Monday, 30 April 2012

Jubilee Giveaway Winner

 Just wanted to announce that the winner drawn using for the
Queen's Diamond Jubilee Giveaway is comment number 26

Congratulations to Delores of Vignette Design
Big box of goodies will be winging it's way to you shortly.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Spotty Dotty

I have a thing for squirrelling away plants in less obvious positions in the garden so that you rediscover them when you least expect. Two such creatures I found lurking this week were Podophyllum 'Kaleidoscope' and Podophyllum 'Spotty Dotty'

These Asian forest perennials have singular peltate or umbrella style leaves which arise from thick rhizomes. Producing shy burgundy flowers hiding beneath the foliage in Spring which yield berries later in the season. 

Theres something quite magical yet dangerous about them that fascinates me. Magical in that they could be used by any number of woodland creatures to shelter from Spring showers and dangerous with their variegated, toady, psychedelic skins, warning you not to touch.

Monday, 23 April 2012

By George He's Got it!

I stood in the studio this morning light-heartedly grumbling that there was no evidence anywhere of it being St Georges Day today. It seems my grumbles were not in vain, upon returning from lunch sitting on my desk was this adorable customised cupcake that a wonderful friend had whizzed down to the Hummingbird Bakery to find. Perfect with a nice cup of Rosie Lee!


Monday, 16 April 2012

Parisienne Woodlander

She sits quietly under the surface of the soil hiding from the harsh white light of winter. Come mid Spring the sun's rays encourage new foliage to unfurl above creating dappled shade. It's her cue for showtime!

There's nothing demure about this beautifully showy woodlander that grows in our garden. Miss Paris polyphylla var stenophylla emerges from her Winter slumber in extravagant peacock style, extending her spidery petals and stamen, runway-ready, making shapes that demand the warm light of flashbulbs.

I am addicted to Paris and this is my favorite of all. The glamorous structure of this plant excites me as a gardener and plant lover and reaffirms my love for nature's relentless creativity. The bottom tier of foliage comprises of a whorl of narrow pointed green lanceolate leaves, topped by an amazing green 'flower' whose sepals are as wide as the leaves below, in turn accented by the most elegant petals seen this side of the Rive Gauche. I love Paris in the Springtime!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Think of Wordsworth....

"Think of Wordsworth" she said in Autumn "and then turn around and double your order, no infact triple your order of Daffodil bulbs".

These were the words that echoed in my head whilst visiting the RHS Daffodil show in Central London this week. The words that I have come to know annually from a wonderful client as we work together to transform her London garden every Spring into an ever growing ocean of yellow Daffodils.

Hundreds of Daffodils, Narcissi, Narcissus, Narcissuses or whatever you like to call them were on show lined up in regiments according to rank and division in all their glorious shapes, sizes and colours, raising their trumpets to introduce their arrival. Most of my 'Daffs' are just past their peak in the garden so to see such a fanfare like this en masse is quite something especially the white petalled variety which I prefer.

I love the legend and folklore attached to plants and flowers and the tale of Narcissus is one of the most memorable, our young Greek friend who whilst kneeling and gazing into the pond became so obsessed by his own reflection that he fell into the 'drink' and drowned and from there sprung a beautiful plant. Belonging to the same family as Amaryllis and consisting of a centre cup or bowl or trumpet surrounded by three petals and three sepals, who can deny him his beauty. Find some space in your heart, garden or a vase for poor old, gorgeous, handsome, Narcissus!

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Pierre Hermé Macarons

Now, I do like a macaron so whilst passing through Belgravia this week I thought it was the ideal time to treat myself to some Easter treats at Pierre Hermé.

Situated in a slick boutique on Lowndes Street with Christian Louboutin and Amouage as neighbours Chef Pâtissier Pierre Hermé has brought  his gourmet macarons to Belgravia in central London. Already a huge hit in Paris, with a cult following in Japan where he has multiple boutiques, he creates his signature macarons alongside seasonal collections, artisan chocolates and teas. With an incredibly exciting range of traditional, adventurous and exotic flavours such as.....

Olive Oil & Mandarin Orange
Strawberry & Wasabi
Pistachio, Ceylon Cinnamon & Morello Cherries
Jasmin Flower & Jasmine Tea
Marron Glacé
Chocolate, Coffee & Aniseed
Violet & Liquorice
Orange, Campari & Grapefruit
Rose, Litchi & Raspberry
Fresh Mint
Orange, Carrot & Ceylon Cinnamon
Peach, Apricot & Saffron
Milk Chocolate & Passion Fruit
and the infamous Fig & Foie Gras

Pierre Hermé's fragrant macarons are light and airy, delicately flavoursome and very generous in their fillings. I never know which flavour to begin with when I get my coveted bounty of hand selected macarons home. I love to eat them in a gourmet russian roulette style, selecting one and blindly tasting and savouring the flavours to detect each ingredient in turn. The original full box of twelve that I purchased didn't make it to the photograph stage, six mysteriously dissapeared.
The temptation was just too strong for us, oops!

Friday, 6 April 2012

Coco and the Camellias

During a recent foray into the world of Camellias at the Chiswick house festival, I was reminded that Coco Chanel had an affinity with the flower and that I had seen the image repeated in the brands designs. As an avid gardener and fan of the Camellia I became intrigued as to what the connection was in Chanel's life and still in the companies brand identity today.

Further reading revealed the story of the young Coco's great love affair with the English polo player Arthur 'boy' Capel who in 1912 presented her with a romantic bouquet of Camellia japonica alba plena in the midst of their affair. It was apparently one of the the defining gestures that would carve the camelia into the heart of Chanel, becoming one of its signature designs. It is said that she considered the flower not only an enormous inspiration and the ideal addition to any outfit but being without scent it would not compete with the inimitable No.5.

Whilst on the subject of the creator of the LBD. A couple of weeks ago whilst catching up with a friend, the conversation turned to lampposts. Scintillating I hear you say, alas no ordinary lampposts but the Coco Chanel Lampposts of Mayfair.

We chatted about the affair that Coco Chanel had with Hugh Grosvenor- the then Duke of Westminster in the 1920's. Seemingly, the Duke had become so smitten by Coco Chanel that he ordered as 'a romantic gesture' all the lampposts on his Westminster estate in London be adorned with her interlinked initials painted in gold alongside an ornate W, which was his crest.

Still to this day Westminster city council is frequently asked by the fashion press if the double c's stand for Coco Chanel and they have a rather more pedestrian story to tell. Apparently the W stands for Westminster, the two C’s stand for City Council.

I see the lampposts on a daily basis but never really believed that these logos would  be connected to Chanel being in central London but I'm coming round to liking the idea that vintage romance is etched into the city's skin.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Queen's Diamond Jubilee Giveaway

To celebrate her Diamond Jubilee the 'Queen's favourite grocer' Fortnum & Mason on London's Piccadilly has launched a range of luxury products marking the Queen's 60 year reign.
The store has a reputation for selling the finest luxury goods and the Jubilee range bears a new crest featuring the 10 Queen's Beasts, the real and mythical creatures that represent the monarchy, the Lion of England, the Unicorn of Scotland, the Greyhound of Richmond and the Griffin of Edward III to name a few.

Fortnum and Mason has maintained it's close ties with royalty throughout its 304 year history. When the luxury store first opened in 1707, its staff were also footmen to Queen Anne at St James's Palace. It currently holds royal warrants from the Queen and Prince Charles.

Followers of The Magical Christmas Wreath Company's Blog can take part in our Diamond Jubilee Giveaway.

We have a fun Diamond Jubilee giveaway of five goodies from Fortnum & Mason........

1. A Jute Diamond Jubilee Fortnum & Mason bag
2. A decorative caddy of specially commissioned Jubilee Blend Tea
3. A musical biscuit tin of clotted cream chocolate biscuits/cookies that plays God Save The Queen
4. A Diamond Jubilee Tea Towel by Emma Bridgewater
5. A set of four Royal Cupcake stand Thrones.

To be in with a chance of winning the free giveaway you must be a follower of this blog and post a comment below. Join up and join in. One entry per follower. Its a simple as that.
One winner of all the goodies will be picked at random from the comments below on the 30th April 2012. Good luck.