Get Inspired by the Botanical Gardens of the World!

Let’s have a wonder around some other beautiful botanical gardens around the world. In the words of Aladdin ”I can show you the world (of gardens)”. There are so many beautiful gardens all around the world. Maybe you’ve been to some of them?

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Gardens you simply must visit

Now being an Englishman I suppose I might be biased but I think we can all agree, as a country, we know what a good garden should look like. I mean, we have gardens down to a tee. Even here in London where gardens might not be as big in the country-side we have so many wonderful parks and the best garden of them all, Kew!

I like to think with my arrangements I bring a little bit of the outside into your home.

Here are a few of my favourites:

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Kew Gardens

There is nothing I like to do more than spend a day of my weekend walking around Kew Gardens. It is like swapping bodies with a bee. Meandering around so many different and wonderful plants, trees and flowers. It’s a place of real inspiration for me when thinking of new designs for my arrangements.

Founded in 1840 Kew houses more than 30,000 different plants and has over seven MILLION preserved plant specimens. It really is a marvel and it’s on our doorstep!

But I thought we would have a wonder around some other beautiful botanical gardens around the world. In the words of Aladdin ”I can show you the world (of gardens)”. There are so many beautiful gardens all around the world. Maybe you’ve been to some of them?

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First stop: Rio de Janeiro. – Jardim Botânico

Christ Redeemer looks down on this botanical extraordinaire. Lucky old Christ, ay? This exotic 137-hectare garden, with more than 8000 plant species, was designed by order of the Prince Regent Dom João in 1808. It has an orchid house, a Japanese garden and has rare plants from the Amazon rainforest. Whilst wondering around you can hear the sounds of the jungle around you. Whilst at Kew you can hear the coo of pigeons, in Jardim Botânico  you’re more likely to hear the sounds of macaw’s and monkeys.

A bit closer to home:

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Gardens of the Palace of Versailles

Steeped in history and splendour, the sprawling gardens of Versailles, one of the world’s most recognised landmarks, are the former stomping grounds of King Louis XVI and his queen, Marie Antoinette. In 1661 Louis XVI appointed André Le Nôtre to design the gardens, which took over 40 years to complete and include an orangerie and abundance of ornate fountains. When I went here last year I couldn’t help but have a real strut in my step as I waltzed around this truly magical wonderland.

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New York Botanical Garden

NEW YORK, NEW YORKKKKKK… Dun dun dun de dun. Founded in 1891, this 250-acre botanical oasis in the Bronx supports over one million plants that thrive in a variety of climates, from the tropics to the desert. With over 50 different gardens, this National Historic Landmark receives more than one million visitors per year.

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Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Established to conserve South Africa’s indigenous plants, this extraordinary display of vegetation from the savanna, the karoo (a semidesert natural region of South Africa… I had to google it), and other growing regions. Its grand backdrop of Cape Town’s Table Mountain. Sugarbushes, pincushions, and heaths are some of the plants that make up the more than 7,000 species in this epic garden.

And lastly (there are so many amazing gardens and not enough blog writing time)…

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Claude Monet’s Garden, Giverny

I think this is my second favourite garden in the world (Kew being numero uno of course). Founded by a nonprofit organisation committed to the preservation of the house and gardens of the amazing impressionist painter, Claude Monet. The impressive flower and water garden in Giverny attracts over 500,000 visitors a year, all eager to see the greenery that inspired the great artist. And inspired you will be.

I remember going to Monet’s garden when I was very young with my flower mad parents and I think it was the first time I really appreciated the surroundings I was in. It truly is the most incredible place (other than good old Kew). It has an air of total calmness (slightly muffled by the sound of American tourists) and you can totally understand why it was Monet’s favourite place on earth.

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Planning ahead!

So there you have it, a little tour around some gardens around the world. I wish I could go to them all right now. How wonderful it would be to take a year off and travel the worlds gardens. I feel a retirement plan forming…

If you can’t go off on a whim and visit all these gardens then have a look at my arrangements I bring each week. Each bunch is your own mini botanical garden. Bringing the gardens of the world to you.

If you’d like to turn your living room into a beautiful garden, why not sign up and have some Freddie’s Flowers delivered to your place? It’s only £24 a pop and I think you’ll be quite delighted.

Flower of the week, astrantia

In our flowerful Freddie’s Flowers boxes, being delivered this week, we have a very sweet and unique flower.

Astrantia has many names. It’s known prettily as Hattie’s pincushion, less prettily as Great masterwort, and rather humorously as Melancholy gentleman.

This week's flower box
This week’s flowerful arrangement

The name astrantia is either derived from the Latin ‘aster’ which means star, or from ‘magistrantia’ which means masterwort. If we go with the star derivative (let’s do that, it’s much nicer!) it’s easy to see how the romans got there – the bracts* look like many pointed stars.

*A bract, flower fans, is often mistaken for petals but are in fact the leaflike structure that sits below the flower or cluster of flowers (known as an inflorescence – which reminds me of fireflies and neon jellyfish).

Do take the time to closely admire your astrantia. You may even feel moved to reach for the macro setting on your camera as the clusters of tiny flowers really are stunning up close!

Astrantia delivered by Freddie's Flowers
Astrantia from Freddie’s Flowers

 

When you’re arranging them with other flowers, place them a little lower or higher than other elements in the arrangement. This way you’ll spot and appreciate them from a distance. You could set one aside and pop it in a small milk bottle or little dinky vase and pop on your night stand or bedside table, then you can admire it all by itself.

Keen gardeners will know that astrantia isn’t just a joy when delivered in a flower box. They grow well in the english country garden, as long as they have good soil, dappled shade and some moisture. (They also have aromatic roots, which is just for the gardeners as I won’t include any roots in your box. It’s a flower box not a veg box, after all!).

Absolutely the best way to care for cut astrantia is to handle it very, very gently indeed. They are delicate flowers.  

Astrantia in a teapot
Astrantia in a teapot

Alongside the astrantia this week we have some marvellously poptastic LA lilies. These are a winning combination of Easter Lilies and Asiatic Lilies. They are big, pink, boombastic and proud of it.

It’s easy to remove lily pollen if you prefer not to it in your beautiful home. Take a piece of tissue and pluck the stamen off.  Here’s a very short vid to show what I mean.

Removing pollen from lilies

You’lI notice I send lilies out closed for three reasons. Firstly, it’s so enjoyable watching flowers unfurl and open – it’s something I love about flowers so I share that in the boxes. Secondly, the lilies last a lot longer when we deliver them closed. And lastly, it gives your arrangement this brilliant second wind as it develops over the week. It’s almost as if you get two two different designs! Do move the arrangement around your house and admire and enjoy the flowers in different spots as the arrangement blooms.

I’ve also added alstroemeria to this design. I hope you love the colour of these. They’re a deep maroon-purple which bridges the colour gap between the astrantia and lilies.

Your alstroemeria will be closed when your flowers are delivered and they can look a little sad, but as soon as you put them in water and refresh them, they’ll perk up in no time.  They’ll open out a couple of days after your delivery.

Finally we have some gorgeously lacy green bell, also known as Thlaspi. I just love, love, love green bell. It’s a stunning foliage that brings a beautiful vintage feel to an arrangement and, if you separate out each little branch, it adds an elegant and delicate wodge of volume to the design.

The sun is shining on the trees on Wandsworth Common as I type this and this week many people across the globe will be celebrating Buddha’s birthday. I mention this because my favourite thing about flowers in the home is benefiting from flower arranging as a form of meditation.

Flowerful meditation
Zen and the art of flower arranging

Fresh flowers are good for the soul and there is an element of mindfulness to opening a Freddie’s flower box, sorting the flowers into their little groups, then trimming and styling them. It’s a meditative 20 minute routine that myself and many Freddie’s customers love and look forward to. Especially in today’s busy times!

 

Connecting with nature and beauty is just so reviving, grounding and soothing. And you get something beautiful to look at afterwards. Happy days all round!