Peonies, poetry and the things we do for love

Peonies, poetry and the things we do for love

Glorious June, what an exciting month it was! We saw the Chelsea Flower Show (lovely to see the focus on accessibility – so in tune with our own philosophy of bringing floral beauty, love and joy to those who just can’t access outside spaces) and British Flowers Week, championing what we at Flower Friends are passionate about – using locally grown flowers.

And talking about flowers, oh girl, we are now in summer heaven with luscious peonies and dreamy creamy spray roses, grown in the Brent Mencap garden, which we combine with all manner of other floral pin-ups, including lilies, iris, cosmos, cow parsley, allium, clematis, hydrangeas, grasses, chocolate vine, abutilon, lavatera, yarrow, larkspur, astrantia, salvia, sweet pea, ox eye daisies, valerian, cornflowers and buttercups (to name but a few) packed with herby applemint, lemon balm and rosemary and the queens of them all, heavenly scented roses and jasmine, to make summer bouquets for the vulnerable in our community.  Just divine!

Some of the feedback we’ve received from our recipients, young and old, has reminded me again of the effect of the smell of flowers, rather like being kissed. One lady who is blind told us how wonderful it was to smell her bouquet, even though she couldn’t see them and an 18 year old young woman who was given a bunch on her birthday grinned from ear to ear when she stuck her nose into her minty posy. Oh joy!

Have I told you we have the best job in the world? Probably :))

Although being on the cutting edge of flower power isn’t always a bed of roses. We have our challenges, like dealing with rose thorns, midges, constantly hungry snails and the odd disgruntled objector who dosen’t buy in to our mission (do they exist you ask, yes, shock horror, they do!). But the flowers and the people we give them to always see us through, like during our June carers’ week, when we said it with flowers to ten amazing KTs Care Angels’ care workers, including Mavis, Irene and Jesse (pictured) for the tireless and loving care they give to their vulnerable clients. A million thank yous to you all!

And a big thank you also to our all our partners and volunteers in Brent Mencap, Harlesden Town Garden, Bryarrose Flowers and Ecoblooms from the Flowers from the Farm network, Camden Community Champions Programme, Salusbury School Greenspace, and I’m excited to announce, Brondesbury Villas Pocket Park, soon to come on board!  And to our other Flower Friends and supporters, including the lovely Victoria and Christine in Kensal and Queens Park, Noel and Imelda in Longstone Avenue allotments, Harlesden and florist Scarlet & Violet – thank you! We are truly grateful for your generosity and encouragement.

And on that note, as I make my way full of excitement to Salusbury School Greenspace in Queens Park (I never know what I’m going to find there!) I remember lines from a poem by F.R. Scott…

“We rise to play a greater part.
This is the faith from which we start.”

And speaking of poetry, the passion that flowers incite in us was no more beautifully expressed than at the launch of the new anthology of verse ‘Powerful Poetry’, written and heartbreakingly recited by members of the Brent Mencap poetry group, including some inspired by the beautiful secret garden they often sit in and in which the garden group grow flowers for Flower Friends.

“I sit in the garden,

I look at the tree

And feel the breeze

The sun shining down on me…”

“There are flowers in the garden..

Different leaves and trees..

They are red and gold and green

More spectacular

Than anything I’ve seen.”

Mencap flower farming!

And signing off with a line from a song by Greentea Peng – a reminder of why we  need flowers in our urban world, now more than ever.

“I can’t smell the flowers,

feel empty now for hours,

lost my powers,

I can’t smell the flowers,

and I’m sick of all these towers hanging over me…”