Never judge a Sweet William by its prickly little cover
When I walked into Marks and Spencer the other day, I stumbled upon a bucket of flowers which captivated me for their sheer ugliness. Next to all the perfectly grouped roses and the pure white long-leaved lilies, these were like little monsters, wrapped in a flower bag. It seemed peculiar that what looked like sea urchins on asparagus sticks should be marketed as flowers, but always seduced by something different, I decided to pick up a few bunches to place amongst my previously selected bunch of red roses – at least this way I could flesh out the vase and not spend so much on the roses. Once home I arranged my red roses with these strange prickly flowers between them, looking contemporary and chic with their varied prickles of deep green and pale sage, grouped in old pickle jars (minus the pickles) for an extra contemporary touch.
The next morning I came into the room and couldn’t believe my eyes – the tiny little buds grouped amidst the pulp of little prickles had exploded open into the most amazing floral show. Bursting with shades of scarlet and fuchsia, bright cadium, pale lavender and dainty white, these moss-resembling creatures had given life to the most beautiful range of flowers which now placed even the perfect red roses in the shade. And as the days have gone by, the flowers have got better and better, with groups of up to 30 little flowers opening on each spiky outcrop.
I am a man converted. The flowers, for no apparent reason but clearly with some very important although long-since forgotten historical reason, are named Sweet Williams, and I will be sure to make them a regular feature of my vases whenever they are in season. It all just goes to show, never judge a Sweet William by its prickly little cover – As the following photos will hopefully demonstrate. Enjoy.