Flaming June

Almost mid-way through summer and a popular month in which to get married, the work diary always fills quickly for June. 


Flowers are now blooming in the garden allowing me to add all manner of pretty touches to bouquets and arrangements. Roses, in their first flush bloom vigorously and there are masses of alchamilla mollis to plunder. Although the lilies and sweet peas have weeks to go before I'll see a single flower, I'll enjoy the anticipation and in the meantime will buy those grown under glass and over-wintered from market. There is also honeysuckle - both pink and yellow, spikes of purple heuchera as well as buttercups adding familar English garden scents to TWHFCo flowers at this time of year. Later on the jasmine will be in full bloom but for now it is only just in leaf.

In my garden, the poppies are the first sign of summer. Arriving around the first week in June I use my son's birthday as a benchmark noting an early or late arrival. Pillbox red, their flimsy, slightly frilled petals are fleeting and once spent, I use the seed pods in arrangments adding a bit of substance and interest.


The first of the salads are usually ready to pick around now, I like throwing a few flower heads into a bowl of mixed leaves adding a generous splash of colour and lots of peppery, aniseedy and garlicy flavours. Geranium, pansies, chives and sweet cicely are typically what I have to hand and later on nasturtiums, it seems you can't take the florist out of the cook.

This year the garden is awash with alliums - the best year ever for mine. The salvias are looking very fine too especially the purple sage. I'm resisting buying too many patio plants for that splash of instant colour the moment we get our shorts on. Resisting partly because we've hardly been outside (given the weather) but more importantly, I've learnt that F1 hybrid (double) varieties have very little to offer bees in the way of food, so I'm sticking to pollen laden herbs and lavenders. Due to lack of time I've left nettles, dandelions and ground elder untouched for the bees to feed on too.

I make no claim to being any sort of gardener but over the years I've had a garden and over the last decade through work, I've an ever growing appreciation of it. Due to the cold spring and a busy work diary, I've inadvertantly cultivated a more relaxed, slightly wild look to my garden - one I'd like to think is more insect friendly if nothing else.

A final thought and one for my fellow florists to ponder: One wonders whether flowering elder would look pretty in my "just picked from the garden" bouquets? I vaguely recall using it once or twice last year so maybe a few pretty weeds in my bouquets will catch on after all!