Take a walk along a little-used country lane at this time of year and you might be lucky enough to see snow-like drifts of tiny white flowers where the cow parsley, so abundant at the moment, has started to drop its blossoms. It is a magical sight. This tall, delicate, sweet-smelling plant, otherwise known as wild chervil, and a favourite of the orange-tip butterfly and marmalade hoverfly, has all but colonised the shady spots between tree bough and roadside edge. Frothing by the side of the road, or at a field’s edge, it scents the air with the unmistakable smell of fleeting English summer time.
Although cow parsley is prone to drop its flowers quite quickly, it looks quite magnificent picked as a huge bunch and plonked, wild and unarranged, in a large vase or jug. What simpler way to decorate a summer party than with untamed bunches of the stuff, foaming out of glass jugs and jars? It is also a great filler for any cultivated blooms- alliums and roses look splendid poking out from a cloud frothing white flowers and ferny leaves. Strip the pretty, lace-like leaves from the rigid stems and use them for filling out smaller, more delicate arrangements. Mix with a small, lime green head of alchemilla mollis and the morning’s pick of sweet peas in an assortment of small vases and jam jars.
There are rich pickings elsewhere in the garden at this time of year, and it is impossible not to want to borrow some of Mother Nature’s flourish for your own kitchen table. Try mimicking what you see outside, and vary the height and size of your bunches, arranging them in a clusters about the house. Of course, a single rose will look glorious in a perfectly picked glass vase, but group it together with milk jars of cornflowers, poppies and sweet peas, tiny ceramic jars of velvety auricula and violets, towering vases of foxgloves and lupins (and of course, cow parsley) and you will have the beginnings of something wild and rather wonderful.
Let the wild flowers grow amongst the silver bells and cockle shells this summer, as we coax the wilderness back into our borders. Our fresh collection of flower mugs blends native plants with crazy cultivars- all you need to do is pick and mix.Shop collection
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