Real Flowers for Mother’s Day (Gifted).
Do you know what I mean by ‘Real Flowers’…?
Growing up in a rambling Victorian house in Norfolk with orchard, vegetable garden and rose beds, I never really thought too much about the flowers which filled our house. My mother picked from the garden, telling me that her own mother would have disapproved (Grandma thought flowers should be allowed to ‘live’). She filled cut glass rose bowls, white porcelain urns and delicate bud vases. During summer, the whole house would be filled with the heady scent of roses, while in winter the same roses were turned into bowls of homemade spice scented potpourri to complement the wood fires. I can’t remember exactly when my parents discovered David Austin roses, but I recall that a couple of times a year strange twiggy bundles would turn up, ready for planting out. Each time we moved house my mother would buy more David Austin Roses and replant. They were a signature of my childhood and of my home.
I rather suspect that the founding director of The Real Flower Company is creating much the same memories. Rosebie Morton first started growing scented garden roses in the walled garden at her family farm in Hampshire. Today, the company still works with Rosebie’s farm, in Hinton Ampner Hampshire, together with two other farms, sourcing scented sweet peas from a farm near Chichester and outside of the English rose season, in partnership with the Fairtrade sister farm, Tambuzi in Kenya. Rosebie Morton helped establish this acreage at the base of Mt Kenya with British farming couple Tim and Maggie Hobbs to supply roses all year round.
What excited me most about being asked to review the Real Flower Company bouquets was a section headed ‘David Austin Roses’. Quintessentially English roses, the collection you’ll find at the David Austin nursery is the vision of founder David Austin, who set out in the early 1950s to create a rose which combined the rosette-shaped flowers of Old Roses with repeat-flowering. It was his life’s work and along the way, he built a remarkable business which now employs his eldest son and grandson. He died in December 2018 having created more than 200 new roses, been awarded the Victoria Medal of Honour by the Royal Horticultural Society in 2003 and appointed OBE in 2007. You can find out more about how the Real Flower Company works with David Austin on their own blog
Of course, when The Real Flower Company asked me if I’d be interested in reviewing one of their bouquets, I headed straight back to the David Austin collection which had initially caught my eye. Rosy Posy is a stunning, traditional style bouquet of David Austin Roses. It’s the kind of bouquet that if I was a bit ‘craftier’ I might have tried making myself for my mother when we lived in Norfolk, though these roses would never have been in bloom in March. It’s lightly rose scented…that fragrance that reminds me so much of my childhood. The flowers are full and billowy, they have an old fashioned softness that works perfectly. And the colours in the Rosy Posy are delicate shell pinks.
My flowers arrived beautifully packaged in tall cardboard carriers. The stems had been wrapped in a moist blanket and the flowers themselves were hand tied so that I could see as I took them out of the box just how pretty they’d look.
One set found their way into a tall cut-glass vase to sit in the fireplace. Just as my own mother would have done. The second posy is in a pretty round mirror vase, showing off the stunning hand-tied arrangement without any need for ‘flower arranging’ by me.
They’ve lasted well through the weekend and I suspect they will be looking beautiful for at least another 5 days. I’d almost forgotten how wonderful it is to have a house full of flowers.
Now, if you’d like to treat your own mother to a bouquet, pop over to the Real Flower Company website and take a look for yourself. I have to confess, it’s where I’d be looking for wedding flowers too – there are some deeply romantic bouquets on the site. And there are flowers for every occasion, including some contemporary styled scented presentations and some rather fun table decorations (I love the antique trio hatbox arrangement)