1920s – a Head for Fashion

Wedding gowns often reflect the fashions of their era and so photos from the 1920s can be dated by various clues such as sleeve style, neck line and dress length. Some brides did choose to wear their mother’s or grandmother’s wedding gown which can be misleading. However if the bride wore an older style dress she often updated her hair style and veil. In group wedding photos the attire of the bridesmaids and wedding guests can also provide useful information as to the date.

1920s Bridal Head-dress

1920s veil

Bridal Headgear

At the beginning of the Twentieth century Bridal Head-gear was worn much higher than later the in the 1920s.

1900 Rosina Nelson
1907 Rose Merry
1910 Bridal Veil
1918 Dorothy Carter
1900
1907
1910
1918

 

In the 1920s Mob caps were  fashionable as bridal headdresses. A mob cap was a large cap or bonnet covering much of the hair, typically of light cotton with a frilled edge. Sometimes it was tied under the chin with ribbon and was worn indoors by women in the 18th and early 19th centuries. In the Victorian period, mob caps had become the head covering of servants and nurses. However the 1920s saw a resurgence of the mob cap in bridal wear.

mob-cap
mob-cap

 

1921-wedding-dorothy-greaves-and-william-shaw

 1921 Dorothy Greaves – Mob Cap style headdress and veil

Later in the 1920s brides favoured lace cloche headdresses, some of which would be encircled with flowers. Veils were usually made of silk materials and decorated with flowers and leaves. Orange Blossom was often used to decorate the head-dress.

Tiaras, veils and headbands were all worn low over the forehead in the 1920s.

1922-double-wedding

1922 Double Wedding with veils worn low over the forehead.

A Juliet cap was a small open-work crocheted or mesh cap, often decorated with pearls or beads and worn with evening gowns and bridal wear. The cap was named after the heroine of  Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and was often worn with a long cathedral-length veil in the 1920’s. 

1929 People's Home Journal

1929 People’s Home Journal

1928-juliet-cap-and-crysanthemeum-bouquet

Western Morning NewsMonday 10 December 1928

1928 Juliet Cap of lace and pearls

1928-bridal-head-dresses

1927-wedding-faashion

In the 1920s White Russian emigres fleeing revolution and civil war influenced the fashion scene. Thousands of Russians fled to escape the Bolshevik revolution and many immigrant women found work in French couture houses using their skills in embroidery and knowledge of traditional Russian patterns. Designs influenced by Russian peasant costumes became popular. One fashionable design was based on a Russian girl’s headdress called a kokoshnik.

kokoshnik-style-headdress
kokoshnik-headdress
1926-kokoshnik-style-headdress

In 1922 the heiress Edwina Ashley married Lord Louis Mountbatten  and wore a Russian inspired pointed coronet.

1922-mountbatten-wedding

Miss Irene Hill was noted as having a `fashionable wedding’ in India and wore a Russian coronet of orange-blossom.

1925-russian-coronet

Exeter and Plymouth GazetteTuesday 25 August 1925

I am fascinated by this wonderful photo taken of Helen Fry Kingston wearing a most impressive Russian kokoshnik style headdress at her wedding in Queensland, Australia in 1929.

1929 Perrett Kingston Wedding

1929 Helen Fry Kingston and Francis J Perrett

At another 1929 wedding Minnie East has a much simpler headdress. However it is still worn low down 1920s style.

1929-v-neckline

1929 Minnie East

1927-new-ideas-for-bridal-veil

Western Morning NewsFriday 01 April 1927

1921 Bridal Veil
1922 Bridal veil
1922 Edwina Ashley
1923 Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon
1921
1922
1922
1923
1925 Bridal Veil and Orange Blossom
1927 Louisa George Bridal Veil
1929 Minnie East Wedding Veil
1929 Perrett Kingston Wedding Head-dress
1925
1927
1929
1929

 

Picture Hats

picturehat

Alternatively a hat was worn by the bride and or bridesmaids. We often see wide-brimmed picture hats until mid decade when the neat cloche became the most fashionable style.

Larger picture-hats were often called vagabond style.

1927-grey-vagabond-hats

Dundee Evening TelegraphWednesday 12 October 1927

1920-black-picture-hats

Chelmsford ChronicleFriday 20 August 1920 

 

1922-harold-hawes-and-lily-fincham

1922 Wedding party with wide-brimmed Picture hats

1927-picture-hats

1923 Picture hats

1922-bridal-illustration

At this wedding reported in 1929 the bride wore a black velvet picture hat and the bridesmaid wore the newer style cloche hat.

1929-pink-bridesmaiddress-and-black-cloche-hat

Cloche hats

cloche-hats

The cloche hat or simply cloche was a fitted, bell-shaped hat for women that was invented in 1908 by milliner Caroline Reboux. They became popular from about 1922 to 1933. The name is derived from cloche, the French word for “bell”. A Cloche hat had a basic bell contour with a bulbous crown which if correctly designed could add inches to the height of the wearer. The hat had to be all but pulled over the eyes, making the wearer have to lift up the head, whilst peering snootily down the nose. Brims became smaller as the decade progressed.

1922-hats
1926 Cloche Hats
1920s-cloche-hats
1927 Cloche Hats

I have found references to not only ivory and black coloured cloche hats worn by brides and bridesmaids, but also a lot of colour.

1920s-cloche-hats

1925 Edith Punchard wore an ivory lace cloche with clusters of pale yellow flowers

1925-cloche-hat-wedding

Exeter and Plymouth GazetteThursday 21 May 1925

1925 Bride Hilda Webber wore a blue & silver shot cloche hat trimmed with forget-me-nots.

1925-cloche-hats-and-forget-me-knots

Exeter and Plymouth GazetteTuesday 28 April 1925

1924 small blue cloche hat trimmed with tuft of paradise feathers.

1924-blue-cloche-hat-and-petunia-feathers

North Devon JournalThursday 12 June 1924

blue-cloche-hat

Blue seemed to be a popular colour choice influenced by the royal weddings in the early 1920s. Princess Mary chose blue as the colour for her bridesmaid dresses and the colour became known as Princess Mary blue.

1922-princess-marys-bridesmaid-veils

Grantham JournalSaturday 25 February 1922

Many brides wore a veil for the marriage ceremony, but chose to wear a cloche hat to go on honeymoon.

Bridesmaids veils

Another interesting feature of 1920s weddings is that bridesmaids sometimes wore veils! This can make it difficult to distinguish the bride in photos.

1922-princess-mary-bridesmaid-veils

1922-princess-mary-bridesmaid-veils

1922 Princess Mary’s bridesmaid veils

Nancy Davidson chose veils of primrose-coloured net for her bridesmaids to tone with their primrose coloured chiffon dresses fastened with blue sashes. They carried bouquets of blue delphiniums. I was delighted to have found these descriptions. Black and White photos look so drab and give no impression of the colours.

1929-bridesmaid-bouquets-of-delphiniums

Sheffield IndependentThursday 20 June 1929

Winifred Griffiths also favoured blue as a colour. Her bridesmaids wore blue  satin dresses with head dresses of blue net fastened with wreaths of forget me nots.

1929-blue-net

Buckingham Advertiser and Free PressSaturday 25 May 1929

1924-bridesmaid-veils

In the 1920s bridesmaids did sometimes wear white veils which were very similar to the bride. While in modern times a bridesmaid is expected to assist the bride, her duties were regarded as of a more serious nature in earlier days. A custom once existed where maidens dressed similarly to the bride would accompany her as her protectors on her way to the groom’s village. This would deflect spurned suitors from kidnapping the bride or from stealing her dowry. Roman law once required witnesses to come to weddings in order to confuse evil spirits as to the identity of the bride and groom. This meant that female wedding attendants came to a marriage ceremony in garments very similar to the bride’s, This supposedly threw off bad luck that could be directed towards an easily identifiable bride and groom. In the 1920s it seems to be more of a case of fashion being influenced by the past than superstition influencing fashion.

Bandeau Headpieces

1920s-bride

During the first half of the 1920s women wore decorative bands across the forehead with evening and party dresses and this head decoration was reflected in bridal headpieces. Bridal Fashion introduced Bandeau headdresses in the later 1920s.

1925-lady-edith

1928-bridesmaid-fashion-wreath-of-flowers

Derby Daily TelegraphFriday 07 December 1928 

However clearly this Derbyshire vicar had strong views on `Modern Wedding Attire’. I’m therefore sure that Lady Edith would have kept her veil on for her wedding and not just worn a bandeau.

1925-edith-crawley-3

 

Flower girls – mob caps and dutch caps

There was also a fashion to have young flower girls in addition to bridesmaids. Little girls carrying flower baskets might wear puff-sleeved dresses and mob caps, emulating  the historical Kate Greenaway style.

1929-net-caps-and-silver-leaves

Western Daily PressMonday 24 June 1929

1929-mob-caps

1927-mob-cap-1

1927louisa-george-and-joseph-bliss-rance

1927-louisa-george-and-joseph-bliss-rance

1927 Wedding Louisa George

Not only the small flower girls, but also the chief bridesmaid is wearing a simple mob cap at this wedding. I must admit they look like  shower caps to me!

1924-pink-dresses-with-lace-mob-caps

Western Morning NewsWednesday 11 June 1924

1926-edith-amelia-polglass-and-charles-arthur-furley-group

1926 Edith Amelia Polglass Wedding

1929-bridesmaid-hats-1

1925  I much prefer the flower girls bonnets chosen by Dorothy Jones

Dutch Caps

Another distinctive bridesmaids head wear was the wired cap with horizontal wings that resembled a Dutch head-dress. This style looks like a fashion faux pas to me. However Edwina Ashley chose Dutch caps for her bridesmaids dresses when she married Louis Mountbatten so maybe I’m missing something!

1922-edwina-ashley-dutch-caps

Western Morning NewsTuesday 18 July 1922

 

1922-bridesmaid-headgear
1922-dutch-caps-1

 

1922-mountbatten-1

 

1927-dutch-hats

Western Morning NewsTuesday 13 December 1927 

Hopefully I have given a few clues to identifying 1920s wedding photos from the headgear worn.  Next time I will be looking at the dresses themselves.

1922-double-wedding-1

1922 Double wedding of siblings William and Jane Pomfret

1922

 

 

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Mallorcan Flowers

Plumnbago Watercolour
Bougainvillea watercolour
Lantana camera sketch

Last month I had a wonderful relaxing holiday staying at the Monnaber Nou Hotel in the middle of the Mallorcan countryside. The name Monnaber means ‘Hill of Flowers’ and the hotel is surrounded by a beautiful landscape of fruit trees typical of Mallorca including almonds, figs, pomegranate, carobs and olives.

monnaber nou sketch

Monnaber Nou itself had an abundance of flowers for me to enjoy. I had a wonderful time pottering with my sketchbook, wildflower books and my camera.

Holiday Sketchbook

Latana camera is widely cultivated and naturalised in Mallorca. The shrub can grow up to 1.5m. The flowers are usually yellow or orange, changing to red, or all yellow or all red. I spotted some very pretty pink and mauve flowers too. The fruit is a small black berry.

Lantana camera sketch

Lantana camera sketch

lantana

lantanalantana

 

lantana-43-2
lantana

 

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is an impressive exotic looking deciduous shrub growing up to 3m. The leaves are deep green and shiny. The flowers are  bright rose-red with prominent protruding red staminal column and stigmas. The shrub is widely planted in parks and gardens or along roadsides. Other colours include apricot, white, cream, pink and yellow.

hibiscus

hibiscushibiscus-mallorca

Hibiscus watercolour
mallorcan-watercolour-36

Hibiscus watercolour

Hibiscus pen and wash

hibiscusMallorcan Posy

It’s always a very pleasant challenge sketching by the pool whilst drinking a cocktail or two on holiday!

monnaber nou campanet

monnaber nou campanet

mallorcan-watercolour

I am particularly fond of the beautiful magenta climber Bougainvillea. It’s one of those plants which symbolises sunny, Mediterranean holidays to me. The flowers themselves are actually insignificant whitish blooms, but surrounded by large leaf-like purple bracts.

Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea
Bougainvillea watercolour

 

Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea Posy

 

In the grounds of Monnaber Nou I spotted the aptly named Four O’Clock Plant, Mirabilis jalapa. It is so named because its flowers usually open in the afternoon. The one I spotted liked to open an hour later at Five O’Clock!

four-oclock-plant
Four-o clock-plant
four-oclock-plant

Another flowering shrub frequently planted in gardens and on roadsides is Oleander. The flowers can be pink, red or white and grow in dense clusters. The Oleander flowers through the height of Summer when many other Mediterranean plants are past their best.

Oleander

 

 

oleander
oleander
oleander

mallorcan-watercolour

The other Mallorcan flowering shrub I am particularly fond of is Cape Leadwort or Plumbago auriculata. This scrambling shrub has beautiful sky-blue flowers. I remember picking a few snippets of Plumbago and Jasmine to decorate my favourite sunhat last year.

Mallocan Hat

plumbagoplumbagoPlumnbago Watercolourplumbago

I spotted quite a few vibrant blue Mallorcan flowers this year. At home I valiantly battle to try to eradicate the bindweed in our garden. However Morning Glory, Ipomoea purpurea is in the same family and really is very attractive with it’s bright blue flowers.  It has naturalised in hedges and roadsides in Mallorca and is also grown in gardens

morning-glory

morning-glory

morning-glorymallorcan-watercolour

Another tiny blue flower that caught my eye was the Blue Pimpernel. It was poking through the wooden slats near the pool and I almost missed it. It was close to a Scarlet Pimpernel, Anagallis arvensis which got me quite excited!

blue-pimpernel
mallorcan-watercolour
scarlet-pimpernel
scarlet-pimpernel

Mallorcan countrytside

Mallorcan sketch

Campanet

The hills behind Monnaber Nou are very rugged and the ground was completely parched in September. I enjoyed a few early morning runs amongst the olive and carob trees. There wasn’t much to be seen in flower except the very brown looking Carlina thistle, Carlina corymbosa. I didn’t think this thistle was very attractive until I looked more closely. Then I saw the beauty of the fluffy, yellow flowers. This thistle likes dry, stony places.

carline-thistle
carline-thistle
carline-thistle
carline-thistle

Carlina corymbosa

carob-tree

Mallorcan countryside

 

On a couple of afternoons I had a stroll with my camera and saw Sea Squill, Urginea maritima. Sea Squill is one of the Mediterranean’s characteristic plants. It flowers in late Summer after the glossy leaves have died away. It grows from a huge bulb, up to 15 cm across, which is often half buried in the ground. The flowering stem gradually develops after the leaves have withered and can be up to 150 cm high. This bears several hundred star like flowers.

sea-squill

sea-squill
sea-squill
sea-squill

 

Sea Squill SketchSea Squill Sketch

Another plant adapted to the climate and steep rocky ground is the Century Plant, Agave americana. This is a very robust perennial, up to 7 m tall in flower. The bluish grey-green leaves are very large, spear shaped and form basal rosettes close to the ground.

agave

 

agave

agave

Many species of Cactus are cultivated including the Prickly Pears, Opuntia ficus-indica. Found on rocky hillslopes, cliffs and roadsides. It was introduced from the Americas by Christopher Columbus. The fruits are often seen for sale in markets.

prickly-pear

Prickly Pears

In the grounds at Monnaber I also spotted a Squirting Cucumber, Ecballium elaterium. The small green fruit, like a small cucumber explodes suddenly when ripe, squirting the seeds out in a pulpy liquid.

squirting-cucumber
squirting-cucumber

This is just a taste of the flowers I saw on my holidays this year. I hope you enjoyed my Mallorcan  Floral snippets as much as I did!

Flower Sketch

 

 

 

Mallorcan Posy

monnaber nou campanet

 

Monnaber Nou Hotel, Campanet, Mallorca

 

 

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July Wildflowers

Spear Thistle
July Wildflower Sketch
Common Poppy Sketch

  Oxfordshire Field Margins 

Chicory Sketch
Chicory, Cichorium intybus

Daisy Family

Erect, stiff branched stems 30 – 100 cm. Leaves lanceolate and pointed. Flowerheads 2.5 – 4 cm wide on thick short stalks. Florets bright blue. 2 rows of bracts, inner bracts longer, erect, outer row shorter.

Flowering Season: July to October

Habitat: Grassland, roadsides and banks. Calc. soils.

Chicory

Chicory

Chicory

 

 

Common Poppy Sketch

Common Poppy, Papaver rhoeas

Poppy Family

Bristly erect annual, 20 – 60 cm tall. Pinnate leaves. Flower heads 7-10 cm across with scarlet petals, often with a dark basal blotch. Capsule globular.

Flowering Season: June to August

Habitat: arable, wasteland, roadsides and bare ground.

Common Poppy
Common Poppy

Common Poppy

 

 

 

Hogweed

Hogweed, Heracleum sphondylium

Carrot Family

Robust, roughly hairy perennial plant growing up to 250 cm. Hollow, ridged stems with downward pointing hairs. Grey-green leaves 15 – 60 cm. Flowers white or pinkish.

Flowering Season: May – August

Habitat: roadsides, hedge banks, grassland, waste places and open woodland.

Hogweed

Wild Parsnip

 

Wild Parsnip, Pastinaca sativa

Carrot Family

Erect, downy, branched perennial growing up to 100 cm. Hollow, furrowed and angled stems . Grey-green leaves 15 – 60 cm. Flowers yellow

Poisonous – sap causes severe blisters due to skin becoming hyper sensitive to sunlight.

Flowering Season: June – August

Habitat: roadsides, grassland, waste places and scrubland especially on dry calc. soils. Widespread in S Britain, rare in the North.

Wild Parsnip
Wild Parsnip

 

 

Ragwort Sketch

 

 

 

Ragwort, Senecio jacobea

Daisy Family

Stout, erect, leafy furrowed stems 30 -100 cm.  Stems branch towards top. Leaves pinnately lobed with large blunt end lobe. Flower heads 15 -25 mm in diameter aggregated into flattish-topped umbel-like clusters. Bright yellow.  12 – 15 ray florets.

Highly poisonous.

Flowering Season: June – October

Habitat: Very common on neglected grassland, roadsides, wasteland and dunes.

Ragwort

Ragwort

 

Ragwort Small-16

Mallow, Malva sylvestris

Mallow Family

Robust plant, stems 45 – 90 cm, erect or spreading. Leaves sparsely hairy, palmately lobed, the lobes shallowly toothed. Flowers stalked, in axillary clusters up the stem. Petals 12 – 30 mm, rose purple with darker veins. Petals are 2 – 4 times the length of the sepals.

Flowering Season: June – September

Habitat: Roadsides, wasteland and hedgebanks.

Mallow

 

Mallow

 

Spear Thistle

Spear Thistle, Cirsium vulgare

Daisy Family

Erect stems 30 – 150 cm. Stems branched above with spiny wings. Basal leaves 15 – 30 cm long, shortly stalked, deeply pinnatified, wavy edged and toothed. Lobes and teeth with long stout spines. Stem leaves are stalkless, smaller, with long terminal lobes. All leaves are prickly-hairy above and not shiny. A few flower-heads are in loose clusters. Others are solitary. The heads are 2 – 5 cm long and 2.5 – 4 cm wide. The outer bracts are green with long, arched-back yellow spine-tips. The florets are pink-purple. The pappus are feathered. `Pappus’ are the tuft of hairs on each seed of thistles, dandelions, and similar plants, which assists dispersal by the wind.

Flowering Season: July – October

Habitat: Very common on neglected grassland, roadsides, wasteland and open woodland.

Spear Thistle

Spear Thistle

Spear Thistle

 

Creeping ThistleCreeping Thistle

Creeping Thistle, Cirsium arvense

Daisy Family

Creeping perennial with erect, branched, furrowed, spineless stems 30 – 90 cm tall. Leaves are oblong-lanceolate, with strong slender spines on their wavy and toothed edges. The upperside is usually hairless and grey-green in colour. The leaves are cottony beneath. The lower leaves are stalked, the upper spines clasp the stem. The flower-heads are in open clusters, 1.5cm – 2.5 cm long  and 1cm wide. The flower bracts are purplish and oval in shape, with spreading spine-tips. The florets are mauve or white.

Flowering Season: July – September

Habitat: Very common on neglected grassland, roadsides, wasteland and arable field margins.

Creeping Thistle

 

Creeping Thistle

Creeping Thistle

 

 

July Wildflower sketch

 

Meadows and Grassland

 

Oxeye Daisy

Oxeye Daisy, Leucanthemum vulgare

Daisy Family

Erect, slightly hairy little branched perennial. Basal rosette of long-stalked spoon-shaped, toothed leaves. Stem leaves are stalkless, clasping, alternate, deeply toothed and dark green in colour. The flower-heads are long-stalked, daisy-like, 2-5 – 6 cm across. The ray-florets are white and the disc-florets are yellow.

Flowering Season: May – September

Habitat: Meadows, roadsides, grassland, on fertile soils.

Ox Eye Daisy

July Wildflower Sketch

Buttercup

 

 

Buttercup, Ranunclus

Buttercup Family

Buttercups are plants with alternate leaves and yellow flowers. They have 5 or 3 green sepals, 5 petals, many stamens, and many tiny carpels.

Flowering Season: May – August

Habitat: Very common in most habitats

 

Buttercup

 

Lady's Bedstraw

Lady’s Bedstraw, Galium verum

Bedstraw Family

Perennial with creeping stems at base. Flower stems erect, 15 – 60 cm tall. Leaves linear. Corollas 2 – 3 mm across, golden-yellow with pointed lobes.

Flowering Season: July – August

Habitat: grassland, hedge banks and dunes.

Lady's Bedstraw

Field ScabiousField Scabious

 

Field Scabious, Knautia arvensis

Basal leaves roughly-hairy, usually unlobed, but often blunt-toothed. Stem leaves deeply pinnatified, with course hairy segments. Flower heads 3 – 4 cm wide, stalks stout (2 – 3 mm), 8 calyx-teeth, corollas blue-violet with 4 unequal lobes.

Flowering Season: July – September

Habitat: roadsides, dry grassland and meadows.

Field Scabious

Field Scabious

Ragwort

Meadow Cranesbill Sketch

 

Meadow Cranesbill, Geranium pratense

Geranium Family

Erect hairy perennial 30  – 80 cm. Basal leaves 5 – 7 times palmately lobed. Saucer- shaped flowers in pairs. Petals 15 – 18mm, violet-blue to sky blue, unnotched, veins paler.

Flowering Season: June – September

Habitat: roadsides, meadows, grassland, especially on calc soils.

Meadow Cranesbill
Meadow Cranesbill
Meadow Cranesbill

 

 

Corn Mint

Corn Mint, Mentha arvensis

Dead-Nettle Family

Downy perennial 10 – 30 cm tall. `Peppery’ mint scent when bruised. Leaves are rounded to elliptical, blunt-tipped and hairy. Flowers in separated dense whorls in leaf axils. Corolla mauve, stamens projecting.

Flowering Season: May – October

Habitat: Common but possibly declining in meadows, woods and arable.

Corn Mint

Riverbanks and Marshland

Water Mint

Water Mint, Mentha aquatica

Dead-Nettle Family

Downy, erect perennial, 15 – 60 cm tall. Leaves opposite, oval with bunt tips and teeth. Leaves fresh mint scented. Terminal rounded flower-head often with extra whorls below. Calyx tube hairy. Corolla mauve, stamens projecting from flowers.

Flowering Season: July – October

Habitat: Very common in marshes, fens, wet woods and by fresh water.

 

 

Marsh Woundwort

Marsh Woundwort, Stachys palustris

Dead-Nettle Family

Odourless bristly perennial, with creeping rhizome and erect stems, 30 – 80 cm. Leaves lanceolate or oblong, 5 – 12 cm long. Flowers are pink-purple in colour with a white pattern on the lip. Hybridizes with Hedge Woundwort.

Flowering Season: July – September

Habitat: Riverbanks and marshes

Marsh Woundwort

Marsh Woundwort

 

Hedge Woundwort

Hedge Woundwort, Stachys sylvatica

Dead-Nettle Family

Harsh smelling bristly perennial, with creeping rhizome and erect stems, 30 – 80 cm. Leaves oval-cordate, 4 – 9 cm long. Calyx has rigid triangular teeth.Flowers are beetroot-red in colour with a white pattern on the lip.

Flowering Season: July – September

Habitat: Woods and hedgebanks.

Hedge Woundwort

 

Purple Loosestrife

Purple Loosestrife, Lythrum salicaria

Purple-Loosestrife Family

Downy erect perennial, up to 1.5m. Stems bearing 4 or more raised lines. Leaves oval-lanceolate, 40 – 70 mm long, unstalked, pointed and untoothed, in opposite pairs, or whorls of 3 below and alternate above. Flowers 10 – 15 mm in diameter, in long terminal spike. 6 red-purple petals and 12 stamens.

Flowering Season: May – August

Habitat: Water- margins, fens and damp grassland.

Purple LoosestrifePurple Loosestrife

Purple Loosestrife

 

Great Willowherb

Great Willowherb, Epilobium hirsutum

Willowherb Family

Tall perennial up to 2m. Round stems, densely downy with spreading hairs. Leaves opposite, oblong-lanceolate up to 12 cm long. Large flowers, strong purplish-pink colour up to 25 mm in diameter, in loose, leafy terminal inflorescence. Stigma with 4 arching creamy lobes.

Flowering Season: July – August

Habitat: Damp places often amongst tall vegetation.Fens, marshes, river banks and damp wasteland.

Great Willowherb

Great Willowherb

Great Willowherb

 

Indian Balsam

Indian Balsam, Impatiens glandulifera

Balsam Family

Tall annual up to 2 m. Can be branched or unbranched, with reddish stem. Leaves lanceolate to elliptical up to 18 cm long. Opposite or in whorls of 3. Flowers purplish-pink or white, up to 40 mm long, with short curved spur. Fruit club-shaped. Naturalised from the Himalayas.

Flowering Season: July – October

Habitat: Riverbanks and damp or shady wasteground.

Indian Balsam

 

Meadowsweet

Meadow Sweet, Filipendula ulmaria

Rose Family

Perennial up to 1.2 m. Pinnate leaves, oval, pointed and sharp toothed, 30 – 60 cm long. The leaves are dark green and hairless above  and white-woolly or pale green and downy below. Leaf stalks smell strongly of germoline. Flowers in dense irregular umbel-like inflorescence consisting of dense showy panicles of many creamy, fragrant flowers, each 4 – 8 mm in diameter. There are usually 5 sepals, 5 petals and many stamens.

Flowering Season: June – September

Habitat: Widespread in a variety of damp and wet habitats including marshes, fens, stream sides, ditches, wet open woodland and by rivers on less acid soils.

Meadowsweet

Meadowsweet

 

Wasteland

Bramble Sketch
Selfheal
Bristly Oxtongue

Bristly Oxtongue, Picris echoides

Daisy Family

Annual or biennial with furrowed bristly branched stems up to 90 cm. Basal leaves oblong, narrowing into stalk. Upper stem leaves narrower with clasping leaves covered with swollen bristles. Thickly covered with blister-like bristles with swollen white bases. Bright yellow flower heads 20 – 25 mm in diameter in loose groups.  Outermost 3- 5 bracts leaf-like and triangular, much broader than inner bracts.

Flowering Season: June – October

Habitat: Hedgebanks, grassland, wasteground, disturbed ground and drier coastal habitats

Bristly Oxtongue

Bristly Oxtongue
Bristly Oxtongue

 

 

Viper's BuglossViper's Bugloss

Viper’s Bugloss, Echium vulgare

Borage Family

Roughly bristly biennial with an erect stem up to 80 cm, dotted with red bristles. Stem leaves stalk- less and rounded at bases. Flowers in curved clusters in bract axils up the stem, forming a large panicle. The buds are pink, resembling clusters of tiny grapes. The flowers are usually bright blue or blue-violet. Funnel shaped corolla, 5 stamens, 4 of them long and protruding from the flower. 5 somewhat unequal petal lobes. Fruit rough nutlets.

Flowering Season: June – August

Habitat: Open dry grassland often near the coast, sand and chalk, dunes and cliffs. Frequently on light or calcareous soils.

Viper's BuglossViper's Bugloss

 

 

Bramble Sketch

Bramble, Rubus fructicosus

Rose Family

Numerous microspecies of bramble. Differ in stem armament and hair distribution. Brambles are a genus of scrambling, erect or creeping shrubs, mostly spiny, leaves undivided, or usually with 3 – 5 pinnately or palmately arranged leaflets. 1 – 3 m, with usually arching and angled stems bearing hooked spines, prickles and hairs. Flowers are white or pink, in panicles on the ends of last year’s stems. Berries start green maturing to red then shiny black or purple-red.

Flowering Season: May – September

Habitat: Very common in scrub, woods, wasteland, hedgebanks. Often highly invasive if unmanaged.

Bramble

Bramble

Bramble

 

Butterfly Bush

Butterfly-bush, Buddleja davidii

Butterfly-Bush Family

Shrub up to 5 m. Opposite leaves lanceolate to ovate, usually toothed, white downy below. Small, fragrant, mauve-purple flowers in a dense spike-like panicle. 4 petals fused into a tube with 4 stamens.

Flowering Season: April – August

Habitat: Very common on wasteland, neglected grassland, railways, roadsides and urban areas. Prefers dry, disturbed ground. Introduced from China. Very invasive.

Butterfly Bush-

 

Rosebay Willowherb

Rosebay Willowherb, Chamerion lutiana

Willowherb Family

Tall, erect perennial up to 120 cm. Nearly hairless. Lanceolate alternate leaves, spirally arranged up the stem. Flowers rose-purple, 2 – 3 cm across, borne in spikes. 2 upper petals are broader than the lower. Stigma is four lobed and stamens  bend down eventually.

Flowering Season: July – September

Habitat: Locally abundant on wasteland, woods and railway embankments.

Rosebay Willowherb

Rosebay Willowherb

 

Selfheal

Selfheal, Prunella vulgaris

Dead-Nettle Family

Sparsely downy perennial with creeping runners and erect flowering stems up to 20 cm tall. Oval leaves, widest at the base, untoothed and pointed. Inflorescence is a dense oblong head, with hairy purplish bracts, purplish calyx with 3 teeth. Very short flattened upper lip with bristles. Corolla 10 – 14 mm long, violet, rarely white or pink.

Flowering Season: June – October

Habitat: Very common on grassland, roadsides, wasteland and woods.

Selfheal

Selfheal

 

Old Man's Beard

Old Man’s Beard, Clematis vitalba

Buttercup Family

Woody climber with peeling fibrous bark. Opposite, pinnate compound leaves with narrow oval pointed, usually toothed leaflets. Fragrant creamy-white flowers 2 cm across in loose clusters. Flowers in leaf axils, with 4 greenish-creamy sepals, hairy outside and inside and many stamens. Develop long white plumed styles.

Flowering Season: July – August

Habitat: Widespread and common in hedgerows, woodland and scrub on chalk and limestone.

Old Man's Beard

Mallow

 

Purple Toadflax

Purple Toadflax, Linaria purpurea

Figwort Family

Toadflaxes have spurred corollas, with their throats closed by a 2 lobed swelling on the lower lip, called the palate. Erect grey-green leaved hairless perennial. Flowers are in long racemes, corollas violet, unstriped, 8 mm long, with long curved spur.

Flowering Season: June – October

Habitat: A garden escape on old walls and wasteland.

Purple Toadflax

Purple Toadflax

Wild TeaselWild Teasel

Teasel, Dipsacus fullonum

Teasel Family

Stout biennial, up to 2 m. In first year produces a leaf rosette of short-stalked, oblong-laneolate leaves with swollen-based prickles. In second year very prickly, branched stem with opposite, long narrow lanceolate leaves. The leaves join in a cup at the base of each pair that collects rainwater. Flowerheads 3  -8 cm long, egg-shaped. Bracts below head are linear, rigid and spiny, 5 – 9 cm long. Pink-purple corollas 5 – 7 mm long.

Flowering Season: July – August

Habitat: Wasteland, open woods, stream banks, roadsides and grassland especially on clay soils.

Wild Teasel

 

Hedge Bindweed

Hedge Bindweed, Calystegia sepium

Bindweed Family

Creeping and climbing plant, climbing to 3 m or more. Aternate leaves up to 15 cm long. Large white flowers, longer than calyx lobes.

Flowering Season: July – September

Habitat: Wasteland, hedgebanks, scrub, woodland borders and fens.

Hedge Bindweed

Field Bindweed

Field Bindweed, Convolvulus arvensis

Bindweed Family

Creeping and climbing perennial with hairless stems arising from stout fleshy underground stems. Alternate leaves 2 -5 cm long, oblong- arrow-shaped and stalked. White and pink trumpet-shaped flowers, 30 mm across. Calyx 5 lobed.

Flowering Season: June – September

Habitat: Wasteland, hedgebanks, arable, roadsides, grassland and near the coast. A serious weed in gardens.

Field Bindweed

 

Meadow Cranesbill Sketch
Bramble Sketch
Selfheal

 

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Victorian Florist-Gardeners

Victorian Epergne

The Victorian Era turned away from the elegance of the Georgian Era and brought houses jam-packed full of clutter. From simplicity and elegance we moved to richness and opulence. At no other time had flowers and foliage been used in such abundance.

Victorian Gardens

The Victorian’s love of order and control influenced a more formal style of gardening. Bedding schemes with plants laid out in rows and colour patterns were seen as the height of style in the mid 19th century. Mid Victorians liked brilliant-hued flowers and strong colour contrasts rather than harmonious colour schemes. Garden design was brash and bold. With the rise of the middle classes and their neat suburban villas, this ‘bedding boom’ reached even the small suburban garden with brash displays in island beds placed right in the middle of lawns.

Waddesdon Victorian Bedding

The removal of tax on glass in 1845 meant that there was an increase in the building of glasshouses and conservatories which coincided with growing and collecting of exotic, tender plants.

Plant hunters and the Wardian Case

The entire 19th century was a period of great enthusiasm for flowers, plants and gardening.  People became avid collectors of certain plants, specializing in popular plants such as geraniums, fuchsias and camellias. A whole range of plants which had never been seen before were introduced. These included South African Gladiolus,  Mexican dahlias, nasturtiums, azaleas, camellias, tree peonies, roses from China, chrysanthemums and fuchsia.  It was the Era of ferns and houseplants.

Victorian Interior

The Wardian case was an early type of sealed protective container for plants invented by botanist, Dr. Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward.  It found great use in the 19th century in protecting foreign plants imported to Europe from overseas.  Wardian cases soon became features of stylish drawing rooms. In the polluted air of Victorian cities the craze for growing ferns and orchids owed much to the new Wardian cases.

Wardian Case
Victorian Plants

Primrose in Wardian Case 1858 Greenock Advertiser

1858 Greenock Advertiser

In grand houses the Head Gardener had the important task of arranging large quantities of flowers for the house with flowers from the cutting garden. The Head Gardener often had a Flower Room amongst a group of buildings in the walled garden attached to the glasshouses. The room contained a table close to a window, a sink with a water tap and large cupboards with broad shelves for vases. Sounds like my ideal room for all my flower arranging paraphernalia! This is the first time we saw specific cutting gardens where flowers were grown for pleasure and not just medicinal purposes. In smaller houses the mistress and daughter would arrange the flowers.

Flowers in a Glass Epergne by E. H. Stannard, 1889

Eloise Harriet Stannard, A Still Life of Flowers in a Glass Epergne on a Marble Ledge with Gloves, Wicker Basket and Scissors, oil on canvas, 1889.

George Spice

My great, grandfather George Spice was a gardener. When he married in 1878 George was a gardener living in Sittingbourne, Kent.

1878 George Spice & Maria Coom

In 1881 George had a young family and was gardener at Hempstead House in Bapchild village, near Sittingbourne, Kent. In 1891 he was still a domestic gardener at Hempstead, living in one of the cottages attached to the house.

1891 census George Spice

Bapchild Map

Hempstead House
Hemstead Cottages

During the 19th century rural cottage gardens didn’t really change. I imagine that George would have had a cottage garden at Hempstead where he grew a mixture of flowers and vegetables.

At the latter end of the Victorian Era George moved with his family to Lower Clapton, Hackney in London. It is likely that George started work at the Pond Lane Nursery on Millfields Road.

1868 Lower Clapton

Lower Clapton 1868

Charles Booth Poverty Map 1898

Pond Lane Nursery 1898

The Pond Lane Nursery was sold in 1898.

The First Florists

Until the second half of the 19th century the majority of land close to cities was in use by market gardeners. Nurserymen grew outdoor flowers for market or specialised in growing and selling exotic, greenhouse plants.

Clapton Nursery. London Evening Standard 19 May 1898

  London Evening Standard 19 May 1898

The Early Florists were working men like my Great, Grandfather George Spice.

GeorgeSpiceGardening

The newspaper article lists greenhouses in Springfields, Clapton which were growing vines, orchids, palms, acacias, gardenias and ferns. Looking at the photo George may have even worked at Springfield Park.

Gardener Springfields, Clapton Canterbury Journal, Kentish Times and Farmers' Gazette 14 Dec 1895

 Canterbury Journal, Kentish Times and Farmers’ Gazette 14 Dec 1895

Springfield Park Upper Clapton

Springfield House

At the latter end of the 19th century large areas of land which had been market gardens for fruit and vegetables became housing. It was the newly well off middle classes who bought villa type houses in these suburbs. A lot of the growers moved further out. However some nurserymen who didn’t need large amounts of land on which to grow remained. Pond Lane Nursery is an example of a business that was sold to make room for new housing. Interestingly George Spice moved to the area and is at Rushmore Road in the 1911 census. My Grandma was brought up nearby in Elmcroft Street by George’s daughter Ethel and went to school in Millfields Road. The house she grew up in was built on the Pond Lane Nursery land.

George and Maria Spice

 

28 Elmcroft Street, Clapton 1915
28 Elmcroft Street, Clapton 1915
Millfields Road Infant School, Clapton, London
Millfields Road Infant School, Clapton, London
Big Bows in the hair were fashionable
Bus Horses 1920
Playing bus-horses at Millfields Road School 1920

1911 George Spice

George found new work with the florist and garden contractor Owen Charles Greenwood of 27 Upper Clapton Road, Hackney, London. The householders of the new suburban villas would have been good customers purchasing bedding plants, pot plants and flowers. These suburban nurseries often sold from a bench in an outbuilding, but some nurseries had a shop. Owen C. Greenwood had a shop from which he sold flowers to theatres in London.  Florist Shops would sell seed, plants and a few cut flowers. There would have been more pot plants than cut flowers on display as evidenced by this advertisement. Pot plants were hired out.

Owen C. Greenwood

 

My Grandma remembered the Greenwood’s florist shop where she used to visit her Grandad George at work.  She described `a large shop with an enormous fountain in the middle’ which she thought was amazing.

Nursery Hackney

Owen C Greenwood gardeners Essex Newsman 14 April 1923

Owen C Greenwood

Owen’s son Stanley Fielder Greenwood took over the business and was still listed as a Nurseryman and Florist in 1939. George Spice always took pride in his appearance and even when retired wore a flower in his buttonhole.

It’s likely that George exhibited some of his employer’s prize blooms at various Flower Shows. Messrs Low from Clapton Nursery had exhibited at the Crystal Palace Flower Show in 1860 showing their recently introduced, exotic plants.

Crystal Palace Flower Show 1860

Crystal Palace Flower Show 1860 p2

George may even have entered the Borough of Hackney’s Chrysanthemum Society Competition himself.

Hackney Chrysanthemum Society. Shoreditch Observer - Saturday 12 April 1879

 Shoreditch Observer – Saturday 12 April 1879

George Spice

Apart from nurserymen florists the Victorian Era is famous for the Covent Garden Flower girls, epitomised by Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady.

My Fair Lady

Flower girls

By 1851 there were 400 basket women or flower girls on the London streets. Before they set out to sell their flowers, the flower girls sat on the steps of St Paul’s church at Covent Garden and divided the bunches of flowers from the flower market in to small posies. They also made up buttonholes.

5 June 1885 Flower Sellers Pall Mall Gazette

Pall Mall Gazette – 5th June 1885

1891 Patrick Costello attempted murder

Western Daily PressTuesday 30 June 1891

31st July 1891 Hard labour

1904 Hackney Station

Flower sellers worked outside Hackney Railway Station

I like to think that George passed a love of roses onto his daughter Ethel whilst arranging flowers for the lady of the house at Hempstead.

Ethel Spice

Ethel Spice

Flowers in a Glass Epergne by E. H. Stannard, 1889

 

 

 

 

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Chiltern Chase Wildflowers

Tufted Vetch
Dog Rose
Scarlet Pimpernel

Finish

One of my other passions, apart from my love of flowers, is cross country running. I joined Abingdon Athletics Club this year and am enjoying taking part in races. The Chiltern Chase this month has been one of my favourite events so far.

It was a beautiful sunny day and I was amazed by the number of pretty wild flowers I saw as I walked from the car to the start-line at Cow Common in Ewelme.

Ewelme
Ewelme

 

Wild Flowers, Cow Common, Ewelme

Scarlet PimpernelScarlet Pimpernel 

 Scarlet Pimpernel, Anagallis arvensis

Primrose Family.

Hairless annual plant to 10cm with straggling stems. Leaves opposite, up to 2cm long, oval to lanceolate, pointed and stalkless. Flowers in the leaf axils, solitary on slender stalks. 5 petals, usually scarlet.  Sepals 4 – 5 mm long.Corolla 5 – 7mm long, usually red, sometimes blue and rarely pink.

Flowering Season: June to October

Habitat: Cultivated land, waste ground

 

Hedgerow CranesbillHedgerow Cranesbill
Hedgerow Crane’s-bill, Geranium pyrenaicum

Crane’s-bill Family

Very hairy 5-9 lobed leaves. Flowers have 5 oval, purple-red petals 7 -10 mm with darker veins and notched. 10 stamens

Flowering season: June to August

Habitat: Meadows and roadsides, rough ground

 

Lesser StitchwortLesser StitchwortLesser Stitchwort
Lesser Stitchwort, Stellaria graminea

Campion Family

White flowers on slender stalks. Petals notched and longer than the green sepals. Narrow leaves.

Flowering Season: Apr – Jun

Habitat: Hedges, banks and wood margins

TrefoilTrefoil
Lesser Trefoil, Trifolium dubium

Pea Family

Flower heads 5-7 mm across of mostly yellow flowers, each 3-4 mm long. Stem branched, straggling or creeping.

Flowering Season: Summer

Habitat: Dry grassland, roadsides and bare ground

SpeedwellSpeedwell
Germander Speedwell, Veronica chamaedrys

Figwort Family

Creeping and ascending hairy stems up to 20cm tall. Leaves are opposite, toothed and hairy. Flowers are bright blue with a white eye. The stigma points down and the stamens to the side. The flowers are pollinated by hover-flies.

Flowering Season: May – August

Habitat: Open Woodland, grassland, meadows, scrub

Chiltern Chase 10K Route 

The Chiltern Chase comprises 5.4km,10km and15.4km  multi-terrain runs, in and around the beautiful South Oxford village of Ewelme. Being situated in the Chiltern Hills the courses take in the Chiltern Way, bridleways and off-road sections with numerous red kites flying overhead. 

Chiltern Chase 10k Route

Chiltern Chase Route

 Start of the 10K 

There were 299 runners competing in the 10K race this year and the start involves a hill. I kept a steady pace at the back of the pack.

Chiltern Chase Start

 

Chiltern Chase Start

As I set off up that first hill I knew it wasn’t going to be my fastest 10K time ever. It was hot and my legs were aching from a fair bit of running the previous week. My aim was to get round in a reasonable time for me, but to enjoy the countryside at the same time.

Someone had mentioned that a tactic to keep going when the run gets tough is to mentally count down from 100 and then repeat. The aim is to take your mind off being out of breath and to stop thinking about how much your legs ache. I tried this tactic and it kept me going. However I found it took away some of the enjoyment out of focusing on the view. I therefore devised my own tactic. I am passionate about flowers and I love spotting wildflowers. I made the run into a memory game. I actively looked about trying to spot a new wildflower. I then added the name of the flower to a list in my mind and kept repeating until I saw a new one. Then this new wildflower was added to my list and so it went on. So instead of repeating 100, 99, 98, 97 etc in time to my stride I was repeating Scarlet Pimpernel, Cranesbill, Stitchwort, Trefoil, Speedwell etc etc. It was quite fun, making me look closely at the hedgerows and field margins and kept me going up and down the hills.

Cow Parsley

Cow Parsley,  Anthriscus sylvestris 

Carrot Family

Almost hairless branched plant to 1.5m tall. Leaves 2 to 3 pinnate, dark green, with divided lobes. Flowers arranged  in a double umbel.Petals to 2mm.

Flowering Season: May to August

Habitat: Roadsides, meadows, woodland margins

Common PoppyCommon PoppyCommon Poppy
Common Poppy, Papaver rhoeas

Poppy Family

Hairy plant grows up to 70cm tall. Feathery leaves and toothed leaflets. Droops in bud, becomes upright in flower. Sepals fall away during flowering.. Four red petals, about 4cm long, often with black spots towards the base. Numerous stamens. The fruit are hairless round capsules with 8-18 ridges with many openings beneath.

Flowering Season: May to July

Habitat: Arable fields, waste ground, edges of footpaths

Ox Eye DaisyOx Eye DaisyOx Eye Daisy
Oxeye Daisy, Leucanthemum vulgare

Daisy Family

Erect slightly hairy plant, 20 – 70 cm tall. Lower leaves are spoon shaped, notched  or pinnately lobed. Stem leaves are long, entire or pinnate.  Daisy like flowers, 2.5-6 cm across. Ray-florets white, disc-florets yellow.

Flowering Season: May – Sept

Habitat: Grassland, roadsides, Meadows

ButtercupButtercup
Buttercup Ranunculus

Stems tall and erect. Lobed leaves. Golden yellow flowers.

Flowering Season: May to June

Habitat: Meadows, scrub, farmland, footpaths, wasteland

Elder
Elder, Sambucus nigra

Honeysuckle Family

Shrub or small tree. Creamy white flowers are umbel like, flat topped

Flowering Season: Summer

Habitat: Woodland, scrub

Dog RoseDog RoseDog rose
Dog-rose, Rosa canina

Strong arching stems to 3m. Leaves with 2-3 pairs of toothed leaflets. Flowers are 4-5 cm, pink or white.

Flowering Season:June to September

Habitat: Hedges, scrub and woodland margins

 

 

These photos were taken by Barry Cornelius and at this stage I look quite cheerful on my quest to find Wildflowers on my run. I even got my feet off the ground at one point!

Barry Cornelius PhotosBarry Cornelius Photos

Barry Cornelius Photos

Herb RobertHerb Robert
Herb Robert, Geranium robertianum

Geranium Family

Spreading plant to 10 – 50 cm tall, with hairy stems and leaves. Stalked leaves opposite with 3-5 lobes. Lobes deeply separated. Petals pink 8 – 14 mm, unnotched. Anthers orange or purple.

Flowering Season: May – Dec

Habitat: Woods, scrub, clearings, walls, shingle and rocks near sea

White Campion
White Campion, Silene latifolia

Campion Family

Leaves are oval or lanceolate. Flowers white, 25 – 30mm. The 5 white petals are lobed. Where this species grows close to Red-Campion hybridised pink flowers are found.

Flowering Season: May to October

Habitat: Waste ground, , rough field margins, hedgerows

Common Bird's Foot Trefoil
Common Bird’s Foot Trefoil, Lotus corniculatus

Sprawling or creeping perennial. Leaflets ovate to lanceolote. Flowers yellow about 15 mm long. Pods long, dark brown, spreading out like a bird’s foot.

Flowering Season: May to October

Habitat: Dry Grassland, pastures, edges of footpaths and heathland

Bugloss
Bugloss, Anchusa arvensis

Borage Family

Erect, very bristly plant. Bright blue, flowers.

Flowering Season: June to September

Habitat: Sandy and light soils, grassland,dunes and wasteground.

Wood AvensWood Avens
Wood Avens, Geum rivale

Rose Family

Also known as Herb Bennet. A rather straggly plant to 60 cm tall. Hairy stems and pinnate leaves. Open, erect flowers turn into slightly prickly fruitheads.

Flowering Season: Jun – Aug

Habitat: Scrub, hedges

Lesser Periwinkle-1Periwinkle
Periwinkle, Vinca

Creeping woody shrub with evergreen untoothed leaves. Blue/violet flowers.

Flowering Season: Apr- Jun

Habitat: Deciduous woods, scrub, calcareous soils

My Wildflower spotting kept me going. Icknield Bank Plantation was pretty, but also pretty hilly through the woodland. Just round the corner of an incline I spotted Barry Cornelius with his camera at the moment when I was about to be overtaken by a speedy 15K runner. I gave it my best shot and sped up for the camera as I knew I’d look like I was competing in the 15K!  That’s a lesson learnt in the past. Keep your eyes out for a man with a camera and perfect your smile and posture for the photographic evidence.

Barry Cornelius PhotosBarry Cornelius PhotosBarry Cornelius Photos

Photo credit Barry Cornelius

I was now over half way and the sun was shining brightly. The water stops were a welcome relief and it was nice to be cheered on by the friendly volunteers. The second half included fields of rape and pretty cottages.

RapeRape

Rape, Brassica napus

Cabbage Family

Tall annual to 2m. Pale yellow flowers.

Flowering Season: May – July

Habitat: Field margins

White Dead Nettle

White Dead-nettle, Lamium album

Leaves ovate, heart shaped at the base. Common nettle shape, but not stinging. Flowers white, 20-25 mm.

Flowering Season: Apr – Dec

Habitat: Grassy, disturbed and semi-shaded habitats

Tufted VetchTufted Vetch

Tufted Vetch, Vicia cracca

Downy perennial. Leaves pinnate, with 6 -12 pairs of narrow-oblong leaflets. Bluish/violet Flowers in long raceme to 10 cm.

Flowering Season: Jun – Aug

Habitat:Grassy and bushy places

I must admit it was hard work crossing the open fields in the sun nearer the finish. Particularly as the faster 15k runners were passing me thick and fast. However they were very encouraging calling out `Well done Abingdon!’ I stuck to my course and let the faster runners go round me to overtake. I’ve learnt that it doesn’t work trying to get out of the way. I fall over and the other runner gets confused and delayed.

As I came back into Ewelme village the marshalls and villagers cheered me on. Then I rounded the corner to the finish and was met with a roar of applause as my name was called out towards the finish line. I gave it my best sprint finish and was ecstatic to make it over the line.

FinishFinish

Photo credit Andrew Casey

Just behind me was the chairman of Didcot Runners hand in hand with two of the Abingdon Athletics Club Ladies. Lovely to see the sense of positivity and camaraderie as they crossed the line together.

Chiltern Chase Finish

I found the running difficult on a hot June day. However my wildflower spotting got me through and I must admit it was a lovely jaunt out into the countryside. I will be back next year!

Chiltern Chase Certificate

Chiltern Chase Finish

I’d also highly recommend the tea and cakes provided by the Local school and the Hog- roast. The Chiltern Chase really does have a sense of community and a village fete atmosphere. Lovely!

 

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Coral Sunset

Peony Coral Sunset Timeline

Over the last fortnight I have watched my beautiful Coral Sunset Peony bloom and fade. The plant only had one bloom this year,  however it was worth the wait. I first saw this wonderful flower at Chelsea Flower Show on the Kelways stand a couple of years ago and was hooked.

Patsy-Smiles-Flowers-Primary-Logo-RGB-02

Peony

Peony

When I was working on my brand identity for Patsy Smiles Flowers with Becky Lord Design coral peonies inspired my vision. I was looking to create a brand which was cheerful, full of vibrant Spring colours and reflected my love of vintage treasures.

Coral Sunset and Coral Charm peonies provided the springboard.They both have very feminine and pretty flowers and the coral colour is very striking. I love vibrant, warm, cheerful colours.

PS Floral Asset (Full)

Coral Charm

 

Patsy Smiles Floral 2

 

Coral Charm

Coral Charm

Arcade Flowers

Patsy Smiles Floral 3

The other flower I absolutely adore is the rose. I have 20 different varieties in my garden and I know most of them by name. The specific hues found in a coral peony inspired my brand identity colours. The rose inspired my logo in the sense that I wanted an identity which was pretty, feminine and floral.

Strawberry Hill

Strawberry Hill

Tea Clipper

Patsy Smiles Greens 2

I was very clear about the Spring colours I wanted in my Logo and lime green was a definate favourite.

 

Bupleureum
Alchemilla mollis
Euphorbia Green

I love working with zingy lime green foliage whether it be Euphorbia, Bupleurum, Thlasbi or frothy Alchemilla mollis. There is something about the colour lime which works well in lots of colour schemes from simple white to pale pinks and deep purples. Whilst training with the Sussex Flower School I was known for my love of bright, lime green foliage. No sophisticated, muted colours for me!

Coral Charm

Alchemilla Mollis Bouquet

Coral Charm

 

PS Floral Asset (Full)

My third brand colour was inspired by the coast. I do love to be beside the seaside! It seemed only natural to include a bright turquoise colour in my branding to represent  relaxed seaside holidays. I knew that turquoise blue would provide a wonderful contrast to the coral I’d already chosen as they are complementary colours found opposite on the colour wheel.

Twelve Colour Wheel

Brand Palette

I have enjoyed using blue Nigella and Delphiniums with coral coloured flowers.

Roses-1

Coral Charm

Flowers used in designs by Arcade Flowers

Coral Charm

My Urn design on the 3 Weddings in 3 Days Course with Sabine Darrell Flower School.

Flapper Head-band
1920s style Bouquet Picture by Jim Holden
1920s bride

In order to reflect my love of all things vintage Becky Lord created an image which I felt represented a pretty 1920s flapper head-dress. I provided a quick watercolour sketch and the design was worked into a usable Logo.

Patsy Smiles Flowers Prototype

Patsy-Smiles-Flowers-Primary-Logo-RGB-02

Patsy Smiles Flowers Brand

Patsy Smiles Flowers Brand

I absolutely love my branding as I feel it represents who I am. – cheerful and optimistic, passionate about flowers and a lover of pretty vintage treasures. I am so pleased that I chose to include Coral Sunset as the main focal flower. What a beautiful bloom.

Peony

 

patsy-blog-bio

Coral Sunset Peony

 

 

about-patsy2

Coral Charm

 

 

flowers-always-quote

 

Peony Coral Sunset

 

 

 

 

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May Posy

May Posy

When I started to look for the ingredients for this month’s posy I thought the garden looked a bit bare! The month of May is a transition period in our garden, marking the end of tulip season and the beginning of the roses. At times I looked out and all I could see was greenery. However I did deliberately plant ferns last year to enjoy the texture and green colour. I’ve written a whole Blog Post about the use of ferns in Floral Design so decided I ought to plant some!

Fern
Fern
Fern
Fern

Fern tablecentre

Another new addition was Solomon’s Seal. I loved using this beautiful arching perennial last year in a fabulous table runner on a course with Sabine Darrall so thought it would work wonderfully with the ferns in the garden. I was right. However my new stems were too precious to cut for this month’s posy!

May Garden

Solomon Seal

One of my followers has asked to see more images of the whole of our garden and not just the detail. This meant I did have a jolly good go at the weeding and tidying up this month! When I moved into our present house I introduced Mr Smiles to flowers. He was familiar with dandelions, tomatoes, rhubarb and swiss chard but that was about it.

Virginia Way-2
Virginia Way-3

Over the next 6 years I dug borders and planted whatever caught my eye when I had finished digging and whenever I went on an outing to a garden centre. I’ve learnt a lot in the process. I didn’t make a plan. I just started digging. This means that there has not been much thought to a seasonal plan and there isn’t really a grand garden design with little cosy corners as I would like. When we move I shall have more of a long term garden plan.

May Garden
May GardenMay Garden
May Garden
May Garden

May Blooms Small-129

I roped in my father in law to build me a trellis as I wanted to grow climbing roses, clematis and honeysuckle. The good thing about the trellis is it hides the bins. However the flowers do tend to put on the best show on the opposite side by the bins as they obviously like to sunbathe! I used some clematis in this month’s posy.

I’m really pleased that we have great tits nesting in the blue birdbox again this month. I provided a choice of homes. However the middle blue residence seems to be the property of the month.

Bird Hut
May Blooms

Last weekend we spent a lovely afternoon trying to capture the great tits going back and forth feeding their young. My photography skills with moving birds need a bit more practise as the images are a bit too dark for my liking.

Feeding Time

Ready to fly

Feeding time

It’s actually been quite a month for wildlife. I spotted quite a few white and greenfly on my roses which I wasn’t amused with. However there are also ladybirds about. Hopefully they will attack the aphids. That’s when they’ve finished mating!

LadybirdLady Love

We have had quite a few of my cottage garden favourite blooms out this month including Aquilegia and Love-in-a-mist.

I chose to use these flowers in my posy as they seemed to be representative of the month.

May Blooms
May Blooms

 

Purple AquilegiaAqilegia

Pink Aquilegia
Pink Aquilegia

Aquilegia

NigellaPersian Jewel

Centaurea montana is a great plant as it just keeps flowering. Not very showy, but a very useful filler.

Centaurea montana

One of my favourite flowers is Dicentra , now re-named as Lamprocapnos spectabilis. The arching stems have pink flowers which resemble pretty pink hearts. This is another shrub which I deemed too precious to be picked this month!  My peony with just one fantastic bloom was also a no go area for picking!

Pink Hearts

May Blooms

Coral Peony

Our front garden has undergone a similar transformation as the back. In fact the front garden really comes into it’s own next month when the roses get going. Again there were no flowers. I dug a small border and also planted a seaside area. Under our bay window we have stones. The area is quite damp in the Winter, but dry in the Summer. I’ve gradually been planting coastal loving plants. This is planting in the loosest terms. I’ve literally just shoved plants in among the stones and told them to get on with it. I have collected shells and drift wood from trips to the coast and added them in.

Virginia Way-5

Virginia Way-1

This was the border five years ago. Now I think I might need to make the border bigger…! I am so chuffed with my oriental poppy. In this image there is only one flower. This month I have poppy flowers galore!

Oriental Poppy

Oriental Poppy

May Blooms

As I had lots of poppy flowers I decided I could spare one for my May Posy to be star of the show.

May Posy

 

In addition to the poppy the front garden has a lot of allium flowers in shades of white, pink and purple. I planted the front up after the back so there is more of a deliberate plan. I have chosen to use a colour palette of soft pinks, whites and lilacs.

Allium

Nectaroscordum siculum

Allium

Allium roseum

As I have quite a few of the pretty blush coloured Allium roseum I was happy to pick some for my creation.

May Posy

The other flowers I am very fond of are my stately foxgloves as they remind me of walks in the countryside.

Foxglove

Foxglove

Foxglove

Foxglove

By the front door we still have little viola in pots. I managed to include a couple of these in my posy as I love their cheerful little faces.

Viola

Viola
Viola

So there we have it this month’s posy is a bit of this and a bit of that, which represents our garden rather well!

May PosyMay PosyMay PosyMay Posy

 

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Bluebell Time

Badbury Clump Bluebell Wood

Bluebells at Badbury Clump

The highlight of May for me has been seeing the fleeting beauty of carpets of Spring bluebells.  I went for a lovely run starting at Badbury Clump at the beginning of the month.  The Clump forms the remains of an Iron Age hill fort from about 600 BC and is famous for its beech trees and bluebells. They really were spectacular.

English BluebellsBluebells

I also enjoyed a lovely evening with my local running group,  Abingdon Athletics Club, running through the woods at Cothill.

A couple of years ago Mr Smiles and I had a holiday near Sissinghurst in May and the carpet of blue flowers in the woods was equally lovely.

Bluebells Sissinghurst

Bluebells Sissinghurst

We have also had quite a display of bluebells in the garden this year. This got me thinking about the difference between native English bluebells and Garden bluebells as they clearly aren’t the same.

Spanish Bluebells

My Garden Bluebells

Spanish bluebells

English Bluebells

Woodland Bluebells

Bluebell

Bluebell

Bluebell Watercolour

I really enjoyed the process of painting two types of bluebell in watercolour. I found the process helped me see the differences botanically.

Bluebell Identification

Bluebell Watercolour

Native Bluebell, Hyacinthoides non-scripta

Leaf Width: 7-10mm

Stem: Droops to one side.

Flowers: Scented. Deep Violet Blue or white. Longer petals forming a straighter tube shape, curled back at tips. Flowers on one side of the stem.

Anthers: Pale Cream

Bluebell - cream anthers

Spanish Bluebell Watercolour

Spanish Bluebell Hyacinthoides hispanica

Leaf Width: 20 – 35 mm (broader)

Stem: Upright and chunkier appearance. Less dainty.

Flowers: No scent. Dark blue/pink/white. Petals are shorter and form a wider open bell-shape.The tips flare outwards rather than curl. The flowers are spiralled around the stem.

Anthers: Blue

Our Native Bluebell woods are threatened by the more vigorous Spanish bluebells.  Hybrid Bluebells result from cross pollination. The Hybrid is somewhere in between the two with broader leaves, little scent and flowers all around the stem which droop slightly. The petals are shorter and more open like the Spanish. The tips sometimes roll back.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my trips through the bluebells this month.

The Woodland Trust would like to know where and when bluebells have been seen across the country. Why not join the Big Bluebell Watch and help map bluebells across the country?

Bluebell Watercolour

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April Posy

April Posy

`From Sultans of the Ottoman Empire and Dutch Merchants of the Golden Age, to gardeners today, the tulip has captivated people around the world for centuries. This fascinating flower has inspired artists and brought great wealth and even economic ruin to people who have fallen under its spell.’ The Tulip Museum, Amsterdam.

There are at least 16 different divisions of tulips. My favourite are the more flamboyant, frilly double ones and those that are bi-coloured, rather than the simple single tulips. However single tulips do look great when planted in groups. I had several sumptuous red tulips in bloom in April and they inspired the creation of my Posy of the Month.

Double Late Red Tulip

Red Tulip

 

Double Late Tulip

Single Early Tulips

Single Early Tulips bloom early in the season (compared to other tulips). They are known for having very strong stems. This means that they will stand up extremely well to wind and rain, unlike some other types of tulips (for example, Parrot Tulips).

April tulips

April tulips

April tulips

Apricot Beauty – Single Early Tulip

 

Viridiflora Tulips

I have both `Groenland’ and `Spring Green’ Viridiflora tulip varieties. The term Viridiflora is derived from two Latin words: viridis meaning green and flos meaning flower.  All Viridiflora Tulips have a streak of green somewhere on each petal. This contrasts dramatically with the basic flower colour (white, pink, gold, etc.). In addition to this beautiful colour contrast, Viridiflora Tulips are also known for their exceptionally long flowering capability. Some of mine have been known to flower in June!

April tulips

April tulips

Tulipa `Groenland’

April tulips
April tulipTulipa `Spring Green’

 

Fringed Tulips

Other tulip divisions include the Fringed Tulips. These tulips have petals which are topped with fringes that look like the frayed edge of a piece of satin fabric.

Fringed Tulip
Lily Flowered Tulip
Lily-flowered Tulips

Then there are Lily-Flowered Tulips. These tulips have long single flowers with pointed petals, often curving out at the tips. They flower in late spring.

 

One of my favourite colour schemes this April has been these jolly orange tulips against the blue of Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ and the bluebells.

April orange tulips

April tulips

 

Double Late Tulips

I have had quite a few double varieties in bloom this year. The blooms of Double Late Tulips have so many petals that they are also known as Peony-flowered Tulips. They flower in late spring.  The blossoms are extremely large; when fully open they can be as much as 4 inches (10 cm) across. The large showy flowers, resemble peonies. They often have weak stems which will not support the large flowers in wind and rain.

April Tulip

Lilac Perfection Tulip

Double Tulip

Double Tulip

Double Late Tulip

Parrot Tulips

Parrot tulips have large, often bi-colored, flowers with frilled and/or twisted petals. They flower in mid and late spring. Their stems are often too weak to support the large flowers so staking is sometimes necessary.

April Posy

April tulip

Rembrandt Tulips

Another variety are Rembrandt Tulips. These tulips are named after the famous Dutch painter Rembrandt  (1606 – 1669), who lived and worked in Holland at about the same time that tulips first became enormously popular. Actually Rembrandt himself is not known for painting flowers! Many other Dutch Masters of the time did include tulips in their paintings.

Jacob Marrel 1640

Jacob Marrel Tulips 1640

Jacob Marrel was a German still life painter active in Utrecht during the Dutch Golden Age. Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

During this time, tulips became all the rage in Holland, particularly the ones with streaks and stripes of colour. These types of tulips were bought for huge sums during the so-called Tulip mania that occurred between 1593 and 1637.

We now know that these unusual markings were actually caused by a virus, which eventually caused damage to the tulip bulbs. Because of this, the original Rembrandt Tulips are no longer sold commercially. However, there are quite a few modern, virus-free, Rembrandt “look-alike” tulips available.

 History of the Tulip

Tulips are often considered a Dutch flower. However the tulip was originally a wild flower growing in Central Asia. They were first cultivated in the Ottoman Empire (Turkey). The botanical name for tulip is tulipa and is derived from the Turkish word tulbend or turban which the flower resembles. Tulips abound in the design of Iznik ceramics. The elegant tulips of Iznik tiles are far removed from bulbous modern-day tulips.  They most resemble contemporary lily form varieties.

Iznik Tulips
Iznik Tiles

 

The tulip was introduced to Holland in 1593 by a botanist Carolus Clusius, who bought it from Constantinople. He planted a small garden with the aim of researching the plant for medicinal purposes. His neighbours broke into the garden and stole the tulips to make some quick money. This started the Dutch Bulb Trade. Tulip Mania followed. People bought up bulbs to the extent that they became so prized and expensive that the bulbs themselves were used as money until the market finally crashed. As the Dutch Golden Age grew tulips became popular in paintings and festivals. When I visited art galleries in Amsterdam I saw lots of tulips in paintings by the Dutch Masters.

Ambrosio Bosschaert GLASS WITH FOUR TULIPS c.1615 19 x 13 cm. Bredius Museum, The Hague
Ambrosio Bosschaert GLASS WITH FOUR TULIPS c.1615 19 x 13 cm. Bredius Museum, The Hague
Ambrosio Bosschaert – Tulips in a Wan-Li Vase c. 1619
Ambrosio Bosschaert – Tulips in a Wan-Li Vase c. 1619
Jan van den Hecke – Flowers in a Vase 1652
Jan van den Hecke – Flowers in a Vase 1652
Ambrosius Bosschaert Tulips
Ambrosius Bosschaert – Still Life with a Bouquet of Tulips

Ambrosius Bosschaert – Still Life with a Bouquet of Tulips

Beyond the Dutch Golden Age tulips remained a popular design motif in the Art Nouveau Period.

Art Nouveau Tulips

Nouveau Tulips

William Morris also included a lot of tulips in his wall hangings in the Arts and Crafts Movement.

William Morris Tulips
William Morris Tulips
William Morris Tulip Design
April Posy

My April Posy was inspired by looking at the work of the Dutch Masters. I don’t normally take photographs which are low-key as I prefer lighter high-key images. However I’m pleased with my images. I felt that a darker backdrop would show off my vibrant red tulips well. I have arranged them in two different vintage jugs. One is a traditional copper Guernsey milk can. The other was a jug which my Grandmother inherited. I don’t know it’s date or history. However I do know my Gran referred to it as `The Never Forgive Jug’. She felt it had some value and had been given to her grandfather by the lady of a big house where he was a gardener in Kent. It was called this name as no-one would be forgiven if it was ever broken! 

April Posy

April Posy

 

April PosyApril Posy

April Posy

 

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Flower Shows and Village Fetes

Spring Show 2016

I spent a wonderful time recently exhibiting at the Abingdon Horticultural Society Spring Show. The Abingdon Horticultural Society is a friendly club for gardeners, cooking enthusiasts and handicraft lovers. It holds two shows a year where flowers, fruit and vegetables, preserves, baking and handicrafts are all exhibited and judged.  Exhibiting brought back so many memories. In the 1980’s Mum and I used to enter the Harnham Flower Show in Wiltshire. I even won the Children’s Cup twice!

1980 Cup Winner
1980 Cup Winner

 

It really is my cup of tea – baking, jam making and growing flowers, fruit and vegetables!  I was keen to enter the floral arrangement class as I was a proven winner even in the 1980s!

 

1982 Harnham Flower Show

Harnham Flower Show 1982

Abingdon Horticultural Society Spring Show 2016

Spring Show 2016

The Spring Show celebrates the arrival of Spring with flowers and Easter Cakes in abundance.

In Section A – Flowers and Plants there are 25 classes to enter and 10 of them are for Narcissus including trumpet daffodils, miniature narcissi and double narcissi. There is a strict clause that for the trumpet daffodils the trumpet must be longer than the outer petals. I was keen to enter the blooms from my garden this year. However I discovered there is quite a skill in getting your daffodils in peak condition for show day. I knew I would have some in flower, but hadn’t got a clue as to whether my daffs would have big enough trumpets and whether they would be more than 7.5cm across.  I just knew they always look cheerful! I can see that this is serious stuff. How do you get your trumpet to grow bigger I ask myself?! I entered a class for multi-bloom narcissi naively thinking this was just a vase of 5 stems of one or more varieties. At the last minute I realised it actually meant narcissi with more than one bloom to a stem. I swiftly changed my entry and entered 1 stem more than 7.5cm across.

Spring Show 2016 - Trumpet Daffodils
1. Vase of Trumpet Daffodils

The trumpet must be longer than the outer petals.

5 stems – one or more varieties

Spring Show 2016 Minature Narcissi
Spring Show 2016 - vase of minature narcissi2. Vase of Miniature Narcissi

5 stems – one or more varieties with flowers less than 5cm across

I loved the frilly Rip Van Winkle Narcissi. The judge gave first prize to the Tete a Tete miniature daffs.

Spring Show 2016 - bicoloured narcissiSpring Show 2016 - bicoloured narcissi
5. Vase of Narcissi

5 stems- any one bi-coloured variety with flowers more than 5.5cm across

Spring Show 2016 - multi-bloom narcissi
7. Vase of multi-bloom Narcissi

5 stems – one or more varieties

I have some beautiful multi-bloom narcissi planted in my garden called Bridal Crown and Winston Churchill. However they are slightly later blooming and failed to make an appearance in time for the show.  

Multi-bloom Narcissi
Multi-bloom Narcissi

 

9. Narcissus 1 stem – flower more than 7.5cm across

I entered one Narcissus bloom in Class 9. However I agreed that my dainty Pheasant’s Eye variety didn’t really meet the grade compared to the others. I did pick up a nifty tip though. If you put moss round the stem you can support the bloom so it stands up and can be more easily seen by the judge. I was a bit forceful and ended up with moss floating in the water and not supporting the bloom! I’ll know for next time.

Pheasant's Eye

 

There were only 2 classes for tulips. One being a single tulip and the other being a vase of 3 tulips of one or more varieties. This surprised me at first. A couple of years ago there was a fabulous display of tulips at the Spring Show. However in early April tulips are only just starting to bloom so it’s always a bit of a gamble.

 Abingdon Spring Show tulips 2014

Tulips at Spring Show 2014

 

Tulips at Spring Show 2014
Spring Show 2014

I didn’t have much choice in the garden. There were a few small pink tulips, but some had been nibbled by garden predators. My best tulips were rather nondescript white varieties. However the size was more of a competitive standard I felt. I learnt that the hall where the show takes place gets quite warm on show day. It’s best to choose a well formed, but in tight bud bloom. My tulips started out in bud and were wide open within an hour of setting up. You can be in danger of dropping the petals before the judging!

Spring Show 2016 - 1 tulip
10. Tulip

1 stem

I received a Third Prize for my pink tulip. Janet Moreton I felt deserved the First Prize with her red and gold tulip.

Spring Show 2016 - single tulip

Spring Show 2016 - 3 tulipsSpring Show 2016 - Vase of Tulips 3 stemsSpring Show 2016 - vase of tulips 3 stems
11. Vase of Tulips

3 stems – one or more varieties

I was awarded a second prize for my white tulips which I was chuffed with. Particularly as I thought they were a bit boring and had wanted to exhibit more flamboyant, frilly blooms. The red tulips won the First Class Award. I find it interesting that red tulips seem to do well. In 2014 my favourite tulip was the deep pinky, purple tulip in a matching stone grey pink vase. However the judges favoured the yellow and red tulips giving the first prize to them. I guess it all comes down to personal taste if the blooms are perfect. However I might grow more red tulips next year as a tactical move.  

12. Vase of Hellebores

My Narcissi had let me down as I only had a few blooms in the garden. However I had plenty of Hellebore flowers to choose from. Hellebores can be tricky to arrange in water as they flop easily. There are a few handy tricks.

Cut the flowers directly into a bucket of water. Take them inside to condition them. Strip the leaves from below the likely water line. Sear the hellebores as soon as you can by lowering the stem ends (about 2cms) into boiling water for 30 seconds. The flowers should then be placed in clean, cold water.

I was pleased that having followed this procedure my flowers still looked perky in the afternoon of the Show. Flowers which have set seed are also easier to use and less likely to flop. I decided to try to exhibit blooms at several stages of development.

Spring Show 2016 - Vase of Hellebores

Spring Show 2016 - Vase of Hellebores

I received a Third Prize for  my efforts.

Other floral exhibits included wallflowers, auriculas and primulas.

Spring Show 2016 - primula

Spring Show 2016 - blossom or shrub flowers
16. Vase with up to 3 stems

Blossom or shrub flowers

I must admit I was disappointed to find I had no shrubs in flower in the garden and have now rectified this for next year! I do think some of the exhibits were lacking in flowers though.

Spring Show 2016 - Spring FlowersSpring Show 2016 - Spring FlowersSpring Show 2016 - 5 stems of Spring FlowersSpring Show 2016 - 5 stems of Spring Flowers
17. Vase of 5 stems of Spring flowers

One or more varieties not included elsewhere in the Schedule (no shrub flowers)

I exhibited the Snakeshead Fritillary and pink Ranunculus. My Fritillary flowers were awarded a Third Prize, however my Ranunculus failed to win any prizes. I thought they were rather marvellous! However maybe the judges thought they were bought for the event. They weren’t! They have been giving me much joy in pots in front of our front door for weeks. There was a lovely selection and I rather liked the cowslips in a turquoise vase.Ranunculus

There were also categories for various pottted flowering plants and vases of Spring flowers not included elsewhere in the Schedule.

 

18. Container of Hyacinths

Spring Show 2016 - container of hyacinths

19. Hippeastrum (Amaryllis)

Spring Show 2016

 

Amaryllis-1

Spring Show 2016

23. 1 pot, cactus or succulent

Spring Show 2016 - cactus

 

24. 1 pot for the patio

Spring Show 2016 - pot for the patio

25. Spring flower arrangement in a vase.

May include purchased flowers or foliage. NO ACCESSORIES.To be staged in a niche 60cm wide and 76cm high.

Spring Show 2016 - Spring flower arrangement in a vase
Spring Show 2016 - Spring flower arrangement in a vase
Spring Show 2016 - Spring flower arrangement in a vase

This was the one class I really enjoyed entering and went to town on the Spring theme. I wasn’t quite sure how big to go and how to construct my entry. I was therefore found with a car boot full of flowers and foliage in the car park constructing and arranging my flower arrangement to great amusement from other entrants.

Spring Show 2016
Spring Show 2016
Spring Show 2016
Spring Show 2016

Spring Show 2016 - Spring flower arrangement in a vase

 

I was awarded a Third Prize. There was no indication as to what the judge was looking for and why the First and Second Prizes were awarded. I am sure that I was marked down for the size of my exhibit as my pussy willow was escaping from the designated niche! I had a good look at the others and saw that they had been constructed in advance with floral foam. One of them had placed the floral foam in a dish on top of the vase. Strictly speaking I feel that this was against the criteria as it was stated that the flower arrangement was to be in a vase. Not that I’m a sore loser! I can see that the other arrangements fulfilled sound design principles and mine was much wilder and ecologically friendly with the use of water and no foam.

I enjoyed the challenge and have loved having the house full of Spring flowers. I was amazed at the yellow tulips I purchased from Fabulous Flowers. They lasted a whole week and became more beautiful as they opened out.

Sunshine Flowers

Sunshine Flowers

Sunshine Flowers

 

Section D was the Photography Section. 

A Photograph on a Spring theme (Taken in 2016) mounted on white card.

Spring Show 2016 - Spring themed photograph

I had so many photographs to choose from I didn’t know where to start! In the end I selected a couple of images of Spring garden flowers which I felt were the most technically proficient. I did have some cheery daffodil images I could have used, but felt my focus wasn’t pin sharp. I opted for primroses and Anemone blanda. I was disappointed not to be recognised with any award as I really did feel my images were well photographed and it was a photography competition! Personally I felt some of the other images were over exposed and out of focus. However in this case maybe the judge was looking for an image which conveyed `a sense of Spring’, rather than technical expertise. This was in contrast to the judging for the Spring Flower Arrangement where the judge seemed to favour technical proficiency rather than my arrangement which was designed to convey a sense of exuberant Spring.

Section B was the Cooking Section with a wonderful display of preserves, decorated Easter Cakes, Hot Cross Buns and tea bread made to a given recipe.

Spring Show 2016 - Spring Cake

Spring Show 2016 - Spring Cake

The Spring Cakes were judged purely for creative decoration and not on the taste of the cake. The Fruit and Marzipan Teabread  was made to a specific given recipe.

33. Fruit and Marzipan Teabread

It proved quite a challenge to make. I made three attempts. One sunk in the middle, one didn’t rise much and the other was rather stodgy! I settled for the slightly sunken one as it looked the right colour and hadn’t got any cracks. Although the Judge felt my teabread had `a good texture’ I didn’t win any prizes for my efforts. Maureen Cook was awarded a well deserved First Prize as her teabread looked appetizing and hadn’t sunk in the middle.

Spring Show 2016 - Fruit and Marzipan Teabread
Spring Show 2016 - Fruit and Marzipan Teabread

I had done better as a child as my rockcakes were `just the right size and shape’ and came First in 1982.

1982 First Prize Rock Cakes
1982 Rock Cakes

 

 

32. Spiced Fruit Buns

Spring Show 2016 - Spiced Fruit Buns

I was pleased to see that it wasn’t just women who won prizes in the Domestic Classes. David Bingley was awarded a First for his spiced fruit buns made with a yeast recipe.

There was a fine display of marmalades, lemon curd and chutney.
In the schedule there was a useful instruction for exhibiting preserves. `Use either wax disks and cellophane tops, or new screw lids without wax disks. Labels on preservatives must include the day, month and year they were made.’

Spring Show 2016- Marmalade

30. Lemon Curd.  Home Made 2016. One 8 – 16 oz jar.

Spring Show 2016 - Lemon Curd

I entered a jar of Lemon Curd which won no awards, but was noted to be a `good flavour’ by the judge. We enjoyed a dollop with yoghurt and fruit for dessert.

 Harnham Flower Show 1980

1980 Harnham Show-1

 

I regularly exhibited at the Harnham Flower Show Spring and Summer Shows during the 1980s, together with my mum. The Summer Show was a grand affair held on the fields near The Old Mill with big marquees to show the exhibits. The event was officially opened by the Mayor and the Wilton British Legion Band was there to entertain everyone. I remember these Shows as real community events with tombolas and games in addition to the actual judged exhibits. Home-Made Teas were organised by the Women’s Institute.

1980 was a good year for me as I won the Children’s Silver Cup and even got my picture in the paper! I won 1st Prize for my `Animal Made out of Vegetables’ which was the Loch Ness Monster with a cucumber body and a jaunty tartan hat.

1980 Cup Winner

I chose to use a crab shell for the Flower Arrangement in a Shell. Some of the flowers I had grown myself in my little patch in the garden.

We always had a photo of our Prize Winning Entries when we got home.

1980 Exhibits
1981 Exhibits

I failed to keep the Children’s Cup in 1981, hence the frown on my face! However it looks like a good effort was made. Mum made a quiche, red wine, biscuits, cakes and marmalade. I remember cycling off to Britford Lock for the afternoon and her painting the picture of the Lock in watercolour.

I got 3rd Prize for my rock cakes, 2nd Prize for my Minature Garden, a 1st for 6 Fancy Cakes and a 1st for Mr Rubbish which I am holding up for the camera.

Harnham Flower Show 1982

1982 Flower Arrangement

1982 Flower Arrangement in a Basket
1982 Third Prize Flower Arrangement

Ah back on form and won the Children’s Cup again! I got my picture in the paper with my Flower Arrangement in a Basket. The judge commented that I should have made the handle visible so the basket could be picked up. I remembered this when I constructed my Posy of the Month recently!

The judge noted that my four Rock Cakes were just the right size and shape and awarded me a 1st Prize. An improvement on the year before when I only got a 3rd Prize! Mum had a very good year winning 1st Prize for both her sweet white wine and her dry red wine. She also won 1st for a Machine-Made garment, which was a pair of green knickerbockers made for me. I HATED them! I really had my eye on a new pair of pedal pushers in Dorothy Perkins and these were not the same. I had to wear them to a birthday party and felt very self-conscious. In the picture I am modelling a new Rah-rah skirt which I loved!

1982 Harnham Flower Show Exhibits

The Dorset County Show

The Dorset County Show is run on similar lines to the Harnham and Abingdon Shows, but on a much grander scale with animals. I regularly enjoyed a day out at the Dorset Show with my Uncle as a birthday treat. As this is a large County Show farmers also exhibit their Prize animals and there are sheep shearing competitions and rural crafts.

Dorset County Show-9
Dorset County Show-7
Dorset County Show-1
Dorset County Show-6
Dorset County Show-2

I love Flower Shows and Village Fetes. They have been going on for generations and connect us to our heritage. I found some interesting articles showing my ancestors competed in very similar events. William Jackson, my 3rd Great Grandfather, farmed 31 acres in Throrpe Salvin, Yorkshire. Farming was a way of life for him as he came from a long line of farmers. In 1881 William entered the Kiveton Park Flower Show Agricultural Produce Section. He won 1st prize for his potatoes, red wheat and barley. I’ve got a lot to live up to with my potatoes then!

Kiveton Park Flower Show

Kiveton Park Flower Show 1881

W Jackson 1881I also found another interesting article. My 5th Great Grandfather Robert Hills was awarded a prize at the Northallerton Cattle Show in 1844 for `the Labourer in Husbandry who brought up the greatest number of children without seeking parochial relief.’ Well done Robert!

Newcastle Journal Sat 25 Sep 1841 - Robert Hills

Robert Hills, Northallerton Cattle Show 1844

I hope you have enjoyed my jottings about Flower Shows and Village Fetes. I loved the moment in Downton Abbey where Mr Molesley’s roses finally were awarded Best in Show on merit rather than the Dowager Countess’s blooms.

Downton Abbey Flower Show 2

In keeping with family tradition my entries were duly photographed for posterity when we got home after a wonderful day at the Show.

1980 Cup Winner
Spring Show 2016

 

Spring Show 2016 - Vase of tulips 3 stems

 

Spring Show 2016

Abingdon Spring Show 2016 Exhibits

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