Shopping: Age shall not wither them

This Sunday, spoil your mum with a bright, funky, flower-printed gift.
Click to follow
Indy Lifestyle Online
For many, Mothering Sunday still represents a day's release from domestic servitude. Not theirs, but their mums'. Such supermums still have a Fifties picture-book image and come complete with gingham pinnies and nails perfectly manicured despite hours of pastry-pummelling. And the ideal gift for such a mum? Why, a card in misty pastels and a prima ballerina-sized bouquet, of course! Now, no one can deny that flowers are delightful. Trouble is, they're a tad ephemeral.

One alternative - and, no, we're not talking "Made in Taiwan" plastic blooms - is the latest vogue for photoprint floral motifs on everything from cushions and shower curtains to notepads and cards. They're not always cheap, but at least they'll last.

For designer Janine Trott, of London company New Renaissance, life is literally a bed of roses. On cotton or satin duvet covers, pillowcases, pyjamas and even a bath robe, she has printed recklessly scattered trompe l'oeil roses.

"It's based on the idea of someone leaving roses on your bed," muses Trott. "Floral fabrics are so classic, I wanted to do something different. I've made the roses look so realistic you want to pick them up."

Strong shadows cast by the roses make them look three-dimensional, as do the print's high-definition glistening dewdrops and fluttering butterflies. Sold at London shops Graham & Green and Estilo in Wimbledon Village, or by mail order direct from New Renaissance, the range currently comes in red roses on a white background only. (A single duvet cover costs pounds 61, pillowcases, pounds 12 and pounds 15, and PJs, pounds 65.) From May, they will also be available on pastel backgrounds, and Trott plans to branch out into other florals later in the year.

Paperchase has been bitten by the horticultural bug, too, with Mothering Sunday cards emblazoned with anemones and stargazer lilies (pounds 1.50 each) or delphiniums, arum lilies and birds of paradise. Paperchase also stocks notebooks strewn with photographic roses in purple and lilac (pounds 8). Itching to squander a little more cash on your thoroughly deserving mum? Plump instead for a photo album with a ribbon tie (pounds 27).

Should your mum find such offerings too redolent of the Queen Mum wafting round the Chelsea Flower Show, sprint instead to the cutely named London shop Puppy for funky bedlinen smothered with Warholesque, photoscreen- printed gerberas in 12 eye-popping colour combos. Made by Swedish designer Hagg Bweill, Puppy's kingsize duvet covers cost pounds 60, and pillowcases, pounds 15 each.

Glasgow-based textile designer Jan Milne isn't one to cater to shrinking violets, either. She uses her photoscreen-printed fabrics, teeming with daisies, tulips or water lilies, on cushions (from pounds 50), stools (from pounds 240), duvet covers (double pounds 135) and bedspreads (in silk and satin pounds 300).

Milne, whose textiles grace a New York sushi bar and a Las Vegas casino, has come up with a flower-power shower curtain too (pounds 39), and a mirror decorated with daisies (from pounds 50). Recently, she has expanded her range, adding seed-packet-lustrous laminated coffee-table tops and wall panels displaying a single, full-colour, blown-up bloom.

Even more exotic are Ella Doran's exuberant blinds, wallpapers, table mats and coasters, featuring Gloriosa lilies, roses and anemones, snapped in North Africa.

"My aim is to ensure that ordinary household objects don't go unnoticed," says Doran. It's a mission statement amply borne out by her blinds, which bear a single flower, enlarged digitally to triffid-like proportions (from pounds 250).

Watch out for Doran's next floral foray: a range of similarly decorated crockery. Originally a textile designer, Doran discovered that her customers were more smitten with her photographic coasters boasting voluptuous blooms, shot against hand-painted backgrounds in watermelon pink or turquoise. So she changed tack, and her wares, such as coasters (pounds 21.50 for a box of six), sell in stores up and down the land, including Glasgow's Nancy Smillie, Manchester's Lloyd Davies, and London's American Retro.

For a more natural interior, designer Alice Meynell, of London flooring company Harvey Maria, has just the thing for would-be Heidis: witty Meadow floor tiles - photos of lush grass and charming clusters of primula and dandelions.

"They were originally photographs of my parents' lawn. As you can imagine, they weren't too happy with the name Meadow," she says.

Finished in water-resistant PVC laminate, the tiles (pounds 35 per square yard) are great for bathrooms, kitchens and conservatories. Even mums who don't identify with Heidi running wild on an Alpine slope can clack about on them in kitten heels.

If none of these blossoms appeals, why not customise a pillowcase, coaster, place mat or mug with a snapshot of Mother's favourite sprig? Snappy Snaps has the technology, and charges pounds 9.99 for a mug and pounds 11.99 for six coasters.

Of course, as time is running out, it's always tempting to fall back on an old-fashioned, common-or-garden bouquet. But the true bonus of photoprinted florals is that they're guaranteed to be hardy perennials.

Stockists: American Retro (0171-734 3477); Estilo (0181-946 0198); Graham & Green (0171-727 4594); Harvey Maria (0181-516 7788 , www.; Jan Milne (0141- 445 5554 ); Lloyd Davies (0161- 832 3700); Nancy Smillie (0141-248 3874); New Renaissance (0171-240 8302); Paperchase (0171-828 6458 for stockists, 0161-839 1500 ); Puppy (0181- 964 1547); Snappy Snaps (0181-741 7474)