I’m not always in a flowerbed! Last week I took my daughter away to London for a few days as an end of exam and what a horrid year treat. I forget how much I love London, there are so many green spaces and so much evidence of the British being a nation of gardeners with balconies and front gardens brimming with amazing plants some of which are huge as the frosts in the capital don’t seem to grip as they do in the country, (well at least not as harsh as my frost pocket (-6 this winter) nearWimborne) however I do think part of my love of London is that I can return home to beautiful Dorset and leave it all behind! We hadn’t been ‘in town’ since February 2020 when Covid hadn’t touched any of our lives, even though there were rumblings of its existence it still seemed very far removed from our lives, (it was however extremely hard then to buy pocket sized antibacterial gel (largely useless unless high alcohol content), which we applied before we ate or drank anything and actually thought it was a bit of a joke.
One of my reasons for the trip was that I have wanted to visit the Garden Museum on Lambeth Palace Road (gardenmuseum.org.uk) for sometime, a museum in a beautifully renovated church with a great café on site, definitely a hidden gem. The museum explores and celebrates British gardens and gardening, with temporary exhibitions. I had wanted to visit the ‘Constance Spry and the Fashion for flowers exhibition’. Spry has has a resurgence in popularity recently partly because of interest in her methods for arranging and materials used. There is a rise in environmental awareness in today’s florists and a movement away from the horrors of floral foam and the detrimental effect it has on our planet. Her methods of using ‘floral frogs’ (those vicious spikey things found under your mother’s kitchen sink, that as a child always stabbed you under the nails of your enquiring fingers), chicken wire and of course seasonal British flowers. It has been thoughtfully curated by Shane Connolly who like Spry designs for the Royal family!
There was of course some shopping involved (my daughter is 16), lots of walking and lots of eating, London on the whole was pretty empty which is very sad sight as you do wonder how many business will survive. It was a pleasure to be in town though, everyone respected your space and wore masks, there was an air of excitement as England still had a chance in the Euros (remember that – no me neither).
The Constance Spry Exhibition runs until the 26th September
By: Charlotte Tombs Northcombe Flowers