Monday, October 17, 2011

Vintage Flowers – Vic Brotherson

Who doesn’t love a good florists (apart possibly from people with hay fever)? In Leicester we run mostly to supermarket flowers which leave me plenty of room to be beguiled by the florists stalls I see in London, I particularly like the one in Liberty’s and have spent more than one train journey home fantasising about a) being given those sort of flowers and b) what my life would have been like if I’d walked into a florists rather than an off licence one fateful day. In my imagination (and I quite accept that the reality would be very different) it would be all very artistic and marvellous, involve no drunks, and be terrifically well paid.

Generally I content myself with books on the subject – I have a small collection which occasion raised eyebrows and derisive comments from my more militant friends but which my mother approves of and I’ve just got another one; Vic Brotherson’s ‘Vintage Flowers’ (unexpected vouchers = guilt free purchase of possibly unnecessary items, how I love vouchers). Flower books aren’t like cook books (I planted some Chinese lanterns 3 years ago because I couldn’t find them for sale cut and I’m still waiting for them to get big enough to use) I don’t really get the opportunity to buy, grow, or arrange flowers like this (the park just opposite my flat has some tempting things in it but I believe it’s a criminal offence albeit not a very serious one to pinch hydrangeas from a public space) but the pictures are great.

It’s another world inside this book, one filled with vibrant colour and effortlessly chic and cheap flea market finds which turn into perfect vases. My life could absolutely be like that, oh yes it could, if only I had the space for keeping all those pots in (yes that’s what’s missing – cupboard space). What really sold me on the book were the first lines of the introduction “I have been a florist since I was 21. It is all I can do and I wouldn’t change it for the world. It started out as an accidental career...” What would have happened if she too had walked into a wine shop? After that moment of recognition it just got better.

The colours in here are incredible, perhaps some of them are too much for everyday but perfect to cheer me up after a long grey day. I’m attracted to the mix of traditional and occasionally ironic, dream of finding the perfect old jug in duck egg blue, and feel freshly initiated into the mysteries of oasis and chicken wire. It's also just possible that this is the year I'll go all provincial lady and plant some indoor bulbs. Heaven.


  1. What a timely post - Mr W brought me some roses last night. But sadly they were from Sainsburys not a proper florist.

  2. flowers are always good wherever they come from, well done Mr W.

  3. Oh I do like a botanical post! I love cut flowers, too, but the price seems to have rocketed lately. I hope you have more luck with your bulbs than the Prov Lady.

  4. Vintage Reading, I have the advantage of no bulb growing friends or neighbours to make me feel bad about any less than spectacular results. The cost of cut flowers makes the book a good alternative to the real thing.

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