‘I now look forward to Wednesdays!’ – and 9 more reasons to love weekly flower deliveries

Blogger Rebecca Sterling has become a bit of a fan of the idea of having weekly flower deliveries all for herself…

Rebecca Sterling of the lovely Roses and Rolltops blog has become a bit of a fan of the Freddie’s Flowers idea of having weekly flower deliveries all for herself.

In fact, she’s bursting to tell everyone about all the different reasons why she loves them so much, so we thought we’d better let her. Do any of these chime with you?…

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By Rebecca Sterling

 

I’ve always been a big lover of having fresh flowers in the house. They make it pretty, brighten your mood, are an easy way to update your decor and bring some of the outside and seasons in.

Normally I’d get my blooms via a cheap bunch from the supermarket, homegrown pretties we’ve cut from our garden or allotment or occasionally a trip to Columbia Road Flower Market. However, recently I’ve discovered a new gem of a source to get my floral fix: Freddie’s weekly flower deliveries, direct to my door!

I’d love to share a few reasons why I’m now a convert (and addicted) to my Wednesday boxes…

roses

1. You get out of your flower rut

Do you get stuck in a flower rut? Normally I’d just stick to the same old flowers that you can buy en masse and cheaply. Sunflowers, peonies when in season or roses from the supermarket. I’d buy just one variety and it didn’t feel special. Even if you go to a market, which are few and far between, I’d still just buy one bunch of the same type of flowers. In a box of Freddie’s Flowers though you’ll find about three or four types of flowers each week, often completely unexpected ones, and all hand-picked to coordinate together.

reds

2. You get flowers you can’t find anywhere else

This week’s selection had astrantia (which I had in my wedding bouquet). You definitely won’t find that in your local Waitrose. One week pretty larkspur, another Teddybear sunflowers with fluffy frilly heads, another Ornithogalum Saundersaie – dome shaped almost allium looking heads that opened into lots of white small flowers. It’s an education as well as feeling special and unique that you wouldn’t be able to source easily elsewhere.

sunflowers rebecca

 

3. It reflects the changing seasons

The flowers are seasonal so will be picked according to what’s available. No two weeks are ever the same which I love so you’ll never get bored. It also means that it brings a different feel into your house with the changing colour palette.

 

box surprise

4. You get brilliant arrangement tips

Normally I’d just shove a bunch of flowers into a jug and they’d look alright but a bit of a mess. However, every box of Freddie’s Flowers comes with arrangement tips and by following them I feel like a proper florist. It’s taught me about spreading out the different heights and splitting up different flowers within the display which creates a vase that looks professional and expensive. The arrangement really does make a difference.

 

5. You can have lots of arrangements around the house

If you don’t feel like having one big bunch of flowers, you’ve got the option to split them and create smaller displays to make them go further and spread around the house.

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6. They usually last and last…

….meaning they’re great quality. By delivering them without being in water, you’d think that they wouldn’t last for all that long. But the minute you trim them, pop them into water with the flower food given, they perk straight up and then still look fabulous for ages – sometimes for over two weeks.. By receiving the next bunch whilst your first still looks pretty, you can mix and match them together or just have a whole house full of flowers!

 

7. The packaging makes me smile

…and it’s all so beautifully wrapped.

instructions

 

8. I reckon it’s great value

You can easily put a pause on deliveries if you’re away or want a break. You can also earn free bunches by sharing the love and recommending to friends.

 

9. It’s a great story

It’s such an inspired fun idea and I love supporting small new businesses with a story behind them. Freddie’s surname is Garland believe it or not and his parents are florists. He used to deliver for Abel & Cole but then decided he could do a similar thing for flowers so he and his brother got up at 3am to visit the Covent Garden Flower Market and started putting boxes together. He loves flowers, clearly, and now we all get to enjoy his creations every week! [This is indeed true – read Freddie’s story here…]

small arrangement

 

10. I look forward to Wednesdays!

I now look forward to Wednesdays, our local delivery day, because it’s my ‘Freddie’s Day’! I mean, there’s no better post than fresh flowers. And it’s so fun not knowing what you’re going to get. Sometimes you’ll get an extra little surprise in the box – like these dipped oak leaves this week (above). Lovely – and roll on next Wednesday!

 

toes

 

The original version of this post appeared on Rebecca’s Roses and Rolltops blog here – and it was so nice about us that we just had to ask her if we could put it here as well.

Rebecca also wrote a piece for us giving 6 tips for using flowers in the home.

 

Fancy following in Rebecca’s footsteps? Make your home naturally lovely all year round by signing up for a delivery box for just £24 a pop. 

 

‘I Have Gone Plant Crazy’

In which Misti goes to Spain for the sun and returns to England for the sunflowers…

So what’s it really like having lovely flowers delivered by Freddie every week? Writer, mother, former LA actress and now London-dweller Misti Traya tells all in her exclusive monthly Flower Diary…

I don’t know when I stopped riding on roller coasters, but I do know when I stopped jumping into pools: 2004 . I was 23 when I decided that as a woman with Irish, curly, frizzy hair, it was a pity and a nuisance to ruin a good blow dry. As much as I loved a good splash, I hated looking like a woolly sheep’s behind even more. Well on a recent trip to Spain, I put an end to that nonsense and took a much overdue plunge.

My husband and daughter were on a postprandial stroll when I decided to go skinny-dipping in a red-white-yellow-and-pink-hibiscus lined pool. It was a wonderful jolt to the system and I had to laugh when a frog jumped in to join me.

frog

Our Andalucian holiday was paradise. Each morning, we awoke to the scent of jasmine. After breakfast, we’d head to the beach where Helena and Henry would have a paddle while I basked in the sun. We built sandcastles and sea turtles and ate our weight in helado. We explored the Old Town in our espadrilles and never said no to ice cold beer.

Helena and hibiscus flowers

***

Back in England, summer was still showing off, rather like the glamini and freesias Freddie’s delivered that week:

glamini

 

We took walks through the woods near my in-laws’ house where the bees buzz about the borage and the birds are never short of song. We collected berries from the hedgerows and wildflowers from the fields.

bees borage

This time of year, the harvest, is one of my favourites. So many delicious things are in season, from squeaky green beans to damson. I love it all. The best thing I’ve baked this September has got to be Claire Ptak’s wild bramble crumble tart. The flavour can only be described as high summer.

wild blackberry crumble tart

***

Alright, I have a confession. I have gone plant crazy. It started after Freddie’s sent some white roses a few weeks back. I was going to discard them when the next arrangement arrived, but I couldn’t. I noticed that the leaves I pulled off the stems before placing them in a vase had regrown.

propagating roses

The roses seemed to be telling me they wanted to live. So I read up on rose propagation and now I have lots of pots full of leafy stems on my balcony. There are several theories about how to best keep the stems’ environment humid.

  1. Cover the stems with a jar to create a greenhouse effect.
  2. Place the pot in a clear plastic bag.
  3. Plant the stems in a potato before planting them in a pot.

I have tried all three. You would think that’s where this experiment would end but it hasn’t. Not only am I trying to propagate roses, but also African violets, a clog plant, and a funny little succulent I picked up at the farmer’s market a few month’s back.

***

Like a Victorian gone mad, I’m saving all my spare money for wardian cases and tropical ferns. Luckily for my husband, Freddie’s last delivery of sunflowers can’t be propagated. I guess I will just have to bask in their glow while I can.

sunflowers (1)


 

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.

Freddie’s Flower People: Samantha Bond

Star of screen and stage Samantha Bond tells us about why she loves weekly flower surprises and reveals her favourite bloom…

Freddie’s Flowers customers are all wonderful people… and here’s another one! Star of screen and stage Samantha Bond tells us about why she loves weekly flower surprises and reveals her favourite bloom…

You’d expect Samantha Bond to be garlanded with bouquets — many of her most famous characters would expect nothing less. Lady Rosamund from Downton Abbey is used to living in the grand style, whether at home in Belgrave Square or visiting the family in the country. And if James Bond didn’t bring Moneypenny a bunch of flowers on his return from each latest mission, well, then he certainly should have done.

Samantha’s had a fascinating and varied career that has taken her from playing Juliet to Kenneth Branagh’s Romeo, to the erratic Auntie Angela in Outnumbered — recently, she’s even appeared in her first stage musical, an adaptation of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

But when not on stage or on screen, Samantha Bond loves her Freddie’s Flowers deliveries. She says, As an actor, I am often spoiled with flowers, particularly when in the theatre, but the new varieties that appear every Thursday are a constant delight.’

 Home for Samantha is in south-west London. As a child, she grew up in a showbusiness family — her father an actor, her mother a producer. Her own family have continued the tradition; her husband and both her children are all in the business. Another family tradition that they’ve kept up is that of gathering for a regular Sunday lunch. And the ever-changing bouquets that arrive at the door every week help to make her new home even more naturally lovely.

‘We had just moved into our lovely new house when a flyer from Freddie’s Flowers popped through the letter box. The notion of surprise fresh flowers weekly and the ingenious concept behind the business intrigued me. I signed up immediately.’

So, which bunch would bring a smile to her face when she opens the box? My favourite flowers are probably hydrangeas, but not so practical in the house!’

Hydrangeas: classy, elegant, and constantly surprising us with their ability to change. We can’t think of a more suitable flower.

Hydrangeas_corner

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!

The Gallery – Roses, Irises and a Gladi-Overload!

We love seeing our arrangements in situ in your homes. 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 love seeing our arrangements in situ in your homes. After all, what are flowers for, except to make your home naturally lovely? 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 think your arrangements really are works of art, so they deserve a gallery. Please do share your pics with us by email or social media – see the bottom of the post for where.

 

Iris, Lisianthus and Solidago by ‘Happy Wise Owl’

Iris, Lisianthus and Solidago by Happy Wise Owl via twietter and blog

A perfectly balanced arrangement by Emma from Wiltshire, aka ‘Happy Wise Owl’, who contacted us via Twitter and even wrote a really lovely blog about her first Freddie’s Flowers delivery!

 

Peony nostalgia from Sarah

peonies by Sarah Collicott via FB

This gorgeous pic, shared with us by Sarah Collicott on Facebook, made us nostalgic for the all-too-brief peony season!

 

 

Cafe roses by Farm Girl

Rose Avalanche arrangement Farm Girl Cafe via Instagram

This Instagram pic of the Rose ‘Avalanche’ arrangement from the wonderful Farm Girl cafe in Notting Hill proves that our flowers work just as well outside as in!

 

Summer blooms by Rebecca

summer blooms by rvkloves instagram

How’s this for a naturally lovely room? Interiors blogger and top Instagrammer Rebecca – aka rvk_loves – shared this pic of her stunning lounge. Nice to see some of Freddie’s flowers providing a finishing touch…

 

Anna’s oriental lilies, framed

lilies by anna simpson via FB

Anna Simpson from Bristol shared us this rather beautiful artwork on Facebook: the Oriental Forever Lily/Alstroemeria/soft ruscus arrangement from a few months back – framed in the window.

 

Gladi-Overload!

We had a veritable avalanche of gorgeous gladioli pics shared with us by Freddie’s Flower People on Facebook. Here’s just a few of them…

From Pip O’Byrne:

Pip OByrne glads via FB

 

Some ‘frothy’ ones from Mel Erwin:

glads Mel Erwin via FB

 

What a stunning side-table display here from Pam Fairless…

Pam Fairless Gladioli via FB

 

And what a sitting room centrepiece from Karol Vargas-Ballesteros here!

Karol Vargas-Ballesteros glads via FB

 

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!)

Milestones, Murderous Moggies and Masses of Gladioli

Country life, a killer cat and an emotional reunion with some dedicated bon vivants, in Misti’s latest diary…

So what’s it really like having lovely flowers delivered by Freddie every week? Writer, mother, former LA actress and now London-dweller Misti Traya tells all in her exclusive monthly Flower Diary…

This month has been one of milestones and merriment. Each celebration punctuated with cake and cocktails, and remembered with lilies and larkspur. Which is a way of saying it’s been perfect.

Helena ‘graduated’ from nursery. We marked the occasion with ice cream sundaes and a barbecue in our neighbours’ garden. Until twilight, Helena and her friends ran through the sprinklers and played What’s the time, Mr. Wolf?

sprinklers
Nursery graduation ceremony

 

Then they picked fruit from the raspberry canes for pudding. Icing sugar-coated kisses were exchanged as well as a few tears upon going home.  Even though they see each other most days, parting is always such sweet sorrow.

***

Whilst cat-sitting for my in-laws we tried out country life. We’re not ready for it. Turns out an acre sized garden is a lot of work. I spent hours watering and deadheading and killing snails and resetting copper strips and recovering vegetables with wire. All to no avail. Slugs the size of dogs came anyway. So did the muntjac. Bastards, the lot of them.

slug
Giant slug

***

One evening we fled back to London for a friend’s book launch. As our go-to babysitters were on holiday, we brought Helena with us. And yes, she wore her Snow White dress. And no, there was nothing we could do about it if we wanted to enjoy the evening. Cf. King Pyrrhus: some battles are not worth winning.

flaneuse
Snow White bags a signed copy of Lauren Elkin’s new book

 

At the party, Helena bought a copy of the book with her own money. Then after working the room a bit, she shared her Haribo Starmix with a former Booker Prize longlistee. To cap off the evening or perhaps just to keep me on my toes, she kept trying to touch a £13,000 antique globe with her sticky candy-flavoured fingers.

***

Back in the shire, we made a fire and cuddled up on the sofa with Charlie Cat. After supper, I slipped a bit of uneaten salmon into her bowl. She thanked me the next day with a dead bird. I hadn’t noticed she’d placed it at my feet until I stood up and trod on the poor creature. Ugh.

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Charlie, the killer cat. Check out those murderous eyes…

 

The only nice thing I can say about Charlie’s bird is that it made me think Charlie bird…. Charlie Yardbird…. Charlie Parker! It’d been awhile since I listened to the dulcet sounds of his saxophone. I forgot how much I loved his music, especially Bird of Paradise.

I used to love it so much that I once listened to it as a lullaby on repeat on a flight from New York to Palermo. Which brings me to my next milestone….

***

Seven years ago, and quite by accident, I found myself on a vintage car rally in Sicily with a group of chiefly Anglo-American bon vivants. By day, we drove around the island soaking up the sunshine. By night, we fêted ourselves like deities of the ancient world.

Down the route of the Targa Florio race to the sands of San Vito Lo Capo to Juno’s Temple in Agrigento and into the shadow of Mount Etna we went. The last few days were a jasmine-scented haze of sybaritic perfection at a villa called Don Arcangelo all’Olmo.

The Targo Florio race in 1960s Sicily - you get the idea of the general coolness. Image.
The Targa Florio race in 1960s Sicily – you get the idea of the general Italian coolness. Image.

 

There at the edge of the Ionian Sea, under a Blood Moon, we had a final celebration. I hadn’t even gone to bed when the taxi arrived to take me to Catania Airport the next day. When I arrived in Los Angeles I still had a Nino Rota melody in my head. The customs officer asked if I had anything to declare.  Vice and Poverty, I said, but definitely not Boredom.

Last Tuesday, I had the pleasure of seeing several of those lovely faces again. What a reunion! You see, dear reader, what I haven’t told you is that I met my husband on that trip. I met him in April, visited him in July, and married him in December. Since then life has whooshed by, rather like a vintage E Type.

On a houseboat in West London by the glow of the Hammersmith Bridge, I got reacquainted with this wonderful lot. Seven years on and they were just as I remembered: beautiful and full of magic. Artists and international playboys, Greek goddesses and British peers, race car drivers and financiers. All living with one thing in mind: la dolce vita. The evening was hosted by a gracious son of the Empire who was born in India and whose chicken curry is not to be beat.

invitation
An invitation from the secret society

 

Perhaps it’s because I met them in Sicily, but these dramatis personae can only be described as Fellini-esque. Their eternal effervescence reminds me of his famous quote, “Never lose your childish enthusiasm and things will come your way.” And God, I hope to have more of them in my life…. Hold on a minute. That’s the doorbell.

It was Freddie’s delivering more gladioli than I have vases to hold them! File this under problems I like to have.

Until next month, Arrivederci!

 


 

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.

The Gallery – Freddie’s Flower People at home!

Here’s a selection of some of our favourite photos sent in by Freddie’s Flower People (i.e. our splendid gang of customers) over recent months. They really are works of art, so they deserve a gallery…

What are flowers for? They’re for making your home naturally lovely, of course! So we love nothing more than seeing pics of your own unique, gorgeous arrangements of our deliveries. 

Here’s a selection of some of our favourite photos sent in by Freddie’s Flower People (i.e. our splendid gang of customers) over recent months. They really are works of art, so they deserve a gallery.

We’d love to show off yours too, so please do share by email or social media – see below for where.

(Those of a certain age who remember Tony Hart’s ‘And now it’s time for the Gallery’ may wish to play this music while scrolling through….)

 

Gladioli and lilies by Emily

e c willis

Emily Willis shows us how it’s done with this enviably effortless gladioli and oriental lilies arrangement (shared via Instagram).

 

 

Debbie does Wimbledon!

Debbie Towie via Twitter

 

Debbie Douglas (of TOWIE fame!) serves up our Wimbledon arrangement of dianthus, alstroemeria and stocks (via Twitter).

And they even made an appearance on the show!…

debbie on towie

 

Christina’s carafe

christina anna via fb

Snapdragons, phlox and pittesporum looking very cool in a carafe – shared via Facebook by Christina Anna.

 

Freesias by Helen

freesia helen bruness via twitter may 20

Fabulous freesia arrangement, beautifully framed by Helen Burness from Bristol (shared via Twitter).

 

Juliet’s fair sunflowers

juliet borges on fb

Sunflowers looking dazzling in a simple clear glass vase, expertly arranged by Juliet Borges (and shared with us on Facebook – along with lots of other lovely customer pics!).

 

Janne’s Sunday peonies

jannelford

How’s this for a beautiful arrangement? Our peonies elegantly strewn in a basket by the Instagram style guru Janne Ford.

 

A jug of loveliness by Celia

friends mum

Celia from London here, making her home naturally lovely with Oriental lilies, alstroemeria and soft ruscus.

 

Stunning colours – by Emma…

looloo72

This is just a wonderful pic of the snapdragons, solidago, trachelium and phlox arrangement, by Emma (aka looloo72 of Instagram).

 

…And by funzenpun!

funzenpun

And this is the same box equally beautifully arranged in a rather terrific jug vase by Instagram’s ‘funzenpun’.

 

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!)

Freddie’s Flower People: Polly Devlin

Here’s another wonderful person we’re lucky enough to have on our weekly rounds: the writer, editor and broadcaster Polly Devlin OBE…

We’re constantly amazed by the extraordinariness of our customers. Here’s another wonderful person we’re lucky enough to have on our weekly rounds: the writer, editor and broadcaster Polly Devlin OBE…

Polly Devlin says she was persuaded to give Freddie’s flower boxes a go by a ‘handsome man’ who came one evening, unannounced, to her door. Of, course, she says, she ushered him in sharpish because she ‘couldn’t resist his spiel which was the opposite of a spiel.’

Polly’s always been a woman who has moved between the country and the city; growing up in a remote corner of County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, she set off for Swinging London when she won Vogue magazine’s famous talent competition – working as the Features Editor. In 1967, she moved to Manhattan where she interviewed all the megastars of the era: Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Andy Warhol and Barbara Streisand to mention just a few.

 

‘The minute I could, I filled my houses with flowers’

Her homes have made the pages of magazines themselves — and flowers have always been a part of them. Polly says ‘my mother wouldn’t let flowers into the house when we were small because they made a mess — it’s always down to the old rag and bone shop of the heart, isn’t it? — and the minute I could, I filled my houses with flowers.’

Her favourite flowers? Roses. Polly grows lyrical about her love of them:

I’m Irish and when I look at these fabulous flowers I think… Only the English could have taken this sultry, furled, ancient tenacious decadent flower, one which survived thirty-five million years and immeasurable changes of climates, and christened her Mrs Honey Dyson and hung her in bouncing white frothy cascades from apple trees.

Only the English could have looked deep into the enormous flat furled complicatedness of a rose carried thousands of miles from an island in the Indian Ocean and called it a cabbage rose.

Only the English, in admiring the elegant aristocratic newcomer who had been imported by the East India Company from behind the closed gates of China, could call it a Tea Rose.

She doesn’t think that all the time, she admits. Only sometimes.

 

‘I don’t arrange. Anything. Ever’

Polly even named her eldest daughter Rose — her other two daughters also have the sylvan names Daisy and Bay. (They’re all amazing, successful people too, by the way – Rose Garnett is Head of Creative at Film4, Daisy is a journalist and Bay is a well-known fashion stylist.)

Polly is a writer of novels, short stories, a book on fashion photography and another on conservation: A Year in the Life of an English Meadowwritten with her husband Andy Garnett, tells how she and her family restored fields, made lakes and planted thousands of trees on their land in Somerset.

She’s currently writing a book about New York houses, a short story for an anthology, and preparing for one of her regular semesters teaching at Barnard College in New York.

It’s no wonder, then, that with so much going on in her life, she allows her Freddie’s Flowers to look their natural best. ‘I don’t arrange,’ Polly says. ‘Anything. Ever.’

 

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!

 

 

Image top via BBC – Polly is a regular on the fiendish Round Britain quiz.

Sunflowers, Swanky Parties and the Great British Summer

A garden party with the new Prime Minister, the Worst Sports Day ever, and of course, lots of flowers, in Misti’s latest diary…

So what’s it really like having lovely flowers delivered by Freddie every week? Writer, mother, former LA actress and now London-dweller Misti Traya tells all in her exclusive monthly Flower Diary…

 

My daughter, Helena, might be a dual citizen but her heart is all British. On the 4th of July, a day I usually commemorate by throwing Yorkshire tea into the Thames, I explained America’s Independence to her.  “But why wouldn’t they want a king?” was her reply.

She then refused to wear the sparkly star-spangled tiara I bought for her.  Which shocked me as she has never turned down anything glittery in her life.  I guess fealty to King George III trumped the magic of Mommy’s Colonial Fairy Dust that day.

***

Skies were clear the night of The Spectator Summer Party. Guests milled about the garden sipping Pol Roger. At one point, Henry, my husband, thought he felt a spot of rain. I told him it was probably just plutocrat spittle and indeed, the good weather held. Theresa May was there – not quite yet with the title of Prime Minister but everyone wanted to chat with her and take her photo.

Which is why I decided to leave her be and talk to a louche priest and a gin salesman instead, the latter of whom gifted me with her cocktail when she had to dash, leaving me with two drinks to nurse at the same time. But as my mama always says, “You can’t fly with one wing.”

***

When Serena Williams and Muzza won Wimbledon, there was a huge celebration in our home. Even the arrangement from Freddie’s Flowers seemed to revel in their glory – green fluffy flowers that looked like tennis balls with white and purple snapdragons and stocks. It was incredibly cheery and the flat was filled with the sweetest perfume.

Wimbledon flowers

In the evenings, I made sure to open every window and the balcony doors so we’d get a cross breeze to swirl around that heavenly scent.

***

Helena’s sports day was the worst ever and not just because it started with tears. After breakfast I asked her what she wanted to wear, leggings or shorts. Her response was “my princess dress.”  Well that didn’t happen, but a summer storm sure did.

Right after the egg and spoon race, rain that would have intimidated Noah began to pour from the sky. We raced home as fast as we could without slipping and brewed a pot of tea.  Thankfully, I hadn’t thrown out all the Yorkshire Gold.

***

At the weekend, I tried to recreate the sensorial magic of a Freddie’s arrangement with flowers from my in-laws’ garden. Here is what I used: Sweet peas and roses for fragrance. Foxgloves for a bit of fun. Astrantia for textural variation. Feverfew for cute quotient.  Geraniums because they make me smile. And Russian vines for softness.

bucks bouquet

 

I also baked an orange almond rhubarb crumble cake with rhubarb from my in-laws’ garden (recipe here).  Or as I like to call it, The Garden of Eatin’.

***

That week, even my wardrobe was inspired by Freddie’s arrangement – green and purple florals, but on black. Ageing is funny. Because even though I dress rather like June Cleaver from Leave It To Beaver these days, that doesn’t mean I still don’t have Dr. Dre and Snoop on a loop in my head. Especially whilst grocery shopping in wedge sandals.

June Cleaver

***

Have you ever wondered where all those parents are that you haven’t seen throughout the school year? The ones you met at orientation in September but never saw again? Well I recently ran into them 15 minutes before school let out last Thursday. It was the end of year school picnic and every last one of us were buying up all the cold booze available in the village.  Snacks for the children too, obviously.

That afternoon, the heath became a sea of tartan rugs and sausage rolls and the children ran riot in fancy dress, fuelled by cheese, chocolate, and friends. It was a wonderful time and we all saw the world through rosé-colored glasses. That is, until Helena was at the bottom of a dogpile with her friends unknowingly rolling in poo.

Oh, the tears! You would have thought it was the death scene in Camille.

***

Upon returning home and having a long bath, Helena checked on her sunflower seeds we planted. They had grown! A minute later, the doorbell rang. It was Freddie’s with a box of sunflowers.

misti sunflowers

Goodbye grey skies, hello blue! British summer is here, I feel it on my skin and I see it with the flowers delivered to our flat.


 

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.

 

Freddie’s Flower People: Zoë Wanamaker

Freddie’s Flowers customers are all naturally lovely people. Take, for example, the one and only Zoë Wanamaker…

Freddie’s Flowers customers are all naturally lovely people. Take, for example, the one and only Zoë Wanamaker…

It’s the early days of Freddie’s Flowers (i.e last year). Picture our Freddie speeding through the streets of West London behind the steering wheel of his flowermobile (a milk float bought on eBay), stopping and starting to make deliveries, and only very occasionally hitting top speed of 8mph. It’s raining and, as ever, he’s being followed by queues of angry, hooting motorists and is laughed at by crowds of schoolchildren who stop and point on their way to school.

Float
The infamous flowermobile

 

You have to ask yourself: How on earth did Freddie keep his morale up? How did he maintain a cheery demeanour on the doorstep? How did he just keep going?

A love of flowers and a mission to make everyone’s home more naturally lovely helps, of course. But it might not have been enough. So thank the Lord for chance encounters with inspiring people.

Imagine on such a day knocking on a front door and finding yourself looking at Madam Hooch (from the Harry Potter films). This is how Freddie found himself one otherwise trying morning. Madam Hooch (aka Zoë Wanamaker) was nice to him, even offering him a (possibly magical) cup of tea. She went on to become a loyal customer and we thought we’d check back with her – not least to thank her for her support back in those early, venturesome days.

Zoë loves flowers so was actually pretty sure to look kindly on our offer. She considered Freddie’s Flowers a “charming and inspired idea” that’s “uncomplicated and affordable”. A year later and we’re very happy to hear that “flowers light up my day and a home”. It doesn’t matter too much which ones either: ‘‘90% of flowers are my favourites”.

Having a naturally lovely home to come back to is important to her: she’s a busy lady. She’s just finished a run starring in Elegy at the Donmar Warehouse, has narrated a couple of TV documentaries (Handmade: By Royal Appointment and Mr v Mrs: Call the Mediator) and has been doing work for charities, Breast Cancer Care and Child Rescue Nepal.

With hardly a pause, she’s now working on a new series for television, the intriguingly-titled Britannia. We only know the title so are guessing it’s about one of: (a) the personification of Britain (the lady with the helmet, shield and trident) (b) a lady who happens to be called Britannia, (c) the Roman province comprising modern-day Great Britain or (d) the hybrid tea rose of that name.

Whilst we’d quite like to see Zoë dressed as Britannia we’re really hoping it’s (d).

Can’t wait.

tea rose britannia
The Britannia tea rose – probably not the subject of Zoë’s latest TV show

 

Are you one of Freddie’s Flower People? 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 haven’t already done so, sign up for lovely flower deliveries at £24 a pop here!

Hyacinths for the Soul, or Why everyone deserves a naturally lovely home

Yes, we all know flowers are beautiful, colourful, fragrant… but why are they so IMPORTANT? Allow us to explain…

Yes, we all know flowers are beautiful, colourful, interesting, fragrant… but why are they so important? Allow us to explain…

How’s this for a true, wise and very learn-by-heartable little poem? It’s by the 13th century writer Saadi of Shiraz:

If, of thy mortal goods, thou art bereft,
And from thy slender store two loaves
alone to thee are left,
Sell one & from the dole,
Buy Hyacinths to feed the soul.

At Freddie’s Flowers, we couldn’t agree more!

There are lots of good things about flowers, of course. But the really important thing about them is that they feed the soul.

And they do that by transforming your home into a more beautiful, colourful, sweet-smelling place. Or as we like to say, they make your home more naturally lovely.

peonies

As Freddie’s Flower People (aka our customers) keep telling us, the joy of weekly deliveries is that when you have a steady stream of gorgeous flowers coming into your house, life just seems better. Your vases are continually being filled by splendid new arrangements, and then you can mix and match and use flowers in different rooms until your whole house becomes – as Freddie himself puts it – ‘like a big evolving artwork’.

Not bad for £20 a pop, eh?

Certainly there are worse ways to spend your spondoolicks. For example…


 

Eight common things that don’t make your life more naturally lovely at all…

1. Spending money on not really getting fit

Three visits to the gym, all of them in January, for the frankly eye-watering cost of an Annual Membership…. A cross-trainer in the spare room (aka the world’s most expensive clothes drier)… Sometimes we forget that walking in the park is free (and you can stop to smell the flowers, too.)

 

2. Stocking your cupboard with spices you’ve never heard of and will use possibly once ever

Don’t we love those exciting recipes from the Levant and Middle East, especially from that lovely Ottolenghi? Look amazing in the colour supplements, use lots of healthy ingredients. Just one problem: you need  spices with names like baharat, za’atar and ras el hanout. They sound wonderful, smell divine…It’s just that after your night of experimentation, they will sit in your cupboard unused for the next decade or two.

 

3. Dressing up clothes for men

Sadly, it turns out that constantly upgrading your clubs, bags, trolleys, shoes, gloves, balls, tees, polo shirts, binoculars, visors, sunglasses, trousers, umbrellas and ball cleaning devices doesn’t actually make you play golf like a pro. And for those MAMILs*, dressing in skin-tight, fluorescent lycra doesn’t mean you’ll be able to enter the Tour de France next year, either. [*Middle Aged Man In Lycra]

 

4. Surreal coffees

That Gingerbread Banana Caramel Mochaccino seems pretty conservative choice now that somebody has invented the Deconstructed Flat White, consisting of espresso coffee, milk and hot water served separately in three beakers on a wooden plank:

decontructed flat white

5. Obscure kitchen gadgets

The kind with a function so incredibly specialised that nobody can remember what it is, and when you pull it out of the back of the cupboard you’ll just stand around looking at it and trying to guess. Is it some sort of egg poacher, or do you use it for peeling kumquats?

 

6. Fashion fads

Shoulder pads, crocs, ‘clear’ bra straps that are still perfectly visible, platform sneakers… they all must have seemed like a good idea to somebody at some time. Surely?

 

7. Diet fads

Research shows that literally millions of pounds are disappearing from British wallets on diet books and weird foods – from macrobiotics to caveman grub – and yet hardly any pounds are disappearing from British waistlines.

 

8. Fad clothes that will fit after you’ve been on the fad diet

From the peg to the wardrobe to the charity shop, without once gracing your person. Sigh.

 


Thankfully, Freddie’s Flowers customers don’t have to fret about any of that sort of thing, because they’ve discovered that the secret of domestic bliss is to be constantly surprised and delighted with fresh flower deliveries.

When you think about it, it’s positively criminal that some people haven’t cottoned on to it yet.

So if you have a friend who could do with some ‘hyacinths for the soul’, why not share this post with them on Facebook and help make the world a slightly more naturally lovely place?

freddies

Love flowers? So do we! Make your home naturally lovely all year round by signing up for a delivery box for just £24 a pop here.

Thunder and Frightening and Peonies – A Week of Flowers

So what’s it really like having lovely flowers delivered by Freddie every week? Writer, mother, former LA actress and now London-dweller Misti Traya tells all in her exclusive new monthly Flower Diary…

So what’s it really like having lovely flowers delivered by Freddie every week? Writer, mother, former LA actress and now London-dweller Misti Traya tells all in her exclusive new monthly Flower Diary…

 

Sunday

When faced with spending Father’s Day with his family, my father-in-law opted to go on a 52-mile hike alone instead. His nickname is Grumpy.

To be fair, his overnight Ridge Walk was for charity and was probably more peaceful than staying in Amersham with our four year old.

Red kites swooped across the sky as my husband and I waited with cups of tea for Grumpy to cross the finish line. An enthusiastic dog zipped through the gates with her owner and everyone cheered as the little animal did a victory lap for cuddles. They gave her a medal. When Grumpy arrived, a little less zippy, he too was rewarded with a medal and a cold beer, before we packed him up in the car where he snored all the way home. That evening we fêted our hero with roast beef and baked Alaska, though it was more like baked Alaska in Hawaii as the ice cream had melted.

 

Monday

On Monday morning we drove from Buckinghamshire back to Southeast London through a summer storm. From the backseat, Helena piped up. ‘Mommy, I don’t like thunder and frightening. It scares me.’

The clock on the dashboard said it was 10 a.m. but it felt more like ‘Round Midnight as Thelonious Monk played and heavy water drops pelted the windshield. I was soggy and sad as we carried our bags up the stairs to our flat.

Then I saw it: a long brown box from Freddie’s Flowers propped up against the wall.

Like Santa, they had come when I wasn’t looking. And like a small child, I couldn’t wait to tear the wrapping open. Lo, what did I find? Pink peonies!

Perhaps you could say it’s because I’m American but I like too much. For me, too much is usually the perfect amount. This is why I went with the more is more mentality when choosing how to display them and crammed all the stems in one vase, even though there were more than enough to fill several. Suddenly the dark skies outside seemed less so and, with peonies and a cup of tea, life felt sunny again.

peonies

 

Tuesday

In the evening the full strawberry moon lit up the sky and that night the storm of all storms swept through the island with felt like a great foreshadowing of doom.

 

Wednesday

The peonies were still lovely!

 

Thursday

Helena’s nursery was being used as a polling place so her class went on a field trip to a local farm. Of course, this was the excursion I had signed up to chaperone. As an ex-pat from Los Angeles, I can tell you nothing has made me feel more British than guiding a bunch of little children through a torrential downpour to look at wet angry animals and a flooded muddy pond.

In summer, no less.

 

Friday

You know how when you’re an adult most things you have to do are boring and commonplace? Yeah, well not immediately after a Brexit referendum. Nothing is boring and commonplace immediately after a Brexit referendum.

For about a year, we’ve been flirting with the idea of moving to Kent. But when did our estate agent decide to get back to me about a viewing? Friday morning. Even he had to admit his timing was bad as we nervously giggled our way through a discussion about estimated value while wondering whether the entire country was about to implode.

As we spoke, I changed the water for the peonies. Smelling their perfume was like breathing in a bit of calm. And now I had pink on my mind and a yen to make strawberry shortbread sundaes.

strawberry shortbread sundae

 

Saturday

I spent most of the day scrubbing the balcony outside, like a Cockney charwoman of yore, except I was wearing a blue silk dress. In the evening an old friend of my husband’s came over for dinner. My husband is a wine writer and we have a lot of terrific drinks in the house.

We sipped aperol cocktails and watched Helena showing off until she eventually dismissed herself and ran up to bed in a strop. She was pretending to be a hungry dinosaur by eating the flowers on the windowsill when I had to repeat several times, ‘Please don’t eat the lilies!’

As the words left my lips, I was suddenly reminded of Jean Kerr, who penned a humorous collection of essays about suburban life in 1957 called Please Don’t Eat the Daisies.

Doris Day played her in the film version. I’d hope Anna Kendrick would play me, but Olivia Colman is probably a more realistic casting choice.

 

Sunday

Having consumed a very good bottle of rioja and lots of Armagnac the night before, we awoke on Sunday to the ‘roar of the butterflies’, as Bertie Wooster would have put it. And the school’s summer fair. As much as I was dreading the occasion, it proved to be the best of all possible worlds. Helena bought a Snow White costume for £1 and ran riot with her friends while we nursed hangovers in the shade.

snow white

The covers band was comprised of 10 year olds who were surprisingly good. They started off with Blur then moved on to The White Stripes. Nothing quite like Seven Nation Army as performed by a bunch of primary school children to make you smile on a Sunday afternoon.

Peony petals were finally on the floor when we came home so I had a cull and placed the still happy ones in a smaller vase.

millions of stars and delphiniums

The next morning a new Freddie’s floral arrangement was delivered by 8:30 a.m. Now the flat is filled with a “billion stars” and snapdragons. It’s an arrangement of green and white that even when I’m alone makes me feel like I have a friend in the room. They are so cheerful and sunny I can’t help but think the summer weather will stay…

 


 

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.

 

Meet Freddie!

You’ve seen his lovely flowers, but just who is Freddie? And how did this whole flower delivery thing come about anyway? Here’s a Q&A with our own Freddie Garland…

You’ve seen his lovely flowers, but just who is Freddie? And how did this whole flower delivery thing come about anyway? Here’s a Q&A with our own Freddie Garland…

 

Are you really called ‘Freddie Garland’ or did you change it by deed poll for marketing reasons?

I really am called Garland. And my parents really are florists. So I suppose I had no choice but to do something with flowers for a living. Luckily, I really, really love flowers.

 

So did you and your family permanently wear garlands in your hair, strew flowers in the street as you walked along and that sort of thing?

Only at weekends.

 

How did you come up with the idea of Freddie’s Flowers?

I got the idea when I was working for Abel & Cole, who of course deliver organic fruit and veg boxes to people’s doors. I saw the joy that brought people and one day I just thought, imagine if this was flowers?!

Sending flowers to a friend is a lovely thing, but having a regular flower delivery for yourself is really when the fun begins.

I thought, why can’t we deliver flowers in the same way, so that as well as great food in our kitchens, we can have beautiful lilies and roses – and colours and smells – in our sitting rooms?

I wanted to carry that same idea of carefully grown and chosen produce, plus a lovely element of surprise, so you never know quite what’s going to be in the box. Plus also a bit of art…

Art, you say?

Well, some people assume flowers have to be gifts, but they tend to get the idea of Freddie’s Flowers once they realise how lovely it is to have a steady supply of gorgeous flowers coming into your home.

There’s definitely a creative, arty element to it. When you have a weekly flower delivery of fresh flowers that last ages like ours do, you can make your own arrangements and mix and match and use flowers in different vases and rooms in their own way, like a big evolving artwork. If that doesn’t sound too pretentious…

Anyway, it transforms your house and just generally makes life better… I know I would say that, but it is what customers tell me, too.

 

Did you personally deliver all the flowers then?

These days we have a fantastic team delivering flowers, but that’s how it started – with just me and my brother. A typical day would be: wake up at 3am, go to Covent Garden to choose the day’s flowers, and drive them back to our tent – which we had set up in our mum’s back garden in Wandsworth. We’d stick on the radio and spend a few hours strimming, cutting and pruning the flowers, and by then Mum would wake up and come down to help load up the boxes.

Packing flowers in a box
Mum about to help me pack boxes in the early days

 

 

Flower boxes, ready for delivery
Flower boxes, ready for delivery

 

Fresh flowers
Me in the early days, in the early morning!

 

By about 11am I was ready to load them onto the flowermobile and do make all my deliveries. After that I’d head out onto the streets of London to do some door-knocking and spread the word.  Then it would be back home again to make the leaflets for the following day’s boxes. And then I’d do it all over again the next day.

 

Ah yes, the infamous flowermobile! How did you come by that?

I bought the milk float on a whim because I thought, ‘what a fun way to deliver flowers – and what could possibly go wrong?’ So I spent a few days hunting on eBay and found what seemed the perfect one in Leeds. I rented a pick-up truck, drove up the M1, had a quick look, straight away said I loved it and brought it back to London.

Flower delivery float
What could go wrong?

It was only when I got the milk float home that it dawned on me that I should have done a bit more test-driving. As soon as I boarded it properly I knew something was very wrong… it had a top speed of 8mph. And this was highly embarrassing. For my first delivery round I put a sign on the back saying ‘Please don’t hoot, I can’t go any faster’, and trundled off down the Trinity Road in Wandsworth. A queue of about 70 cars built up behind.

I did use it for very local deliveries, but unfortunately for anything further afield I realised I needed something a bit less likely to annoy all my neighbours… and get my daily deliveries done within the same month!

 

So you learned your lesson about buying things on eBay then?

Sort of. It’s certainly easier to buy flowers online than it is tents… I’ve had no less than three cheap eBay tents blow to pieces in the garden and had to get up in the middle of the night armed with duct tape to fix them back together again, so I could do the next day’s boxes.

But you learn all sorts of things as you go along that seem obvious in hindsight. Like checking the flowers you’ve bought aren’t dead before you carry them all the way back from Covent Garden on a bicycle. I did that a few times actually – but your brain doesn’t function in the usual way at 4am.

Freddie and Ed Garland
The garland boys

What’s the best thing about delivering flowers to people’s homes?

Our lovely customers, of course! We’ve got some amazing ones – sometimes you’d knock on the door and a random celebrity would answer.

In fact, in one of my very first flower box deliveries I nervously tapped on the front door and there stood Madame Hooch from Harry Potter, aka Zoe Wanamaker! She was really nice though and she even invited me into her fantastic home to discuss her love for flowers.  (Read more about Zoe and her Freddie’s Flowers here.)

 

Okay, last few questions. We understand your dog, Claude, is the most controversial character in the office – is she as ugly as people say?

Here’s a photo – I think you and our readers should judge. For some unknown reason she has become known as bat-dog (sadface).

 

Claude

Have you ever rolled over in the clover?

No comment.

 

And one blatantly obvious last question: favourite flower and why?

Well…I like peonies because they look so modest initially, before opening into whopping flower heads – and also their bizarre variety names, like ‘Dr Alexander Fleming’. I like dahlias because of their deep colours and funky shapes. And I actually like twigs in Autumn to add some structure and lend a bit of whackiness.

(One of the good things about us delivering our boxes rather than sending flowers by post, is that we can include interesting foliage and other cool flowers in our boxes.)

But really I think flowers look better together, and that’s why I like an arrangement.

 

Fancy getting some more natural loveliness into your life? Sign up for Freddie’s weekly flower arrangement deliveries to your door for £24 a pop.

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