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Gabi owns Gabriel’s Garden in the small village of Gissing on the Norfolk-Suffolk border. She specialises in arranging British flowers with an informal style. Here, she talks about her five favourite flowers, and why she has chosen them.
“I’m going slightly off piste with this top five. It is almost an impossible task to choose my top five flowers; there are so many beauties that I have loved since childhood. Wildflowers that have shared my life journey and a myriad of beautiful blooms that I have grown to love as I have learnt to grow in the cutting garden. So here goes.
1. Primroses and violets, (I’m cheating already) herald the end of winter and welcome in the spring. I started my flowery journey with these two delicate hedgerow beauties as a child. They were the first flowers I found and got to know, and rather naughtily picked to make into miniature posies to give to my mum.
2. Blossom. All blossom is beautiful and there are a myriad of shrubs and trees to choose from – where there’s blossom there usually follows fruit; great for wildlife and for us. My favourite would have to be the crab apple tree Red Sentinel. Its blossom holds well once cut and the apples are rosy red and stay on the tree into the long winter months.
3. Roses. I couldn’t be without roses. They are a staple in the cutting garden from late May until October. I grow quite a few varieties, all good for cutting, all with fabulous scent. But my absolute favourite for vase life and fragrance has to be Chandos Beauty; she’s a pale, peachy-pink beauty with long straight stems and the most heady perfume reminiscent of Turkish delight.
4. Scabious. All scabious flowers are beautiful, from the wild mauve variety, Devils Bit, to the cultivated annuals and perennials. All emerge from their buds as a perfect pincushion shape to unfurl dainty petals of dusky blue, delicate pinks, and deep berry colours. As a plus, scabious flowers are loved by the butterflies and bees.
5. Antirrhinums or Snapdragons. Again a childhood favourite and latterly grown for the great cut flowers. There are many different varieties to choose from. My go-to is the gracefully tall appleblossom, but my latest discovery has been the madame butterfly double series – not particularly fragrant, just lots of wonderful colours.”
Visit Gabriel’s Garden here.