Hidden behind a wooden fence in a quiet cul-de-sac, Annie Jenkins’s garden is a wild oasis of tumbling vegetation: shrubs, vines, billowing trees and an abundance of lovely blooming flowers. Chickens scamper and cluck about. Cats sit in sunny spots or sidle up to visitors. From the outside, the only clue to this hidden haven is a tiny sign on the gate saying ‘Beware the bugs’.
Eight years ago, Annie started providing friends with flowers from her cutting bed. Word soon spread. The combination of beautiful fresh blooms – grown in the soil of southwest London (not flown in from thousands of miles away) – and Annie’s eye for colour had got tongues wagging. Soon her cutting bed had taken over most of the vegetable patch and beyond. Now Annie counts local businesses, florists and flower-loving households among the regular customers of her successful small business. Many customers order weekly bouquets during her growing season and at Christmas carefully sourced stems are used for wreaths and table displays.
Teddington and Twickenham, thank goodness, are not short of florists. The Bloomery, a highlight of picturesque Church Street in Twickenham, is a veritable sanctuary for flower lovers who appreciate exquisite blooms. Just reopened, it also stocks a wide variety of seasonal plants for the garden and home. Not only that, the Bloomery uses recyclable packaging, fair-trade stems and supports British growers. That’s what I like to hear!
Meanwhile, local resident Jess Sargent recently launched Fenton Yard Flowers, offering uplifting and textured bouquets for homes and businesses in and around Teddington. Each month a different palette is selected to reflect the season; June is a gentle pink-and-white combo, with foliage complimenting the blooms. Jess heads to a Surrey flower market for her stems, selecting British flowers and combining with greenery from her own garden. She aims to keep waste to a minimum with recyclable and biodegradable packaging. She also delivers locally on foot.
There has been a florist on the site of the Emporium in Twickenham for more than 40 years. These days, beautiful flower arrangements are just one element found at its Heath Road location, just round the corner from Twickenham Green. True to its name, the Emporium is now also stocked with glittering handmade jewellery, arts-and-crafts gifts, delicious ice cream, fine wines and chocolates. Those who love both flowers and a tipple will soon be able to enjoy an evening drink in a hidden courtyard at the back. Also, look out for their gelato bike, coming shortly with honey-and-ginger and lemon-meringue ice cream on Twickenham Green.
Feel like some fancy flowers? For truly inspirational ‘forever florals’ head to the fabulous Cassandra King florist in Teddington. Cassandra creates original silk and dried bespoke floral displays, and also provides bouquets for weddings, events and commercial spaces. A far cry from artificial flowers of old, Cassandra’s faux florals are inspired by interiors, fashion and art. There is a definite touch of flair, with dramatic, wild-looking blooms. Her studio store on Stanley Road is well worth a visit, by appointment.
Annie Jenkins: @there_may_be_bugs
The Bloomery: thebloomery.co.uk
Fenton Yard Flowers: fentonyardflowers.co.uk
The Emporium: emporiumlondon.com
Cassandra King: cassandraking.co.uk
Kate Chesshyre is the owner of The Refill Larder in Teddington