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Article: Flowers for Spring, Jane Austen Style

Bouquet Arranging

Flowers for Spring, Jane Austen Style

Bouquet Arranging

To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment.

Jane Austen, Mansfield Park 

With Easter weekend on the horizon and many other religious holidays falling around this time, many of us are thinking about how to spruce up our table settings for a family meal. Warmer days means a spring clean is in order, and flowers can be a fabulous way to make your house feel fresh for spring.Of course, the Regency garden has been en vogue since Bridgerton splashed our screens with the bright pinks and lilacs of wisteria a couple of years ago. We know, from her letters to her sister Cassandra, that Jane Austen took great pride in her garden, as well as providing some useful details on what kind of flowers she kept. 

Our garden is putting in order by a man who bears a remarkably good character, has a very fine complexion, and asks something less than the first. The shrubs which border the gravel walk, he says, are only sweetbriar and roses, and the latter of an indifferent sort; we mean to get a few of a better kind, therefore, and at my own particular desire he procures us some syringas. I could not do without a syringa, for the sake of Cowper's line. We talk also of a laburnum. The border under the terrace wall is clearing away to receive currants and gooseberry bushes, and a spot is found very proper for raspberries. 

Jane Austen to Cassandra Austen, February 8th 

Moreover, we needn’t consign our ideas of what Jane Austen’s garden might have been like to the imagination - the gardens which still surround Austen’s home at Chawton are kept in the Regency fashion, showcasing the kinds of flowers that Austen may have seen on her walks, and helped her family to maintain. Here are a few ideas of Spring flowers to either grow or acquire for your home.

Roses, White


There is a reason these are a classic. These romantic flowers can easily be procured in affordable bouquets from your local florist or supermarket and will last a good long while if properly cared for. Rose bushes, like the ones at Chawton, can be planted up in your garden year round, according to the Royal Horticultural Society, provided the ground isn’t frozen, but if you want to grow them from bulb, you should wait until the Autumn to get started. 

It’s important not to be blasé about your choice of roses, however. In the Regency period, Floriography was beginning to come into vogue, with rose colours and varieties taking on a range of meanings. Whilst we don’t really go for this these days, you might want to check out that you’re not accidentally accusing someone of unsavoury behaviour when you hand them a bouquet of yellow blooms.


Jane Austen says that she couldn’t do without a syringa. Never having heard of this flower I gave it a quick Google, and found that it is another name for the more familiar lilac flower. Whilst these lovely sweet smelling blooms won’t appear until a little later in the Spring, it’s great to have something to look forward to as the weather gets nicer.  



We have reached my personal favourite flower. Peonies look gorgeous both in the home and in the garden, and now is the time to plant them. Available in many shades of pink, these little puff balls look gorgeous on a table, or in a late Spring bouquet. I like to sit my peonies on top of a mat or wipe-down tablecloth, as once they start shedding their petals, it's like a flower bomb has gone off in my house! 


Who could forget the old faithful? Daffodils are the quintessential spring flower, and come in lovely cheap-as-chips bunches in massive supermarket bins at this time of year. Pick up a couple of bunches to put in a vase on the dinner table, or otherwise use them to bulk out your existing arrangements. These are a super simple way to fill your house with Spring blooms for minimal cost. 

Add some herbs!

The tradition of all-flower wedding poesies actually didn’t come around until the Victorian period. Until then, it was traditional to include herbs in the bride’s bundle, in a tradition descended from Celtic beliefs in their cleansing powers. Perhaps a sprig of rosemary or thyme could add a fresh scent to your home. Though not herbs, eucalyptus and pine also elevate the smell of your bouquet! 

What is your favourite Spring flower? How are you celebrating the season? Let us know in the comments! 


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