-sea shark;
Root of hemlock digg’d i the dark;
Liver of blaspheming Jew;
Gall of goat, and slips of yew
Sliver’d in the moon’s eclipse;
Nose of Turk, and Tartar’s lips;
Finger of birth-strangled babe
Ditch-deliver’d by a drab,—
Make the gruel thick and slab:
Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron,
For the ingrediants of our caldron.
ALL. Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
2 WITCH. Cool it with a baboon’s blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.

Act IV, Scene 1 from Macbeth (1606)

Plants to beware(wolf) of

Wolfsbane

Wolfsbane has long been associated with werewolves. In most stories, wolfsbane has been known to keep werewolves away. However, if you ask J.K Rowling, it also prevents a person from turning into a werewolf during a full moon.

A photo of wolfsbane outside
Beware of the werewolves

Witch Hazel

A detailed photo of witch hazel growing on a tree
Witchy witch hazel

Not only is this plant interesting because it blooms in the autumn, it also has some pretty cool seed pods. When the seeds are ready, the pods pop and the seeds shoot outwards. In fact, this pop is so powerful that you can actually hear it! Witch Hazel plants produce thin yellow petals that look wild and stringy.

Doll’s Eyes (Actaea Pachuypoda)

berries that are known as doll's eyes because of their eye like appearance
Creepy old dolls eyes

This plant is pretty toxic so most herbivores avoid them. However, birds appear to be immune. By carrying the berries, birds help spread the Doll’s eyes’ seeds to new places. This plant is named after its white berries, which look like old-fashioned china doll’s eyes. Sure, they are berries, but we wouldn’t want to be walking alone in a forest with hundreds of little eyes watching you? No thank you!

Dracula Orchids

A photo of the Dracula orchid which looks like an open mouth
RRRAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!

Dracula orchids smell like mushrooms. This is done on purpose to trick fruit flies that pollinate mushrooms into pollinating them as well. Sure they are pretty scary but I’d take them any day over these guys up next.

Skull Orchids

A photo of a string of skull orchids
On all levels. No thank you.

Actually part of the snap dragon family. When in bloom, snap dragon flowers are absolutely beautiful. However, their seed pods look much more macabre, looking like little skulls hanging off a branch.

Ghost Plant

a photo of ghost plants that only grow in the dark
Probably the creepiest of all the plants

Ghost plants can only exist where this fungi is present, which makes it very difficult to grow in gardens (not that you would really want to unless you were Morticia Adams). Not only are Ghost plants white but they also live in the dark. Unlike most plants, they don’t rely on light to grow.

And on that creepy note I hope you all have a wonderful halloween. And if you’re not already a customer why don’t you not trick but treat yourself by signing up to Freddie’s Flowers.

 

If you’d like to turn your home into the best autumnal flower 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.

 

 

Flower of the week: Anigozanthos

When I name drop anigozanthos stems, I tend to get a resounding ‘anigo-what?’.

No I’m not mumbling about about a girl called Annie who goes to Zakynthos on holiday. Believe it or not I’m talking about a flower that’s baffling in both name and floral nature. Try saying anigozanthos right first time. Impossible. How about when it’s broken down in bitesize syllables; a-ni-go-zan-thos? Still needs practice. Continue reading “Flower of the week: Anigozanthos”

Flower of the week: Bouvardia

Bonjour to the little tubular bell-square shaped show-offs; the beautiful and wonderfully scented cut bouvardia!

Unlike some our past ‘flowers of the week’, you may have come across bouvardia. It’s a popular choice in celebratory arrangements.

Which figures, seeing as cut bouvardia symbolises enthusiasm. And who could be more enthusiastic about the flower itself than me?

You will be too in no time (if you’re not already).

Continue reading “Flower of the week: Bouvardia”

A whole bunch of Autumn

Blustery, autumnal wonderfulness

Autumn is well and truly here. The colour outside is changing, t-shirts have been swapped for jumpers and the demand for the heating to be put on echoes around the office every 5 minutes. The answer is still ”put another jumper on”. So to celebrate the colder winds and darker mornings we thought we would brighten it all up with this weeks firey, autumnal arrangement. Fitting, seeing as bonfire night is round the corner.

A photo of our arrangement
Fire flowers

In this weeks arrangement we have:

‘Alstroemeria Ariel’

Alstro is also known as the Peruvian or Inca Lily as it is native to South America. It grows in lots of different colours but for this week I have chosen a lovely red to suit the season. Interesting fact! The alstroemeria was named by the famous botanist, Carl Linnaeus, after one of his pupils, Baron Clas Alstromer who sent him seeds in 1753.

Red alstroemeria
Our red hot alstro

Cotinus

This fabulous foliage becomes extra special in the autumn, as its dark leaves slowly turn redder. Known as the ‘smoke tree’ its deep colour acts as a moody backdrop for the other flowers to shine against. I have always loved it outside and it’s not often used in flower arranging. So I thought why not bring the outdoors into my arrangement this week.

Introducing the fireiest of all the flowers:

A detailed photograph of Fuego bloom
The almighty Fuego Bloom

El Fuego Blooms

This firey, sassy flower arrives with nets on to keep their sass in – till you unleash it in your home!!! When you put them in water they’ll steam off and cool down and then start to unfurl.

A photograph of a orange lily and fuego bloom
Roaring orange lily

So hot right now – LA Lily

For this bunch I have chosen two varieties, a pale peach called ‘Menorca’ and a more vibrant amber colour. They work fabulously together and both sensational against the cotinus background.

a picture of Freddie's Flowers Autumn arrangement
Autumn in a vase

How to style this autumn flowers

  1. Start with your blooms, creating an even triangle around the edge of your vase. Almost as if you were building a bonfire. Get your practice in before Guy Fawkes night.
  2. Next so the same with the lilies, in the gaps left by the blooms.
  3. This creates a structural grid, giving the support to the other stems.
  4. Now carefully place your continus inside the lilies and the blooms. They will sit a little higher in the arrangement, giving the bunch a wildly elegant look.
  5. Finish with the alstroemeria sitting inside the continus, adding some serious colour to the centre. They’ll open out over the next couple of days.

It’s a living, changing work of art. So sit back and revel in the autumnal glory.

Spilsbury cartoon
Vars or Vaze?

Now lets talk vases!

  • I chose a hurricane shape vase for this bunch, giving it loads of room to spread out, and the lilies room to open up like fireworks. Choose a vase about half the height of your lilies.
  • Using sharp, clean secateurs, trim each stem by one inch. (That’s uno incho when trimming the fuego blooms).
  • Use the Freddie’s Flowerful Food and stir.
  • Change the water every 3 days.
  • Keep away from draughts, direct sunlight and those pesky fruit bowls.

It’s time to stop hanging onto Summer people. Embrace the cold, whack on your jumpers and light the fire because who doesn’t love feeling snugly and cosy? And what goes with snugly and cosy? Flowers! And with this arrangement being so hot you wont even need to light the fire. (Maybe).

Hida Village - Japan
Autumnal colours at their finest in Hide Village – Japan

If you’d like to turn your home into the best autumnal flower 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.

Flower of the week: Pink Sedum

A succulent for sore eyes in September

Autumn’s on the mind and in the hues and shades of the leaves on the trees. So it’s our late bloomer, freshly cut pink sedum, who gets pride of place this time of year.

Maybe you’ve stopped to wonder what that pretty, waxy leafed shrub-like plant is that pours out onto the pavements, brushing your ankles on the street? It’s an unusual choice for a cut flower, but boy does it work. Let me introduce you to pink sedum our ‘Autumn Joy’!

Pink sedum bush
Image Credit

Here’s why we think pink sedum’s more than deserving of it’s position as flower of the week.

 

Sky high succulents

For any ecologists or inhabitants of super eco-friendly housing out there, you may have gone as far as having green roofs. I don’t mean mossy slates or ivy strewn thatch (as lovely as that is). I mean full on plants-and-grasses-covering-the-roof-for-insulation-and biodiversity kind of set ups.

 

Succulent green roof
One very succulent rooftop. Image Credit

Surprising as it may seem, a mighty popular green roof plant is the super succulent, pink sedum.

Why? Maybe the clue is in the etymology. Sedum is Latin for ‘houseleek’. How glamourous. Little did those Romans know green roofs would become a thing. They spelt it wrong though. These little houseleeks will make sure your house leaks are kept at bay!  

leek flowers similar to the Freddie's Flowers alliums
A leek flower or twenty! Image Credit

Not to be confused with our old pal allium. But you also don’t want to be muddling any of these up with the other leek ‘flower’ out there either;

leeks carved into flowers
An acquired taste? Image Credit.

Sedum are notoriously easy to grow and maintain, partial to malnourished soil and tolerant of most climates. As a result, they are perfect for thinly spread soil on roofs with minimal nutrients and love basking in the heighty heat of an eco-roof.

 

The late summer sunbathers

To top off their brilliance, flowering sedum provide nectar nests for bees and butterflies to bathe in during the waning autumn sunshine.

Pink sedum with butterflies and bees
Image Credit

So pop some sedum either amongst the skylights or let them line your flower beds to help our pollinator pals.

 

Lady lisianthus of leisure

Oh the lovely lizzies are back! And you can count on us to bring you the double stemmed variety for two times the grace. These lucky buds were our flower of the week back in July.

Our stunning Freddie's Flowers arrangement this week

Our lofty lizzies will lift your home to the height of elegance, as their long stems tower out and above the canopy of freshly cut pink sedum.

 

Baby blue, that’s my kind of hue!

I’ve mentioned before how much I love eucalyptus. It’s a natural triumph and its oil has a long list of health benefits. And, surprise surprise, Eucalyptus Cinerea (commonly known as ‘baby blue’) smells delightful.

Eucalyptus Cinerea used in the Freddie's Flowers box
Image Credit

Cinerea looks a bit like an antennae and has an orbital feel to it thanks to the little disc shaped leaves that climb the stem. Let it stand tall and proud right in the centre of your arrangement with its gorgeous bluey-green colourings and you’ll fall in love with it just as I have done. Need an hand arranging? 

 

Roses are forever

Did you know that roses are officially the nation’s favourite flower? Purely because we’re patriots? I don’t think so. I reckon it’s because they’re simply lovely. And when they’re as big as these white avalanche beauties, I’m sure you’ll remember why we as a nation adore them.

flower box deliver of stocks, roses and iris
They’re biggies aren’t they!

(We always use top quality roses – the clue is in the petals and stem length. If the petals are thick and waxy, not thin and papery – you’ve got a good quality rose. The amount of petals is another indicator and we’re sending you roses with petal after petal).

 

Freshly cut pink sedum for all the senses

Put the secateurs and balaclava down. No need to knick your neighbours succulent sedum. We’ll do all the hard work for you (without stealing anything!). Instead, I suggest you sit back, stay warm and dry, and await your first box of Freddie’s Flowers.

 

Give us a go for only £24 a pop!

Crazy for cabbage!

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 brassicas 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 weeks arrangement. We’re all about the weird and wonderful.

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

 

Brassicas in flower arranging

This is how we use brassicas in flower arranging.

Our arrangement video to arrange your brassicas to perfection

Ancient Egyptians serving up cabbage to reduce the effects of alcohol
Pass the cabbage! @finedining

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 cabbage in the cuisine of the High Middle Ages and cabbage seeds feature among the seed 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.

Painting from the 15th C of English people harvesting cabbages
Harvesting cabbage, Tacuinum Sanitatis, 15th century.
A picture of a thousand origami white cranes
A thousand origami white cranes

Kung Fu crane

Our brassicas in this weeks flower deliveries are ‘white crane’  brassicas and with so many stories about the beauty of the cranes I thought it seems apt to tell you some. According to Japanese tradition, anyone with the patience and commitment to fold 1,000 paper cranes will be granted their most desired wish, because they have exhibited the cranes’ loyalty and recreated their beauty. I better get started on my brassica origami.

It would rude not to mention ‘white crane style’ while we’re on the subject. White crane style is a southern Chinese martial art that originated in Fijian province. It is the most recognisable by the way the fighter intimidates a birds pecking or flapping of wings. It is one of the six known schools of Shaolin Boxing. The others are based on Tiger, Monkey, Leopard, Snake and Dragon. Hmmmm… suddenly Kung Fu Panda makes a lot more sense!

In Japan, the crane is one of the mystical or holy creatures (others include the dragon and the tortoise) and symbolises good fortune and longevity because of its fabled life span of 1000 years.

Throughout Asia – the crane is a symbol of happiness and eternal youth. So technically we are bringing the fountain of youth into your homes with this arrangement. You are welcome.

 

A scene from the cartoon Kung Fu Panda
The School of Shaolin Boxing (and a panda) @Disney

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.

Finding the flowerful power in prose

Just as you may enjoy inspirational-motivational-sentimental phrases when you spot them, I’m a sucker for good flower quotes. They’re confirmation that there are people out there who love flowers as much as I do!

So, with the onset of Autumn, I reckon it’s time to wrap up and dive into some thought-provoking flower quotes from some very influential individuals.

 

Continue reading “Finding the flowerful power in prose”

Flower of the week: Teddy Bear sunflower

Defy this September gloom with the sunniest freshly cut flowers you can get your green fingered mitts on. Yes you guessed it. It’s time for sunflowers. Not just your average sunflowers though; 3 different types all with something to sing about it. Let’s hear it then.

Continue reading “Flower of the week: Teddy Bear sunflower”

Snowberries… In Summer!

Snowberries… The name says it best

Snowberries… In Summer! What madness! Well I suppose we are a bit mad here at Freddie’s Flowers. And don’t they look beautiful. Doesn’t it make the whole arrangement a bit… Va va Voom!

Snowberries also known as Symphoricarpos, a Greek expression meaning “fruits joined together,” from the clustered pairs of berries. To look at they remind me of the berry version of ornithogalums… Maybe?

Snowberries, aster, lilies and laurel in this weeks arrangement
Snowberries in the Freddie’s Flowers arrangement

A berry nice mix

Snowberries are originally from North America where it grows everywhere from forest to beaches, rocky slopes and thickets. It will also grow in many conditions including full sun to full shade. In the sun it will grow all dense and compact. In the shade it does the opposite, sparse and rather leggy. Hardcore or what?!

Despite not favoured by the Native Americans, snowberries were used in many ways such as hair soap, to soothe cuts and sores and the stems were made into arrow shafts and pipe stems. It was also planted to combat soil erosion on river beds.

It has a variety of wildlife values. It is great at providing shelter and cover for animals and also is used by them to nest. It also attracts beneficial insects. It is deer resistant and the flowers attract hummingbirds, butterflies and bees.

A plant with that many uses and benefits certainly seems to be a first rate shrub to me!

 

Snowberries out in the wild
Snowberries out in force –  www.gardeningknowhow

 

A little history

The snowberry has a rather good bit of history too!

Seeds and cuttings were saved and sent to President Thomas Jefferson from the Lewis and Clark exhibition in 1804 who planted them in his garden. The cuttings thrived and Jefferson said they had ”some of the most beautiful berries I have ever seen” who then sent them over to Europe. And that is how we have them today.

 

A painting of the Lewis and Clarke exhibition meeting an Indian tribe on the Missouri River
The Lewis and Clark exhibition in 1804 encountering a Native Indian Tribe on the Missouri River @en.wikipedia.org

 

From Mammoths to berries…

Going back to the Lewis and Clark exhibition. You should really have a read about it as its very interesting indeed. In 1803 Thomas Jefferson (then president of America) sent Merriweather Lewis and William Clark on an exhibition to find a water route to the Pacific and explore the unchartered West. He believed woolly mammoths, erupting volcanoes, and a mountain of pure salt awaited them. What they found was no less mind-boggling. They discovered 300 species unknown to science, nearly 50 Indian tribes and the Rockies. That’s what I call a successful trip!

 

A map of the journey Lewis and Clark took to explore the west
The journey Lewis and Clark took to explore the North West! www.encyclopaedia.com

Born in the U.S.A

It seems like w’ve got a bit of a Native American theme going on in our arrangements at the moment. You might have seen our Mohican alliums in the other arrangement which get their name from their funky style that makes them look like they have a mohawk. The Mohicans were a Native American tribe from the North East America. Lewis and Clark wouldn’t have come across them on their travels however from many of the tribes they did come across they learnt from them about how plants could help for medicinal and eating purposes.

a detail from a customers arrangement of mohican alliums
Mohician allium @sarahkodak

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.