June abundance

After a busy weekend arranging flowers for weddings and a country house party, we were both nervous and excited to run our first floristry course on Tuesday, hosted at Marie's in Ludlow, and organised by Our Simple Edit.  As luck would have it, all our newly planted Coral Charm and Coral Sunset peonies chose this week to burst into bloom, so we were able to pick lots of those, along with lupins, lady's mantle, sweet rocket, foxgloves, honeysuckle, old-fashioned pinks and the first of the season's big fat luscious-smelling roses, so that each of the seven students had a generous bucket of flowers to work with.  After a lot of excited chatter and a nervous introduction from me, we made lavish hand-tied bouquets, twisting the stems as we added more flowers, and trying to keep a balanced, airy shape, so that all the flowers in the bunch could be seen and admired.  After a short break, we dismantled the bouquets and rearranged the flowers into the variously sized jugs and vases which the students had brought with them - the idea was that they would learn how to use the vases they already have at home.  Most of the arrangements were hugely successful, although we struggled for a while with a short, cube-shaped vase, as all the flowers kept on tumbling out of it.  Eventually we managed to make a rather lovely arrangement by first cutting lots of stems of lady's mantle very short and using them as a sort of mesh into which we could poke the roses and other flowers, gradually building height.  It all looked lovely.  Round and about the garden, summer is bringing work for the farmers, as they cut back the verges and make haylage in the meadows.  Little partridges sit on the tops of our high garden walls and crow at the tops of their lungs; frogs croak in the evenings by the pond at home, and great curtains of heady sweet scent waft from the honeysuckle which smothers the cottage wall by the kitchen, as we go to shut the hens in at night, the last job of the day before a well-earned sleep.