Inspired by spring


Janna Brown and Katie Grant are both amazing creators, with Janna putting together this gorgeous bouquet that includes clematis, peonies, roses and ranunculus, and Katie capturing it on camera. Their efforts make me want to dive into the garden right now and plant every single one of these flowers.

For more colour, take a look at New Mexico florist Melissa Paquin’s stunning bouquet, photographed by Alicia Lucia. Flowers include orange ranunculus, moth orchids and buddleia.

I’m also loving this bridal bouquet with the everlasting flowers – Helichrysum bracteatum. They’ve been pooh-poohed over the past years as being old-fashioned, but they’re slowly making a comeback, with beautiful new varieties on the market. I love them, and I’ll be planting lots more this this spring. This bouquet was put together by Ambedo Floral and photographed by Sara Weir.

This bouquet, which features over at Nouba, contains everlasting flowers as too. These are a wine-burgundy colour. Love them!






Spring arrangements


Need inspiration for home-picked flowers? Check out these gorgeous spring creations. This lovely arrangement by Meades Florist (above) includes tulips, roses, chamomile and clematis. It’s a simple bouquet that works with any flower – whatever is popping up in the garden now.

This is a late spring arrangement (above) with foxgloves, campanula, dahlias, snapdragons and yarrow. All these blooms are long lasting in the garden, and the vase – it would make an excellent summer display too. You can see this arrangement over at Casa di Stile.

Who doesn’t love ranunculus and cabbage roses with their soft, billowing petals and sheer elegance? Ranunculus come in all colours, so if orange is not your thing, there are a multitude of other hues that will fit the bill. This arrangement features over at 100 Layer Cake, the flowers by Brown Paper Design and photography by Annie McElwain.

I LOVE this arrangement by Charlotte of Tradgardsflow with tulips, cowslips, geranium and lily of the valley. So very simple yet so elegant. 

Plant Now: Lavatera trimestris

Lavatera trimestris is a great cut flower with white and rose-pink blooms from summer to autumn. These plants are annuals, but they do self-sow, so they should pop up again the following year. Sow seeds direct or in trays for transplanting later. Choose a spot in full sun that has well-draining soil. Kings Seeds, Egmont Seeds and GardenPost all sell these bushy plants. Sarah Raven has a beautiful dwarf pale pink-white version here (second and third photos from top).

Plant Now: Clematis ‘Freckles’


Long-blooming, hardy, and with attractive, glossy leaves year round, this flamboyant clematis is quite the novelty. Its bell-shaped, creamy blooms are heavily speckled on the inside. They start out raspberry red in colour then turn more purple-red as they mature. What more could you want in a plant?

Flowers in winter? Yes! Clematis cirrhosa var. purpurascens ‘Freckles’ puts on a terrific show in the cooler months. The flowers dangle at the ends of multi-branching stems, but there is no problem getting a good peak at the inside of the flowers, as ‘Freckles’ climbs up to 4m high.

‘Freckles’ was raised from wild seed collected in the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean, so the plant likes a well-drained gritty soil in sun.

Plants available in New Zealand from Yaku Nursery.

Images: Top image by Jason Ingram; bottom image from Clematis in Seattle.

Kings Seeds is turning 40!!

Wow! How incredible. Kings Seeds is turning 40 – and there’s a huge celebration at their base in Katikati. I’ll be there, as will Lynda Hallinan. Are you coming too?

Plant now: Cosmos


The annual cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus) is the perfect summer plant. It’s easy to grow and its showy flowers can be picked by the armload for the vase. Keep deadheading your plants and they’ll happily flower right through until the first frosts.

Cosmo likes full sun and free-draining but adequately moist soil (not overly so). If it’s hot and humid, give them a little more or they’ll slow down. They might slow down anyway when the days are long (when day lengths are greater than 14 hours flower development is delayed), but they will pick up again.

You can still sow seeds, or buy seedlings or potted colour from your local garden retailer.

Image credits: Top flowers are by Chihiro Kubota; second image down is by Flower Society; the third bouquet is by Jade McIntosh Flowers and photographed by Curly Leaf Photography.

Free Sleep Well Workshop


You may not know this about me, but I’m a certified sleep science coach (among other things).

So…. can’t sleep? If you live in Auckland, join me at my next workshop (7th February, 7.15pm – 9pm) to find out just why you can’t sleep – and what to do about it. It’s FREE! Spaces are limited, though, so you will need to contact me to make sure there’s a seat for you.

Here’s the official blurb:

CAN’T SLEEP? Find out why and what to do about it, from a Certified Sleep Science Coach.

* The science of sleep
* How your morning routine sets you up for a good night’s sleep
* The most important nutrients and foods to achieve deep sleep
* Why hormones wreak havoc with women’s sleep and what to do about it
* How to stop a racing mind and night-time anxiety
* Strategies to achieve uninterrupted, deep sleep

FREE workshop – but BOOKINGS ESSENTIAL as SEATING is LIMITED. Email me here to reserve your seat.

Where? Highbury House, 110 Hinemoa St, Birkenhead, Auckland
When?  7th February, 2018
Time?   7.15pm – 9pm

Favourite bloom

Dahlia favourite

What’s your favourite flower in the garden right now? Mine is this beauty – a rather seductive dahlia. I know you are going to ask me the name of it, but sadly I don’t know. But it’s gorgeous, right?

Beautiful summer roses

red david austin roses carolyn parkerPink rose bouquet and archgertrude jekyll rose carlyn parkerbeautiful peach wedding bouquetBride with wedding bouquet. Pink roses and astrantias.
Ooh, I love rose time. My Souvenir de mme Leonie Viennot literally smothers my picket fence at the front of my house at this time of the year. In fact, I’ll have to cut it back quite a bit this season because it’s actually pushing the fence over! The rose has been there for years (I planted it when I first got here) and it flowers freely each year for most of the year, with its peak in November (late spring) and early December, depending on the weather. But there is always a good smattering of roses after a good dollop of rain at any time of the year.

Another favourite is Gertrude Jekyll (third image from top, by Carolyn Parker), though the David Austin reds are also divine (top image, also by Carolyn Parker). Pictured are Tradescant, in the centre, Falstaff above that, and The Prince below.

I enjoy mixing rose colours too, as in these wedding bouquets.

Make sure you keep your roses well watered this summer. A parched rose will attract bugs and make it more susceptible, in its weakened state, to disease.

GARDENA giveaway!

GARDENA Gardening Tool KitGARDENA Terrace Hose Box 10mUnleash your passion for gardening with this fantastic prize, brought to you by GARDENA.

We have one prize pack, which includes a GARDENA Terrace Hose Box and a Gardening Tool Kit, valued at $198.99, to give away.

Small, lightweight and easy to transport, the GARDENA Terrace Hose Box can be neatly stored, making it perfect for irrigation in small gardens and terraces, as well as camping or other leisure activities.

The GARDENA Gardening Tool Kit is the perfect set for all Kiwi gardeners. The kit includes a trowel, a grubber, secateurs and a hand brush, all in a spacious box, perfect for any additional utensils. The clever European design even includes a lid that doubles as a dust pan!

For more gardening inspiration, visit

To go in the draw to win, simply CLICK HERE to email our Flaming Petal competition inbox and tell us why you’d love to win.


The competition winner was Jocelyn Gee. Congratulations Jocelyn!