Friday, 7 September 2012


Spring, of course reminds me that I nurse a rather serious flower fetish:

Although, since I've stopped up most of the holes in my garden beds, I now no longer take the local garden centre's rose catalogue and Botanica's Roses to read in bed during long winter nights. These days, I must admit to having this charming garden book next to my bed:

Sitting on top of Vita Sackville - West's Garden Book and In Your Garden Again inspired by her garden at Sissinghurst in the UK and a selection of Susan Irvine's books about her garden at Forest Hall in Northern Tasmania.  As Katherine Swift so succinctly states, most gardening is done in your head.

Even though my full name may be a herb rather than a flower, it still contains the word 'rose' which is lucky really, as it's my very favourite flower:

And that glorious 'coconut ice' coloured bloom in the front is 'Pierre de Ronsard', which if I had to choose only one rose to grow on a desert island, this would be it. I'm trying to festoon the front of our house with it....hopefully this season it will finally reach the second already clambers up two posts on the back veranda. It is utterly ravishing. Yet, I'm also rather partial to David Austen, Delbard and most heritage roses as I love a good story or 'Souvenir de Malmaison' which was supposedly grown in Josephine's garden. Not in mine though, as when it flowered it treacherously turned out to be something else.

I was shamelessly flower centric when deciding on our daughter's names and each includes a bloom in their name  - Primrose for the eldest and  Camelia for the baby. In the language of flowers.....yes there is such a thing....Primrose means 'first love' and Camellia means 'graciousness'. I also toyed with Marigold and Magnolia....or 'dignity' and 'desire for riches'. Neither quite worked and unfortunately marigold's are a rather unprepossessing looking flower.....although I suppose that you can eat the petals in a salad.

Today, I took a turn around the garden looking for flowers. The camellia's were out:

Yet this was all that was left of the spring bulbs - three different daffodil varieties, muscari and forget -me - not, which, of course, is not a bulb but almost a weed:

I had more luck finding flowers inside. A Designer's Guild cushion:

And in the bedroom, a Coalport vase that belonged to my grandmother:

And a teacup and saucer that I bought at Gowans because of the foxgloves:

My favourite flowery dress is emblazoned with foxgloves:

I wore it to my 40th birthday party in our garden last year, after I spent the best part of a year weeding the waist high twitch out of it.....the garden that is:

Just before my party, my husband took me for a day trip to Melbourne to find 'the dress'. He endured sitting in numerous ladies change rooms around town all day while a friend and I conducted the search. We fortified him with steak frites and chocolate profiteroles, washed down with lashings of red wine at France Soir for lunch. I'm happy to report that his spirits didn't flag once.

This dress is a riot of sprays of flowers and birds:

I bought to wear to the Henley on Thames regatta:

I was a little bit pregnant, so was unable to make the most of the Pimm's Bar. Maybe next time.

Seeing yesterday was Thursday, I was compelled to make my weekly pilgrimage to Gowans Auctions. They were filming the new series of Auction Room with Gordon Brown:

Look how many flowers there were. A reproduction Faberge egg:

Lots of plates:

And this book of 17th century engravings, circa 1976:

Someone else was getting rid of their Princess Diana memorabilia.....only fifteen years since her tragic car accident in the Parisian tunnel which claimed her life:

What a pink larkspur......which represents 'fickleness', in case you don't speak flower.



  1. Great Post, Beautiful flowers! Thanks :)

  2. My bridesmaids carried posies of Pierre de Ronsard at my wedding 12 years ago - it's my favourite rose. I had a bouquet of Lily of the Valley. I remember there was no guarantee on the lily, as we only get them for a few weeks in was such a lovely surprise when it arrived at my parent's house. I do what most gardeners do.....roses grow like weeds in Adelaide, so of course I am trying to go against the grain and grow other things. I just didn't want too "pretty" a garden, but as I do love roses they are gradually sneaking in. I am partial to the David Austin roses - very reliable and so pretty. Adore your two dresses. I often think of a skirt that I didn't buy - Collette Dinnigan from around 12 years ago with wisteria as the print. It was so pretty, but I had no way of justifying it as there wasn't an event on the horizon. Love Jemima's dress too for your 40th - so nice to see a little girl dressed like one, rather than a hideous tween type outfit...oh dear, sorry this has ended up a long and rambling comment!

    1. As wedding flowers PdR would be gorgeous! I LOVE Lily of the Valley too and used to have some in my garden yet somehow it got lost, worst luck. You can never go wrong with Collette Dinnigan - I've contemplated turning one of my old flowery skirts of hers into a cushion.....and then I wear it again & think not. absolutely abhor tweeny fashion and have vowed to NEVER let my girls look like a Bratz doll. My ultimate fave for girls dresses is Jacadi - the French really understand the mix of pretty & classic understatement....v sad now that she has grown out of the largest size. Rx

    2. I nurse a little bit of a Jacadi addiction too (I now buy it from the US website via my reshipper - half price compared to Australia)...and anything in any brand with a Liberty tag hanging on it is very difficult for me pass over.

  3. Roses are my favorite flower. So gorgeous.

    Just love the floral birthday dress. Jealous that you can grow camellias - they turn up their toes and die in our summers over here....

    Take care.

    1. Sorry you can't grow camellias yet you have to stick to your local conditions or you'd go mad trying to control the sooner did I write this springtime post than it started snowing on Mt Wellington again! Rx

  4. All your florals are just beautiful!

  5. Oh Romy. I adored this post. And I learnt so much more about you! We must start talking about roses - I have so much to learn. And we also need to get to Gowan's one Thursday. Wouldn't that be a lark?! J x

    1. Only too happy to indulge in rose chat! I'll be back at Gowans on Thursday.....I could pick you up en route?! Rx

  6. I always so love it when I am able to justify to myself that I am not the only one with a flower fetish, or problem, as my husband would rather see it. My garden is in serious need of a few roses, so I can see Romy that you're the one I can go to for advice. My own particular floral fetish centres for the main around dahlias. Last summer I planted no less than 20 different varieties in a garden the size of a pocket handkerchief - and they still rewarded me so richly with armfuls of flowers for 5 months.
    Did you come home with treasures from the auction? Must have been tempting. Love your Designers Guild Orangerie cushion - one of my favourite fabrics! Amanda x

  7. I love a floral frock, especially in Spring and one with folds and gathers, so feminine and flattering.....not that you need any help!
    And can't resist any rose with a wonderful sounding French name and romantic history. Souvenir de la Malmaison..........aaahhh!!
    Penny x

  8. Hi Romy..your full name would be Rosemary? I like the way you've shortened it. I adore those streaky petalled, blowsy full roses too.

  9. Love all the flowers. Great climate down there for all the good ones. The tropics do not set my heart on fire garden wise (not least because a falling palm frond nearly knocked my little boys head off on the weekend!). Did you read Vanessa Diffen...somethingorother's book The Language of Flowers? Such a lovely story.

  10. What a gorgeous post! The photo of you on your 40th with your two girls is just divine! You all look ever so beautiful. My 40th is approaching fast! xx

  11. You and your flower girlies have such incredible style (I am fascinated by your interior behind you, complete with union jack pillows.) Love that foxglove dress, perfection. My friend named her girls Poppy and Rose and we have a friend called Dahlia.

  12. Loving this post just as much the second time around, Romy. Thanks so much for linking up with the POTMC. J x


I LOVE hearing your thoughts! Rx