This contest has concluded but you can still read the articles. Enjoy!

Hello, gentle reader, and welcome to the first annual British Blooms and Books giveaway! This week, we’d like to celebrate the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show with you. After enjoying this post, please visit each of the other five authors’ blogs (links provided below) and, after a bit of reading fun, follow one simple instruction and then leave a comment in order on each, to be entered to win a fabulous, British Blooms and Books prize. (US winners only, please, due to shipping the petit fours. Sorry, non-US friends.) Enjoy and thank you for stopping by!

 

The Growing of Blooms

Picture from Wikimedia commons, Margam Orangery, Robin Leicester

The Margam Orangery was begun in 1787 and like all 18th century greenhouses utilized a long row of enormous windows to obtain warmth and light for wintering citrus trees. 

While we were dating, the Hubs brought me flowers frequently. They weren't expensive ones, but I didn't care. It was the thought that counted and I quickly learned that inexpensive asterias tended to stay pretty much longer than roses.

 

On special occassions, though, he'd bring me tulips. He still brings me tulips. And I still ooh and aah over them just as I did when we were dating.  

 

During the week before our wedding, he sent me flowers every day, leading my father and brother to complain that he was setting the romance bar a little higher than they were comfortable with. And on the morning of our wedding, he sent me a big bouquet of white tulips and a DVD copy of the 1995 Pride and Prejudice. 

 

 

It's unlikely that Mr. Darcy would have showered Elizabeth with a lot of bouquets, even if they had courted in a more normal manner.

 

In the early 1800s the collecting of unusual, unique, or beautiful plants was becoming popular, but the giving of cut bouquets didn't catch on until later in the Regency period, partly because the keeping of more plant varieties throughout the year made more flowers available. 

 

Plants, hauled from as far away as Africa or the Orient, were kept in greenhouses. The technology to create the glass roofed rooms was fairly new and the tax on glass made it expensive.

 

These two traits combined made it an irresistable hobby for England's wealthy elite. It was even more exclusive if one made their greehouse a tropical hothouse and kept it heated throughout the year. 

picture from wikimedia commons, 4/19/2016, greenhouse at Chatsworth, Notafly

The greenhouse at Chatsworth, begun in 1837, is entirely glass. With tropical palm trees, ponds with aquatic plants, rocks, and brilliant flowers, the building was intended for decoration and enjoyment more than practical usage. 

Many ornamental plants were grown in these houses so that they could be shown off and enjoyed, but food was also grown in them, particularly citrus trees like orange and lime. 

 

The practice of giving cut flowers exploded after the publication of The Language of Flowers in 1819. Floriography wasn't exactly knew. The art of giving meaning to different flowers had been around for at least a hundred years. But the publication of Madame Charlotte de la Tour's book sparked a bit of a craze, and flowers were carefully selected and analyzed all over London. 

 

I include the practice of bouquet giving in my book A Noble Masquerade. And while there isn't an analysis of the meaning of the flower, there is a moment where the heroine, Lady Miranda, notices that a cluster of carnations are a far cry from her favorite tulips. (We have to give our characters some of our own favorites.) 

Of course, by the end of the book, she's more than happy to receive a clutch of wildflowers from the man who won her heart, proving that flowers don't have to be exotic or out of season to act as a statement of love. 

 

The question is, which man brings her the bouquet of romantic wildflowers? Is it her brothers valet whom she feels drawn to despite his servant status? Or is the duke whom she knows only through an exchange of secret letters? The only thing that's certain is that everyone and everything are not what they seem and not only her life but the very safety of England might be at risk before she can enjoy her handpicked bouquet.

Click Here to learn more about A Noble Masquerade, including an excerpt, buy links, reviews, and bonus material.

 

Don't worry. The link will open in a new window so you can continue on this page and follow the instructions to enter  the grand prize drawing for six amazing books and six delicious tea hat petite fours. (I'm so jealous about the petite fours. I love those things.)

 

The second book in the Hawthorne House series comes out July 2016. To stay up to date on the latest book news, choose at least one of the following connections options: 

Newsletter Sign-up

One grand prize winner who comments on each of the six authors’ blogs and

agrees to the one boldfaced condition posted at the end of each post (I don't have one. I'm letting you pick.) will win a signed copy of each of the books plus delivery of six English hat petit fours from Divine Delights to enjoy while you read!

 

Name will be drawn via random.org.

 

So get commenting below and tell me what your favorite flower is. Then visit these other fabulous authors of England-set historicals to see what flowers mean to them and their heroines.

British Blooms and Books Author Articles

(Links available on Monday when contest opens.) 

 

Julie Klassen          Melanie Dickerson       Roseanna M. White

 

Sandra Byrd          Kristi Ann Hunter         Carrie Turansky

Copyright 2019, Kristi Hunter   

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