Pretty much since I bought my first gaff, I’ve always had fresh flowers in the house. Buying them for myself has always been an act of indulgence and independence. No matter how modest, I’ve always thought a vase full of fresh flowers literally and figuratively brings a little extra colour into everyday life. And contrary to what the old guys on the Roman Road flower stall used to say, a girl like me shouldn’t be waiting for a man to buy her flowers. Like many pleasures previously bestowed only by men (jewellery-buying for one, i’ll leave the others to your imagination), women can, and should, do this for themselves. (I’ve tried to convince friends that buying flowers for yourself is a feminist act, but i’m not sure how convincing that is…)
As glorious as peonies and orchids and hydrangeas and all the other fancy flowers undoubtedly are, I’ve always gone more for abundance than luxury (and with a weekly fresh flower habit i’ve had to). As such, daffodil season – which seems to come earlier every year – is a boon for me, as are the seasonal surfeits of tulips, stocks and sunflowers. But its the classic “filler flowers” (or garage flowers as they’re also known), those cheap and cheerful spiky chrysanthemums and garish frilled carnations, that are filling my higgledy selection of vases these days.
Now, filler flowers have been allowed a fashion comeback thanks to the annointment of designer Mary Katranzou, who used bright and bonny carnations on prints and on her spring/summer catwalk (above), and shoepresario Manolo Blahnik, who quite rightly says: “Most people thing that carnations are a common, vulgar, petrol-station flower. But I think they are fun, and they grow all over Sicily. They are also very handy as they make the perfect pom-pom.”
But filler flowers, or feminist flowers, are not brilliant because fashion says so. Rather, its because even when money is tight, a cheap bunch of flowers can lift a room, and lift your spirits, with very little effort. Less than a fiver for a week’s worth of chipper is a pretty good ROI, no?
(The ladies of The Women’s Room have written the definitive text on the appeal of filler flowers, as far as i’m concerned, so please keep an eye on these trend-leaders and their upcoming rehabilitation of dried flowers, too…)