Tuesday 31 July 2012

Vintage Flower Cigarette Cards

It seems quite incongruent, the combination of cigarettes and flowers, apart from the obvious exception of nicotiana.  I love collecting vintage flower and gardening cigarette cards.  This combines my passion for flowers, vintage and anything miniature.  I love the anatomically correct flower pictures, the information included on the back of the cards and how they are so of their time.  So today I thought I would share a few pictures from my collection of cards and include freshly picked and some dried flowers from the cutting garden.

Here are just a few Wills cigarette cards measuring 6cm x 8cm.

Beautiful Viscaria card.  I normally grow Linum in my garden but this year Viscaria has been much more reliable.

Who let the cat in?

Gorgeous dried Larkspur.

Advice from the past still relevant today... hmm, "Keep a watch for slugs among seedlings", have I ever this year!

Here are some tiny Godfrey Phillips Ltd, Flower Studies cards, they measure 5cm x 6cm.

You can almost hear the BBC RP voice reading this.

Now for the cards that really are of their time. Wills Garden Hints cards and only very smartly dressed gents were featured in these cards. I could do with a few of these gents to help out in my garden! Fabulous dress sense and not too afraid of hard work. 

Always ensure you wear your smartest hat and apron when constructing a dovecote.

Looks a little like chemical warfare.

Mind those brogues now!

My absolute gems: hand coloured Camera Studies from Cavanders Ltd.

Born and bred in Kent this one has to be my favourite, all the more for it's slightly off target hand colouring.

A little bit of Chaucer, which I believe translates, "Among the buds I choose one so fair".

Monday 30 July 2012

Less Mundane Jobs Today

Amongst the weeding, stripping out of old sweet williams, slug removal (a neverending task this year) wedding planning and many other jobs in the garden today I was able to do my favourite thing: deadheading aka 'flowers for me' as well as for confetti drying.

Sweet Peas.  Each year I swear that I will not let the sweet peas overwhelm me with their rapid growth, but you guessed it, every year they do. Tying up and deadheading sweet peas could, I have suddenly realised, be a full time job for me on their own, so I have to be chilled out and allow them to do their thing without being too controlling!  

A bucket and jug to fill the office with their heady scent.  Maybe their scent will inspire me to catch up on much needed paperwork tomorrow as the rain is predicted to return .... nah!!

Attention! A box of larkspur cut for confetti before they go over, colour coded and lined up ... what no blues and purples in here?!  Well actually they were done a couple of days ago in an equally regimented fashion.

Ready for rain, paperwork and garden planning tomorrow ... no excuses.

Thursday 26 July 2012

Hot, hot, hot

Each day in the cutting garden so far this week, it has reached the heady heights of 30 degrees and over.  I have therefore carefully planned where and when to work in the garden. I always ensure that I avoid working near the white painted south facing wall at midday as it becomes unbearably hot. It is so hard to make these considered choices in the excited rush to get back near my blooms and help them recover after the deluge of rain. So much to do and so little time. But the garden is looking lovely and seems to be singing. Here is a little whistle stop tour of the garden as it looked today, a bit parched and with some of the spring sown annual rows exposing their slug nibbled gaps.

Beautiful Larkspur

A 'cloud' of antirrhinums in the bright sunshine

Mmmm 'Appleblossom' antirrhinums

"Ooh, am I in the wrong place?"

'Red Velvet' antirrhinum looking like luscious hot lips

Shasta Daisies, they remind me of a feathery hat Doris Day might have worn

A tiny lethargic pollen leaden honey bee could barely move in the hot sunshine today

Sweet Pea 'Anniversary'

Sweet Pea 'Our Harry'

Helenium Moerheim Beauty looking a little ragged after the rain

Zinnias with a 'slug gap' but otherwise healthy

White corncockles

At last, dry enough to deadhead

Just ready to unfurl

Roses trying to recover...

And finally, Chateau de Fleur 2012?  Why not, after a hot, sweaty, satisfying day in the garden in the longed for sunshine of a British summer!

Sunday 22 July 2012

At last, a dry ‘Sundae’!

Yes, some warm, dry weather reaches Suffolk at last!

As a celebration of this wonderous dryness, here is a post about dried flowers and as it’s Sunday I'm going to include some sundae dishes, just because I love them. 

I dry many flowers from my cutting garden to use as table ‘scatterings’, potpourri and confetti.  Drying flowers creates different challenges to preparing fresh cut flowers. Cut flowers need considerations such as, what is the best time of day and bloom stage to cut flowers for optimum vase life, how to prepare them appropriately for bunching and how well they will decay. Dry flowers need some similar considerations i.e. when to cut the flowers for drying but after this it’s important to consider how to hang and prepare different flowers for drying.  Some flowers I will hang in small bunches upside down in the airing cupboard (Combi boiler owners have a disadvantage here!) others I will remove the individual flower heads and dry flat. 

Vintage sundae dishes are great to have around for displaying fresh floating or dry flowers.

From left to right starting at the top left corner we have dried: Ammi Majus, pink Cornflowers, blue Cornflowers, Hollyhock, Love-in-a-mist, pink Larkspur, purple Larkspur, Calendula, Orlaya Grandiflora, Rosebuds, Delphiniums, Wallflowers, Scabious Miss Willmott, Stocks, Delphiniums and finally Geum Mrs Bradshaw.

I am always delighted at how well most flowers keep their colour when dried.  Most of the above were dried last year and kept in brown paper bags so they don't sweat and they are not exposed to the light.

Orlaya Grandiflora

Miss Willmott

Mixed Cornflowers

Stocks. I picked these at a late flowering stage and a little extra 'antiquey' brown can be seen which I particularly like.  They also retained some of their beautiful scent.


Mmmm, lovely to have a little dryness for a change!


Tuesday 17 July 2012

Tangerine Dream

Apparently, the ‘jet stream’ will be moving north next week and we will have a return of some summer weather and oh boy do our flowers need it.  As a celebration of the much needed sunshine here are some pictures of beautiful orange tangy blooms shown in the garden today, picked then placed in their comfortable vases.  It includes the dahlias that slugs have chosen to spare and the gorgeous antirrhinum, Overture Deep Orange, which is also relatively slug free.  I love the description of Overture Deep Orange from the seed the company as, “Mouthwatering Seville orange colour”.

Here comes the sun?!