British Flowers Week 2016

My social media feeds have been completely overwhelmed this last week with beautiful photography and exquisite writing, all highlighting the wondrous beauty that are British flowers. The reason for this explosion is that up and down the land flower growers, florists and enthusiasts have been celebrating British Flowers Week. A fabulous week designed to celebrate British flowers to their fullest and raise awareness of the beauty and potential of homegrown flowers amongst the public. This week has been about inspiring as many people as possible to appreciate locally-grown flowers in favour of imported ones. There have been workshops, events, open gardens, markets, pop-up shops, demonstrations and competitions, all with the purpose of sharing the message of how fantastic freshly-cut British flowers are!

You can visit the website to find out more and see what has been going on all week –

Back at Ginger House Garden the week has given us the opportunity to get creative with all our homegrown flowers. The flower fairies really were working their magic as our ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ peonies opened especially for British Flowers Week – filling the air with that heavenly scent that only peonies can do! We’ve learnt so much about cutting and conditioning them, they truly have been fantastic and a joy to behold!

A hand-tied bouquet of big, bold and beautiful blooms! (Including a couple of Miss ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ peonies and crazy electric blue delphiniums)
Simple jam jar arrangements adding Summer vibrancy!
Eclectic buttonholes featuring nigella, euphorbia and an early zinnia

Now that the annuals are well and truly getting into their stride, and the perennial border is ripe for snipping, there are more opportunities to be creative and try “faffing” with a wider variety of flowers and colours. Although everything seems to be so bright and electric on the patch at the moment, we can’t help longing for some softer peaches and corals – note to self: better colour planning needed for next year! Instagram is a constant source of inspiration and this week especially it has been alive with British cut flowers taking centre stage.

Leftovers, short stems and victims of the rain…must mean jam jar time!
Flower crowns are a must for this time of year – this one had the added bonus of smelling delicious with sweet pea scent!
Couldn’t resist modelling the creation…

During the last week there has been some wonderful articles and blogs written by journalists, growers and florists alike. These excellent pieces of writing highlight how fantastic British flowers are and why British Flowers Week is so vital:


June Days

The sun beats down, hot, intense and over-powering! Flowers are “popping” here, there and everywhere all over our little patch – each passing hour seems to bring new blooms bursting open, announcing their arrival. Summer has arrived…the temperature in Lancashire has hit nearly 30 degrees these last few days, the change in a matter of days has been remarkable.


Gone are the days of Spring bulbs, blossom and expanses of bluebells. They are replaced by lanes lined in swathes of cow parsley, the scent of wild garlic lingering in the air of woodland undergrowth and wild flower meadows rippling in the breeze. Here at Ginger House Garden the annuals have arrived: the happy faces of cornflowers, the deep, moody purple of cerinthe and the fascinating forms of nigella heads are beginning to fill the beds with Summer joy. The heavenly scent of the first sweet peas have also bloomed. Sweet peas are an absolute must at Ginger House; there is something completely innocent about sweet peas, their abundance of youth can’t seem to fail to make you childishly happy! In the perennial border a riot of action is going on: electric shots of blue from the delphinium spikes, bobbing balls of purples and whites from the alliums, self-seeded aquilegias in clumps dotted about and peonies on the brink of stealing the show from everyone!

All this glorious abundance of flowers doesn’t mean the work stops though…seedlings still need to be potted on, planted out, biennials such as foxgloves, honesty and sweet williams all need to be sown, and of course there is always the watering! The work is worth it though for the reward it brings!


There is something magical about the transition from Spring to Summer, May to June…the changing season brings the forgotten joy of certain flowers back into your consciousness. The soft, muted pastels of Spring are replaced by the vibrant, energetic brights of Summer. Birds, bugs and bees seem to revel in it all as much as you. The garden is alive, nature is singing and the sun is shining – all in perfect harmony!

A season of joyful blooms awaits, the anticipation is palpable and we can’t wait!


An ode to the tulip…

Not so much a blog post but, as the title suggests, an ode to all the glories of the kings and queens of Spring, the tulip!

This Spring at Ginger House Garden has been all about the tulip, more than any other flower they have brought colour and joy to the patch. We picked our first tulip on the 5th April, and for well over a month now we have been harvesting these beauties and this week they are sadly coming to an end, with the last few to be cut, as Spring begins to slowly transform into Summer. However, if anyone sees Spring please let me know because I would like a word with them about how cold they have been this year! It seems like only in the last week that the air has warmed itself with the Sun’s spirit.

We’ve had some stunningly long stems, tulips twisting and turning, reaching for the skies or majestically ‘flopping’ over. At the same time we’ve had some tiddlers of stems, but with rather splendid blooms on top! There have been disappointments along the way, the dreaded greenfly attack and some exciting new discoveries of different varieties – but that’s flower growing for you!

Ali’s favourite: ‘Angelique’ – a double tulip and one for the romantics out there, pure luxury with shades of pink, white and cream combining in perfect harmony together
Steph’s favourite: ‘Swan Wings’ – a pure, classic tulip with a touch of frilliness on top












Now for the best bit…photographs! Capturing these stunners has been pure joy and getting to look back with satisfaction knowing we grew each and everyone of them is so rewarding. Being able to share the tulip abundance is also pretty fun, so feast your eyes on some tulip goodness (I’m pretty sure you’ll leave with a smile on your face!)…

Everyone say cheese! Capturing these tulips has been half the fun…
A delectable selection of ‘Ice Age’, ‘Flaming Spring’, ‘Queen of Night’, ‘Beauty Queen’ and ‘Angelique’ varieties

I would apologise for all the photos, but who could when there is this much wonder to behold…and trust me it was hard enough narrowing it down to these as it was!



Spring In The Garden

There is small satisfaction and delight as the garden begins to reveal itself after its Winter slumber. Small pockets of colour and life ‘spring’ up, bringing cheer and joy, whether it may be a clump of muscari, a pot of hyacinths rich with their heady scent, or the calming serenity of hellebores in all their glory. Whilst the cold and occasional frost still seem to plague us, I’ll take a bright crisp morning, with the sunshine illuminating the flowers, over many a thing.

I thought I would share some photographs from the Spring bounty over the past couple of weeks here at Ginger House Garden, as they reveal so much more loveliness than words ever could…

Stephanie with her number one accessory of the moment – gorgeous homegrown tulips, including ‘Swan Wings’, ‘Flaming Purissima’ and ‘Apricot Impression’
Alexandra’s garden gathered Spring jam jar posy – featuring white grape hyacinths, a mix of narcissus, Snake’s Head fritillary and our favourite fritillaria ‘Elwesii’, along with some euphorbia to add some greenery

Away from Ginger House Garden it has been a pleasure to witness signs of vitality popping up in all manor of places. Baby pink blossom against a vivid blue sky, yellow primroses clinging to rock faces along the coast and rows of daffodils flanking country lanes have all been enjoyed. I find I have to frequently remind myself that nature knows best and ultimately has the control. Witnessing flowers in their natural environments, flourishing at their best, reminds me of this.

Whilst it has been rather lovely having some blooms to embrace and work with again there has also been much action going on to prepare for the long (hopefully!) Summer months ahead. The greenhouse is fit to bursting with trays of annual seedlings, potted up dahlias and a trial of June/July flowering ranunculus. Outside the perennial border has been weeded and tidied up by the unofficial third member of Ginger House Garden and chief tea maker/cake baker – Mum! It is exciting to see new life and growth appearing on the hydrangeas, peony and delphiniums.

With all this Spring beauty surrounding us and the promise of what is to arrive in the coming months, it is a pleasure to be in the garden cutting flowers again!

Clumps of yellow primroses along the rock face between Howick and Craster, Northumberland. Bruised and battered by wind, rain and freezing temperatures, but yet standing firm. Not sure the same could be said for us once we’d traipsed through the mud!
Bright blues and yellows of narcissus and grape hyacinths
Hellebore magic with subtle hues

New Shoots

There is something rather joyful about the arrival of Spring, like the whole earth is reawakening after a long sleep. For me nothing beats seeing a swathe of snowdrops in a woodland, a cheery daffodil greeting you like the morning sun or seeing a new-born lamb galloping about in the field. There is a sense of delight and cheer in the air. As the garden begins to show signs of life again, with new shoots and glimpses of colour appearing, it somehow acts as a signal to get your wellies on and get to work. There are seeds to be sown and there is earth to be ploughed.

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Highlights of the Ginger House garden so far have been snowdrops dancing in the wind, crocus and miniature iris bulbs providing electric shots of colour and the narcissi pictured above, which we are rather taken with. We are now patiently awaiting the arrival of these little beauties with all the promise they bring…


…Our tulips currently look like little soldiers all standing to attention awaiting their orders to rise up and spring into action. We are testing new ways of planting and many a new variety this year so we can’t wait to see what happens and what we get, hopefully some dreamy peaches and soft pink hues to lift our spirits and inspire us.

New Year, New Possibilities

There is a lull in the air, a period of limbo – the joy and merriment of the Christmas season has passed yet the many potentials of Spring seem some way off in the distance. It is at this point, with the garden so baron and lonely looking, that you wonder how you will ever be able to grow any blooms worthy of note. But somehow nature has a way of doing her ‘thing’ and you know in a few months the cycles of growth will begin again, bringing with them new potential for creativity and expression. Just a glance back at last year and your confidence is renewed in the potential of what you can grow and create…

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The colours and vitality of sweet peas, dahlias, cosmos and cornflowers, no matter how distant they may seem, are exactly what you need to bring a little cheer in the post-Christmas come down and offer the promise of what is to come.

The joy of it all of course is that you’re never quite sure what you are going to get until the flowers burst into life. That is probably one of the greatest pleasures (and trials) of growing your own flowers to cut and arrange, your choices are guided by nature, not determined by what any shop or supermarket may offer. The earth and the elements are making many of the decisions for you.

So here’s to a new year and new potential for growth and creativity to blossom in the Ginger House Garden…