I'm not particularly green fingered, in fact I either over or under water plants; but I do love flower arranging. I know it's seen as an old lady thing; but I think it's cool and it brightens up the house. You can even make garage flowers look good!
The weather has been gorgeous at the moment and our garden is looking beautiful. It's a real joy seeing the plants coming on and establishing themselves. When we moved in four years ago, all we had was a rectangle of patchy green.
The soil is pretty rubbish, literally, the builders buried all their rubble and bricks under the garden; but somehow the plants seem to find a way to survive. I'm sure that's a very deep metaphor for life there.
My favourite flowers are roses, clichéd and girlie, I know; but I adore them. We went to a special rose seller called Beales Roses and chose scented varieties. Basically we went round sticking our faces close to each of the plants and taking deep breaths. We'd have looked insane if other people weren't doing the exact same thing.
I've been wanting to go out into the garden to pick some flowers for a summer floral wreath; but the evil that is pollen and hay fever, has been keeping me shut away in doors. Seriously, why can't there be high pollen in November when it's cold and wet outside? I wouldn't mind staying in? Being allergic to the summer sucks.
Fortunately I just have to wait it out until the end of July. I'm counting the days.
I decided that I would just go for it this evening and I'm so pleased I did because it was gorgeous being out in the fresh air, picking the flowers and foliage. I only got stabbed by rose thorns three times, I didn't bleed and I was only marginally sneezy afterwards. I call that a victory.
This is the unassuming oasis ring I started out with and below is how it turned out. I have to admit I'm rather proud of it. It's now filling our living room with the glorious scent of roses. An evening well spent.
What's your favourite way to spend a summer evening? Do you have to hide inside from pollen too? What do you do if you can't go out?
Claire Wade is the winner of the Good Housekeeping Novel Competition and author of The Choice. She was bed bound for six years with severe ME, trapped in a body that wouldn't do what she wanted. She now writes about women who want to break free from the constraints of their lives, a subject she's deeply familiar with.