Finally, after what felt like the longest January ever, spring is just around the corner.
This week I was asked to collaborate with the NFU for their magazine Countryside (which I love! You can take the girl out of Shropshire...) to create an entirely British bouquet. Now that's easy in May or August, but take a look around your garden right now and how may flowers do you see?
In fact, if you look hard there are lots more than you might think. The first narcissi and daffodils are out already - and I get mine from Cornwall where they are weeks ahead of the rest of the country. There are snow drops and snowflakes, hellebores from the purest white to the deepest, almost-black burgundy, winter-flowering clematis, camelias and of course early tulips. Tulips fall into two categories - earlies that flower from February (and earlier if you grow then in a poly-tunnel) and lates that will flower on until late May. I buy mine from Smith and Munson in Lincolnshire and the variety, size, colours and shapes are incredible, they are so delicate and beautiful.
Then I went out and foraged some cherry blossom, ivy trails, birch, hawthorn that is just coming into leaf and willow, while I bought some rosemary, lavender, senecio and cornus from the Real Flower Company in Hampshire.
Finally, to add another dimension for late winter flowers, I included some dried seed heads of Love in the Mist, bunny grass and wheat that I had saved from the autumn.
So in fact, I was spoilt for choice!
And in just a couple of weeks from now there will be fritilaries, sweet peas, ranunculus, anemones, and alliums to add to the list. Like spring, I can almost feel it in the air... although I won't be parting with my woolly scarf just yet!