Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Summer Flowers

We have been growing all sorts of traditional English flowers this year. This arrangement is made up of sweet peas which Mike especially likes, snap dragons (lovely bright white ones), sweet smelling stocks and ammi. Ammi is properly called ammi majus with an everyday name of bishop’s weed. It is a bit like cow parsley but a lot more delicate. It makes arrangements look lovely – all white froth and romance.

This next arrangement is bigger and is mainly based on red phlox which is growing really well in our front garden, wonderful blue sea holly which we saved from Mike’s Dad’s house when it was sold, borage which is growing profusely (and we use in salads…tasty and pretty) and lovely bright small red alliums.

I have used flowering salad stuff and herbs a lot this year. Mustard, rocket, parsley, garlic and even lettuce have been really good – pretty and robust. This arrangement uses flowering garlic chives (bright white) and pretty flowering rocket. The pink cosmos and anemones brighten it all up and I was really pleased to use the first of our scabious (gorgeous dark purple – nearly black).

Monday, 29 August 2011

Welcome to Meadowsweet

I am Liz Doherty and this blog marks the beginning of my journey in developing my new flower business. The first thing I have had to decide on is a name and after a lot of thought I have chosen ‘Meadowsweet’. This is the name of one of the few flowers that are native to England. It has delicate creamy-white flowers and it can be found in English meadows from June to September. It has a lovely sweet smell and has been used for centuries to decorate churches for festivals and weddings. Queen Elizabeth I favoured it above all other flowers to make her rooms look and smell lovely. Meadowsweet conjures up everything that I love most about flowers and the way that they make our lives better – through their colour, their fragrance and their beauty. What I especially like about Meadowsweet is that it belongs in England and that it hasn`t been introduced from any faraway land. I also like the way that the whole flower is good – it can be used to flavour wines and preserves, and it is used in herbal remedies.

I have spent the last couple of years doing courses at Sheffield College and I`ve also been to Jane Packer’s Advanced Floral Design Course in London. My husband Mike and I have been growing flowers to cut in our Sheffield garden over the last three years and we are learning what works well in our urban garden. I am now clear about the way I want to work with flowers. I like them to be natural, abundant and vibrant. I don`t like them over-controlled and forced into unnatural designs. I like to use flowers from as close to home as possible – ideally our own garden, or where that isn`t possible, from British growers. Here are a couple of arrangements using flowers and leaves from our garden this summer.

I am looking forward to sharing lots more over the next few months!