In my dreams I live in a house with a Flower Room – a dedicated space where I can keep all my various containers and flower arranging paraphernalia and spread out my flowers when making arrangements. I have often come across images online of such rooms filled with flowers waiting to be arranged.
In reality I count myself very lucky to have a pantry next to my kitchen which provides extra storage space for the kitchen, doubles as a laundry room and dog room and also has a cupboard large enough to store all the housekeeping necessities. On a good day this room also acts as my Flower Room. Today I piled all the laundry and other bits and pieces at one end and created a lovely space to play with my peonies in – the photos even remind me of some of the pictures I have seen online, so today I am sharing with you photos from my ‘Flower Room’.
Tomorrow I have a few friends joining us for lunch. It seemed an ideal opportunity to make the most of my beloved peonies, so this morning found me outside early picking as many blooms as I could find before a huge thunder storm broke. Before starting my usual Saturday morning routines I piled all these flowers into water in my ‘Flower Room’ so that they could dry off and rest ready to be arranged for tomorrow.
A new peony to flower this week is Gay Paree, which is a rich rose pink with a pale pinky cream centre. This is the first time I have seen this flower and I am delighted. Hopefully I will have lots more blooms next year.
Another newcomer this week is Adolphe Rousseau, an intense purple red that is very fragrant. I have a mature specimen in my Country House border, which has had lots of blooms this year. This flower came from a very young plant in my peony border in the Cutting Garden.
Duchess de Nemours is still flowering, although the blooms are slightly overblown after the very hot temperatures yesterday.
I wanted something tall for the hall table and these foxgloves fitted the bill perfectly. Foxgloves self seed around my Cutting Garden and I let them grow pretty much where they please.
I am still keen to work on my photography skills and I have recently signed up for a year long online photography course called Be Still 52. It is run by Kim Klassen, a photographer whose work I admire very much. The course is all about still life photography and this week we looking at playing with depth of field in our work. The next few photos are of the same group of flowers but with different focal points. In the first I chose a single point of focus on peony Gay Paree and used a low f-stop. The camera has blurred everything else, giving a shallow depth of field. Using all the points of focus most of the next image is in focus, so the depth of field is deeper i.e. you can see more detail of the whole shot. Playing with focus is a big part of still life photography.
Below is a closely cropped view of a foxglove – I love the delicate patterns inside these flowers.
I am delighted to have had enough peonies this year to create such an abundant scene and I still have buds on plants that are yet to open – the season is not over yet!
The peonies are now arranged around the drawing room where we will be eating tomorrow. This room overlooks the garden, so is a perfect summer dining venue. If we are really lucky tomorrow it will be warm enough to open the double doors onto the terrace!
I hope to be back tomorrow with Part 2 of my Peony Lunch, when I will show you how the flowers looked on and around the table. IN the meantime if you have any questions about growing, arranging or photographing peonies please do ask – I can’t promise to have the answer but I am always happy to share what I know.