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Flowers from the garden: March 2009

Photo: Flowers from the garden. March 2009

Photo: Flowers from the garden. March 2009

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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  1. Domestic Executive

    I’m going to have a special place to grow flowers for cutting when we build our proper kitchen garden later this year. Flowers seem so expensive here in New Zealand I only get them now for a special occasion although when we lived in the UK we bought them every week. How I miss them right now.

  2. Amanda

    Oh Fiona please come for Sunday lunch! I promise I’ll make it worthwhile and you can tell me what we need to plant in the garden to make it pretty again! Hope all well with you. xx

  3. Hi, I also do this now – thanks to your blog. (I have been lurking around here a while and get loads of inspiration from you.) The forsythia has been a dream this year.

  4. I tend to only pick those flowers that have fallen over due to rain, wind or cat, but still have a few days left in them. I could do more with picking from the shrubs though. Your arrangement looks wonderful.

  5. kate (uk)

    If you slice the hellebore stems right up so they unfurl a bit they will last longer in water, any members of the daffodil/narcissus family aren’t good in water with other flowers as chemicals in their sap will kill the other flowers, pick flowers early in the morning and hold flower heads down or put straight into a bucket of water as you pick them- ways to make garden flowers last just as long as shop flowers!
    Can’t believe how fabulous the weather is today.

  6. Did you know that you can eat some flowers? I love the idea of salads full of brightly coloured petals… Maybe you can use that to justify a few lavender bushes or a rose bush or two…

  7. Joanna

    I too am envious the nearest we would get at the moment is pussy willow. The dratted snow is still here in Latvia but at least it is raining at the moment so the chances are it will go soon but there is still a lot to go, meaning my son will probably see the same snow on the ground he saw here at Christmas as he arrives from England tomorrow. Mind you have inspired me, I think I shall get some more flower seeds, we have loads of growing room but no formal garden.

  8. michelle sheets

    I’m with Heather, only my pollen problem child is my husband. Every once and a while I can get away with a small arrangement, but for the most part I leave my flowers outside. I try to comfort myself thinking that they will last longer if I don’t pick them, but trust me, I’m envious of your arrangements!

  9. Heather

    Your flowers look lovely. I don’t have flowers in the house as one of my daughters can sense flowers at 50 paces.She is rather sensitive to the pollen and the perfume, so we either have to have those with little scent or none at all. It’s such a shame so it’s always so nice to see your photos


  10. I was so pleased to see your flowers. As you know, I decided to copy you this time last year when you decided to do this. I have had great fun with simple arrangements and then taking their pics. It’s lovely hunting around the garden for flowers and foliage. Glad you are still enjoying doing it. x

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