What really goes on behind the scenes at Freddie’s Flowers…

o what really goes on behind the scenes here at my Freddie’s Flowers HQ? There’s always a hustle and bustle in the Freddie’s Flowers office.

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So what really goes on behind the scenes here at my Freddie’s Flowers HQ? There’s always a hustle and bustle in the Freddie’s Flowers office. Whether it’s the sound of the phones going off or all the office dogs running around in total madness, there’s never a silent moment. I thought it was about time I shared with you what really goes on behind the scenes…

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Flower fights

Starting off the week with the Monday morning fight over who gets to arrange the boxes of flowers delivered to be displayed around the office. All the customer service team huddle around the boxes shouting orders ”Maddie, get the scissors. Dan, where’s the flower food! Alice, you haven’t followed the leaflet!” It’s nice to see that even though they are talking about flowers all day they still love the concept of the company and love what we sell. And with all the hustle and bustle that brings we start the week as we mean to go on.

Bacon rush

Now, this is equal to the end of the week fight, the Friday morning bacon rush. The bacon gets delivered on a Monday and one person each week is put in charge to be the ‘keeper of the bacon’. This usually consists of one of us standing watch over the fridge so no one takes any sneaky slices of bacon. No one is to touch the bacon until we can all enjoy it on a Friday morning. Munching on our bacon sandwiches over a cup of tea and a chat we are then all ready to start the working day.

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Va-Va Bloom

There is no time for a sit-down cuppa for the Events Team however, they are all go-go-go! Creating the beautiful displays you see around about London in our bikes or pop-ups. They whip together the most beautiful baskets of flowers all week long, this is usually done with Bruce Springsteen blaring and a lot of laughter. But my gosh, do these guys know their flowers. Then off they go in the vans all over England to spread the word of what we do. You may have seen them around? Next time do come and see hello. They are a really friendly bunch!

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For the Gram

Behind every Instagram post is a story of hard labour that doesn’t always go to plan. They do always say ‘a picture says a thousand words’ and those words can sometimes be words of joy and sometimes words that shouldn’t be repeated. We recently went to Hampstead to shoot some images of my flowers for the Gram. What you don’t see in the snap (see below) is two people squatting just below the shot in case the wind blows the vase off the ledge into the pond (it happened many times) and all the time getting honked and snapped at by the aggressive swans circling them like Great White sharks.

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All our lovely images are taken by our world famous photographer, Harry. He used to work in our Customer Service team but found out he was rather good at taking pictures of flowers. So, boom! One day we suddenly found ourselves with a flower photographer. And what a great job he does.

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And that’s just a snippet of a few things that happen around and about the office during the week. Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned the dogs!

At the top of the hound hierarchy is my French Bulldog Claude. She’s Queen Bee of the Freddie’s Flowers HQ and is usually seen barking orders at most people here. Especially me. Then we have Malt, Betty, Solo, Yoko and Toby. So if you hear any loud barks in the background of your phone call it’s the dogs, not because we’re barking mad.

I hope you’ve enjoyed being a fly on the wall in my HQ, there will be lots more behind the scene snippets to come.

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.

 

 

 

 

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.

Homemade flower food recipes!

Read my blog this week to find out how you can make your own flower food when it’s all run out!

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A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down

We’ve all been there. Your gorgeous Brassica are lasting longer than you thought they
ever could. You’ve changed the water every three days and, as we recommend, you go to
change the water again. But disaster strikes! You’re out of flower food! What can be
done?!
For some, this scenario is a regular occurrence, especially as Freddie’s Flowers tend to
last a couple of weeks. Our fabulous flower food does a brilliant job of keeping flowers
looking healthy and happy for longer… but if you run out all is not lost! I’m going to take
you through how to make some of your own.

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The following are the main elements you need to make your own flower food:

1. Sugar

The main nutrient in flower food is sugar, which gives your flowers the energy they need to
stay bloomin’ marvellous. When making your own flower food, you need to start with the
sugar. We recommend standard white sugars which can dissolve in water, though some
have been known to use lemonade or tonic water (full fat only, no diet options here). I’d
advise against using brown sugar or cola – if you have a clean vase it might look a little
icky!

2. Acid

A natural acid is important to add to your flower food. The injection of a small amount of
acid will balance the pH of the water and help to combat bacteria that can build up in your
vase. Lemon juice works a treat (and has added fragrant benefits!) but some swear by a
small amount of vinegar – white only, brown vinegar won’t be aesthetically appealing.

3. Anti-Bacterials

You may have heard that it is useful to put a copper penny into a vase to help flowers last.
Well, there’s some truth to this tale – what you’re doing there is engaging the anti-bacterial
properties of copper to help the flowers last.
Unhelpful bacteria in your vase will shorten the life of your glorious blooms, which isn’t
what we’re after at all. It might sound counterintuitive but a small amount of an anti-
bacterial fluid such as bleach will help keep the water, and the inside of the vase, bacteria-
free, and will keep your flowers looking better for longer! Standard-strength household
bleach will do – make sure you’re handling it carefully as you usually would.
As long as you’ve got the elements sugar, acid and an anti-bacterial you’ll be fine. In fact,
the gin and tonic contains these elements (tonic = sugar, lemon = acid, gin = anti-bacterial) so perhaps tip a bit of your evening tipple in the vase!

But, if you want to do it in a more exacting way, here is my recipe for homemade flower
food that will work a treat:
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons bleach
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Combine these three ingredients and add to 1/2 litre of vase water.
Please do give this a try and let me know how you get on! Be sure to adjust
measurements depending on the size of the vase and the volume of water used.
Also, please let me know if you have any tips of your own – I’m always amazed by the
things people add to their flowers to make them last.

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I’m off for some sugar, acid and anti-bacterial of my own, in the form of a well-earned G&T!

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.

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!