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!

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!

 

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.

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Misti’s flower diary; ”Pretend you’re a firework”

Autumnal flowers and fairies

My daughter lost her first tooth Halloween morning. She was standing at the basin in her Batgirl costume getting ready for school when suddenly I heard a scream. I ran in. Helena had a toothbrush in her mouth and was dripping minty foam—not an uncommon occurrence in our home at 8:15 a.m. Then I noticed. She was holding a tiny tooth in her hand. “Mummy, my toof fell out! Am I thtill allowed thweets Tonight?”

Misti's daughter, Helena
The little tooth fairy

Getting blustery

That weekend, we stayed with my husband’s family in Buckinghamshire. On the way in, we stopped off to buy some autumn flowers for his mother. I chose blue hydrangeas. It was the first weekend where the weather wasn’t just chilly but noticeably cold. Even my Scottish mother-in- law talked about lighting a fire. We didn’t, but that’s not the point. The fact that it was up for discussion means it was properly cold. Not Aberdonian cold, but cold enough to note.

Misti and her husband in a field
Perfect walking weather

Pubs, fires, dogs and walks in the rain

With no fire on the hearth at home, we went to the pub two days in a row. On Saturday, we went to The Royal Standard of England, which claims to be the oldest freehouse in the country. Some people might argue this point, but I don’t care. Here’s something you can’t argue: Their pies are actually the best around. I’m talking top and bottom crust. Not just a puff pastry hat sitting atop a stew. Then on Sunday after a lovely roast lunch and a few bottles of Riesling, we looked outside at the rain and decided it was the perfect time for a walk. So we put on our boots and through the fields and autumn flowers we went. Six miles later, we made it. For me, a good pub needs several things—a dry sparkling cider (preferably Aspall’s), a fireplace, and dogs. Because Dog pubs are the best pubs and pub dogs are the best dogs.

The Royal standard of England
Perfect pubbing

Prentend you’re a firework

On Bonfire Night, we watched fireworks on the heath and my daughter has been pretending to be fireworks ever since. She thinks it’s the most brilliant game. So modern dance, watch out! Helena’s the new Martha Graham. We were supposed to meet our friends, but none of our phones were working. Finally, I got a text saying they were by the people holding sparklers. There were a lot of people and sparklers there that night, but in the darkness, amongst the throngs, I heard a laugh I recognised. It was our friend’s son, my daughter’s good buddy.

Misti sitting around flowers
Fashion for flowers

Flowers are forever the theme in my life

After the fireworks, we went to theirs for raclette, which really was the best way to end a glittering night with friends. Speaking of friends, fashion designer Erdem Moralioglu is an old friend of my husband’s. They were flatmates in East London about fifteen years ago. Erdem’s designs are quintessentially English. His fabrics and prints are full of flowers. Wearing a dress of his is like wearing a garden. Recently, he collaborated with H&MHenry and I attended one of the press events and I wanted it all. In the foyer of the hall where the event was held, there was an impressive pop-up field of autumn flowers. Dahlias, Nigella Damascena, Roses, Irises, and Poppies. When we got home, I snapped a photo of my husband. Freddie’s lovely lilies were at the edge of the frame. No matter where I go, flowers are forever the theme in my life and for that I am grateful.

Bonfire night
Remember, remember.

Reasons to be thankful

This week I’m particularly grateful, as American Thanksgiving is Thursday. For those of you who don’t know, Thanksgiving is a federal holiday that was proclaimed by Abraham Lincoln in 1863. Over the years, its meaning has evolved.  For me, it has nothing to do with celebrating the Pilgrim Fathers. It is about giving thanks and sharing what you have. It is a day to invite not just loved ones and friends, but also strangers into your home. It is a day to volunteer and feed the poor. Of course these are tenets that should be part of our daily lives, but Thanksgiving highlights them. It reminds us of the kindness and generosity of spirit we should embrace the whole year through. So with a thankful heart I wish you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving. And thank you, Freddie, for the gorgeous flowers that will be my centrepiece.

Drawing of thanksgiving
Gobble, gobble

 

Misti dressed as Mary Poppins
A spoonful of sugar (and flowers) helps the medicine go down

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.

Photo gallery – October’s weird and wonderful

Photo gallery

Nothing makes us happier than when we see photographs of our flowers in their new home. Thank you to our lovely gang of customers who have sent in and posted photographs. Swapping jumper for thick coats we are well on our way to winter now and our beautiful arrangements have been mirroring the seasonal change. Saying goodbye to summer with lisianthus and sedum. Welcoming the changing of the leaves with blustery brassicas and bouvardia. Lovely indoor fires with fuego blooms, red lilies and  carthamus. And a halloween extravaganza with kangaroo paws.

So here is a little gallery of a few of the photos you lovely people sent in. We wish we could put them all up!

We reckon your arrangement are works of art, so they deserve their own gallery. Share your own Freddie’s Flower pics with on FacebookTwitter or Instagram, or drop us an email at freddie@freddiesflowers.com – and perhaps you’ll feature in the next one!

 

A vase of a pottery head
Talk about a fashion statement @tinyartandcraftgallery

 

Carthamus and kangaroo paws
Cartha-may-i @travellingcatdarcy

 

Flowers and music
A floral playlist @haleymmyles

 

Flowers and a box
A Mexican standoff @houseofthreelondon

 

Pumpkins and flowers
A halloween special @scumblegoosie

 

Lilies and healthy food
Flowers and food @yogagis_yoga

 

Flowers outside
Not actual lemons @canalsidecalm
A cup of tea surrounded by flowers
Time for tea @carpediememmie

 

Flowers on the bedside
Lazy mornings @teandbiscuits_x

 

Flowers in a coffee shop
Coffee and fleurs to start the day @sound.coffee.happiness

 

Flowers and pumpkins
Hello halloween @chagrinnamontoast

 

Flowers in a bike
I like to ride my bicycle @jennandiris

 

Open lilies
Indoor fireworks @jacquiruddock

 

An autumnal bunch
Moody and mysterious @sound.coffee.happiness

 

Paintings and flowers
Art and art @greatthings17

 

Tiles and flowers
We need those tiles @fairydoo

 

Red lily and carthamus
Halloween heaven @alisonlovesvintage

 

Detail of a red lily
Lovely lily @rosalindfurlong

 

Flowers and cushions

Pineapples and cabbages @katy_at_the_manor

 

Flowers and interiors
Interiors to be jealous of @cruzma

 

Flowers at the breakfast table
The perfect brecky @teandbiscuits_x

 

If you haven’t already why not give us a go and you can get a lovely box of Freddie’s flowers fresh flowers delivered straight to your door for just £22!

 

Roses and a picnic basket
Last of the picnics @callmeliz92

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”

Pumpkin perfect!

The Four Seasons

Most people know them as spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Not in our house. My daughter renamed them–Buttercups, roses, conkers, and Christmas. While it’s a bit sweeping, she is not wrong. I have been slightly disconcerted though, as she is five years old and still doesn’t know the months of the year. Recently, I’ve come to the conclusion that it doesn’t really matter. She’ll learn them. What’s more important is that she has learned to observe the physical world around her and knows the meaning of what she sees. The presence of autumn flowers such as chrysanthemums or seeds like conkers coincide with the return of cox apples and she knows that.

A photograph of a bowl of apples
Apples, apples, apples!

Food Glorious Food

I love cox apples. Each Sunday, I buy bags of them at the farmers’ market. Honestly, they’re the best apples, so crisp and tart. I keep bowls of them around the flat. In the kitchen, in the office, in the living room. You never know when or where you are going to want a bite. I am ashamed to say how many pies I’ve already made with them. My pie quota for the year? I probably hit it last week and not just because of all the perfect apples but because I also have a weakness for sweet potato pie with pecans and molasses. I describe the latter as the James Brown of pies, by which I mean it has soul. If you haven’t tried it, you should. It’s much better than pumpkin. Not that I have anything against pumpkins. I just prefer them for decorating is all.         

A photograph of a homemade apple pie
The ultimate winter warmer

The Great Pumpkin

Last weekend, we went to Pumpkin Moon in Maidstone, Kent. It was the most brilliant way to spend a Saturday. My husband, who insisted that the British don’t celebrate Halloween like the Americans and certainly wouldn’t have a pumpkin patch with all sorts of festivities like I grew up enjoying in the States, was pleasantly surprised. There were fields full of gourds of all shapes, colours, and sizes. There was face painting and storytelling and all kinds of crafts and the most enormous delicious hot dogs you’ve ever had in your life. Okay, maybe not in you life, but certainly at a fair in Kent. There was even a maize maze where my daughter ran around with a wand she’d made pretending to turn us into scarecrows amongst the rows of corn and autumn flowers.   

Photograph of Misti's husband and daughter dressing a pumpkin
Pumpkin mad

No Place Like Home

One of the things I love most about this time of year is the way everything looks all ablaze. Red ivy covers the houses on our street. The leaves on the chestnut trees have turned orange and are flecked with gold. Autumn flowers from Freddie are always my favourite. Just as the chill outside sets in, his weekly arrangements add instant warmth inside. After carving our first jackolantern, I placed it on a small table next to a bowl of apples. With a wave of my daughter’s ghostie wand, we transformed our flowers from Freddie into a Halloween display. Now evenings in could not be cosier.

Leaves changing colour on an ivy wall
Ivy wall

Champagne and Potato Chips

To quote Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch, “Don’t worry. Everything’s fine. A married man, air-conditioning, champagne and potato chips. This is a wonderful party.” Indeed, this whole month has felt like one long party. For starters, it was my birthday. My husband gave me a beret and, as I love and take tap dance, he took me to see An American in Paris. The week after, I saw my friend, Charles Hagerty, a fellow American in London, give a star performance as Clifford Bradshaw in Cabaret alongside Louise Redknapp and Will Young. It really has been a month of celebrations and champagne and potato chips and pies and pumpkins and festive autumn flowers. I just can’t wait for the popping of corks to become the bursting of fireworks on Guy Fawkes Night. Can you?!  

A table with apples, a pumpkin and flowers
Halloween table

 

Photograph of Misti's daughter, Helena
The pumpkin fairy

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.

Photo gallery – September’s stupendous arrangements

Photo gallery

Nothing makes us happier than when we see photographs of our flowers in their new home. Thank you to our lovely gang of customers who have sent in and posted photographs. Bringing Autumn firmly in the forefront of our minds September showed some cosy collections such as sweet williams, brassicas, lisanthus and the and the sophisticated sedum.

So here is a little gallery of a few of the photos you lovely people sent in. We wish we could put them all up!

We reckon your arrangement are works of art, so they deserve their own gallery. Share your own Freddie’s Flower pics with on FacebookTwitter or Instagram, or drop us an email at freddie@freddiesflowers.com – and perhaps you’ll feature in the next one!

A close up photo of a mohican allium
Rockin’ a mohican allium @s11ona

 

A photograph of the flowers laid out in a kitchen
A modern layout @zoestirling

 

A detail of yellow sunflowers
Last breath of summer @ Misti
A cat keeping the flowers safe
On guard! @Sally Dixon

 

A photograph of sunflowers in a home
Scandi Jaune @saltykissesandsandytoes

 

A photograph of sedum and avalanche roses
Sophisticated sedum @kevinbrewis

 

Postcard perfect @thegirlnextdoor
Postcard perfect @thegirlnextdoor

 

Photo of the roses and sedum arrangement
That jug tho @ailiewilliams

 

A picture of lots of arrangements on a desk
Working form home @squeekymuffin

 

Lilies and ornithagalums in a mirrow
”How do I look?” @philchales

 

A close up of the pink sedum flower
Pretty in pink @ofbeautyand

 

A photograph of the sedum and roses arrangement with crazy wallpaper
Trying to be incognito @colony.london

 

A photograph of three arrangements
A few of my favourite things @

 

If you haven’t already why not give us a go and you can get a lovely box of Freddie’s flowers fresh flowers delivered straight to your door for just £24!

 

A photograph of a customers sunflower arrangment
Bringing sunshine back @valentinajacome

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”