Vintage: A Very British Affair.

Vintage: a. of high quality; of a past season.

I love all things retro, almost as much as I enjoy recycling and putting things, once treasured, back into circulation. For me, vintage is to look back through rose tinted glasses and take beautiful objects or treasures and incorperate them into my flowers.

The simple pleasure of taking something old or recycled and filling it with garden flowers, is a far cry from previous trends for the austentatious and (dare I say), over the top luxury. Vintage is a look of the moment given our economic climate and inspite of such austerity, a style I rather cherish. I am taken back to a time where a few fragrent roses from the garden placed in a cut glass vase on a tea tray were the norm.

Having come full circle, we are once again enjoying revivals in classic British traditions: high tea, patriotism (what with the Olympics and Diamond Jubilee), all things home made (marmalade, jams chutneys and bread), real china cups, Lyles golden syrup, cucumber sandwiches, street parties - with all that glorious bunting flapping in the breeze. We are collecting almost anything that's considered "quintessentially British" and turning it into an art form and I for one, am enjoying the moment.

Take a humble tea pot, I love to fill them with the sorts of flowers my Grandfather used to grow in his garden - dahlias, astrantia, sweet peas, aqualegias - add a few herbs: sweet cicely and dill flower and there you have it - a perfect little centrepeice for the table. High tea is very much of the moment and so I take Granny's (best) tiered cake plate and amongst the macaroons and fondant fancies, I place flowers - pretty little pansies or violas - edible little jewels which look devine amongst the sweet treats. 

Having saved up jam jars, bottles and tin cans for months now I'll use every one of them in wedding table centres this summer. By tying a length of ribbon, lace or even garden twine around each and filling, with beautiful garden flowers and foliages, they will adorn the tables of many a wedding. Yet each time there will be a different take on the look - be it seasonal, romantic or just plain quirky (another British trait)! It's such a joy to be using plain old, unfussy recycled bits and bobs in just about everything I do at the moment. How can a brown luggage tag look so perfect as a name place? A length of garden twine, a dainty tea cup and saucer, or jam jar filled with the simplest, plainest of flowers be so utterly beguilling? Less is definitely the new more. 

As for the bouquets - stems, if not left completely natural and merely tied with a whisp of raffia, are being wrapped in vintage style ribbon or pretty fabric pinned with a brooch - a family hierloom. Even the flowers are taking on a retro feel, not just by incorperating simple garden blooms, but I am using shades that were not so long ago, considered old fashioned: peach apricot and yellow. 

So this summer, whilst watching the Olympics or celebrating the Queens' Diamond Jubilee, ladies - put on your floral tea dresses, tear yourself away from the allotment, wave your Union Jack with pride and whilst eating scones with jam, celebrate all things bright and beautiful; you will find yourself in good company.