My secrets to getting the most out of your flowers!

How To Make Your Flowers Last Longer. Read here to learn all about trick so of the trade.

How To Make Your Flowers Last Longer

There’s nothing like the moment your gorgeous fresh flowers all start to bloom. Suddenly, all the buds become petals and your arrangement bursts into life – we all wish this moment could last forever. At Freddie’s Flowers, we pride ourselves on how long our flowers last, but they can always do with a little bit of help. I wanted to share my top tips for keeping your flowers at their best for as long as possible. Vase, are you ready?!

It may seem obvious, but cleaning your vase is really important… yes, last week’s lilies were lovely, but this week’s Rossano Blooms don’t need to know about it! Make sure your vase is cleaned between arrangements.

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Vase… are you ready?!

The key thing here is to NOT clean the vase with washing-up liquid. I know it is tempting, especially when it all bubbles up to the top and makes your vase look like a big fizzy cocktail. But washing up liquid leaves a residue which can contaminate your water, so we recommend a small amount of vinegar, lemon juice or bleach to clean vases. Do make sure you rinse them well afterwards.

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Feeling the Inch

Because our fresh flowers come unarranged, all stems need an inch removing from the bottom, allowing the flowers to drink properly. This is best done on a diagonal angle, stopping the stem from sitting flat. We recommend using sharp, clean secateurs rather than kitchen scissors – they’re less likely to have any gunk on them which might upset your gorgeous blooms.

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Leaf Life

One of my biggest tips is to make sure that no leaves can fall into your vase water. I always tell people to remove any low-hanging leaves and any leaves or branches that will sit below the neck of the vase. You don’t want leaves falling into the water and contaminating things!

Simply use a thumb and forefinger to whip off any unsightly leaves, fronds or branches that you don’t want. You’ll be amazed at how this tidies things up!

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Fed and Watered

All Freddie’s Flowers customers know we send out flower food in out boxes. This is best added to room-temperature water – nobody likes an ice cold bath, not even fresh flowers!

We always say that water should be changed every three days to get the best out of our flowers. Simply take the flowers out of the vase, pop them to one side, change your water, add more flower food and return the flowers to their original spot.

If you run out of flower food, never fear! We recommend using a teaspoon of sugar in the water as a replacement – you’d be amazed at how effective this is. Some people have been known to try a bit of vinegar, lemonade or vodka to keep things going. Some even swear by aspirin!

I say anything sugary should do the trick; I’d avoid brown sugar, though… it might look a bit strange!

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Location, Location, Location

One of the biggest factors in getting the best from your flowers is their environment – I always encourage people to be careful where they put flowers.

They might look fabulous on your mantlepiece, but too long near the fire will dry them out. Always try and keep them somewhere not too warm, away from heat sources. Don’t worry, you can move them somewhere more prominent if you’re having people over.

Likewise, no flowers like to be too cold. If they’re kept near a draught they probably won’t be looking their best – rather like my lovely pup Claude.

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If we’re lucky enough to be having fabulously sunny weather, it is worth moving your arrangement away from direct sunlight as this can also dry things out faster. Even if you did want to keep them by a sunny window, make sure you give them a few hours off from time to time. And, turn them every so often to ensure your flowers open at the same time.

Flowers and fruit might be the stuff of a perfect Still Life painting, but in reality, they should be kept apart. Ripening fruit can hasten the wilting of flowers, so do keep your bananas away from your brassica!

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Man Down!

All flowers last for different lengths of time – your stunning irises will be around a fraction of the time your lilies are. This is entirely normal, and one of the joys of having incredibly fresh flowers.

You can maintain an arrangement by removing stems that don’t last as long as soon as they’ve gone over. This prevents contamination of the vase water and fights the spread of Botrytis, a mould that will shorten your floral life.

Those are my top tips for getting the longest life out of your flowers; I hope you give them a try! Whenever I speak to customers they’re always full of fantastic new tips for keeping their own flowers going and we’d love to hear them. Do get in touch if you have any nifty hints of your own.

I like the idea of putting a little bit of vodka and lemonade in with flowers – I wonder if it helps sustain people too? I’m off to find out. Maybe I might need an aspirin as well…

Click here to get fresher than fresh flowers delivered to your door for £24 a pop!

 

 

 

 

Bigging up the Brassica!

Welcome to the magical history tour of the wonderful brassica. Over the last few years, brassicas have become increasingly popular in flower arrangements, I love ornamental vegetables in flower arranging.

Vegetable – schmegetable!

Welcome to the magical history tour of the wonderful brassica. Over the last few years, brassicas have become increasingly popular in flower arrangements, I love ornamental vegetables in flower arranging. We love the bohemian idea of having a veg in with flowers so that is exactly what we have done in this week’s arrangement. It’s all about the weird and wonderful.

It might be only recently that cabbages have branched out of meals and into interiors, its history is extraordinary! Check out what the brassica’s edible cousin has been up to for the last 4000 years.

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Trending for millenniums

Cabbages have been cooked and eaten for more than 4,000 years. Other than its culinary prowess, the cabbage is said to have medicinal properties. For example, the Ancient Greeks recommended consuming the veg as a laxative and it was used an antidote for mushroom poisoning. The Roman philosopher Pliny The Elder recommended cabbages as a hangover cure! Similarly, the Ancient Egyptians ate cooked cabbage at the beginning of meals to reduce the intoxicating effects of wine.

Remind me to serve lots of cabbage before a Freddie’s Flowers Party!

You almost can’t open a history book without cabbage popping up. Manuscript illuminations show the prominence of our green leafed friend in the cuisine of the High Middle Ages and its seeds feature among the list of purchases for the use of King John II of France when captive in England in 1360. What was he going to do, dig a tunnel with them? Cabbage has been trending for yonks! The Instagram of the 1300s wouldn’t be awash with avocados and rainbow lattes, it’d be brassica, brassica, brassica.

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Roll out the red carpet for the ‘First Lady’ Brassica

This sophisticated type is the one you will be opening up in your box this week. The fringed purple centre of the first lady gives a beautiful alluring flower centre surrounded by dark green leaves. Who knew cabbages could be so pretty!

This weird and wonderful arrangement makes me think of Alice in Wonderland. It will certainly have you grinning like a Cheshire cat! The magnificent ‘First Lady’ brassicas beautifully juxtapose with the white ‘Avalanche‘ roses, while the pale pink bouvardia pop out and the eucalyptus Cinerea gives the arrangement a wonderfully peacockish look. Not only are edible brassicas an excellent side dish they also compliment other flowers in an arrangement perfectly. I hope you agree. I believe that we should always branch out of our comfort zone and venture into the unknown. Who knows, you might just love it?!

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A cared for cabbage is everyone’s favourite type of cabbage

Let’s see what Brassica is about… Brassica is the Latin name for a genus of plants in the mustard family (what a tasty fam). Unlike other popular flowers, Brassicas are sturdier, less fragile and longer-lasting due to their waxy but tough stems and leaves. They also have the ability to remain fresh as cut ‘flowers’ for well over a week. Especially if you change the water and keep trimming the stems every few days.

Hey! Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge. I give you a secret how to open your brassica to make it more like a full-bloom flower here:

Peel back the outer leaves of the Brassica, one leaf at a time. Work with the leaves carefully, but you can tug firmly to splay them out. If you find that some of the outer leaves are yellowing, simply pull them off and move to the next row of inner leaves. There will be plenty to work at as you open more leaves closer to its core.

And hey presto, you have a lovely fluffy brassica!

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Big up the brassica

So there you have it, my little lesson on why they are wonderful flowers (not cabbages) to have in your home. As much as I love eating cabbage I much prefer them when I’m looking at them alongside some roses and bouvardia. If you want to get on board the brassica train then click here to get them for yourself.

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

So what’s been in season this summer then?

Now that the temperature has dropped few degrees and jumpers are aren’t just making guest appearances after the sun goes down, it is time to have a look back to see what trends of summer 2018 got us the most excited.

Make more of your floral decor!

Now that the temperature has dropped a few degrees and jumpers aren’t just making guest appearances after the sun goes down, it is time to have a look back to see what trends of summer 2018 got us the most excited.

It is pretty safe to say that this summer has been quite possibly one of the most brilliant summers to date. The glorious heat wave that seemed to never end (until now). The World Cup… Poldark! What utterly feverish madness.

To match this wonderful summer we’ve delivered an array of different floral variations to your door; from phlox to peonies to agapanthus to alliums. Each box representing the wonderful summer we’ve had.

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So what are my favourite things of this years summer trends?

Happi to go more Wabi-Sabi!

To start off give the Hygge a hug goodbye and say wassup to Wabi-Sabi. The new lifestyle mood to live your life by.

Wabi-Sabi is all about bringing out those homey features that make a home a home. Beauty in imperfection. Celebrate life’s flaws with crumpled throws, distressed walls and messy(ish) beds.

Of course this doesn’t mean live like Tracy Emin’s Unmade Bed but by living with your house being imperfect it will clear your conscious of the modern stereotypes you believe you have to live up to and accept yourself for who you are. Leaving you with a happier way of life. Of course it is said Freddie’s Flowers go very well with the Wabi-Sabi way of life.

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Jungle prints that will send you wild!

Last year it was all about bright flower and tropical prints but this year it’s all about going deep into the jungle and bringing out the darker greens for your walls.

Framed jungle prints to feel like you’re looking out the window into the depths of the Amazonian rainforest. Transport your home to a forest far far away. When you relax in the evening after a long and stressful day I like to think if you shut your eyes you can hear the sound of the jungle animals. Or maybe… that’s just sound of your kids getting ready for bath time.

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Blurring the boundaries.

Blurred Lines maybe a song from 2013 but for 2018 it’s all about blurred boundaries. I’m not talking about squinting really hard at your living room but actually an architectural movement recreated as an interior movement.

Blurring the boundaries of your room is meant to reconnect your interior space with nature. By adding large plants or flower arrangements (like ours) in the corners of your room it is meant to break up the boundaries and make it feel like a larger more alfresco space. The indoors meets the outdoors without having any windows actually open.

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Absolutely berserk for astrantia.

We went mad for the gorgeous astrantia in our bike baskets earlier this summer. You may have noticed our lovely bikes around and about town, next time come and say hello. But if missed them I’m sure you would have certainly seen them in Meghan’s bouquet at the Royal Wedding to the lovable rogue Prince Harry earlier this year.

The name ‘astrantia’ comes from the latin ‘aster’ meaning star. And it really is a star of a flower in any arrangement with its beautifully crisp outer petals and soft pom pom inner stamens. The are discreet but certainly not missed.

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Traditional techniques that’ll make you go weak!

Finally all the things I have picked up from the little markets on my holidays have come into fashion. Begging my wife to take a moth eaten rug back to England has finally paid off and worth all the eye rolls I’ve got in the past.

Heavily textured and woven hangings, rugs and curtains are all the rage. It’s all about emphasis on the traditional techniques and handmade items celebrating the history and story behind each piece.

Who doesn’t love it when someone comes over to your house and says ”oh, well that is interesting… where did you get that?’ and you go ‘well, funny you should ask, Marjorie. I actually picked up this little number in a lovely little craft market in a hill village just outside of Granada”. Watch Marjorie’s face as she realises this is a one off piece and she can’t pop to Peter Jones to copy you.

We love all things rustic. Evident in our bikes across town and our boxes we deliver our flowers in. To avoid any plastic (plastic is sooooo lame) we deliver our flowers in recyclable boxes and wrap up our flowers in brown craft paper. The craft paper is also perfect to draw on or to wrap presents in.

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The big five.

So there you have it. My top five must have summer 2018 trends. Be more Wabi-Sabi and hang dark jungle prints on your walls to feel like your at one and happy with nature. Blur the boundaries of your room with plants and flowers to reconnect your interior space with the outside or as I like to call it your ‘exterior-interior’. And add more astrantia to your life because who doesn’t want to be like the new Duchess. I mean I know I do.

If you’d like to turn your home into the trendiest home 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.

 

Affirming a friendship through flowers

People say how they feel in such different ways these days; a text, an email, a bunch of alternative flowers, maybe even a messenger pigeon.

People say how they feel in such different ways these days; a text, an email, a bunch of alternative flowers, maybe even a messenger pigeon.

Don’t worry, I’m not about to bang on about Valentine’s day – it’s too early for even me, a flower enthusiast, to talk the language of lurve with flowers quite yet. I simply love that there’s a day dedicated to friendship! Calligraphy pens at the ready, people, today is the official ‘send a card to a friend day’. Totally void of gushy love stuff; just pure appreciation.

So January had January blues whilst February gets friendship, that’s more like it! But what’s even better? Discovering that there’s a language that goes above and beyond the epistolary gesture. And, knowing me, it comes in the form of flowers, of course …

 

The proof is in the post

That feeling of knowing that someone’s thinking of you is, as Tina Turner would say, simply the best.

These days, a card can say more to us than a bunch of flowers can. Just think how many different sections there are in a card shop! Flowers tend to mean love, thanks, apologies, condolences, that sort of thing. Back in the day, a single flower, varying in colour or form, could hold real depth of meaning.

Freddie's flowers send alternative flowers instead of alternative cards
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Seeing as the first penny postage stamp wasn’t introduced until 1840, greeting cards weren’t exactly popular for a fair old while. But for the middle class Victorians, there was an ever increasing popular way of communicating a little bit of love and appreciation. Or hatred. Ooh!

 

When you can’t send a card, what’s your alternative?

Alternative flowers, of course!

The Victorians were big flora and fauna enthusiasts. I’ve heard that even seaweed collecting and fern sampling were up there with their favourite pastimes. What a joyous day out; pootling along, petticoats pulled up, keeping an eye out for a new seaweed species.

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But when they’re not out collecting fauna? They were deciphering floral code. Sounds way more MI5 than it is but floriography was a big deal. 

To the untrained eye, a bouquet was a bouquet but boy oh boy are the meanings deeper than that. When a bouquet was hand delivered to the doorstep (not in big brown boxes, yet), the blooms held a mountain of meaning.

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Flower dictionaries in hand, let’s have a little look at what subliminal floral messages we’ve been sending out recently:

 

Amaryllis

Meaning: ‘splendid beauty and pride’.

Amaryllis as alternative flowers

Remember when we plonked a boxful of splendidly beautiful red amaryllis on your doorstep just in time for Christmas? They were certainly something to be proud of, don’t you think? Just you wait for the white ones coming up!

 

White tulips, alstroemeria, aster, white roses

Meaning: ‘I am worthy of you; your charm, innocence and daintiness. I offer devotion and fortune’.

Wowie! If you’re a Freddie’s Flowers customer you’ll be getting tulips this week and the next three weeks (tis the season) so now you know my intentions!

 

Pink blooms, irises, pink snapdragons, waxflower

Meaning: ‘a rich, faithful and wonderful friendship towards a gracious lady’

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Irises are the top alternative flowers when it comes to friendship. How fitting on ‘send a card to a friend day’.

 

Rhododendrons

Meaning: danger, beware, I am dangerous

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Now, I’m not one to dwell on what alternative flowers you might send to an enemy. Always fun to know though, eh? There’s simply no confusion when it comes to a rhododendron. Thank god we don’t pop them our flower deliveries!

 

Alternative flowers for an alternate message

So, when sending a card to a friend, why not try hiding the message in a Freddie’s box? And a cute little pressed flower in the card that they can keep until next year, too? Be sure to pop a flower dictionary in there so there’s no misunderstanding!

Ollie and Harry know friendships are better when flowers are involved

Go on then, start deciphering the messages embedded in your blooms by giving us a go for only £24 a pop!

 

Six splendid, unusual vases for showing off your flower arrangements

We’ve hunted around for receptacles worthy of your arranging skills! Here are six stylish, unusual and very affordable flower vases…

Great artists need canvases, composers need orchestras, and champion flower arrangers like you need vases! (Or urns, or oversized milk jugs… or anyway something nice in which to plonk your latest Freddie’s Flowers delivery.)

We’ve hunted around for some suitable receptacles worthy of your skills, so without further ado, here are six stylish, unusual and very affordable flower vases that can be ordered online now…

 

1. Silver-finished Florence glass vases by Lime Lace

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If you like to split your arrangements over a few vases then these petite, shabby chic beauties from indie boutique Lime Lace would be perfect. The glass has a distressed silver finish for a naturally lovely antiquey sort of feel. Absurdly affordable, too.

£6.95 each from Lime Lace here.

 

 

2. Stockholm aquatic vase by Stelton

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How’s this for a bit of timeless Scandi design quality? It’s an aluminium and enamel vase by Swedish duo Bernadotte & Kylberg. We love the ocean blues on simple white, and reckon it would be ideal for showing off your flowers without competing with them.

£114.50 from Made in Design here

 

 

3. Lily vase by Bristol Blue Glass

Bristol Blue lily vase

Speaking of blue, the legendary glass-blowers of Bristol have all sorts of fab flower receptacles in their armoury, but we especially like this classic lily vase. All Bristol Blue Glass pieces are handmade and therefore totally unique. (Incidentally, Brizzle is one of areas that we deliver Freddie’s Flowers free!)

From £108.00 direct from Bristol Blue here.

 

 

4. Retro German ceramic vase by Carstens

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Carstens was a West German ceramic company operating between 1945 and 1984, and there are plenty of cool retro pieces to be had online, like this textured sand-coloured vase. It’s one of several Carstens vases available from the very stylish family-run Homeplace store.

£36 from Homeplace here.

 

5. Ceramic Flower Jug from Papa Stour

 

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Designed by Lara for the Scottish craft and design boutique Papa Stour, these lovely, quirky flower jugs are made from soft slabs of clay, with delicate rims and edges. There are three versions, two stripy ones and a leafy one.

£48 from Papa Stour here.

 

 

6. Silver Milk Churn from Wedding of My Dreams

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Or if not a milk jug, how about a milk churn? Ridiculously affordable at a tenner each, these are officially wedding table centerpieces, but so what? They’d be great for anyone who wants a bit of country rustic to go with their artfully plonked flower arrangement. Why should brides always have all the nice stuff, anyway?

£10 from Wedding of My Dreams here.

 

 

There are of course zillions of lovely vases out there, so we’ll definitely be featuring more receptacles in future posts.

Have you spotted some beauties? Do you even make them? They don’t have to be vases – Freddie’s flowers can look splendid in anything from champagne bottles to wellie boots!

Please do share your suggestions with us on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages.

 

Or if you have the vases but need the flowers to go in them, sign up for Freddie’s naturally lovely flower deliveries at £24 a pop here.