Lift your spirits and your home with flowers

"Flowers always make people better, happier and more helpful; they
are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul" an American botanist once

Most of us would agree with that sentiment. Yet we tend to think of
flowers as gifts for special occasions - weddings, dates and
anniversaries. An expensive luxury that only celebrities like Elton John -
who once spent £293,000 on flowers over 20 months - can afford.

But that doesn't have to be the case. You can experience floral heaven
and all its benefits on any budget and in a myriad of ways.

A picture of the display in front of a florist's shop

Flowers can transform any home - they're an instant talking point
when visitors arrive and a feast for the eyes when you return to a home
enlivened with the colours, scents and beauty of a floral arrangement.

London has some of the very best flower markets, and in addition to
purchasing the most perfect and freshest blooms you will ever have, a
visit makes a great, and not too costly day out too.

One of the most famous of these markets is in Columbia Road on the
Hackney borders in E2.
Every Sunday, from 8am to 3pm, the narrow
street bursts into bloom, overflowing with bucketfuls of beautiful
flowers, houseplants, herbs, bulbs and shrubs. You may have to jostle
your way through the crowds but it's a great atmosphere
and a good way
to learn the difference between a petunia and a peony. On top of that,
it's okay to barter with the traders, especially towards the end of the

A person standing next to a display of flowers

If you're in west London and E2 is a bit far, check out Chiswick
Flower Market
at the beginning of each month. It's just as energetic
and colourful and organisers want it to become the Columbia Road of west

Berwick Street Market in Soho, a stone's throw from Oxford Street
and Chinatown, is London's oldest market dating back to 1778 and it is
there that you will find Ronnie's famous flower stall, which
supplies to local shops and restaurants. Other stalls feature on
different days, so it's worth checking the schedule online.

New Covent Garden Market is actually situated in south west London
between Vauxhall and Battersea.
It's a wholesale trade market serving
London's busy florists and businesses, selling in bulk so not really
suited to the individual. However, you can go and have a look around,
soak up the atmosphere or go with a group of friends to bulk buy and

A picture of a fountain with flower in the background

The capital has plenty more delights for flower fanatics. Check out
Queen Mary\'s Rose Garden in Regents Park where you will find London's
largest collection of roses. Petersham Nurseries and the world famous
botanical Gardens at Kew are both within easy reach of Richmond.

So although freshly cut flowers are a great addition to any room, and
buying them is an interesting outing in itself, the downside is they
don't last long especially for homeowners away a lot and unable to tend
them. But fear not, there is an alternative and that is fake flowers
and we're not talking the plastic-looking daffodils your gran used
to have!

There is now a wealth of shops selling luxury artificial flowers that
are tastefully and meticulously crafted, often in silk, for a truly
natural and organic look.
Flowers to look out for are dahlias,
peonies, hydrangeas and cherry blossoms. Pay a bit more and they'll
last for years.
It's also a great option for the winter months when
cut flowers are at a premium.

Flower lovers may also have noticed the recent trend for shops, cafes
and the like to adorn their doorways with garlands of flowers. The
fact they are artificial is outweighed by the cheery welcome they
provide and transform a plain old entranceway into a riot of colour,
enough to make even the most reluctant consumer smile.

A close up of some pink flowers

Let's sign off with another pertinent quote: "A flower doesn\'t
think of competing with the flower next to it. It just

So the simple message today for home-owners is: don't underestimate the
power of the flower!

Check out our blog on Why Brits Love Afternoon Tea.

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