I suddenly realised that I hadn’t posted “Flowers from the Garden” since Christmas. I have been picking flowers. Mini bunches of bulbs and Wintersweet in January. Hellebores and winter flowering honeysuckle in February. And now the garden is bursting into song with a background of flowers and unfurling leaves.
Even though I don’t buy flowers anymore, I’m often tempted. This evening there were early scented white sweet peas, knocked down to 79p in Waitrose. My bargain hunting antennae whirled with pleasure until I remembered that I’d managed not to buy flowers for over two years, so why throw away that challenge for a small bunch of forced Sweet Peas? But it was hard to turn away - they looked so fresh and innocent.
Jalopy and I rumbled home with a front seat piled with fruit, vegetable and bread bargains. While the kettle was boiling, I picked these hellebores (Helleborus foetidus - Stinking Hellebore and Helleborus × hybridus Harvington red). I indulged in some flowering twigs from the gorgeous chrome yellow Forsythia (Forsythia × intermedia 'Lynwood Variety') that covers the fence just beyond the kitchen window. I found the delicate narcissi resplendent in a large pot in the greenhouse. I stuffed my swag into a vase planning to arrange them later.
When Danny returned from the post run he glanced at the table.
“Oh I’m so pleased that you’ve bought flowers. There weren’t any marked down at Tesco.”
He stepped forward to examine them.
“These are gorgeous. Waitrose?”
Sometimes he forgets my challenge.
“No, these are all from our garden.”
Flowers from the garden do have an individual magic that knocks the spots off bought flowers. They don’t last as long as they are not sprayed with chemicals. But they are free and somehow bring that spirit into the cottage. I used to spend £10.00 a week on flowers. These arrangements gave me enormous pleasure. Giving up buying flowers was a big challenge. Especially as my attention had been tuned to the vegetables rather than flowers in out garden for the past few years
Now I cultivate far more flowers. Two years on the herbaceous borders are prettier and much more interesting. When I find enough for a decent bunch the joy is immeasurable as these flowers hold the imprint of a place that I love very much indeed.
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