The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is on this week. The gardens are impressive, but my favourite part of the show has always been the enormous tent in the middle of it all, in which flowers from all round the British Isles are displayed. Radiant pots of daffodils sit alongside obscene-looking collections of orchids – and people come from around the world to ogle at them.
So at this time of the year, thoughts naturally turn to flowers. If, like me, you only have limited space in your garden – or window box (where I am currently attempting to grow sweet peas) – then you may find yourself in need of a few reliable places from which you can always buy a handsome bunch of flowers for yourself or someone more deserving.
There are plenty of mediocre florists around. When I was younger, I used to work as a florist, so know some of the more unappetising tricks of the trade. They will send bunches of limp sprigs and charge you over the odds. But there are also some terrific ones that have not only worked out how to deliver flowers so they arrive in good condition, but also how to choose blooms that look lovely together. Here are ten of the best…
Bloomon create magnificent displays of flowers that really do look as if they have just been picked during a walk through a meadow. There are three sizes to pick from and they arrive wrapped up in brown paper. You can also order a glass jar to come with them. From £20.
Freddie’s Flowers deliver charming boxes of English stems through the post. Each delivery is different and you sign up to receive boxes of flowers as often as you want. Recent boxes have included stocks, peonies and astrantia – otherwise known as Hattie’s pincushion or Melancholy gentleman. Even Timothy Spall is a fan – who says he likes ‘to strip all the petals off my flowers and pretend I’m that girl from American Beauty’. From £20.
Floom is an online delivery service that supports independent florists around the country. If you need to send flowers to someone, but are concerned about a local florist palming you off with the off-cuts from funeral flowers, then this is the service you need. Just pop in a postcode and the site will recommend local florists who deliver to the address. From £30.
Another service offering deliveries of boxes of flowers. It’s certainly helpful knowing that they fit through the letterbox, but if you don’t think you are up to arranging them, they also offer hand-tied bouquets. From £20.
Appleyard deliver a wide range of designs for all occasions. They also offer the option to search by flower. Their collection of plants is extensive, should you wish to send a bay tree rather than a bouquet. From £20.
Moyses Stevens is one of the oldest florists in London. They started selling bouquets in 1876, so know their lilacs from their lilies – and they have a royal warrant, thanks to patronage from Prince Charles. Their English rose bouquet is particularly glorious. From £60.
One of the most delightful florists in London. Anna Day and Ellie Jauncey create arrangements for weddings and events, and also run workshops from their studio in Hackney. While they don’t have a shop, they go to the flower market on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays – and so are able to deliver bouquets on these days. They use seasonal flowers, as well as cuttings from their own garden. From £40.
As well as being one of the leading flower design schools in the UK, the Covent Garden Academy of Flowers also offers classic bouquets. Ballerinas performing at the Royal Opera House round the corner hope to receive flowers from them after a show. From £60.
Petalon send flowers by bike, which arrive wrapped up in hessian. They offer a weekly choice of two bouquets made up of seasonal produce from the flower market. The choices of flowers are always delightful. From £35.