The spring bulbs are nearly over and we have had a few lovely warm days here in London. Last weekend was a Bank Holiday weekend and it was up to 25°C so we all rushed off to the garden centres to buy loads of plants and plant them before the working week started on Tuesday.
However as is typical of England weather, the temps plunged and within 24 hours they dropped by 10°C and the rest of the week has been dire — wet, very windy, cold and totally unpredictable. But we are used to this in the UK and we live with it — the alternative is emigrate to warmer climes but then who wants to live in a Spanish, Florida, Aussie climate where the temperatures soar over 30 degrees and it becomes uncomfortably hot for days/weeks on end. No, I prefer the benign climate of the UK, thank you very much. It's more like what I was used to as a child growing up in NZ.
I love being surrounded by flowers and plants. I don't have a garden (just three square feet of outdoor space outside the kitchen door. So I need to have plenty of flowers and plants in the house to keep me sane!
I love the "country" style flowers that look as if they've been picked in a meadow. However in the park (local Common) opposite my house they've slapped a sign up saying you can't pick the flowers so I can no longer gather bunches of Cow Parsley and Borage to fill my home. However my local florist as some lovely stems of natural-looking flowers and you only need one or to stems to then split amongst my glass bottles and earthenware bottles.
I know I have featured a lot of flowers/plants in my home in recent posts, but they enhance your lifestyle and really lift your morale so don't hesitate to spend a little money on flowers and see how far you can make a bunch stretch. Don't restrict yourself to all those commercial, forced-gown types — carnations, alstroemeria, lilies etc. — buy something that looks more natural, with a more subtle colour and lots of offshoots down the stem. I bought a bunch of sweet peas at the supermarket and managed to spread them across three vases (see below). Yes, they are commercially grown but it's how you arrange them that makes the difference.
Here are some photos of flowers and plants I bought today (without spending too much) and how I've maximised the number of stems by splitting the offshoots across small bottles.
The beautiful hydrangea will last well over a month if I keep it well watered. A tip when watering plants: submerge the pot in water so that the soil is covered and wait for the bubbles to stop then leave to drain before returning it to it's vase. This is particularly important for hydrangeas as they need a lot of water but hate (like most plants) sitting in a pot with water in it.
This vase on the mantel is a hyacinth bulb vase: you fill it with water and sit your hyacinth bulb on top. However most commercially grown hyacinth bulbs are too big for these vases and when the flower starts to grow it topples over. I now use mine for cut flowers and these three stems of (commercially grown) sweet peas look so delicate.
In this vase, I've put a few stems of the sweet peas I bought and a couple of stems of meadow flowers from my local florist. Aren't they lovely and delicate? I adore this vase that I bought at Petersham Nurseries.