The grounds of Chatsworth House make a wonderful setting for the youngest of the major UK flower shows. I hope you’ll find something of interest in my personal picks from the show.
1. Seasonal Cut Flowers
Freddie’s Flowers had packed a breathtaking array of seasonal cut flowers in shades of lavender, cream and pink in the back of a truck to advertise their bouquet by post service. Continue reading
If I was forced to name my favourite flower, there’s a good chance it might be the peony. I love to see the red fronds of the herbaceous type pushing through the soil back to back together in their unearthly fashion around this time of year, full of promise for the season to come. And when their blooms appear – well, could you blame me for deserting the rose in favour of these?
Primrose Hall, a fixture at all the best UK flower shows, are currently teasing a sketch of their proposed 2019 Chelsea Flower Show design online. Arrangements of blooms tower over a garden of peonies. In the background, a garland tumbles down towards flowers floating in a traditional clawfoot bath. That’s my kind of outdoor bathroom!
The pictures I’m sharing here were taken on their stands at last year’s RHS Chatsworth and Hampton Court Flower Shows.
I had thought that there must be more than one peony here but as Primrose Hall’s Alec White, who kindly agreed to identify the peonies, observed, “Note that the corals change colour quite a lot as they mature!”. Continue reading
These flowers are a small sneak peek of the wonders on show in the Floral Art Marquee at the Southport Flower Show, which is on now until Sunday 19th August, 2018. Watch this space for more snippets from the show. Continue reading
The topic of flower miles is one of the secrets in the closet of the cut flower industry. I travel a good few miles myself so can’t be too judgemental. It’s easier to grow big blousy roses in cool mountains, near to the equator where the days and nights don’t vary in length that much during the year – places like Kenya and Colombia. The supply chains that bring the roses from overseas farms to our homes are longer and more complicated than most people would think.
I remember watching a flower auction in Japan – most flowers we buy in Europe come through a similar auction hub in Holland. If you know how much care, thought and anxiety go into producing flowers in any part of the world, it’s chastening to see them reduced to commodities.
Boxed up flowers are opened briefly on stage and shown to assembled buyers in a room laid out like a lecture theatre. Models trying not to wilt after a long distance flight without water would seem a good analogy, but the flowers had better not be wilting at this point as they have many more miles to travel. Buyers hold their nerves as the price ticks down like a clock. The quicker they press, the more they’ll pay per box. If someone else snaps them up first, it’s game over.
You might have noticed by now that some of the flowers illustrated simply can’t be transported that way. They have been grown by Flowers From The Farm’s members for their display at RHS Hampton Court Flower Show. The society promotes British grown flowers that don’t accrue air miles, being sold as locally as possible. Continue reading
Variegated geranium leaves, yellow pompons, wool swizzles and twigs make up one of my favourite designs I’ve seen at a flower show. Yes, it’s tiny and the florist hasn’t spent a fortune on flowers, but it wows me with its colours, poise and confidence.
The judges’ card noted some fault or other – from memory, it lacked flowers or content. I could quote a poem that is equally brief and perfect, but I’ll forbear. The brief might have been ‘Pack ‘Em In’, for all I know, in which case, this would have been highly commended:
Ivory, pink and hints of green lift a white floral centrepiece that would be perfect for a traditional summer wedding. Orchids, rosebuds, peony buds, chrysanthemums and lisianthus feature, with tiny sprigs of gypsophila and hebe, at a guess. I think the clusters of flowers and tiny green buds are Kalanchoe ‘Calandiva White’. Silver-grey mohair yarn trails delicately over. I enjoy the expertise shown here: the ability to create such an even height and the tapestry effect that prevents open ‘black holes’ that can appear when floral designs are photographed. Continue reading
This sweet little posy of zinnias was all the nicer for being a gift from Jim Rosenblatt. His official title may be Dean Emeritus of The Mississippi College School of Law, but he wears the unofficial title of Plant Enthusiast with the same self-depreciation and benevolent good nature.
Several years ago, he created a cutting / kitchen garden in an unused corner of the faculty’s parking lot. The soil is rich and crumbly now, after years of being tended, making the plot very productive. These zinnias were freshly gathered from there.
I wonder how many other people have benefitted from gifts of peppers, tomatoes, herbs and flowers from his car park plot? Many more will have their day brightened by spotting this city centre garden as they passed. Continue reading
Cee Neuner is sharing a flower with something orange in it every day in October, so I thought I’d join her by sharing these lilies. The first ones are an Asiatic lily, Lilium ‘Orange Art’, displayed as cut flowers at a flower show. Pictured on the last day, they seem the perfect choice for the rigours of a show – resplendent, perfect, and sturdy. The lights in the marquee gave the markings a pronounced purple glow. Continue reading
Looking through my photo library, I stumbled upon one of my favourite September flower posy pictures. It’s small and as simple as they come. I was going to add that it’s unstructured, but I’ve just noticed a bit of a colour block effect going on.
The rose is Rosa ‘Wildeve’, one of my favourite garden roses. Its companions are tiny sprigs of achillea, aster, and veronica bonariensis with centaurea buds. They look just as pretty in a vase as they looked growing together in the garden.
It’s for anyone who would like a floral pick me up. Continue reading
Regular readers know I’m a sucker for double flowers, so won’t be surprised to hear that I’ve fallen in love with a relatively new type of flower – the roselily. Named for their similarity to multi-petalled roses, these pollen-free Oriental lilies are available in shades of pink and white. Continue reading
This beautifully crafted King of the Jungle (or more accurately, of the RHS Hampton Court Floristry Marquee) was part of Capel Manor College’s offering for 2016.
He was placed quite high on the stand so I had to tiptoe to capture him. I loved the ruffled textures of his mane and the tawny colour palette. He’s made from those small kniphofias that are so fashionable these days, with a backdrop of ferny foliage, and details picked out in moss, bark, grasses and seeds. Continue reading