One of the things I love the most about our work is when I have the chance to make up big, lavish, beautiful bouquets of all our most lovely flowers. I go out into the garden first thing, with the person to whom the order is going in my mind - it really helps if I know or have met the person, or if I have heard a little of the story about why the flowers are being given to them. From the vantage point on the old greenhouse footings, where I collect water for my bucket from the old tap, I can look out over the garden and form a mental idea of the pivotal point of the bouquet. This is usually something bold like a rose or a dahlia, but it needn't be; today I began a birthday bouquet with tiny dainty frothy annual scabious flowers in shades of pink and deep red-black. Into my bucket they go. Then I wander about looking for something that looks nice with them. I think I picked some red-black lacy wild carrot flowers next, followed by more lace in the form of ammi majus, to foam in all the gaps in my bouquet. Then I found myself standing next to some fun dark red drumstick alliums, some of which had gone over and had started to make mad wiggly 'hair' - into the bouquet they went. Just behind the alliums, wonderfully, were three bushes of The Alnwick Rose, a dear little cup shaped David Austin rose in just exactly the same shade of pink as my scabious. I was making good progress now, and that additions to my bucket rained in thick and fast: flat airy heads of yarrow, in shades of pink; long tendrilly stems of sweet peas in pink-tinged cream (I wish I could remember the name of this variety): tall stems of marjoram with the wine-red flowers clustered closed at the top; a few stiffly arching stems of white-variegated pineapple mint; the delightful discovery of a polytunnel full of luscious Cafe au Lait dahlias and long twining stems of fragrant jasmine to give movement and scent. The finished result was something I was very loathe to part with... but I very much hope that Emma will enjoy the thoughtful birthday gift from her husband.