Tag Archives: flowers

A Truly Kentish Afternoon :: Flower Picking in the Sun

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One sunny Friday afternoon, on a day that feels very long ago now, I hopped in the car and headed out to ‘the countryside’ (near Maidstone) for a spot of flower picking with some of my loveliest lady chums.

Blooming Green Flowers is a small, independent flower business sandwiched between some working farms. On a Friday afternoons during the summer, it’s open to the public for flower picking.

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My delightful friend and co-Aussie-expat Nat suggested that we take a peek, and being the kind of person that I am, I was immediately on board. It’s £10 and you can pick anything you like, up to 50 stems, which I thought was incredibly reasonable. On arrival you’re given a tall tin vase and a pair of secateurs, and are encouraged to snip away to your heart’s content.

I’m fascinated by dahlias at the moment, which were abundant in their mathematical glory, so many were picked, as well as some eucalyptus (#Aussiesrepresent) and a few choice stems of echinacea. I love the elegance of echinacea, and picked up a few plants on my later visit to Stone Green Nurseries.

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As a slight aside, I don’t have a proper camera at the moment, and so while I save my ££ up for a DSLR,  I’m having a play with the settings on my iPhone. I know it’s a bit naff, but there is actually quite a lot you can do with an iPhone, and I’ve been particularly enjoying playing  around with the focus and depth of field. The setting provided much inspiration!

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After we’d all picked our fill, we bundled off into one of the nearby studios, which looked to be some kind of old farm stores, where an artist had set up shop with his mum, selling art, teas, coffees and cake. It was a full-on Kent afternoon, make no mistake. Obviously it was one of the best days of my life, as I like to pretend I’ve stepped out of some kind of Nancy Mitford novel. I relish these days.

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Another friend, Deb, is also a keen allotmenteer (when I say keen, I mean she is very experienced and has managed hers for about 15 years I think!) and so we did a little swap of some of our courgettes for her corn, as ours at the time was still ripening.

Although our lovely long summer days are now past, there remains much pleasure to be had in looking back, to how well those all-too-short days were spent, don’t you agree?

A Note on the Flowers: My Penultimate Wedding Round-up

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We had fully intended to head up to the Chelsea flower market a couple of days before the wedding to go and choose our flowers. For a combination of reasons, we needed to hire a car to get up there. But could we find an available car to hire? No. None were available within a 30 mile radius of Rochester it seemed.

I tried to remain calm, and think about what we could do about the flowers. On Thursday morning Mr H and I set off to find what looked to be a flower wholesaler in Medway. We drove there (bearing in mind Mr H was a very nervous driver at this point) only to find it had closed down. Definitely did not get any brownie points for that, Sam.

We then decided to try Dobbies, a nearby garden centre. I had heard good things and they seemed as though they might be the kind of place that sold nice cut flowers. At this stage, I had £ signs over my eyes because I was sure that we’d left it so late that our only option would be something ridiculously expensive. I wasn’t that fussed about flowers to be honest (but full credit to the wonderful florists out there!), but the thought of having nothing in my hands as I walked down the aisle seemed a little odd.

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So we drove around the corner to Dobbies. It was 8:30 am at this point. Closed. Opening at 9:30 am. Typical. Next door was Tesco, so Mr Hello and I went in to grab a sandwich for breakfast. The deli aisles happened to be next to the cut flower section. I am sure you can guess what happened next.

Genuinely, Tesco had a fantastic range of flowers. I bought a couple of pre-made bouquets with white roses and lilies, some pinky flowers, some gypsophila, and a couple of bunches of pink and dark red roses. I was going for burgundy and green colours. I needed enough for 4 bridesmaids bouquets and one HUGE bouquet for me. Seriously, I wanted my arms to hurt because it was so heavy. I wanted a big’un.

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In the end, the bride’s bouquet was from Tesco. All 5 bouquets, plus 10 buttonholes came to a total of £70, which is a bargain if ever I’ve seen one. T, N and I spent Thursday afternoon stripping thorns and leaves and pulling the bouquets together – that day has some of my favourite memories of the wedding week actually. We referred to the A Practical Wedding bouquet tutorial a great deal, seriously, that website is the best thing that ever happened to weddings.

We nabbed some forest green quilting cotton from my fabric stash, and after tying the flowers together with florist’s tape (actually left over from my sister-in-law’s wedding! Recycling for the win!) we secured the bridesmaid’s bouquets with that, and mine with a length of burgundy satin. I pinned in a crucifix from my late paternal grandfather, which was my ‘something borrowed’. I could not have been happier with the result!

As T, my personal florist stated – “It’s about a personal relationship with each stem”. And so it is my friends, so it is.

Bon Fête des Pères!

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A little blurry film photo, but you get the idea

  We went for a walk this morning, and somehow ended up in Karrakatta cemetery. “Let’s have a look,” I said, “maybe we can find your Dad!”. Having never met the man nor seen the grave, I was perhaps a little enthusiastic. We walked amongst the headstones, as he wasn’t quite sure where it was after all these years. After a few semi-confident expressions of “I think this is the place”, at last a name, in a language I can’t understand, jumped out at me. Despite the barrier, it was intensely familiar, and I silently sounded out the syllables. A moment spent in silence, he brushed the end of the tomb with his hand. We walked home, taking the long way. He told me all about native flowers, and I listened. Happy Father’s Day Papa, I couldn’t be more grateful for you.