a bouquet for ellie and some peas

by Sharon Santoni

white roses and peas in a vase

If early June in Normandy means gardens full of roses, it also means fields full of colour and texture.    The green wheat and barley are only just beginning to turn gold, and their fading hues make the self seeded poppies stand out even more beautifully as their red heads sway against the cereal crops

white roses and peas in a vase

And then there are the fields that seem to have been planted simply to feast our eyes, the flax that turns deep blue every day between ten and two and a very new favourite of mine – the humble pea.

white roses and peas in a vase

Local farmers are very keen on peas this year, and that suits me just fine.    Peas are wonderful for mixing in with other flowers.  They are more rigid than their cultivated sweeter cousins that fill our gardens with delicious scent.  Their pale grey green foliage is the perfect backdrop for practically any colour you could find, and their spiralling tendrils add interesting shapes and romantic twirls to even the simplest arrangement.

white roses and peas in a vase

This week I picked some peas that had strayed outside their field and brought them straight home where they became the perfect companion to my iceberg roses.

white roses and peas in a vase

And if you are wondering about the title to this post, and what does ‘ellie’ have to do with any of the above, it is because this bouquet that is especially composed for my new blogging friend Ellie O’Connell, who wrote some very kind words about my blog this week, and whose incisive wit and sharp mind make a wonderful interlude to any day.

white roses and peas in a vase

If you don’t already know her blog Have Some Decorum, then you need to pop right over and check her out.  Among my favourite posts are her views on living with teenage daughters that make me laugh out loud.  She is a beautiful jet-setter,  married to a Frenchman,  lives in Paris, and with her background in interior design and publishing, she can be sure to show you the best of life in the capital through her highly trained, high-brow eye. You’ll like to know that she recently opened an on-line brocante store and that her goodies are just flying off the shelves.


She also just happens to suffer from ALS, which has left her paralysed, but her incredible energy and straightforward no bullsh-ting approach to the difficulties of daily life are a lesson in humility for us all.  Her illness certainly does not define her,  but it is a timely reminder to us all to make the most of every day.

For you Ellie, white roses from Normandy … I look forward to seeing you soon.

white roses and peas in a vase


Julie June 6, 2015 - 11:25 am

Icebergs are my absolute favourite rose, they put on such a wonderful display every year without fail. I love your arrangement with the pea stems. Thank you for pointing us in the direction of Ellie’s blog. I have just quickly read it for the first time, and know that I shall be going back there regularly!

Vicky from Athens June 6, 2015 - 11:49 am

What beautiful roses! The loose arrangement is exquisite!
And such a beautiful tribute to another beautiful lady. I’ve been reading Ellie’s blog since December and am so taken with her. I feel like I really know her and if her blog doesn’t show up for a few days I actually start to worry about her! Like Ellie, your blog is the first thing I look for in the morning — yours, A French Word a Day, Southern Fried French and Have Some Decorum. I’m so glad you two found each other!

Lyn June 6, 2015 - 1:50 pm

I love the beauty of your blog and I love Ellie’s gutsiness. She always makes me laugh, what a wonderful gift when you think what she is coping with.

Heather in Arles June 6, 2015 - 2:07 pm

You probably won’t be surprised that my eyes teared up just in reading the title of this post. You couldn’t have made a more perfect bouquet for such an amazing woman. This absolutely made my day, Sharon. Mille fois, merci…
Gros Bisous,

Becky Penrod June 6, 2015 - 3:51 pm

i love your website !!! It is so easy to read and you are an incredible writer. I am going to start up a blog as soon as I come up with a name for it.

Agnes Irene June 6, 2015 - 5:29 pm

What a gorgeous bouquet! A burst of beauty in a vase. I love the combination of the elegant and the humble, the garden and the field. A perfect tribute to early June – and to Ellie. She sounds absolutely amazing – I’m heading to her blog this minute!
Agnes Irene

LA CONTESSA June 6, 2015 - 5:44 pm

How lovely your bouquet is and HOW LOVELY of you to mention ELEANOR!I am beside myself……………YOU will adore HER!!!!

Karena June 6, 2015 - 5:47 pm

Sharon I was so thrilled to see Ellie feature you and your site as you are both ladies I admire to the nth degree!! Have a wondrous weekend!

The Arts by Karena
Jackson Pollock Mural

Ellie O'Connell June 6, 2015 - 5:57 pm

After spending the entire day at a flea market and a French hardware store I didn’t think my day could get any better until I read your blog about little old me. Needless to say, I definitely teared up. Thank you for all of the kind words about me and my blog . Dropdead gorgeous bouquet by the way! You are so sweet and I can tell this is going to be the start to a very wonderful friendship. 🙂

PEGGY BRASWELL June 6, 2015 - 6:10 pm

my,my aren’t these beautiful + great photos xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

Penelope June 6, 2015 - 6:46 pm

What a beautiful post about flowers, especially the simplicity of sweet peas. And, your friend with ALS sounds lovely! You spread beauty Sharon for us all to glean from! Thank you! Have a beautiful day!

Colleen Taylor June 6, 2015 - 7:07 pm

I just subscribed to Elle’s blog. I love this woman & how refreshing to read someone who doesn’t bulls__t her way through it all. thank you for introducing her to everyone! Gorgeous pure white roses, love them.X

Doré June 6, 2015 - 7:44 pm

Sharon, I have taken notice of your French life and home for years now, having you on my side bar of what inspires true French living inside and out…. I love the mix of roses and sweet peas a favorite of mine here. As for you arranging it for Ellie how dear, and creative of a distance in sending it via Internet posting was nothing short of how beautifully hearted you are.

I love the painting above the boquet and your home always inspires me.

I must go visit Ellie, it’s been some time for me and visits to her site where I admire her strength yet often look and inspire myself with all she is as a strong lady of circumstances.
Thank you for this dear post, I so needed to read and see some kindness today, you have shown another side of how kindness can be spread.

An inspiring French JUNE to you.



bonnie poppe June 6, 2015 - 9:15 pm

You have a real gift with flower arranging, I’m always in awe of what you put together. I always end up with one of the 1.99 euro bouquets from Lidl …..

noreen June 6, 2015 - 9:29 pm

Hi Sharon, you are such a gifted artist when it comes to arranging flowers, I had to look twice to make sure it was you, as I’ve always seen your flowers in tureens, etc. This beautiful arrangement is just gorgeous, the look of just picked out of the garden, just the way I like flowers to look! Ellie is such a brave woman.

Madonna/aka/Ms. Lemon June 6, 2015 - 10:35 pm

A little vase of heaven. You are such a generous friend to all of us. Now off to visit your friend Ellie.

Carolyn June 7, 2015 - 2:25 am


Iris June 7, 2015 - 2:30 am

What a wonderful friend you are. The bouqet is lovely.

Caterina B June 7, 2015 - 2:47 am

Wow! That is an absolutely gorgeous arrangement. I love white roses. I wish I could grow ANY rose here at high altitude. I do have a (supposedly) climbing rose called “William Baffin.” I probably have not taken correct care of it. It is beautiful in JULY, not June.
Even my “Morden Pink” shrub roses, developed in Canada so they are supposed to be
cold resistant, do not do very well. The ONE thing that grows crazily here are HOPS.
I like them, too, but they are not roses.

Nan Mautz June 7, 2015 - 4:55 am

I love you AND Ellie! I am so glad y’all have found each other. Both of your lives and your fans will be enriched! I wish I knew y’all personally! Nan

May June 7, 2015 - 2:25 pm

Your talent for arranging flowers is always amazing and beautiful.

Lisa Scurlock June 8, 2015 - 2:46 am

I am now following you because of Ellie!

Nan June 8, 2015 - 3:24 am

You and Ellie are my most favorite bloggers! I check y’all every day. First. Thing.

Jeanne McKay Hartmann June 8, 2015 - 2:59 pm

Hi Sharon, As always you have such a way with flowers. What a wonderful bouquet you created for Ellie. Hope all is beautiful in your world! XOXO

Esther George June 9, 2015 - 9:39 am

Hi Sharon, a beautiful bouquet from one lovely lady to another. I love sweet peas have not planted them for a while and the Iceberg rose so beautiful and generous with its flowers, I have the white and the pink, they never let me down no matter what our weather throws at them. Thank you for sharing beauty. Till next time regards Esther from Sydney. PS I’m having a Beatrix Potter moment you see we have a stray rabbit hopping around our garden looking at all the plants it can munch on, it has found my Carnations, no one has come to claim it yet to my great delight, I was thinking what Gibson and Ghetto would make of this…too cute

Lynn June 11, 2015 - 4:07 pm

The pictures are so clear and the subject matter is so lovely…even though this comment repeats what the others have posted, I still think it is important to send so that you know how many of us truly love your blog!


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