The Gentle Stillness of Spring

Rhubarb & Hare, flower press


Has anyone else re-discovered old hobbies during lockdown?

Admittedly I am finding there isn’t much time between home-schooling, working and just generally trying to keep all the usual plates spinning, but there is one thing I am quite giddy about.

My new flower press.

Oh I used to adore my flower press as a girl. I would spend hours pressing flowers onto the super thick, lilac blotting sheets and then carefully tightening the screws and waiting to see what came out. Our garden was beautiful, awash with an array of flowers, thanks to my mother’s sheer hard work (I remember in the summer she would literally spend all day out there planting and weeding). Thinking back I was always drawn to flowers like daisies, and pansies, with small heads that looked like little faces. These would be dutifully pressed and examined. I even remember making little thank you cards with them, ah the sheer bliss and mindfulness of quiet time simply positioning and sticking them all down.

Now my tastes are somewhat different – and highlighted by where we live. Surrounded by the most delicate country flowers my press is stuffed to the brim with cow parsley, apple blossom, red valerian and anything beautiful which has caught my eye and I have basically foraged on our daily country walks.

I hadn't thought about pressing flowers for years - but something about the slowness and stopping around lockdown suddenly made me think of one.  Dutifully I ordered a big wooden press and waited rather impatiently for it to arrive.  The first day they watched me placing the flowers on the blotting paper and then screwing the wooden cover down, my two littles looked at me as if I was completely mad. ‘So you’re just squashing them?’ my eldest asked incredulously. But the following day on our walk they kept picking little sprigs to show me and to ask if we could press them. Just adorable. Now the press is full and we have the agonising six weeks to see what we have created. I’ve already begun the countdown as I gently tighten the screws a half turn every morning.

Mr Rhubarb has enquired, ‘And what will you do with all these flowers when they are ready?’ It’s funny but I almost feel the ‘what’ is beside the point. For me, it’s the planning, the picking, the careful placement of each delicate stem and those soft petals gently down onto their paper bed then the pressing and tightening of the screws every day alongside the day dreams of what I could do with the end results that matter the most – this feels just as important. Those few blissful moments of mindfulness and anticipation are worth their weight of a wooden flower press.