Di, Flowers, Gardening, Guest Posts

I love to have fresh flowers in the house, and one of the joys at this time of year is to cut them from the garden. It certainly saves money, and they are fresher and last much longer than the bunches you can buy at the supermarket! It also means I can still enjoy my flowers close up in the house, and not watch them suffer from wind and rain!

I’m not a “flower arranger”, but I like to experiment with different flower combinations, and containers.

All the flowers shown here have been recently picked from my garden.

Rose Royal Matrimony and White Sweet Peas

The wine glass on my mantelpiece holds a lovely creamy rose, called “Royal Matrimony”, with white perennial sweet peas, and a sprig of gypsophila. These are all grown in my front garden.

Flower arrangement from kitchen garden

In the kitchen I’ve used a glass carafe and filled it with a variety of herbs, a few annual sweet peas and an opium poppy. These all grow in the tiny “kitchen garden” outside my back door. It’s wonderfully scented with the combination of lavender, sage, oregano, chocolate mint, rosemary and fennel, and of course the fragrant sweet peas.

Mont Blanc Lily, Silver Wedding Rose, Alchemilla and Astilbes

In the living room I’ve used a simple glass vase and a whole array of flowers for my coffee table. The lily is called “Mont Blanc”, the large white rose is “Silver Wedding”, and the small creamy coloured roses have no name because I lost the plant label! I’ve mixed in lots of “frothy” flowers such as the lemon coloured Alchemilla mollis, and white Astilbes, then added blue flowers as an accent colour. The blues include spires of Veronica, sprigs of Lavender multifida, Brodiaea, and the pom-pom flowers of the small blue allium caeruleum. Oh, and I included a couple of poppy seed heads for good measure!

Dorothy Perkins rose, astibles and gypsophila flowers in a jug

Into the dining room next and a big jug of flowers on the dresser. The darker pink rose is the rambler “Dorothy Perkins” that grows in my front garden, and the paler dog rose is another of my many “lost label” plants. It’s a shame I can’t remember its name, but it has a beautiful scent, almost like sherbet lemons, and very thorny stems! More poppy heads, astilbes and gypsophila…

Hydrangeas arranged in a teapot

Back to the kitchen, and an old teapot makes the ideal container for a few hydrangea heads. Always be sure to plunge hydrangeas into a sink full of cold water head-first before you display them — you’ll be surprised how many creepy crawlies come out of them!

Rosa Bonica and Marjorie Fair with Fuchsia and Honeysuckle bouquet

Then a jug of flowers for my desk: Rosa Bonica and Rosa Marjorie Fair from the back garden, with a stem of fuchsia (that broke off in the wind) and a few sprigs of honeysuckle for fragrance. Mmmm…better than an artificial air freshener any day!

Rose Scarlet Cluster, Agapanthus, Echinops, Hydrangea flower arrangement

Finally, I couldn’t resist picking this selection of red rose, “Scarlet Cluster”, blue Agapanthus, Echinops and hydrangeas. I added a few stems of eucalyptus from the tree in the front garden and yet more poppy seed heads.

Lovely flowers from the garden

Seeing the individual flowers close up makes me appreciate their intricacy, detail and beauty — things I often miss if I’m just looking at them in the garden.

I do hope you’ve enjoyed looking at my flowers. Have a look round your garden and see what you can pick. You’ll be surprised just how easy it is to fill a vase or two!

Happy Gardening!
Di x

Decoration, Di, Events, Guest Posts

Here’s a special story from Di to all the children who slept out!
This way to the Fairy Garden
Hello all you brave Primrose people who valiantly slept out on July 28th, to raise awareness of two great causes, Just a Drop and Bumblebee Conservation Trust, and a very special ‘Hello’ to all you children out there who had such a brilliant time! We are the fairies that live at the bottom of Di’s garden (Yes, honestly, so please believe in us!)

When Di told us about the great National SleepOut, we thought it was a new Olympic sport and something that we’d excel in! Surely we would be gold medal winners, as we sleep out in Di’s garden 365 nights a year, so we are well qualified! But Di, our owner and caretaker, was a touch sad… She felt she was far too old to partake in such an event — after all she’s pushing the grand old age of… Shhhh–We daren’t tell! She suffers from “Gardener’s Back”, and at the end of a hard day working in the garden, she deserves a good night’s sleep in a comfy bed (it’s an age thing, or so she tells us!) So, we felt it was up to us, on her behalf, to fly the flag and do our bit for the SleepOut!

Fairy Statues in the Garden

Union Flag waving in the sun in the garden
As there’s only a few of us real fairies living at the bottom of the garden, we needed to gather the troops and formulate our own “Garden Team GB” to represent the little folk all over the country who live in gardens, and sleep out in all weathers.

First we approached the Angels who live in the arbour (they are well sheltered and a bit soft).

Angels in an Arbour

They agreed: “Oh most certainly,” they said. “If it’ll help raise awareness for Just a Drop and Bumblebee Conservation Trust, we’re all for it! Will there be buttercup wine and fairy cakes?”

Then we asked the statues. They’re a bit stony faced normally and don’t have much to do with us, but for once they agreed! “Yes, if it’s for a good cause we are happy to oblige! But please make sure you photograph us from our good side, because some of us are a little cracked and in need of Botox fillers.”

Statue resting under flowers in the garden

Next we asked the wild gnome (he’s a bit mad, but ‘armless’…).

Broken gnome resting at the bottom of the garden

“No probs!” he replied, “Don’t get out much these days; I just sit here under this prickly rose, waiting for Di to prune back the thorny stems…”

Gnarled Old Ivy Man was up for it too…

Gnarled Ivy Man Statue in Garden

Not to mention Alice, the Mad Hatter, and White Rabbit, who as usual, complained he was “Late! Late!! Very, very late!!” but still managed to get to the SleepOut on time! Alice kindly brought a bottle, and the Mad Hatter sang a few songs to get the party going.

Alice in Wonderland, Mad Hatter, and Rabbit garden statues

And so it was that this ramshackle collection of garden ornaments came to life and supported the National Garden SleepOut! For all of their lives they’d slept outside in Di’s garden, and endured all that the weather had thrown at them. Now, their moment had come! Recognition at last! They’d trained long and hard (some had slept outside for 25 years or more!), had their share of setbacks (and been repaired with super glue), and the birds had done you-know-what on them! But on Sunday morning, July 29th, Victory was theirs! They’d taken part in a very special Garden SleepOut! Well done Garden Team GB, and cheers to all the Little Folk across our green and pleasant land!


Di, Events, Flowers, Guest Posts

Of all the RHS Flower Shows held across the country, I have to admit that the Tatton Show is closest to my heart! It’s almost on our doorstep (well, 20 minutes drive away) and situated in the heart of our beautiful Cheshire countryside.

I cannot believe it’s been 14 years since our very first “Tatton”, and we’ve visited most of them ever since.

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Decoration, Di, Flowers, Guest Posts

Mirror, mirror on the wall (or the fence, or the trellis)…

I love to use mirrors in the garden, to reflect light and add a feeling of extra space to my small patch, which is only 25’ x 35’, so every little helps! I’ve had my mirrors for years, and they’ve stood up to the weather well, although maybe they’re just a little bit tarnished now. Only three are specific “garden mirrors” – the rest are from junk shops, car boots, pound shops etc. (Did I mention I was a thrifty gardener?), but they all serve to add a touch of mystery. So would you like to come with me and take a look through the looking glass?

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