London Blenheim Books

July 13, 2008

We went to England and France for our 25th.  My husband wanted to go to London before we journeyed to Bordeaux, France.   I googled Chelsea Flower Show and found that we would be three weeks too early to see “The Flower Show” of flower shows.  So I crafted an itinerary that was full of flowers, both live and pictured. First stop, Blenheim Books via Portobello Market (an outdoor/indoor collection of new and used items) right around the corner from our hotel.  Most of the shops and stalls are open on the weekend but I did get two silver plated gravy servers to decorate.   Just have to figure out the recipe for my gravy.

Blenheim Books is the gardening bookstore in London.   Valerie Scriven the owner appropriately recommended the two books I should buy:  The Little Green Book of Gardening  250 Tips for an Eco Lifestyle by Diane Millis and Transparent by Daniel Ost, a mind altering experience of flower arranging  (more to come).  If you want to buy flowers in London typically you buy them from a street vendor or a department store like Marks and Spencer, a bouquet wrapped in paper to take home with you without a vase. There are some floral shops to be found which I did.  Following Blenheim Books I walked to Laura Kuy.  I was so excited.  She let me sit in her studio and watch her design a bouquet of spring flowers.  Many of them were woodland flowers like lily of the valley.  The greens are just as important if not more so in English arrangements.  I’ve noticed that European designs use more greens then we do.  Laura Kuy believes in buying flowers from England so as to reduce the carbon footprint.

Next stop A. Brooks, floral designer.  The shop is inside and out. While the rain dribbled down.  Adam, a young aspiring designer, showed me the bouquet for Bianca Jagger from Calvin Klein that he had just done.  Then I showed him Daniel Ost’s book, Transparent. Everybody there put down what they were doing and studied the pages of Ost’s creations.

Could I do more flowering?  Yes, Hyde Park.  The beds were glorious as you can see.  I probably walked a mile in the park, that’s how long the display of annuals and bulbs went.  Next time we go to London I will go to Kew Gardens and plan my trip to coincide with the Chelsea Garden show – how heavenly!


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