The Great 2017 ‘Almost Spring’ Freddie’s Flowers Gallery!

Our latest gallery of gorgeous customer photos – it’s almost spring, folks!…

Well, you continue to blow us away with your arranging skills (and photography skills, come to that). Here’s a gallery of some of the recent photos shared with us by Freddie’s Flower People – i.e. our lovely gang of customers. It’s almost spring, folks!…

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

 

Hyacinth, tulip, iris and silver jubilee foliage

This was a ‘short’ arrangement so we recommended using a vase around half to three-quarters the size of the hyacinths – but your photos prove that it looks terrific in all sorts of different vessels.

This from Becky Naylor (via Twitter) is textbook stuff:

becky naylor twitter2

 

And this is a very crafty use of a clear square vase by Pandora Maxwell (via Instagram):

pandora max instagram

 

A very tasty one from Tina Koniotes (Instagram):

cake time hyacinths iris tulips

 

Megan Carver (via Twitter) has ingeniously and glamorously deployed a champagne bucket (a Hyacinth Bucket, perhaps?) in this stunner:

megan carver twitter hyacinths with champagne bucket

 

And we fully approve this message from Facebooker Patty Pulliam Terry:

Patty Pulliam Terry on FB hyacinths

 

Forsythia, rose ‘Good times’, alstroemeria, waxflower and LA lily

This January arrangement proved that winter needn’t mean dark colours. Check out these dazzling yellows from Zoe (via Instagram)…

 

zoe canalside calm yellow roses

…from Mary Martin on Facebook…

 

mary martin FB

 

…and this reflected glory from the lovely blogger and Instagrammer Three Boys and a Home

three boys and a home insta yellow roses

 

Eryngium, lisianthus, alstroemeria, eucalyptus and greenbell

This complex, cosmic arrangement inspired some true artworks, each quite unique. This from Lolly Meredith on Instagram:

lolly meredith instagram lisianthus

From Phoebe Janeh (Instagram)…

phoebe janeh instagram

How about this very cool abstract from Jerry on Instagram:

jerry hib insta

 

And a bit of brilliance here from Linda Dacoma (Instagram), making hers last and splitting into a pair of vases…

linda dacomi instagram lisianthus two vases

 

Freesia, genista ‘broom’, ruscus, trachelium and alstroemeria ‘pink floyd’

What a gorgeous photo this is by Carole-Ann Clark on Facebook:

carole-ann clark FB freesia genista

 

Laura Kateelvis on Instagram shows us how to set a perfect dinner table:

laura kateelvis insta genista

 

Snapdragons, LA lilies, linoleum and eucalyptus

Elisabeth Hogarth on Facebook told us that these are were her favourite arrangement so far. Love the way she’s displayed these!

elisabeth hogarth FB snapdragons

Some expert mult-box combining skills here – Anette Stevens (via Facebook) has added her pussywillow from the previous week to the snapdragon arrangement…

Anette Stevens FB snapdragons added pussywillow

And from Fiona Lawrence (Facebook):

fiona lawrence

 

And finally…

How about this shot of the tulips, lilies and solidago arrangment from the middle of January by Belen (via Instagram)? Can anyone spot the dinosaurs?

b_demalo insta tulips solidago

 

 

If you’re one of Freddie’s Flower People, please do share your pics with us – we love to see them.

Or if you’d like to join us, just sign up for lovely flower deliveries at £24 a pop here!

Misti’s Flower Diary – ‘Lilies, primroses and muddy boots’

Misti gets frozen by the English winter, then thawed out by a tropical jungle of flowers. She also considers the primrose: anyone remember the Flower Fairies?…

In February’s flower diary, Misti gets frozen by the English winter, then thawed out by a tropical jungle of flowers. She also considers the primrose: anyone remember the Flower Fairies?…

Yesterday I saw that the famous green parakeets of south London have returned from their annual Iberian holiday full of song.  Which means only one thing: spring is on its way. Personally I’m thrilled woolly jumper season is coming to a close. Soon near-daily sausage rolls will be a faint memory and slate grey skies will cease to be the norm.

I took a country walk through the Chilterns with my husband last weekend. Helena wanted to stay at home with Nanny who lets her eat brownies and generally does her bidding. Out in the fields there were snowdrops everywhere and in the woods daffodils were blooming. Bluebells and tulips won’t be far behind. The moment flowers spring to life again is one of my favourite perennial pleasures. All that promise lying dormant until one sunny day a shoot unfurls. It’s like watching stop animation.

When I first saw the golden forsythia Freddie’s included in one of their arrangements this month, I thought it looked rather like kindling. Then three days later, as if by magic, the branches were full of small butter-coloured flowers. Nature really can be magical.

 

***

flower jungle

Tucked in amongst the yellow roses, alstroemeria and lilies, things suddenly felt very tropical at home. What with the parakeets squawking outside, our little flat felt closer to Bengal than Brockley. So much so that Helena donned a makeshift pith helmet and told me she was going to hunt for a tiger in the flowers. Why? I asked. “Because it looks like a jungle.”

Her middle name is Primrose. Could that be why she likes flowers so much? Some names lend themselves to occupations. A. J. Splatt and D. Weedon are both doctors of urology. There’s an Israeli tennis player called Anna Smashanova, a Dutch architect called Rem Koolhaas and if you’re called Freddie Garland what else are you going to become but a florist?

***

primroses

 

Primrose Hill was the first place my husband took me to when I arrived in London from Los Angeles and it will forever hold a special place in my heart. Add this to the fact that I grew up loving Cicely Mary Barker’s book about flower fairies and there you have it. Helena has a print of her hanging above her bed and when she was tiny I used to tell her the Primrose Fairy was her patron saint.

primrose fairy

 

***

But winter hasn’t given up the ghost quite yet. Snow started to fall as Helena and I made our way to the Royal Festival Hall for a puppet show about the Moomins. Despite the signs of spring it was still bitterly cold out in the country. Following a long walk, we feasted on roast beef and Bandol, and then snoozed by the fire back at my in-laws. There are some things I do love about English winter.  Madeira cake tastes much nicer when your cheeks are rosy with cold.

On Valentine’s Day we returned home with muddy boots and an enormous crystal vase my mother-in-law gave to me that her mother-in-law had given to her.  And thank goodness as against the door were new flowers from Freddie. Lucky me!

newest flowers

crystal vase

 


 

at Coworth Park

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.

Freddie’s Flower People: Judith Mackrell

Author and dance critic Judith Mackrell tells us about her latest book, the ‘spectacular possibilities of pinkness’ and an improbably named rose…

Freddie’s Flowers customers are all wonderful people… and here’s another one! Author and renowned dance critic Judith Mackrell tells us about her latest book, the ‘spectacular possibilities of pinkness’ and an improbably named rose…

It’s one of the great traditions of the world of dance that dancers are presented with bouquets of flowers to celebrate a performance. They might be more worried about whether Judith Mackrell, the longstanding dance critic of the Guardian, will be presenting them with a virtual bouquet or a brickbat in her reviews of their work.

She was persuaded to try Freddie’s Flowers and receive her own garlands. Judith says, ‘Fresh flowers in the house are a treat for me and I couldn’t resist the idea of having them delivered to the door. It’s like being sent a bouquet every week.’

flappers
‘Flappers’ – Judith’s acclaimed biography of six women in the 1920s

 

Judith is an author and biographer as well as a critic, and the year ahead is looking a busy one. She says, ‘I’ve got several features on the go for The Guardian, including one about Javier De Frutos’ new version of the Phillip Glass dance opera Les Enfants Terrible – based on Jean Cocteau’s cult novel.’

Judith is also in the last stages of seeing her latest book into print. ‘It’s called The Unfinished Palazzo and it’s a group biography of  three very different women who lived in the same Venetian palazzo at different moments in the 20th century,’ Judith tells us. ‘They are a hugely rich Italian Marchesa called Luisa Casati, who was like the Lady Gaga of the belle époque, a very wicked English socialite called Doris Castlerosse, and Peggy Guggenheim – whose astounding modern art collection is now housed in the building.’

Even if she isn’t occupying her own palazzo, Judith loves bringing flowers into her home and the atmosphere they help to create.

‘It’s always great to have something coming into the house from the outside, something that has its own life. I like being able to clock the changes of colour, texture and smell that happen to a bunch of flowers over a week — buds unfolding, petals expanding and slowly beginning to drop.’

She enjoys the unexpected mixture of flowers and foliage in her Freddie’s delivery and the fact that it’s different every time. And if Judith were to choose the flowers we’d shower her with?

peonies by Sarah Collicott via FB
‘Spectacular possibilities of pinkness’ – a Freddie’s peonies delivery arranged by customer Sarah Collicott.

 

She likes peonies for ‘their spectacular possibilities of pinkness’, hellebores and paper narcissus. ‘Climbing roses are very special and I’m easily seduced by their names. I like to wonder about the people who they’re named after, like the wonderful Parkdirektor Riggers.’*

But, Judith says, she’s undemanding and grasses, twigs or autumn leaves will do if there are no flowers around — but with Freddie’s on hand, there always are.

 

*To help Judith, we looked up a bit more about Parkdirektor Riggers. It’s a rose variety developed by Wilhelm Kordes Söhne, a German family firm that’s been around for five generations and is one of the world’s biggest rose producers. This variety was bred in 1957 at their farm in Schleswig-Holstein. We can only assume that Parkdirektor Riggers was a park keeper known to the Kordes family. But if you know more, do tell us.

 

Rosa_'Parkdirektor_Riggers'_Kordes_1957_RPO
The rose variety Parkdirektor Riggers. Image credit.

 

Are you one of Freddie’s Flower People? You don’t have to be famous – we just want to see your arrangements! Share your own Freddie’s Flower pics with on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, or drop us an email at freddie@freddiesflowers.com

Or if you haven’t already done so, sign up for lovely flower deliveries at £24 a pop here!

‘I’m a Freddie’s customer and I’m running out of vases’

Misti shakes off the January slump with tap dancing, marmalade and a visit to an art deco palace. Also, she starts running out of vases…

In the first flower diary of 2017, Misti shakes off the January slump with tap dancing, marmalade and a visit to an art deco palace. Also, she starts running out of vases…

Every January, I find myself in a perennial slump. When asked what’s the matter? My answer is always the same. Inertia problems. Perhaps I wouldn’t have such difficulty springing to action if not for all those mince pies a month ago. Which is why, in an attempt to lower my BMI and boost morale, I have signed up for tap dancing lessons.

When I was very little, I used to press bottle caps into the soles of my sneakers and pretend I had tap shoes. In my imagination Shirley Temple had nothing on me. Last week was my first lesson. I had the most fun ever. That said, I am a long way from performing Little Miss Broadway.

***

Do you know the difference between fog and mist? Apparently it is visibility. If visibility is one kilometre or less, it is fog. If visibility is equal to or exceeds a kilometre, then it is mist. Recently there have been lots of both. Especially in Greenwich next to the Thames.

thames

One afternoon after a trip to the Dog & Bell, my family and I walked along the river. At least we thought it was the river. We couldn’t really see it. A fact that made me feel like Pip in Great Expectations. Would we too run into a convict on those banks? Though the ambience was a bit spooky, the sound of the tide soothed me. It’s as close as I get to hearing the ocean in London.

We continued our walk until we stumbled upon an impressive building with skulls and crossbones on the gateposts. “Look, mummy! It’s a pirate castle!” our daughter cried.

skulls

Actually, it was St. Nicholas Church in Deptford Green but according to its history, pirates did go there before sailing the high seas. Okay, that’s an exaggeration. Maybe not pirates, but sailors. Sir Francis Drake and Captain James Cook among them. Rumour has it the church’s macabre entrance inspired the Jolly Roger.

I was surprised to discover when walking around the graveyard that it is the final resting place of poet and playwright, Christopher Marlowe. He met his untimely death when he was stabbed at a local pub in 1593. Ah, Southeast London. I love you but plus ça change. Nearby, a bush of small yellow roses was covered with dew.

roses at pirate church

***

Maybe it’s because I recently became a British citizen or perhaps it’s because Henry and I are now both early-middle-age, but we decided to join English Heritage. Our first trip as members was to Eltham Palace. King Henry VIII spent much of his childhood there. Queen Elizabeth I, not so much. In the 1930s the Courtaulds acquired the lease on this medieval property and revamped it in art deco splendour. You should see the bath. The wall behind it is covered in gold.

eltham palace bath

Personally, I can’t wait to spend time in Eltham Palace’s sunken garden this summer. The Courtaulds loved their flora and fauna. Stephen grew orchids in the greenhouse that won several Royal Horticultural prizes whilst Virginia was mad about roses. There is a red one named in her honour.

***

upcycled as a vase

Speaking of roses, my pale pink and cream coloured ones from Freddie are still thriving. As are the white Antonov blooms from three weeks back. To be honest, I’m running out of vases. Not that I’m complaining. A flat full of flowers really does salve the soul. Particularly when they smell as invigorating as eucalyptus or look as sunny as solidago.

marmalade

Last week’s arrangement inspired me to make marmalade, the scent of which is so uplifting. I find nothing makes my skin feel quite as supple as being in a kitchen filled with Seville orange steam.

Now that I think about, maybe January isn’t that dreary. Or maybe I’m happy because I’ve got tap tomorrow and a box of lilies and tulips just arrived.

tulips

 


 

at Coworth Park

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.

How Ladybird Books taught me to love flowers

A whole generation of children learned about flowers from one very special source: the beautifully-illustrated Ladybird Books…

A whole generation of children that grew up in towns and cities learned about flowers from one very special source: the beautifully-illustrated Ladybird Books. In this exclusive post, leading Ladybird expert Helen Day explains how some haunting picture-books helped spark a lifelong appreciation of flowers… 

Flowers didn’t feature much in my childhood.  Our garden was tiny, my parents both worked and money was rather tight. We lived in a street of terraced houses, surrounded by similar streets – a perfectly pleasant environment in many ways – but floral decoration was sparse.

But that’s not the whole story.  Both my parents were teachers and my house was filled with books: many of them Ladybird Books.   The imagery of my childhood is a strange collage of reality and book artwork.  Even before I could read, I was reading the pictures of the books that surrounded me and these pictures were beautiful.  I learnt about flowers from Ladybird Books.

ladybird flowers 2

 

First there were garden flowers.  In my Ladybird Book of Garden Flowers, gardens were a remote and alien place –striking and colourful but as far away from my life as Never Never Land.  The vibrant colours of the plants contrasted with the grey splendour of the buildings in the background.

The sky was often dark and stormy: it was the flowers that brought the optimism to the picture.  Life was calm and stately and ordered.  Nature, with its stormy skies, might threaten change, but as long as the gardener was in charge all would be managed and all would be well.

ladybird flowers 5 edit

ladybird flowers 3 large
Three John Leigh-Pemberton illustrations from ‘Garden Flowers’. Image © Ladybird Books Ltd

 

Then there was the Ladybird Book of Wild Flowers and here the scenes were very different.  Human activity was barely visible or was shown in decay: a ruined monastery, a broken bridge.

ladybird flowers 6
‘British Wild Flowers’, illus. Rowland and Edith Hilder. Images © Ladybird Books Ltd

 

The flowers were less bright and showy and had to battle harder on the page to gain my attention. The colours were more muted: lots of blues, palest pink with splashes of yellow.  I wasn’t sure what I thought of wild flowers.

Both books were produced by Ladybird with the idea that they would be simple field guides, to be used by the curious child for reference and to stimulate their curiosity.  On the left-hand side of every page was the name and description of the plants pictured.  I’m sure lots of children used them in this way, but I don’t think I ever did. For me, the attraction was pouring over the details in the background.  Who was in that carriage, coming up the drive.  What was through that arch?  Why was the bridge falling down?

ladybird flowers 8
‘British Wild Flowers’, illus. Rowland and Edith Hilder. Images © Ladybird Books Ltd

 

Then there was Indoor Gardening – a whole book dedicated to telling children like me that I too could be a gardener – as long as I had a window sill and an odd collection of containers: glass bottles, chipped pottery or an old teapot.

ladybird flowers 10
‘Indoor Gardening’, illus. BH Robinson. Images © Ladybird Books Ltd

 

But this looked too much like a school project to me – as did the helpful diagrams in Plants and How they Grow.  I did have a go at making the ‘Minature Garden’ in The Ladybird Book of Things to Make – but like all the projects in that book, when I’d finished it didn’t look anything like the picture.

ladybird flowers 9
‘Things to Make’, illus. G Robinson. Image © Ladybird Books Ltd

 

Finally there was the magic of picking wild flowers.  Yes, I know – and you must remember this, children – that we don’t pick wild flowers today.  But in 1960s Ladybird Land it was fine to pick wild flowers.  Goldilocks was filling her basket with bluebells when she discovered the Three Bears’ House. Little Red Riding Hood gathered an amazingly varied woodland bouquet to take to her grandmother.

ladybird flowers 12
‘Little Red Riding Hood’, illus. Robert Lumley and ‘Goldilocks’, illus. Harry Wingfield. Images © Ladybird Books Ltd

 

Picking wildflowers was almost an emblem of childhood and freedom – a prelude to adventure and enjoyed equally by boys and girls.  The sky was blue, there were no adults in sight, clothes never got dirty: and we never saw the miserable picked flowers in their vases and jam jars, wilting and withering only hours later.  That just didn’t happen in Ladybird Land.

ladybird flowers 14
(l) ‘Prayers through the Year’, illus. Clive Uptton; (r) ‘The Lord’s Prayer’, illus. Harry Wingfield.  Images © Ladybird Books Ltd

 

I grew up and Ladybird Books grew up – and, for a time, I fared better than they did.  I had a house with a garden and started to enjoy walks in the country and visits to garden-centres.  Ladybird struggled with ever-increasing competition in the book market and, in the 1980s, swapped expertly-crafted artwork for much cheaper photography.

Looking back, I realise I did everything backwards.  The books I grew up with were intended to help children identify the plants they saw around them.  I don’t remember seeing plants around me when I was growing up, but later found myself identifying well-remembered Ladybird imagery in the landscapes of my adult life.  Perhaps on a walk in the country I’ll turn a corner and be confronted with a scene that transports me straight back to a page in What to Look for in Spring or Wild Flowers.

The pictures came first, and the plants came second.  But one way or another the books of my childhood taught me to enjoy and to appreciate flowers, and in the end I don’t suppose it matters which way round it happens.

 

Love flowers? So do we! Sign up for a delivery box of amazing flowers for just £24 a pop here. 

 

Helen Day is a Languages Teacher and avid collector of, and expert on, Ladybird Books. She curates the definitive Ladybird Book website at www.ladybirdflyawayhome.com .

 

Images © Ladybird Books Ltd. Reproduced by kind permission of Ladybird Books Ltd. www.vintageladybird.com

 

Freddie’s Festive Flower Gallery: it’s your Christmas arrangements!

You’ve been sharing your festive flower arrangements with us – here are just a few of our fave Christmassy customer pics…

You’ve been sharing your festive flower arrangements with us – here are some of our fave customer pics in a bumper Christmas edition gallery…

We reckon your arrangements are works of art, so they deserve their own gallery (like these ones). Please do share your pics with us by email or social media – see the bottom of the post for where – and perhaps you’ll feature in the next one!

White Christmassiness..

First off, some splendid efforts from people who like to get their Christmas decs up nice and early for maximum festive wallowing. Here are some fine displays of the waxflower, alstroemeria, lodge pine and lisianthus from the week of 5 December.

This is a quite exquisite in situ whites-and-lights arrangement by Zoe (aka @canalsidecalm on Instagram)…

canalside on instagram

 

…and we love this trad red and green and gold and white festive look from Cally (@tallgirl81 on Instagram):

tallgirl81 on insta

 

Iona Davis, also on Instagram, has hidden a little monster in her waxflowers:

ionadavis on twitter monster

 

While Emma Dew shared this arrangement on Facebook, and we we just think it has been beautifully, elegantly done:

emma dew on fb

 

Enter the Amaryllis…

Things really got Christmassy with the amaryllis box on the week beginning 12 December – and with any luck yours are still going strong on Christmas Day and beyond.

We were sent some fine pics from Freddie’s Flower People that prove amaryllis look great even before they’ve opened up. Like this from Niki Dobs on Instagram:

nikidobs on instagram

…and this from Issey Miyake on Facebook:

issey miyake on FB

 

AlisonLovesVintage on Instagram takes a rather good photo, doesn’t she?…

alisonlovesvintage

 

And we absolutely love the ingenious use of individual Amaryllis Holders for a stunning Christmas centrepiece from Lou Emma Dixon Mele (via Facebook):

Lou Emma Dixon Mele on FB

 

Christmas combos!

Some of you preferred your amaryllis neat, and some of you artfully combined them with the previous week’s arrangement, such as Kathey Yon Smoley (via Facebook)…

kathy yon smoley on FB

…or with the red ilex berries, eucaplyptus and gold bog myrtle we sent you in the week before Christmas. Here’s Kate on Twitter…

kate on twitter 2 weeks

 

This beauty is from Alison Bell on Facebook:

Alison Bell FB two arrangements

 

And here’s a three-box mega-combo from Lesley McBride on Twitter!

lesley mcbride on twitter 3 weeks combo

 

But we also just love seeing all the interesting little creative, personal. touches you use to display your flowers. This is from Michelle Horton (via Facebook):

michelle horton on fb

 

From Sue Simmons (Facebook):

sue simmons FB

From Jackie Schneider (Facebook):

jackie schneider on fb

From Shang Ala (Facebook):

shang ala on facebook

From Caroline Steele (Facebook):

caroline steele on fb

 

How about this extremely flowerful fireplace from Sharon Walker on Instagram?

sharon walker on instagram

 

 

And finally…

We just had to share this throwback to the oriental ‘Pico’ lilies waaay back at the end of November. It’s admittedly not  a Christmas picture as such, but that is an exceedingly enviable flower table owned by Theresa Robinson (via Facebook). Let’s all resolve to get ourselves a flower table in the New Year.

Merry Christmas!

theresa robinson on fb LILIES

 

Are you one of Freddie’s Flower People too? We want to see your arrangements! Share your own Freddie’s Flower pics with on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, or drop us an email at freddie@freddiesflowers.com.

And if you’re not yet in the gang, we’d love you to join us! Sign up to receive lovely flower deliveries direct to your door for just £24 a pop, here.

Why my Christmas amaryllis have me California Dreaming

There’s a red letter day for Misti this month as she becomes a British citizen, but red amaryllis always take her back to California.

There’s a red letter day for Misti this month as she becomes a British citizen, but red amaryllis always take her back to California. Also in this flower diary: vicious peacocks in Porto, a drag panto at Selfridges and lots of Christmas baking at home…

No matter where I am in the world, the last Thursday of November is always Thanksgiving to me. It is a day of gratitude and sharing and I have celebrated it with British friends and family since I arrived in 2009. Before my husband went freelance, he used to take the day off to help me in the kitchen. I loved it. It was one of our traditions.

But traditions evolve.

Which is why we decided to do away with roast turkey this year. Usually I order a bird that we brine two days before the feast. It then gets spatchcocked and roasted and served with delicious gravy and every kind of side dish and condiment imaginable. Mostly to disguise the fact that turkey is the blandest meat ever.

So after much discussion, we decided to take liberties and switch things up a little. Henry made Elizabeth David’s boeuf bourguignon which we followed with cheese, fruit, and Rivesaltes. It was perfect. Especially as we flew to Portugal the next morning and put the remaining stew in the freezer to enjoy upon our return.

***

The British Association of Porto had invited my husband to speak at their annual Treasurer’s Dinner as he has written a book called Empire of Booze which features port quite prominently.

The evening was a thing to behold. Not just because of the sparkling company we kept or the 1863 Taylor’s we drank, but because of the flowers!

flowers

(Something totally unrelated to wine that I learned in Porto: Peacock insurance is a thing. And apparently it’s very expensive but necessary. Our hosts were lamenting the birds that they say just appeared one day, never to leave again.

Don’t be fooled by their beauty. Peacocks are vicious bastards who show up unannounced for an indefinite length of time and attack people. First, jumping on their backs then pecking at their necks. Worst guests ever.)

peacocks

For the weekend we had the pleasure of staying at The Yeatman in Vila Nova de Gaia. Our room had a view of the Douro that was magical at sunset. On the last day I had a massage that was unlike any other I’d ever had. I left the spa feeling like I was vibrating.

***

When we returned home to London, there was a box from Freddie to cushion the blow of reality…

red

Recently Freddie has sent lots of gorgeous amaryllis. Almost like they know how much these bright red beauties remind me of my mother in California. Having them in the flat makes me feel like she is with me just as I know having some of my Christmas ornaments on her tree in L. A. makes her feel the same way.

amaryllis

***

That first Monday back, life immediately got busy. The festive season was upon us. Mulled wine and ciders of all sorts. Salted creme fraiche caramels. Peppermint bark. Gingerbread and baked goods a plenty. At this rate, I don’t think I’ll see my waist again until spring. Maybe I’ll wait and see what the verdict is on Groundhog Day.

gingerbread house

gingerbread bear

***

My wildly talented milliner friend, Gabrielle Djanogly of Hood London, invited me to my first panto, a drag panto, for which she had made several glittering pairs of rabbit ears. The show, aptly named Down the Rabbit Hole, was performed in the basement theatre of Selfridges. It was such a good time. I sincerely hope they do it again next year.

panto

***

On the tenth of December, our family had a triple gold star day. Not only was it our daughter’s fifth birthday party, and our seventh wedding anniversary, but it was also the day I received word from the Home Office that my application for British citizenship was successful. I’m finally British, y’all!

citizenship

Well almost. I still have to figure out what to wear to my citizenship ceremony and swear an oath of allegiance to the Queen. Tartan or tweed? That is the sartorial question. Perhaps I’ll watch some more of The Crown for inspiration.

Merry Christmas!

 

 

 


 

at Coworth Park

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.

My Floral Education – How weekly deliveries made me an Accidental Flower Expert

One of the most wonderful and unexpected benefits of weekly flower deliveries is that you learn an awful lot about all things floral…

Our customers tell us that one of the most wonderful and unexpected benefits of weekly flower deliveries is that you learn an awful lot about all things floral. Author Terry Stiastny explains how she accidentally became a flower expert…

My children look at me in disbelief when I tell them that at primary school, we didn’t learn science. We didn’t, as they do, learn about forces and light, about electrical circuits and fossils.

The subject we were taught was Nature.

There was a nature table; it was a desk at the side of the classroom that was arrayed with leaves, seeds, conkers. We drew and coloured in the shapes of leaves and we learnt to identify the trees that they came from. To this day, I can recognise an oak or a maple and tell you the difference between a sweet chestnut tree and a horse chestnut.

We also learned to recognise birds. This involved much colouring-in of the plumage of blue tits. It’s knowledge that’s only intermittently useful for modern urban life.

I don’t remember learning the names of flowers in the same way, but for decades my knowledge of them stayed at the same junior-school level.

I could do the basics: roses, tulips, daffodils and daisies. I preferred bright, gaudy flowers to pale, insipid ones; perhaps all the better to be able to colour them in.

But when I say I preferred them, my preferences weren’t very strong. Flowers, like football teams, were things I always found it hard to have strong opinions about. So advanced-level flower knowledge, like understanding the transfer window, is something I left to others.

box insert crop

But…each time the Freddie’s Flowers weekly delivery arrives, with it comes a short, simple guide to a world that I left behind with the nature table.

I learn that gypsophila and leucospermum are not medical complaints, but rather flowers that go by the rather lovely common names of baby’s breath and the pincushion. Lisianthus is not a Roman emperor but that twirly sort of flower, white or purple-edged. Astrantia and Alstroemeria, which could be constellations, are in fact a delicate clover-like flower and a Peruvian lily respectively.

There’s even, I discover, a flower called a kangaroo paw.

Jon Terry on Twitter

I think I enjoy learning words that are new to me almost as much as the cheerful flowers themselves.

That’s why I was sad to read that one junior dictionary recently dropped catkin, chestnut and clover from its pages and replaced them with words like broadband and analogue. The urban children I know don’t need to look up words about computers in the dictionary; they know them already. A catkin, however, would be a mystery to them.

But at least I can show them, every week, a gorgeous array of lilies or roses, sunflowers or cocosmia, on the nature table in the corner of the kitchen.

arranging sonny @familytreehouse

 

For more floral education, check out the Know your Flowers section of our blog. And if you want the real thing in your life, why not sign up for weekly flower deliveries at £24 a pop?

 

 

The picture at the bottom shows our Teddy Bear Sunflowers being arranged by future little florist, Sonny – via @familytreehouse_ on Instagram. The picture above that is our Lilies, Red Alstroemeria and Eucalyptus box arranged by Jon Terry, via Twitter. See more customer arrangements in our Gallery posts!

‘I’ve found a brilliant new use for Freddie’s Flowers boxes!’

In this month’s Diary Misti discovers a novel use for Freddie’s boxes, makes a frighteningly hot chilli and wisely avoids politics…

So what’s it really like being a Freddie’s Flowers customer? In this month’s Diary Misti discovers a novel use for Freddie’s boxes, makes a frighteningly hot chilli and wisely avoids politics…

The first bake sale of the school year took place before Halloween. I made chocolate buttermilk cupcakes with Swiss meringue ghosts on top, as per my daughter’s request. Sometimes I do as I’m told.

After baking and decorating them all, it dawned on me. I didn’t have a cupcake carrier. I scanned the kitchen looking for something with which to improvise. A baking tray? A casserole? My husband’s wine boxes? No.

But boxes, yes! It turns out a Freddie’s Flowers box – before you leave it out for collecting – is just perfect for transporting little cakes.

ghosties

I’m not going to lie; these cupcakes were a hit. Except with my own child. When it came time for her to choose what she wanted, not only did she refuse one of the ghost cakes she asked me to make, but she chose something prepackaged and covered in sparkly pink frosting.

I was so embarrassed. Though at age four I would have selected the same. Shiny things have forever held a special place in my heart. Perhaps that is why I love bonfire night so much…

***

Each year on the 5th of November, I make a chilli con carne. This year I made it with rioja as well as my homemade chipotle and ancho chile sauce. For this reason I called it El Toro de Fuego (‘The Fire Bull’!). We shared it with our neighbours before making our way to the heath with flasks full of whisky and pockets full of sweets. There, huddled like penguins, we watched inky skies explode with gold glitter.

fireworks

***

The following night proved just as sparkly as we celebrated my husband’s new book, Empire of Booze, with a launch party at Russell Norman’s Ape & Bird. The highlight, for me, was my father-in-law chatting with Alexei Sayle, not knowing who he was.

I’ll admit I was a bit peeved about the champagne running out before I arrived, but I suppose that only speaks to the success of the party. Of course I didn’t mind quite so much once someone handed me a generous tumbler of sherry.

***

The next day I arose to the ‘roar of the butterflies’ but also a delivery of red roses, carnations, and rosehips from Freddie’s. Which was nice as my husband was off to Lebanon for yet another luxury work trip. I know. Woe is the life of the wine writer.

red

My husband sent me a text when he arrived in Lebanon but I was worried about him travelling to Bekaa Valley. I kept sending him messages to please let me know when he was safely back in Beirut.

My mind was put at ease when I finally saw a video of him and a group of fellow journalists holding cocktails at a swanky bar.

 

***

Back in the States or what I like to call The Old Country, nobody could focus on anything but the election. Hell, even at a distance neither could I. Several weeks back I had the wisdom to pre-book a massage for the day of the result.

Let me just say I intend to schedule one for every major election here on out.

***

santa

 

On Saturday I took Helena to see Father Christmas in Leicester Square as she wanted early confirmation about her place on The Nice List. Afterwards we had lunch at the Portrait Restaurant then made our way to room 43 of the National Gallery. Helena’s favourite painting is in that room, Van Gogh’s Two Crabs. Which is rather what we were after walking about for five hours in the rain.

At home we curled up with hot chocolate and Peter Pan: “You know that place between sleep and awake, the place where you can still remember dreaming? That’s where I’ll always love you. That’s where I’ll be waiting.”

And that’s exactly where Henry found us when he returned home that night with hugs and boxes of baklava.

 


 

at Coworth Park

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.

How I learnt to stop worrying and love flowers

Like many men, Henry Jeffreys just couldn’t get the hang of buying flowers. But then he finally saw the light…

Like many men, Henry Jeffreys just couldn’t get the hang of buying flowers. He even thought florists might be involved in a shady conspiracy to fool us all. But then he finally saw the light…

By Henry Jeffreys

About 20 years ago, I was living in Barcelona trying unsuccessfully to learn Spanish. So unsuccessful was I that I lost my job working in bar called The Golden Rock Café (a straight rip off of the Hard Rock Café) because I could not understand a word anyone was saying to me.

The manager would say ‘Henry, tenedor! mesa cuatro!” and I would start mopping the floor or give him a cigarette rather than delivering the missing fork to table four. I was the Manuel character in an unfunny Spanish remake of Fawlty Towers.

I did, however, meet a young Danish lady who I attempted to woo. When we were out drinking Cava, I’d be approached by street vendors attempting to sell me red roses for la rubia (the blonde.). I’d shoo them away gracelessly and resume my clumsy attempts at romance.

The only time I bought her flowers was on Sant Jordi’s Day, the patron saint of Catalonia. On this day the tradition is for novios (lovers) to exchange gifts, flowers for her and books for him. It seems terribly old-fashioned but it’s actually very charming. My novia loved her flowers and I was pretty pleased with my copy of A Farewell to Arms because I’d run out of English language books and had been reduced to reading and rereading a book of Will Self short stories.

The thing is, I never learned the lesson. I don’t think I ever bought flowers for her again. Nor did I buy flowers for any subsequent girlfriend. I ignored the evidence of my own eyes and thought that women couldn’t possibly actually like flowers. It was all a conspiracy made up by the card companies or some shadowy conglomeration of florists.

On Valentine’s Day I would look pityingly at the men on the tube with their flowers or at the girls in the office with big bouquets pretending to like them. I knew better, I’d bought a good bottle of claret for my special lady and then wondered why she looked so cross.

It was only when I met my future wife, who after moving into my flat in Bethnal Green, spent Sundays at Columbia Road market. She’d fill this place with flowers and overnight it went from a crash pad to a home. Very slowly it dawned on me that there is no conspiracy: women really do like flowers.

Flower_man crop

 

After this epiphany, I began to brave flower shops, which I found totally overwhelming. “What sort of flowers do you want?” the florist would ask me.

“I have no idea, Pretty ones I suppose,” I’d reply. “Nothing too gaudy.”

“How much do you want to spend?”

Again I had no idea, how much is a lot? When you don’t get flowers, any amount seems baffling. The staff would look at me with pity, thinking, “he’s probably done something terrible and he’s trying to make up for it with flowers.” Honestly I hadn’t. I just wanted to be romantic and spontaneous and ended up all confused.

I’d return home sheepishly carrying a bunch more suitable for leaving on someone’s grave. Or worse, the kind of thing that might look good in the lobby of a German bank but hardly screamsI love you’.

But over time I gradually began to appreciate flowers. They don’t necessarily have to say anything. They just need to exist and make your home more beautiful.

And I learnt, very slowly, that not all florists are created equal. Some have taste (or at any rate, some have taste that chimes with my wife’s), and others don’t.

It’s not easy to find the right florist but now I don’t have to because we have a weekly delivery from Freddie’s Flowers. I’m not entirely sure, however, who is more excited about the delivery, me or my wife, because whisper it… I now love having flowers in the house.

 

funzen pun main

 

Henry Jeffreys writes about drink, books and popular culture in The Spectator, The Guardian, The Oldie, The Lady and many other publications.  He is the author of ‘Empire of Booze’  – a history of Britain told through alcoholic drinks. 

Want to transform your home with naturally lovely flowers? Sign up to try our amazing flower deliveries at £24 a pop.

The Gallery – Dogs, Cabbages, and the Colours of Autumn

Time for an autumnal selection of our favourite recent photos sent in by Freddie’s Flower People (i.e. our splendid gang of customers)…

Nothing makes us happier than seeing our flowers looking lovely in your homes – that’s what they’re for, after all. Here’s a selection of some of our favourite recent photos sent in by Freddie’s Flower People (i.e. our splendid gang of customers)…

We reckon your arrangements are works of art, so they deserve their own gallery (like this and this). Please do share your pics with us by email or social media – see the bottom of the post for where – and perhaps you’ll feature in the next one!

Anyway, in this gallery are some of your gorgeous autumnal arrangements…

 

Fiery reds and golds and oranges

In September and October we’ve gone all out for autumnal colours, particularly with the lilies, Red Alstroemeria and Eucalyptus box, and a little before that, the one with Red Roses, Astrantia, Hypericum and Oak Quercus.

The result on our social media pages has been a veritable avalanche of reds and golds and green loveliness – including some splendid mix-and-match efforts. Here are just a few of our favourites.

From Jon Terry on Twitter:

Jon Terry on Twitter

And this, tweeted by Jackie Scheider

jackie schneider on twitter

 

Meanwhile, on Facebook, Tess Longley turned her red rose arrangement into a real showstopper…

tess longley facebook

…and Emily Gardner showed us how she decided to employ two vases and split her roses…

emily gardner 2

…from her oak and astrantia:

emily gardner 1

 

Cabbages and Roses and Pink Rossano Blooms…

But it’s not been all reds. There have been some delightfully delicate arrangements made from our Cabbages and Roses box, and also from the rather unusual Rossano Blooms, Double Lisianthus and Eucalyptus Populus one at the end of September.

Here’s the latter arranged by Biffy McNally, who shared the pic on Facebook:

pink rossano blooms by biffy on facebook

And Ceri Kennedy decided to ‘go little’ after she found hers were still going strong after two weeks:

ceri on facebook

 

Meanwhile, the cabbages and roses inspired some fine photography, including this tweet from Green Farmhouse B&B:

green farmhouse on twitter

and this from Chris Whiteman:

chris whiteman

 

 

And lastly, the dog days of Autumn…

picturesque pineapple on instagram

Well, how could we resist this Instagram arrangement above from @picturesquepineapple of sunflowers, cocosmia and miniature pinscher?

Or indeed, this magnificent tableau Rachel Pearson on Twitter

rachel pearson on twitter

 

Are you one of Freddie’s Flower People too? We want to see your arrangements! Share your own Freddie’s Flower pics with on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, or drop us an email at freddie@freddiesflowers.com

(Or if you’d like to join us, just sign up for lovely flower deliveries at £24 a pop here!)

 

Misti’s Flower Diary: ‘Is it time to start lying about my age?’

Misti suddenly starts worrying about her age. Luckily, Freddie is on hand with some lilies and roses.

In the latest instalment of her Flower Diary, Misti suddenly starts worrying about her age. Luckily, Freddie is on hand with some lilies and roses…

It’s official. I’m now as close to 50 as I am to 20. Which is to say, it’s time to start lying about my age. Lying up, that is. Call me vain but I’d rather have people think I look great for 40 as opposed to a bit past it at 35.

Well I say that but the truth is I don’t actually mind getting older. Especially when the occasion coincides with an arrangement of white lilies from Freddie like it did this year. It was almost as if he knew Casa Blancas are my favourite.

lilies

 

***

Show of hands–Who can explain inset days to me? Before my daughter started reception on the 15th of September her school already had two such days. Then on the 26th they had another.

I have been told that inset days are teacher training days. Don’t get me wrong. Teacher training is important, but so too is actually having the children in school. N’est-ce pas?

Many reception students have found the transition from nursery rather difficult and the school has emphasized the importance of routine in helping them adjust. I agree which is why I’m baffled by how frequently their routine is disrupted by freaking inset days.

CUT TO: 26 SEPTEMBER (THIRD INSET DAY OF THE YEAR)

Being at a loose end, I took Helena to see the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibit at Tate Modern. We went with a friend of mine and her baby. I am embarrassed to admit that the four month-old was better behaved than my four year-old.

tate modern

Helena could not hide her boredom which she punctuated with loud sighing. She also pretended to be Mowgli from The Jungle Book and sing The Bare Necessities at top volume. Whenever we’d step off an escalator she would immediately try to step on another headed in the opposite direction. You know those string barriers meant to prevent museum-goers from standing too close to the art? She tripped over one.

To cap it all off, she vanished as we were leaving the upstairs cafe. She was only a second or two ahead of us then suddenly she wasn’t anywhere. My heart nearly stopped. BOO! She jumped out and told us she was playing hide and go seek.

***

After leaving the museum, my daughter and I made amends and shared a long hug at the edge of the Thames in the shadow of St. Paul’s Cathedral.

chegworth apples

 

On the way home we stopped off at Borough Market for Chegworth apples. They were so good we’d nearly eaten them all by the time we reached home. That weekend I had to restock. I’m embarrassed to say how many jars of chutney I’ve made and how many crumbles I’ve baked. God, I love apple season.

chutneys

 

***

Recently, Freddie’s have delivered several arrangements that include roses, both red and white.

roses

While roses are beautiful and have a lovely scent, it’s taken me years to realise exactly why I love them like I do. It’s because of Bailey Jane, my childhood dog.

There is a picture my mother took of her when I was young. In it, she is seated on the floral cushions atop our wicker lawn furniture. Next to her is an arrangement of pink and red roses.

bailey

This image is seared into my memory and because of it all things rosy or Maltese related will forever fill me with a happy sense of nostalgia. Which has me thinking… Perhaps it’s time for our family to get a dog of our own.

 


 

at Coworth Park

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.