A David Austin guest blog
In case you’ve missed the release of the film and have never had the time to read the book (make the time by the way – it’s worth it!), ‘Little Women’ is a classic story of four girls who were raised by their mother while their father was away fighting in the American civil war. Just like our roses, each of the girls have unique and distinctive qualities that we see their Mother wholeheartedly embrace as their individual stories of love and life unfold. She accepts them, she challenges them and she reminds them consistently of their unique value in the world.
We wanted to commemorate this iconic, semi-autobiographical story by Louisa May Alcott by styling a rose that perfectly embodies each of the five core characters: Meg, Amy, Jo, Beth and of course their Mother – who is famously referred to as Marmee throughout. Our ‘Little Women’ inspired, rose-filled story below tells the tale of embracing individuality with the Mother residing at the centre of life – and the uncontrollable chaos that it can sometimes bring.
We felt it only right that each character not only had her own rose, but accompany this with her own colour palette, texture and finishing touches – right down to the font and style of the sign-off on the calligraphy tags.
Meg & Leonora
Meg, represented below by our Leonora (Auswagsy) rose, exudes understated class and possesses a quintessential, English style. Just like Leonora, Meg’s character is the most traditional of the girls; she dreams of love and marriage and would forfeit almost anything to find something so pure. With the inspiration taken from the scene where we see Meg walk down the aisle at her wedding, we created a floral crown featuring our Leonora rose, paired with splashes of blue muscari and narcissi, bound together by slender twigs.
Amy & Keira
Amy, unlike her sister Meg, aims to be a wealthy gentlewoman and marry for money to live the lifestyle that she dreams of. She is the youngest of the sisters and as expected, the most playful, childlike and often… unpredictable. Our Keira (Ausboxer) rose champions this glorious, unpredictable nature as she opens to display a rippling effect of pink and cream hues that intertwine so delicately – each bloom unique to the next. As Amy is the most stereotypically ‘feminine’ of the sisters, we felt it only right that Keira be accompanied by blossom, rich pink ranunculus, tied together with lashings of pastel silk ribbons.
Jo & Edith
In some ways, Jo has traits that coincide with those we see displayed by Amy. She is rebellious and she is outspoken. However, the fundamental difference between Jo and the other girls, is that her feelings of love and marriage are disparate and she had no intentions to ever accustom to these societal demands. Her portrayal does not make her an unappealing character, but instead, reminds us of her humanity. We feel that our Edith (Auspluto) rose styled in this simple design captures this earthy sense of self we get from the character of Jo March. She is a flamboyant character, yet embodies a relaxed persona hosting a gold, apricot heart which is cocooned by a halo of softer outer pink petals. Despite her more ‘tom-boyish’ outer shell, we see this softer side of Jo March inapparently displayed through her love of reading and writing literature. But, by the end of the novel
“Jo had learned that hearts, like flowers, cannot be rudely handled, but must open naturally”
as we see her fall into the arms of Professor Friedrich Bhaer.
Beth & Beatrice
Beth’s character is quiet but also warm and unassuming. Similar to Jo, she is a silent creative and when she plays the piano, her passion burns loud and is so notable to all. Our Beatrice (Auslevity) rose is that subtle nod to the portrayal of Beth. She has a warm buttery yellow heart that is encased by a gentle ring of softer, creamier outer petals. As with Beth, there is more to Beatrice than meets the eye as she encompasses a strong, complex perfume of myrrh, almond with just a hint of fruit. To complete her look, we embraced all that spring has to offer and styled her with a forage of nature’s finest. Although not quite as loud as our Edith rose, she is an understated beauty nonetheless.
Marmee & Patience
Despite their notable differences, it is Marmee who brings them all together. So clearly and cleverly, she reminds us that each individual is different… but thank goodness we are. Like our roses, each variety has been curated to obtain distinctive features – whether that be in form, fragrance, or colourway.
Marmee’s bouquet is a powerful representation of the strength that she displays throughout ‘Little Women’. She raises the four girls, accepting each of their chosen paths in life and yet always remains the creative wellspring and guiding light that we know and love her to be. Our Patience (Auspastor) rose is the unequivocal choice from our collection to represent Marmee’s character. Her classic aesthetic of pearly white petals surrounds a heart that contains splashes of warming yellows. Her naturally elegant buds ruffle out into sculpted, yet delicate cups, which mimics the adaptability of Marmee’s personality. Patience is traditionally scented with a strong fragrance of Old Rose infused with lemon for that touch of sweetness that we see as each of the girl’s tales unfold.