Pinks, carnations and such....



When I'm stitching or tinkering, I'm usually dreaming....lost in some reverie my mind has stored and then conjured up from some other time.. prompted by an image or article I have read...




Yesterday, while going through some old files that had to be sorted, I found some garden notes I had made a long time ago. It was information about the Chelsea Garden Show and the Hampton Court Flower Show in England.  I thought how timely, since we will be visiting England this October....unfortunately when all the shows are over!
It is something I have always longed to attend and every spring I think this might be the year!

But what especially made my heart ache, was the information I found, again, about Malmaison carnations, the heady fragranced Belle Epoque blooms of over a century ago...




They originated in France, where else...as a chance seedling from the tree carnations, which were very popular winter flowers in the mid 19th century. It smelled like cloves, looked more like a rose, and so, was named Souvenir de la Malmaison, after the rose grown in Empress Josephine's garden. Is there anything more romantic or intriguing?

 Not for me!

In Britain, the outsize carnations, sometimes as large as a dinner plate, quickly became fashionable and were the darlings of the aristocracy, because of their rarity and incredible scent. They were only grown by wealthy gardeners who had glass houses.
Worn as a corsage, tucked into a button hole or gracing a dinner table, Malmaison carnations were never diluted with competing blooms. It was the carnation of Oscar Wilde.




They are a challenge to grow and need extreme coddling.  Today, Jim Marshall, a garden advisor to the National Trust is one of a few who grow and champion these long forgotten beauties. His little greenhouses, along with Crathes Castle near Aberdeen, house the National Collection of Malmaisons.  Can you imagine!!
This year the adventurous gardener will be able to grow these plants, as Mr.Marshall has made them far easier to grow through micro-propagation.He will be presenting them at the Hampton Court Flower Show.

Heaven!!

Perhaps, some seeds....




So here I sit, stitching, dreaming of perhaps dropping in to see Mr. Marshall and his collection this fall !!




Cleaning and sorting and editing has its benefits it seems!!




I purchased some carnations for Valentine's Day at the supermarket.  I have always thought they were exptremely underrated in the floral hierarchy of things...
This lovely, deep pink colour looked beautiful with some of my china...
They are gorgeous grouped en masse, and great for spherical floral creations, which I have used for wedding arrangements....




So, I continue to stitch and putter and think garden dreams....




I dream of Souvenirs of Malmaison and England.... and the possibilities....




Spring is not that far away....





Projects begin and end....






....and I may have to be content with some lovely pink tulips.....

Jim Marshall may be reached at...

4 The Damsells
Tetbury, Glos
England
GL8 8JA
Tel...0666-502589

The heady fragrance of Malmaison carnations is still used today by Floris for making soaps and bath oils.

N.xo


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