winter florals (again)
‘A flowerless room is a soulless room… but even one solitary living flower may redeem it’
So said the ever wise Vita Sackville West. But I’m guessing with a garden the size and scale of Sissinghurst, and given her gardening prowess, that her rooms were never in any danger of being soulless. Some of us have to work a lot harder to redeem our rooms!
In my garden July is not exactly a florally splendiferous month.
Of course I faff around a lot with my loaves and fishes flower arranging. Also known as how to make just a very few flowers go an awfully long way. I also tell myself in no uncertain terms that winter is a good time to cut down on the number of ‘floral arrangements’ that I have scattered around the house. Obviously I struggle to listen to my own advice because as I write that number would be seventeen. Yes! How ridiculous! (I actually just counted again to make certain of that ridiculous number, and yes, it is that many. AND, that’s not counting the pot plants or the floating leafy bits or the lovely dead arrangements in the girl’s rooms. I need counselling. At least the house is full of soul Vita!)
And therefore, for obvious reasons my thoughts have been turning to green. As in the colour green, and floral arrangements without the floral part, just the leafy green part.
When you limit yourself to vases filled only with greenery, it’s amazing how much more notice one takes of leafy greens. Are they floaty or branchy or stalky or leafy? What colour green are they? Zesty or olive or forest or grass? Do they last when you pick them and put them into water? Attention all leafy and otherwise greenery – you are now all on trial.
So far so good. I have big olive branches in big containers and I have single geranium and strawberry leaves floating in tiny shallow dishes. I have some of my favourite foraged greenery breathing deeply in warm water, and I have bottles of potato vine lining the windowsill in the bathroom. And mint and fennel, both of which I pick more often to put in a vase than to put in a pot I’m certain!
I’ve also brought a little of the outside inside. In that I’ve ‘rescued’ the bulbs from under the camellia tree where they have been languishing since they were unceremoniously dumped last year. Remarkably, they seem to be doing just fine with my ‘no care’ version of care. I’ve also upgraded a winter rose, that didn’t quite make it in to the garden, to ‘pot plant’ status, and so long as I remember to water it, this too looks rather beautiful in all its zesty freshness.
As you know I am completely besotted by all things floral but I love the feeling of freshness and calm that green styling gives. The sculptural form of all the different leaves makes a strong statement, and the arrangements don’t rely on flowers to look beautiful in a more minimal way. And they still bring that sense of living nature and softness to a room that I think is so vital. Imperfectly perfect ‘flower’ arranging at any time, but especially during winter when my garden has little to offer in the floral sense of the arrangement.
And if you do have one or two blooms to tuck amongst the greenery, all well and extra beautiful of course. Like the tiny snippets of beautifully fragrant daphne and jasmine in my bedroom.
PS Update that count to 18. I forgot the vase right in front of me on my desk!
(styling and photography by Amanda Holland for perfectly imperfect living)