Ok, so I am starting a fresh new blog with the intention of showing you the hidden meanings behind flowers, how to grow them and some awesome ideas on how to include them in your floral arrangements.
If you don't know me, I'd like to say Hi!
My name is Clare and I am the owner of Bloomin' Clares Floral Design. I absolutely LOVE everything to do with flowers. I grow them, I arrange them, I dry them, I press them....seriously its borderline obsessive!
This Christmas my lovely Husband brought me a book by Shane Connolly "Discovering the meaning of Flowers" so now I have discovered a whole new dimension to loving my flowers a little bit more!
I would love to share all the elements of what I do with you, so I am blogging about it and would love you to join me. I am still learning so any comments or your wisdom is always gratefully received so please feel free to leave a comment or get in touch. My main aim is to create a more sustainable floral industry by using as many British Grown Flowers as possible and creating my arrangements in as much of an eco - friendly way as I possibly can.
I believe that flowers should be able to be enjoyed by everyone, which is a challenge when they most definitely are a luxury item in our modern society, but if you have even the tiniest of spaces in your Garden you can grow some wonderful flowers and the best news is that a lot of these flowers thrive on a cut and come again process - the more you cut the more will come which will fill your home with beautiful blooms throughout the seasons.
So lets begin.....
The flower I have chosen for February is the Sweet Pea, I cannot get enough of these little fellas - the colours, the scent and the diversity of a sweet pea is astounding, and you can start to sow your Sweet Peas now!
How to Grow
You can sow them in the autumn for an earlier flowering Sweet Pea, but I have always sown mine in February - its only a preference. I don't know why I prefer to do it this way maybe its just a habit I have got into, by February I am itching to something in the Garden so the Sweet peas win.
Get the Kids involved - there is nothing more magical than seeing the first glimpse of a seed they have grown poking through the soil. This is a snap that I found whilst trawling through my photos of my two about 3 years ago, we have harvested the seeds from these initial seeds every year since!
Sweet peas do not like their roots disturbed too much so the deeper the pots the better as they produce lengthy roots early on. (If you wish to be super organised and collect all your old kitchen roll tubes you can fill these up with soil and plant your sweet peas in these, this way when you transplant them outside you just dig in the tube without having to disturb the roots - the cardboard tube will eventually degrade and leave a happy and strong rooted Sweet Pea - Winner!) If possible keep in a light dry shed or outbuilding or inside your house by a cool-ish window until they are established and can be moved outside.
When thinking about where to position your sweet peas they will need a climbing trellis of sorts, you can either create a 'cone out of bamboo, old sticks or Willow so they can climb or position against a fence or wall with some netting so they can attach themselves to that. They love a bit of Sun too so try and find that sunny spot for them to thrive in. The other thing to be aware of is how much they love a drink, keep on top of their watering habits and they will flourish! If you want to grow straight stems be sure to check them every other day and tie them with twine to their supports, sometimes the bendy ones are just as beautiful though!
You can get some beautiful varieties of Sweet Pea because of my Wedding work I tend to grow the paler colours so varieties like Jilly, Charlies Angel and Swan Lake have always performed well, but because I adore colour I have grown Winston Churchill and Beaujolais varieties last year and they were truly stunning. Check out your local allotment people or your next door neighbor to see if they have any sweet peas growing and then if you ask very nicely I am sure they will give you some seeds to add to your collection - if possible dry the seed pods on the plant and 'pop' the seeds when the pod is fully dry to get the best growing for next season, store them in a paper envelope or small pot keep dry and then wait to plant them all over again next year! My favourite online shop to buy super Sweet peas is defiantly Higgledy Gardens and his growing guides are super fun and informative too.
In the realms of floriography (the sometimes forgotten art of the hidden meanings of flowers) from times when flowers really did hold meaning when it wasn't socially acceptable to declare your undying love for someone publicly or maybe the opposite - (awkward)! You really could say it with flowers.
The Sweet pea isn't fully documented in the books that I have read but from what I can gather they promise 'delicate pleasures' and gratefulness. their roots stem as far back as the 18th Century when an Italian Monk named Franciscus Cupani sent the very first Sweet Pea Seeds to Britain, over time they were cultivated into the Sweet Pea we know and love today.
I think Sweet peas can stand alone - grab a recycled Jam Jar or Tin Can and grab a bunch of Sweet Peas starting with place one stem in your left hand (or right whichever is more comfortable) insert two or three stems at a time and turn your bunch anti clockwise as you inset each stem, leave the really bendy stems for the outer arrangement so they can bend and twist out of the jar - plenty of water and they will last you at least 7 days.
They look gorgeous as part of a bouquet and pretty cool just hanging underneath a floral garland, we just inserted them into plastic flower tubes (which I have reused again and again to tackle our plastic pollution) and arranged them underneath the garland. They scented the Church beautifully.
If you wish to include Sweet Peas in your Wedding Flower arrangements florists can get hold of them from approx April to August (maybe September? ) But if you are growing in your garden they will really start to flourish in May/June/July if you plant them now, obviously earlier if you planted them in the Autumn.
In my next Blog I will be looking at some gorgeous Spring flowers - daffodils, tulips and hyacinth, stay tuned.