Chelsea Flower Show, Darling!

Freshly cut grass fills the air and the smell of flowers stops you in your tracks. This can only mean one thing… Chelsea Flower Show is here!

London in bloom!

It’s that wonderful time of your year again where mother nature has cranked it up a couple of gears and everywhere you look is prettier than the last. Freshly cut grass fills the air and the smell of flowers stops you in your tracks. This can only mean one thing… Chelsea Flower Show is here!

Chelsea Flower Show aka Mecca to all flower lovers. And guess what? We’re going to be there this year!

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So why is Chelsea Flower Show such a big deal to budding horticulturists?

For gardeners and garden designers, Chelsea has several attractions. First and foremost, it is an absolute spectacle! Here the finest, most inspirational designers flaunt their knowledge and verve. The most extravagant, the most beautiful gardens are on view at Chelsea rather than the Hampton Court or the RHS Cardiff shows. Green-fingered suburbanites can marvel, and return to their gardens filled with excitement and wonderment. As well as providing ideas, the show offers practical help. One hundred and six exhibitors sell everything from seeds to sit-on lawnmowers. It really is the show of all shows!

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Fun facts about the Chelsea Flower Show:

The first ever Chelsea flower show was in 1862 and was originally called the Royal Horticultural Society’s Great Spring Show… Boy, what a mouthful!

It started out as a single tent and made a whopping profit of £88. It wasn’t until 1913 that it moved to its current turf in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea.

In 1932 the rain at the Show was so severe that a summer house display fell to pieces. Sounds more like the Chelsea Flower Flow!

In the 1950s, the Duke of Windsor – formerly King Edward VIII, was taken with a fashionable rockery and had the whole exhibit relocated to his private estate. He was so enthused that he even helped to move it himself.

The Great Pavilion is roughly 11,775 square metres or 2.90 acres, enough room to park 500 London buses.

Of the firms that exhibited at the first Show in 1913, three can still be seen at the Show today: McBean’s Orchids, Blackmore & Langdon and Kelways Plants.

Despite the First World War, the show still went ahead between 1914 and 1916. It was however cancelled during the Second World War because the War Office needed the land for an anti-aircraft site. Many people were unsure whether the show would be resumed, but it eventually returned in 1947.

One of the most controversial gardens in the show’s history was Paul Cooper’s ‘Cool and Sexy’ garden in 1994, which featured a grille which blew jets of air up the skirts of unsuspecting women. Good luck trying to do that in 2019, Paul!

Each year the show welcomes 157,000 visitors over the five days.

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Have you got your ticket? What green-fingered questions have you got lined up to ask? I can’t wait to have a look at all the incredible creations. It’s the best inspiration for my boxes!

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

 

Flower Pressing

Fun things to do with your flowers after their vase life ends. Make your flowers everlasting!

At this time of year, it’s still a little bit too cold to stay outside too long to enjoy the great outdoors. But, just because I’m in the house rather than outside doesn’t mean I don’t want to have beautiful flowers around me at all times. Now, my Freddie’s Flowers deliveries are a great way to keep nature close at hand in the colder months, brightening the darker days. However, if you want another way of bringing them into your life, I thoroughly recommend pressing flowers.

It might seem a bit Victorian but everything comes back into fashion (maybe not mullets…). I love pressing flowers and it is a really wonderful way of preserving gorgeous florals to enjoy when there’s less greenery around outside. It’s also ridiculously easy.

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First, select your flowers. Why not use some from your Freddie’s box! Maybe when they are just on the cusp so you can enjoy them as much as possible in the vase. As the flower will be pressed to remove moisture you don’t want anything too chunky and flatter flowers work better. If you did want to press a rose or a bloom you can always cut the flower in half with a sharp knife or scissors.

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Once you’ve chosen your flowers you need to prepare them. I recommend giving them a drink for a few hours in some fresh water with flower food (FF customers, you know the drill!). If you’re taking the flowers from an arrangement that is already in a vase, you can skip this bit!

After giving them a drink make sure you dry them off with a paper towel. Take an A4 sheet of good quality paper and fold it in half. Place the flower carefully inside the paper, making sure it is flat and secure.

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For the pressing itself, you will need a good, heavy book. As the pages might get a bit damp, don’t use that priceless first addition you have on the shelf! Slip the folded paper inside the centre of the book and place on a table. Stack a few more heavy books or other objects (paperweights, bricks, children, dogs…) on top of the first book and make sure everything is balanced securely.

Believe it or not, when you’ve done this you’ve done the hard bit. Simply leave the flowers pressing for two to three weeks, changing the blotting paper every few days. You can use tweezers to pick up the flowers if they’re very small or delicate. After a few weeks pressing, the flowers will be fully dried and preserved.

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The rest is up to you! You can use your dried flowers in a variety of ways. Display them, frame them, stick them on cards – you’re really only limited by your imagination and how many heavy books you can get your hands on.

You know me, I’m all about regular fresh flowers. But our boxes are always stuffed, and a few buds could easily be snipped off and pressed. The fresher the flowers the better they will be preserved once pressed. In fact, our deliveries are perfect for the job!

I’d love to see pictures of any flower pressings that people get up to. Or even better, stick them to a card and send it to us in the office! It really will make us happy here in Freddie’s Flowers HQ.

It’s the perfect way to make flowers last forever!

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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.

Why flowers are not just for Valentines Day!

Have a read to see why flowers aren’t just for Valentines day. That way every day is Valentine’s day!

 

Why is giving flowers considered romantic?

Over the course of history, especially throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, there was a huge fad known as ‘floriography’, which officially solidified the start of floral wooing. Victorians used bouquets to deliver a message to their love interests to let them know they fancied them.

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Shocking Victorians!

Victorians established the enduring link between romance and flowers (especially red roses) as we think of it today. The Victorians were obsessed with the language of flowers, or floriography, developing distinct meanings for every shade of flower imaginable and using this language to send flowers to friends, lovers, and more. Think of it as the Victorian version of emojis. Professing feelings publicly was not considered acceptable at the time, so the language of flowers and the gifting of a red rose was a subtle way to express affection in this rather restricted era. How scandalous those Victorians were!

Have a look to see what some of the flowers meant:

Red rose                     romantic love

Narcissus                   unrequited love

Pansy                          you occupy my thoughts

Periwinkle                   fond memories

Ranunculus                 you are rich in attractions

Violet                           faithfulness

Lily                               purity

Thrift                            sympathy

Daisy                           innocence

Tulips                          I declare war against you!

Blimey, poor people that got tulips. Don’t take it this personally when I send you tulips. I just like them. I don’t want to declare war on you. I don’t think Freddie’s Flowers would do very well back in the Victorian era if people took each flower in my box this literally. I would be sending a lot of mixed messages!

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Getting with the floral times!

But in recent times flowers have moved away from just a romantic gesture. People are realising that rather than waiting for someone to send you flowers one must take control of the reins and realise we’re in 2019 and no one has to wait for anyone to do anything anymore. Secret courting flowers are a thing of the past. ‘Tis the era of having your own flowers. Which is why my deliveries are such a lovely weekly gift to yourself.

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Gosh, flowers really are good for your soul!

I want you to enjoy getting flowers weekly, because looking at a bunch of flowers you can’t help but feel anything but happiness. The fifteen minutes it takes for you to arrange your flowers is relaxing, it will take you to your happy place and relieve stress. Goodbye life anxiety (for 15-20 minutes). It is the perfect way to just switch off and concentrate on something solely for you.

It is scientifically proven that flowers actually do make you happy (whether you like it or not), looking at pretty flowers triggers your happy chemicals in your brain like serotonin for example. You automatically feel a sense of pride and excitement that releases serotonin. It is actually probably best for you to sign up straight away if you haven’t already for the happy endorphins we guarantee with each delivery.

Flowers give us a connection to nature too. Something to disconnect us from our fast past hectic lives. Bringing the outdoors in is what 2019 is all about, especially until it’s warm enough to actually go outside.

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Colour really does make a difference.

And the colour of them… let’s talk about what the colour does for us!

Chromotherapy is a theory invented by Edwin Dwight Babbitt that connects colours with a sense of feeling. There are seven colours that we connect with when we look at them.

Red – makes us feel grounded and instinct of survival

Orange – brings out emotions, creativity and sexuality.

Yellow – a sense of power, a sense of self and confidence

Green – unconditional love, sense of responsibility

Blue – Physical  and spiritual communication

Indigo – intuition, forgiveness, compassion and understanding

Violet – connection with universal energies, transmission of ideas and information.

So you might have noticed last week when I sent out the lovely yellow arrangement (lilies, Good Time roses, forsythia, waxflower and Solidago) you were feeling particularly empowered and self-confident.

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Surround yourself with floral fabulousness

So there you have it, flowers are not just for Valentine’s day no more than a puppy is not just for Christmas. Flowers increase nothing but positivity in your life and it is simply imperative that everyone must constantly surround themselves with them at all times. Think of the serotonin levels!

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.

Top Instagram Accounts I amore!

My top four flower accounts I am totally digging at the moment. I love how a photo of flowers can transport you into a world of inspiration.

All hail Instagram!

The Gram (as it’s known… according to the younger people in the office) has the awesome power of being able to transport you all over the world in a matter of minutes. One minute you’re in a sunflower field in Cornwall, next you’re staring at a cactus in the heart of the Namibian desert.

Insty pulls together a growing community of florists and flower lovers and puts more people under the floral spell every day. There are literally thousands of mind-blowing flower accounts out there. I could spend all day scrolling saying ‘ooooo and ahhhh’. And sometimes I do…

Though your Instagram is often overwhelmed with selfies and #tbt postings, it is, without doubt, an amazing source of inspiration and offers a special peek into the world of some very creative individuals. With this in mind, I thought it only fitting to indulge in one of Instagram’s most beautiful niches, that of the bloom-obsessed, flower arrangement creating, floral-foraging community. From professional florists prepping weddings, to expressive artists making us see flowers in entirely new ways.

So let’s have a look at some of my faves. Each account is wonderfully unique and I really can’t help but get that pang of #inspo when I look at what amazingness they have conjured up.

Jo Flowers

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@joflowersofficial

Inspired by the great gardeners in her family, Jo’s connection to growing began at an early age, and has never left her. She trained in the classic techniques of floristry, honing her craft and developing her skill, before bursting onto the floral design scene in 2011. Her horticultural prowess and synchronicity with nature means she is one of the most innovative designers in her field today.

There is a real sense of the shabby aristocratic in Jo’s designs and I just can’t get enough of her glorious creations.

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@joflowersofficial

Poppy Barach

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@poppybarach

Poppy’s photography is all taken in natural light, mostly early morning, her favourite time of day apparently. Often using light to draw the viewer into the realm of darkness where she finds great beauty and mystery. Through her images, she records a brief personal moment in time. Whether she brings elements indoors, shoot on site or with a model, she’s guided by instinct and whatever she finds in nature that moves her that day. Her props are often small, subtle and seasonal. She includes only what is most essential in conveying her contemplative mood.

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@poppybarach

Janne Ford

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@jannelford

Janne Ford studied textiles at uni and has a real eye for creating a perfect picture. Walking her dog each day in the woods and on her local common really keeps her in tune with the day-to-day changes in nature and light as the seasons evolve. Creating and photographing a still life, using what is available naturally or foraged locally just for the sheer joy of creating is one of her favourite things to do.

Flicky Wallace

Dot and the dandelion

Dot and the Dandelion, created by Flicky, is a florist focused on designing distinctive and elegant flowers. Influenced by the rural countryside of her childhood, Flicky creates colourful and natural designs with the best selection of wholesalers and foraged, found materials. Flicky studied photography and transitioned from photographing nature to working physically with it.

Her wonderful floral creations really are one of a kind. Her arrangements remind me of a modern day, trendy Elizabeth Bennet (if she was a florist of course). They perfectly capture the English country-side don’t you think?

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@dot_and_the_dandelion

My top accounts!

So there you have it. My top four flower accounts I am totally digging at the moment. I love how a photo of flowers can transport you into a world of inspiration. Down the rabbit hole to endless ideas and thoughts. Each picture has a story behind it and I love making up my own stories behind each one.

Get fresher than fresh flowers delivered to your door for £24 a pop!

A complete guide to eryngium!

As the days get shorter and the jumpers get thicker we start seeing more and more of one of my favourite floral foliage, eryngium.

The ultimate guide to eryngium.

As the days get shorter and the jumpers get thicker we start seeing more and more of one of my favourite floral foliage, eryngium. Beautifully mimicking the shape that the morning frost leaves on your car’s windshield, these wonderful deep ice-blue spikey thistles really do bring a sense of excitement to the bunch. Aren’t they just the perfect autumnal and wintery flower? well, A thistle to be precise.

From the Umbelliferae family, the name eryngium derives from the Greek word for thistle. Eryngiums can have blue or white flowers depending on the variety, together with a ruff of spikey bracts on branching stems.

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Spikey by look, spikey by nature.

Native to rocky and coastal areas, they have adapted to cope with the tough conditions on the seashore. Being battered by strong winds and baked in the suns scorching heat. This is one tough thistle and brings a strong look to any bunch.

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Just bee’ing wonderful.

Although they are unscented, eryngium seriously attracts the bees and other lovely pollinated insects. They are one of the biggest pollinated flowers around and the bees just can’t get enough. Plants rely on bees and other insects to reproduce and so they have adapted, over time, to become more attractive to them. And who could resist an eryngium?

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Not just for decoration

Eryngium’s roots were used as a medicine for many things but one of its main usages was to boost the libido of an ageing man. So there you go. Good to know. It was also crushed up as a herbal remedy and drunk for coughing and whooping cough. What can’t you use this spikey fleur for?!

Not just for autumn.

With Christmas just around the corner, these little blue beauties are perfect for drying and using them around the house as the perfect Xmas decoration. You can use them for the tree by tying a bit of thread or string around the stem. They will look like little blue stars of Bethlehem. Or you can add them to other arrangements or wreaths or garlands.

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The best way to dry your eryngium.

Find a dark, dry area with good circulation, such as an attic or unused closet. With unflavoured dental floss (or string will do), secure the bottom of the flowers’ stems to a hanger so that they hang upside down to dry. Leave the flowers for two to three weeks until completely dry and hey-presto! Your Christmas dried flowers are ready to go.

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The Queen of Eryngium – Ellen Willmott

I can’t write a blog about eryngium and not mention Ellen Willmott. If you haven’t heard of Ellen then luckily I am about to tell you all about her. Why? Because she is an absolute gardening legend. Born in 1858 she was a key member of the Royal Horticultural Society and even received the Victoria Medal of Honour in 1897 for her dedication to plants. She was said to have cultivated more than 100,000 species and cultivars of plants, and sponsored expeditions to discover new species

Her particular fancy was for Eryngium and wherever she went, she made sure she had a handful of seeds in the pocket of her voluminous skirts of black bombazine. Surreptitiously she would scatter a handful in every garden she visited, knowing that a year or so later – the plant is a biennial, growing one year and flowering the next – the eryngiums would flower their socks off and the garden’s owner would wonder where they had come from.

Alas, Ellen is no longer with us, but you can have her ghost in your garden if you get hold of your own handful of eryngium seeds, scatter them on to any patch of well-drained soil and rake them in. Or with slightly less effort get this weeks arrangement! 

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Too good to miss.

This lovely spikey blue thistle really is a favourite of mine. It just gives any arrangement a wonderful effortlessly aristocratic feel. So don’t miss out on their beauty and give my boxes a go and make your flowers be the talk of the street!

If you’d like to turn your home into an eryngium dream, 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.

On-Trend Dining!

Whether it is a classic family meal, or a sophisticated soireé the table layout is of the upmost importance.

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Table decoration ideas for the perfect party

Whether it is a classic family meal, or a sophisticated soireé the table layout is of the upmost importance. Not only do they provide the perfect ambience for the meal you are about to embark on but also a great conversational topic.

Conversation starters can pop up from almost anywhere but the table layout is the first place I go to (apart from the recent weather we’ve been having). And at some dinner parties conversation starters are essential.  I usually get put next to the, lets call them the more difficult of guests because I fall under the awful category of ”I hope you don’t mind but you’re so easy to talk to I put you next to Great Uncle Bernard”. So if I can start with ”Bernard, doesn’t the table look absolutely fabulous tonight?” I am one happy bunny.

So lets have a look at a few table decors I’ve noticed around and about that I think are rather great to have a go at.

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The first rule of dinner partying

First of all, the first of the commandments of a good table layout is to embrace flowers wherever possible. A dinner party without flowers is like going shopping without your bag-for-life and having to get a plastic bag. AKA so not cool. So flaunt flowers in all their glory with a fresh arrangement in the centre and dotted about through out le table as much as you can. Of course the best flowers to have on the table are of course my flowers.

A lovely way of doing this is by getting tiny cups with fresh cut blooms and place at each setting for some sweet-sweet smelling ambience.

Of course if you don’t have lots of tiny cups, (I mean unless you’re part Sylvanian why would you?) another way (and maybe easier) of bringing more floral flair to your place settings is by placing or tucking stems and sprigs on or into the napkin. Et Voilà! La fête est un triomphe!

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Innovation invitation at its best!

I recently went to a D.P where they had chalkboard paper place mats. CHALKBOARD PAPER! Have you ever heard of such a superb revelation. Not only can they double up as place mats AND name places but also for the after dinner entertainment. Provide your guests with a bit of chalk and watch their face as they realise they’ve been eating off their own pictionary board all night!

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Seed them away with something to take home

Being a man of flowers this is an idea I could wait to do for my own soireé at home. Using seed packets as name places. Slot them into a bit of wood and staple or glue a bit of paper with the persons name on and not only does it give the table a little je ne sais quoi but it is also a little treat for the guest to take home at the end. And when they grow what ever seed it is at home they will always think of the wonderful time they had at your amazing party.

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Flowers make the world go round.

So there you have a few of my top tips for a lovely-jubly table layout. Dinner parties and lunches are my most favourite times and I always look back on each one with such fond memories so it is so important to make it look great. Flowers are integral. Do not forget it!

If you’d like your dinner party table the trendiest table in town, 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!