African lilies, peonies, and more
There are a few things we can’t get enough of and sweet spring flowers is one of them! Our head floral stylist, Anton van Duijn, shares his five favourite spring flowers that make his heart (and ours) soar with happiness.
Nickname: African lily, lily of the Nile
In a word: Mystique
If there’s one the spring flowers that’ll shimmer like a jewel in your bouquet, it’s the agapanthus, better known as African lily. This often blue or white flower is a welcome guest at weddings. Why? African lilies are the so-called ‘flower of love’, adorning bouquets as ‘something blue’. Even the plant’s roots are dried and then worn as a necklace to symbolise love and fertility – well, the Xhosa tribe from South Africa at least.
The name itself derives from romance: 'agape' means love in Greek and 'anthos' means flower. Anton adds, "I’m a real poet and I think it's nice to remember that Cleopatra used to walk out of her palace with her hands through a field of African lilies." Romans, Countrymen, lend me your agapanthus!
In a word: Romantic
Yes! For a wonderful short-but-sweet six-week period in spring, flower fans go wild for peony season. Billowing pink, romantic white or passionate deep red: peonies are real eye catchers with a rich background. In China, they don’t hide their love for peonies. The Chinese name for the flower means 'the most beautiful' and that's exactly why she is one of our favourite spring flowers!
Anton: "Peonies that bloom early in the season often have less of a floral scent, but bright, cabbage-sized blooms. The Coral Charm, for example, changes colour in your vase as it blooms. A strong beauty, but without a strong scent. If you want more fragrant peonies, wait until later in the spring."
Nickname: Down flower, blueweed, Mexican paintbrush
In a word: Nostalgic
This is a real retro flower and iconic for flower stylists. Native to Central America, it’s possible the most beautiful ‘weed’ we’ve ever seen. Anton: "This is the first flower I learnt about at school, that's why I really love it. The name always reminds me of that time."
This cheerful bloom is a magnet for butterflies, with its fuzzy petals and hearts full of nectar. No surprises then that it’s known as down flower or Mexican paintbrush. Ageratum derives from the Greek 'ageratos', meaning eternally young.
Nickname: Star of beauty
In a word: Wanderlust
The Astrantia major is also known as 'star of beauty'. We can’t help conjure up images of sultry spring evening spent on the beach under a sky full of stars. Makes us want to travel to some far-off place.
Anton: "This astrantia has green-white flowers with a hint of pink and its pointed leaves do indeed look like bright stars. Coincidentally, this flower likes to grow on the coast."
Nickname: Ladder-to-heaven, Solomon's seal
In a word: Heavenly
Another beach worshiper! If you wander along the dunes, the chances are that you’ll run into the Polygonatum, a native to Europe. Anton: "This plant is really a sweet surprise amongst all the grasses along coastal dunes. It grows very low along the dunes, but if you get this ladder-to-heaven in your bouquet, it’s one of the tallest statement flowers. Small, white pendants hang from the stately leaves, which look like a flowy white dress in a spring breeze.