From The Farmer to The Florist

Dearest Ms Picklin'

I have been to Stamford. I have overheard such talk.

"Greengrocer, do you have strawberries that are a less vulgar shade of red?"

"I have been searching everywhere to find a cucumber to match my Fired Earth tablecloth."

Oh that Mother Nature possessed your Farrow & Ball paint chart.

I am a simple farmer. It is not for me to question matters as subjective as colour. I grow what I can and sell the bits that the slugs haven't eaten.


Mr Naylor Jnr

From The Florist to The Farmer

Dear Mr Naylor

The delphiniums are selling well, people are astounded when i tell them that they are grown outdoors and in The Fens.

The most popular colour is the dusky pink, or rose as i believe you call it. The one you like the least, the one you think people won't buy.

The slowest selling are the deep blue, strange.

Several people have suggested I show you the Farrow and Ball paint chart, so that you might grow something that works against a wall painted in "String".

Would you find this useful?

Yours in a sea of blue, because all the dusky ones have gone.

Miss Pickering


The Florist and The Farmer part 2

Mr Naylor and I disagree on a lot of things.

I would like him to grow things in dusky shades.

He thinks dusky shades are niche, and it is only me and my customers that want them.

He would like more people to buy his wonderful traditional pinks that he grows for M&S.

I don't care how local they are, i won't have them in the shop.

But one thing we do agree on, if something is worth doing, it's worth doing well.

If you are going to fill a shop with flowers, you might as well fill it.

I can't get them all in, there are thousands of them, I need a wide-angle lens.

A customer has just come in, and uttered the immortal words

"No lillies today then?"


The Florist and The Farmer

Miss Pickering and Mr Naylor proudly present

Delphinium Week

For one week only, absolutely all we will be selling are Mr Naylor's Delphiniums.

It is to be a celebration of the very best of English seasonal flowers.

We have thousands of them, packed into every crevice of the shop. It is the most amazing (probably) never before seen sight.

Throughout the week we will be exploring how they are grown, harvested, and what the devil you do with them when you get them home. and also why, 5 minutes after me having taken the first picture Mr Naylor Senior got on his tractor and ploughed them all down.

Come and see for yourself, purchase some, wear the florettes in your hair, or as a buttonhole, use us as a backdrop for your engagement shoot.....

Available in all the colours of the rainbow, well the blue bit of the rainbow.

We are here all week.

A Saturday in the shop

1. Flowers for a party in London
2. Wedding samples
3. The flowers that were ready for a cake that never was
4. The Hound wearing flowers in his hair


Some like it hot

I like most things hot, but not the weather.

This English rose is strictly a 30 SPF girl, i have an irrational fear of a crepey decolletage.

The Hound hides from the heat in the shade of the bleeding heart.

Salad of chorizo, feta, pea, mint, spring onion and lemon zest.

A desperate attempt to rehydrate some neglected plants.

A 2,3 for McLaren and Mr Hamilton and Mr Button head to Silverstone in the lead of the drivers championship, and McLaren at the top of the constructors. Where is Herr Schumacher now?

Tonight at 8pm we will be watching the new series of TopGear, to see if we can spot ourselves.

Did you survive the heat?


You have broken through my armour

And I don't have an answer
I love you all the same

I promised you flowers, and then i left the camera at home, i can't show you today's arrangements. I could cry.

I will try and twit a few, but it won't be the same.

Some from last year instead.

Manic Street Preachers - in case you were wondering.

Peanut or chocolate M&M's?


Men I would like to eat chips with - part 2

Some say he is a foul mouthed petrol head.

Some say he is at least 5 feet taller than Mr Hammond.

All i know is that i have a serious crush on Mr Clarkson.

We have just returned from being in the Top Gear audience.

It airs on Sunday, there are Bentleys and Aston Martins but the star is a Robin Reliant

Flowers tomorrow. Promise.


New balls please

Several people have asked me if the shop will be open this afternoon.

England are playing potentially their last game in the World Cup, it starts at 3pm, apparently some shops are closing.

Do I look like the sort of gal that watches football?

Retailers are obviously not holding out much luck for our dear team, England flags are now reduced to a pitiful 10p, this could be the last chance to sell them.

Why is that on the continent flags flying from cars seems fine, but here it just looks chavvy?

Tennis however.....

Poor Wimbledon seems to be a bit overshadowed this year, any sport where they serve strawberries and cream and Pimms gets my vote.

Next week we are planning a Floral Spectacular Spectacular in the shop. A sight never before seen. It will be great fun, and well worth a visit to the shop, bring your friends and a camera.

Also it was the budget here yesterday, and whilst i know this is a haven from all that is political and economical, and I should just stick to talking about fluffy kittens, I concur with Mr Naylor. Such a wise man.


In the shop today

Carnival glass bowls of cherries, and urns of mottled hydrangea. I was being virtuous having the cherries for my lunch, but somebody just brought me the biggest piece of dark and white chocolate cake....

It is boiling out there today, but the shop is freezing, our ancient stone walls have their advantage.People are coming in to cool down.

A gentleman came in to order flowers for his wife's birthday, they have been married 53 years. He didn't actually look that much older than 53 to me, but then that has always been my problem.

He was actually 75, the secret of his youthful looks is bicycling.

The Hound has gone to buy a tandem.


Anglo-american relations

Whilst Barack and Dave might be struggling to make their relationship "special" again, in the floral world we are forging friendships.

The flowers section of my blogroll, contains almost all American girls doing their own thing. Seriously inspiring stuff, even to the most English of flowergirls.

One such is Pam of Ink and Peat, and her fantastic blog Housemartin, where we are appearing today. Pop over and take a peek.

It is always an honour to appear on other blogs, but when it is a blog that inspires you, it is a real joy.

Mary Portas would have no business at Ink and Peat, it is the perfect marriage of flowers and interiors, Pam has such an eye for picking beautiful things to sell.

In other news

I have just had eyelash extensions at Equilibrium.

They are amazing, I can heartily recommend to all, wonderful for a wedding.....


A seemingly virtuous supper

Bruschetta or stuff on toast.

Slice day or two old sourdough or other fancy paysan bread.
Rub with a garlic clove and slosh on a bit of olive oil.
Lightly wilt some homegrown spinach and lay on top.
Add big hunks of roasted butternut squash.
Locate the stinkiest cheese in the fridge, gorgonzola in this case, add.
Drizzle with olive oil again to style it up

Nothing wrong with that, all the food groups, homegrown, suitable even for Miss Dahl.

But what if i told you that rather than pouring olive oil over the toast, I pressed the toasted bread into the hot sticky, sage and garlic flavoured juices of a freshly roasted piece of rolled belly pork? and then spooned a bit more on for good measure?

I have no idea what happened to the extra crispy bit of crackling on the edge of the joint.

I blame The Hound.


These arms of mine

Yesterday this wedding was made to the tunes of Buena Vista Social Club.

At 6am, when i started the bouquets it was Otis Redding.

They were heavily scented, mint and lemon balm, freesia and jasmine.

During their first bridal consulatation the groom brought me a chocolate malteser bunny.

do you have plans for the weekend?

We are going to live on the edge, and not set the alarm.


I can feel it

coming in the air tonight.

Does Phil Collins still live in Switzerland?

Today is a strange day, people are behaving oddly.

A bride wanted to book my services for 2014. she said she wanted to save up for the wedding of her dreams.

I asked her if she wanted a wedding or the marriage. I was feeling that way inclined. It was the her rather than our bit. Big clue.

The chances of anyone being together at the end of a four year engagement are slim.

I generally like to work to a maximum lead time of 18 months, these brides are more relaxed, and their mood boards are smaller.

We are eating pistachio and almond biscuits from M and S, they could do with a layer of chocolate, a thick layer.

I very nearly uttered the phrase "Don't you know who i am?" today.

But i didn't, i really can't be that person.

I just smiled, smiling hides a multitude of sins.

Is it happy hour yet?



I'm banging on about foliage again.

I went to "help" The Stamford hen do some pruning.

Ornamental cherry tree, variegated sage, garden mint, hops, aquilegia seed heads.

I will incorporate it into the wedding, along with flowering honeysuckle and clematis, from mine and The Mother Hen's garden.

I am all about pillaging people's gardens.

It makes all the difference.

Otherwise i would have to use pittosporum.


The joys of being a florist number 349

Joy number 349, is that you get to do wedding flowers for wonderful couples who go on to become friends. Last night, one such couple invited The Hound and I for a rather lovely supper in their jardin.

What to take as a gift is always a conundrum. As a florist is it a bit of a cliche to take flowers? Or do people expect you to take them? After a little Q and A on Twitter, i decided to make a posy of things from my garden, forgetting of course that my garden had been Alys Fowler'd.

So a posy of some roses, mint, bronze fennel, sage, rosemary, salvia, seed heads, a poppy, and beetroot and kale leaves. It might not have been the most colourful of bunches, but the smell was amazing.

You can see the look of ecstasy on The Hounds face as he has a sniff.

I also gave them a couple of lettuces, because i have enough to feed a small army, and a bottle of fizz.

Definitely the right way to go. Especially as The Hound made himself at home on their bed.

You really can't take him anywhere.


Tuesday twee

A blue and lilac palette in the shop today.

"Vintage" milk churns and buckets.

A man rang up to tell me I had nice figurines.

Another one emailed to say he would like to swing from the trees in my bedroom.

There have been others.



So it actually happened, we appeared in the Mail On Sunday You magazine.

All 4 pages of us, it is a strange thing to see your home in print, I bought 4 copies in the newsagents, to pop through various family members doors - we all live within 2 minutes of each other, we are the modern day Walton's.

Miss P. "I am buying 4 copies because we are in it"

Newsagent lady "Do you need any stamps or top-ups?"

Everybody round here is so impressed.

Then the emails started, with questions about interior decorating, The Hound, flowers, weddings, and all manner of things. a lot were asking the same thing, so i though we might cover them in one big post. Let us know if you have a question, and on Friday The Hound and I will answer them.

Other things that happened yesterday, after a brunch The Mother Hen and I went to open gardens, where i was reassured by the sight of their sweetpeas, that mine might not be completely inept this year. Mine seem so far off flowering, or even reaching the top of the willow wigwam. This time last year, we had jam jars of them.

and then i bought some plants from the plant sale, more geraniums, the leaves work so beautifully in bridal bouquets and buttonholes. and we took tea, because that is the best bit of an open gardens.

In other news, it wasn't until 3 people booked for the Flower school, that i realised the new dates were up. It is a full day course now, with lots of flowers, instruction, things to take home, cake, The Hound, go and have a look, and email us for a booking form.

Bravo to Messers Hamilton and Button, a McLaren 1,2 2 races in a row, how we danced.


White and green should always be seen

White and green is always a popular colourway pour les weddings.

Whether it is glammed up with peonies, hydrangea, sans foliage.

Or like yesterday's wedding, delicate and wild and all wrapped in up in some old potato sacking.

Your Grandmother will wonder what on earth potato sacking is doing at a wedding.

In her day things were different.