...and importantly, how she learnt so much.
“Have you heard of Sarah Raven? She’s one of the most successful garden ladies in Britain and so I’ve spent a great deal of time reading her books and her column. Then there’s my mother who always had amazing flowers in the home.”
She shared some of her tips for bringing flowers to everyday life.
“A garden table can be elevated with a basket of flowers in the centre. Flowers in the bathroom are such a luxury so I choose geraniums with their rich leaves and love for warmth and moisture. Tulips are great in a bathroom too but generally I think they work better downstairs. Flowers as a centrepiece on an indoor dining table is something we all know, but I like to change the way I do it every time we have guests. I don’t think a centrepiece has to always be just one big vase. We had friends over at the weekend and I did a long line of vintage glass bottles with five stems of long, tall tulips inside. Another time I did reclaimed terracotta pots with trailing grape hyacinths and moss spilling out. There’s so much you can do. Oh, and I love to place Nemesia ‘Vanilla Lady’ by the back doors so you smell it as soon as you come inside.”
“Firstly, colour. You need to think not just about what colours you like, but ones that your room will like too. Next I think about seasonality, using flowers that are true to the season you’re in. This is a lovely thing to consider with life-like flowers too. Greenery is hugely important. I like eucalyptus, euphorbia and artichoke leaves, and soft moss in pots. Flowers, real or life-like, need foliage. Height. Varying height makes your arrangement feel much more natural; it gives the bunch flow. Finally, what you choose to display your flowers in (or plants for that matter) will completely transform your piece. Big vases are fantastic but what I love the most are dramatic urns that I pick up from antiques markets. Our house is filled with them. They’re just a little unexpected.
“And when you’re doing a bouquet, always lay your flowers flat on a surface, but at an angle so they naturally fan out. Never do them straight. Alternatively, hold the bunch in your hand and gradually add to it, piece by piece, feeding the bouquet as you go. Whichever way you feel most comfortable with.”
And the future?
“I’d love to work with flowers in a more creative way again, I really would. We’ll see. For now, knowing that I’m creating a home that’s warm from the moment you come in is enough. My children’s paintings, crumbling urns of home-grown flowers everywhere, meals cooked with ingredients grown in our own soil, they all welcome people in, and that’s what I really want.”