Hearts & Flowers for Mothers' Day

First stop is Rustic Rose in Shaftesbury to see what Kate is up to for Mothers' Day and then I am off to visit Emma and Jenny at Arcade Flowers in Ringwood

Here the florists have decided to help raise funds and awareness for the charity Hope and Homes for Children. They will be selling cakes and coffee in the shop and Emma and Jenny have decorated a tree in the window with blue hearts, on which children have written messages to their mums.

These local school children have clearly been moved by hearing about the children they are helping.
Hope and Homes believe children should grow up in families, not state institutions. They know how much harm this does to children so over the years they have become experts at reuniting babies and children with their families or if this is not possible ensuring they are brought up by loving foster families. They know just how important mums are.

When Hope and Homes reunites children living in institutions in some of the poorest parts of the world with their mums or endeavours to find them a new family, one of the first things they do is to understand what each child really wants. One of the ways they do this is to ask them to write their wishes on paper leaves that are then pinned to a ‘wish tree’

Most children wish for the kind of love that

these Dorset children will be thanking their mums for on Mothers’ Day.

Happy Mothers' Day

First Stop The Garden, Next Stop London

Well, actually the first stop is really Ted Martin Flowers ... look at those tulips, don't you just want to pour them out and drink them in ... but I am getting side-tracked. I am in Ted's photographing some flowers that are going up to Pythouse Walled Garden for a wedding celebration. I have just started a new blog all about the garden.
I have always thought it was rather odd that The Country Living Fair is held in down town Islington. It is what Mr French, my old English teacher, would have called an Oxymoron, Which when I come to think of it is rather like the pot calling the kettle black.
Anyway, whatever it is, owner, Anna is very excited.
Her only sadness is that her business partner Vicky won't be joining her there. She is in hospital recovering from an operation - so if you are reading this Vicky; Get Well Soon!
I tell Anna about my new blog; A Year in the Life of Pythouse Walled Garden - and like me she loves it there. In fact she is having one of her 40th birthday celebrations in the garden (I do like a woman who knows how to party).
I ask her what flowers she thinks she will have on the tables and she looks at me blankly. I am afraid it is a case of the cobbler's children going without shoes - she had forgotten about the flowers!
I leave her as she starts to scheme and plan how to decorate her birthday supper table.
If you would like to see the wonderful flowers from Wild Paeony - and by the way, that is how they spell their name, it is the old English spelling of peony - you will find them at The Country Living Fair, in London 23rd - 27th March.

A Question of Workshops

I have some very exciting news. I have the chance to run a series of workshops at Stourhead, in the courtyard next door to the beautiful National Trust gardens. I am scheming and planning these at the moment, so if anyone fancies coming to a workshop, let me know what sort of things you would like to have a go at. There is a pub with a hotel and restaurant in the courtyard across from the room I will be using - so it could be an excuse for a couple of days away in this area... so many gardens and flower shops to visit ...
Let me know if you think this could be as much fun as I do.
I am busy with workshops this weekend. For some of my girlfriend's for Christmas, I suggested I would run a workshop for them. I would bring the flowers - they just have to bring themselves and a few bits for lunch. My friends arrive laden with food and wine (this is why they are my friends!) and I carry in buckets of beautiful spring flowers from Kate's flower shop.
The wine is open, Adele is on the CD and all is well with the world.
We are going to be making easy gifts - such as the teacups of flowers shown above and we will also be practicing hand-tied posies - one of the most useful, but tricky things to master.
Good hand-tie Jane!
This idea is so simple. Little box. Bit of cellophane and Oasis. Four roses. Ribbon to tie.
These buttery lemon roses are called Vanilla Sky.
One of my favourites.

No Flowers at The Flower House

They must have had an especially busy time at The Flower House in Cambridge, because when I pop in to have a look around the shop, the buckets are bare. Which is a shame for me, if not for them, because it looks like it would be a lovely shop when it is bursting with blooms.
So I have to look elsewhere to get my daily dose of flowers.
A tulip a day keeps the doctor away.
I find them in abundance at the market in the centre of the city and I spot these fabulous cerise hydrangeas and equally fabulous dress in Bowns on Magdalene Street.
I even find the city is paved with flowers. This is a phenomenon I have never got to the bottom of. Casually scattered along the pavements of Cambridge are hundreds of brass flowers of varying shapes and sizes.
I spotted them first when I was photographing and writing 'Flower Shops & Friends' and at the time I rang the council to ask why they were there. The young man at the other end of the phone in the Highways Department, simply said 'What flowers?'!
On the banks of the river I spy a few shy daffodils and crocuses just starting to bloom.
And in the craft market I find painted pottery bursting with foxgloves and daisies.
In the window of one of Cambridge's art galleries I find one of my favourite offerings, this 3D paper posy of wild flowers and butterflies.
I even spot a flower on the rugby pitch when later in the day we turn up to watch the Cambridge Vs Oxford women's Varsity match.
Now normally I would always cheer for a flower, but I am afraid this time I just can't.
My daughter Alex is playing for Cambridge and Miss Flowers is playing for Oxford.
And the score?
22 - 0


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