Lost in Lilac

Sometimes, a certain colour catches your eye, and it seems from then on, for a time, everywhere you turn you are drawn to that particular shade. 
My imagination is caught by the sight of great sweeps of delphiniums, emerging like a peacock tail from a dark-purple ceramic pot in Ted Martin's shop.
I don't know whether it is the impression left by the delphiniums, but I start to smile when I see pale lilac campanula and scabious added to bouquets and posies.
And it seems the bees agree with me. Large clumps of chives, in this Devon garden, are humming with appreciative visitors. 

Buxton Festival

Those who know my Flower Shops & friends book will be familiar with The Green Pavilion in Buxton, as they feature as the flower shop for the month of September. Now, with the Buxton Festival in full swing I am back up to see Claire as we had been asked to talk about Flower Shops & Friends as part of the festival's literary program.
On the blackboard at the back of the shop Claire advertises her seasonal bouquets. Last time I was here they had a cocktail theme going on the blackboard with Cosmopolitan bouquets and Rose Daquaris, whilst the girls in the shop were busy discussing the famous couples they would feature for their Valentine bouquets.  They had got as far as the ritzy Angelina and Brad bouquet and the more sophisticated and classic, Charles and Camilla bouquet.
On a table, ready for our talk, is a bowl of fat black cherries (stolen from Claire's Green Pavilion Cafe next door) topped with a dome of cerise carnations and black butterflies.
Before we head off to the the Devonshire Dome for our talk we load Claire's van with wedding flowers which have to be delivered first. I particularly like the hearts of lisianthus, freesias and roses that are to be carried by the bridesmaids. 
And at the end of day, we must have done something right as we have been asked back for next year's festival!

Growing Ducks in Cambridge

It is good to see that in the right conditions, with careful feeding, keen Cambridge gardeners are successfully growing ducks in amongst their flowers.

Walking around Cambridge with my daughter Alex, who is studying here, we come across the garden to Clare College. Many, many years ago I applied for this college - without, I have to say, the slightest chance of getting in. After my interview I can imagine the professor reaching for his phone and telling his wife, "you will never guess what they sent me this time!"
The Fellows' garden at Clare College is guarded by an intricate wrought iron gate, in the gate a circle of glass enlarges your view of the herbaceous borders beyond.
After supper, Alex and I stay chatting by the water's edge, duck watching. She tells me her friend Sarah, who is studying History of Art, always says that when you are in Cambridge you should look up at the buildings as the architecture holds so many surprises.
I find she is right.

Sea Green Hydrangeas

"It was so old a ship - who knows, who knows?
- And yet so beautiful, I watched in vain,
To see the mast burst open with a rose,
And the whole deck put on its leaves again."

I call into Ted Martin Flowers to collect some flowers for a talk I am giving to the Wantage Flower Group (lovely ladies, who make great cakes!) and I pause amidst the hydrangeas.

Who can resist these misty and smokey shades? 
- the more you gaze at them the more colours
 you see in the delicate petals.

Mad as a Hatter

I had it all planned, I would go to the Hampton Court Flower Show and photograph my favourite stand there. The thing is once I saw it I knew there was only one place for the photographs and that is on my daughter Libby's blog www.lovepinklibbypage.blogspot.com so you will have to look at them there. But they did make me think of hats - so you can have some photos of those instead!
These lovely hats were made by a very talented lady called Rebecca Norden who lives near Salisbury. She very kindly lent them to my daughter Libby for a fashion show that she and her friends were organising to raise money for charity.

It was especially kind of Rebecca to help as she was just about to have a baby, and in fact her baby was born in between Libby borrowing the hats and returning them. So thank you Rebecca.

Wimbledon Blue

In the Wild Paeony in Shaftesbury there is a table full of what I think of as Wimbledon flowers - a mass of purples and blues amidst dark green foliage. The girls tell me they ran a flower workshop earlier in the week and show me one of the bouquets that they demonstrated, using similar colours; an enticing mix of scabious, roses, allium, phlox, alstromeria and snapdragons.
Broken heads of campanula and cornflowers are placed under a bell-shaped glass cover, which as I am writing this I am kicking myself for not buying! I love it when you come across containers that look good but do not need masses of flowers in them.
Another great idea is their display of fabulous purple hydrangeas. They have filled the bottom of the glass vase with twists and turns of tree ivy which are quite happy submerged in the water.

I know these are not Wimbledon colours, but I cannot resist taking a photograph of their locally grown sweet peas next to my old straw bag. Of course, what I would really like to do is fill my bag with them just
before I leave the shop!


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