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Designs and designers of the Strawberry Hill House Flower Festival, part 3

Concluding our review of this year’s Strawberry Hill House Flower Festival, meet the artists in their own words, and see their exquisite work photographed by Janne Ford and Anne Schwarz.

Luna Bloom – Emma Cox

In my floristry I really want to reflect our rural Shropshire surroundings of farm and woodland, be more sustainable, and drop the use of floral foam. My style has developed into a very ‘grown here’ look with a modern edge and fresh use of colour combinations. 

I took inspiration for this design from the woodlands surrounding my Shropshire home, and my love of unconventional colours and texture. I used traditional colours for autumn with dahlias, zinnias and rudbeckia, and added asters in lilac hues to give a more modern take on natural floral design.

The flowers were grown on my plot with additional flowers from Carol’s Garden


Lunar Somerset – Deborah Bain

From our studio and flower farm in Bruton, Somerset, we provide striking and innovative floral design for businesses, brands, homes, weddings, and events across the south of England, UK and beyond. We celebrate the seasons and always work with the most beautiful fresh flowers and foliage that each month provides. We are big on dried flowers too – creating dynamic and elegant arrangements with texture and definition.

I am captivated by colour, texture and form, taking inspiration from my surroundings in choosing how to use natural ingredients to enhance a space. The Holbein Chamber is architecturally striking with an intricately patterned papier-mâché and plaster ceiling, and I created a three-dimensional abstract form that connects the beauty of the floral ingredients with that of the architecture, playing with scale and geometric shapes.

The materials were exclusively from my Somerset cutting garden and include lunaria, pennycress, sweet pea vine, larkspur, dahlia, helichrysum, achillea, and ammi.


Myrtle & Smith – Sarah Lindsey

As a wedding and event florist, I believe that floristry should tell a story, and I love to incorporate flowers and foliage that hold meaning for every client. I am inspired by blooms in their natural setting, from the English countryside to more formal cottage gardens. I like to imagine every brief is a walled garden containing private treasures for my clients to share with their guests.

Working with flowers and foliage from the grower Herbaceous Hoarder, I filled the fireplace with a natural and organic display that reflects what was available and abundant at that moment in time. I wanted to create something beautiful and original with what the field and weather provided.


Queen of the Meadow Flowers – Kirsten Tanner, with Ivydene Flowers

I started Queen of the Meadow Flowers to offer an alternative to the traditional flowers sold on the high street, and to showcase British seasonal flowers in bespoke arrangements. I use traditional methods of flower arranging, without any floral foam and with as little plastic as possible. I work with local Welsh growers, as well as some of my own homegrown flowers, to ensure that the best blooms and most organic forms are chosen.

This floral arch was a celebration of the seasonal shift from late summer to autumn, incorporating lots of foliage alongside fresh and dried flowers. Seed heads and flowers ensured the local wildlife will be provided with sustenance and enjoy an autumnal feast during the festival.

I used flowers from my cutting garden and from Ivydene Flower Farm


Shane Connolly and Company – Shane Connolly with Polly Nicholson of Bayntun Flowers

Shane Connolly is an internationally acclaimed floral designer and sustainable floristry advocate. Shane teamed up at the Festival with the organic flower farmer Polly Nicholson, of Bayntun Flowers, to give an inspirational, informative and entertaining floral demonstration overflowing with design ideas, sustainable floristry techniques and, above all, flowers.

Shane said of the Festival: “We floral designers owe a debt of gratitude to Nature and the planet; so we must create designs that are beautiful without and within. Designing sustainably does not stop creativity and magic, so it’s time we stopped hiding behind the pretty flowers, acknowledge the huge environmental issues, and show how it can be done, with festivals like The Strawberry Hill House Flower Festival.”


Smokebush Floral Design – Min Hedley

I am a studio-based wedding and event florist obsessed with colour and texture. I started growing flowers a few years ago on my Cheshire plot to use for my own events. Always led by the seasons, I use sustainable mechanics and like to think my designs are forever a celebration of the English garden in all its wild, quirky, delicate forms.

My design captured the transitions of autumn through colour and texture and the often overlooked beauty of rural hedgerows. As always, my work was centred around local flowers grown in the Cheshire countryside and on my flower farm, reinforcing my ideals of untamed beauty with minimal environmental impact.

The flowers come from my flower farm with additional flowers and foliage from Cheshire grower, Carol’s Garden


SSAW Collective – Jess & Liv

SSAW Collective is run by chefs, florists and growers all committed to an ethical way of working with seasonal produce. We create and curate thought provoking work – be it floral or food – that celebrates the ephemerality of nature, promoting true seasonality and sustainability, advocating for positive ecological change in our food, flower and farming systems. Our mission is to empower people to make conscious choices by offering a slower, more resourceful style of floristry and hospitality that is nourishing in every sense of the word. The SSAW Collective is based in London.

Our design was inspired by the changing of the seasons seen in fields, verges and hedgerows, made all the more pronounced by this year’s ‘false’ autumn. The installation focused on showcasing rosehip and clematis ‘Old Man’s Beard’, two ingredients that feel representative of the time of year, both stalwarts of autumnal floristry installations but not often given centre stage.They tumbled and clambered over a structure with mechanics partly exposed, which became as important a part of our design as the flowers. We aimed to distil the feeling of the beauty and abundance of harvest, and the delicacy and fragility of the cycles of nature.


The Chobham Flower Garden – Andy Heslop – & Hedgerow & Bloom – Tracey Bridger

Andy: Based in Surrey, I grow seasonal flowers for simple bunches sold from the village cafe, subscription flowers delivered locally and driveway collections, and I also supply flowers for small weddings and events. I sell wholesale to a select number of florists who appreciate the love and attention that goes into growing seasonal blooms.

Tracey: Nestled on the Hampshire-Surrey border, we grow seasonal cut flowers in balance with nature. We grow using organic principles to encourage pollinators and encourage beneficial insects to minimise pests and diseases. Our beautiful blooms are healthy with strong stems and some with incredible scent.

Inspired by the Strawberry Hill House café and its garden surroundings, Andy incorporated herbs, flowers and other seasonal treats to decorate this busy area of the house. Tracey encapsulated the essence of a typical afternoon tea in her floral design, using late summer berry colours, rich dark chocolates and a splash of cream.

All materials were freshly cut from the Chobham Flower Garden’s field & garden borders in neighbouring Surrey.


The Mirror and the Veil – Rachel Grimes

I am a florist and cellist living on the outskirts of ancient woodland in Sussex. My wedding and event floristry business is now edging towards becoming a visual arts project, which I find more creatively fulfilling. I love working with movement and shape within design. I work with local growers and am starting to develop a small cutting garden at home for personal use. As a ‘jack of all trades’, I enjoy blending creative practices, where flowers can dance, and music takes on colour.

This design, titled You, Me, Everybody, attempts to conceptualise how we move through the world, with ease or difficulty, seen or ignored. Everybody is valid and has inherent value.

Flowers supplied by Nettlewood Flowers


Twisted Sisters – Melissa Ashley

I am a floral designer with an interest in installation work. My design was a culmination of experiments and morphing of ideas: an overgrown garden which might be more in keeping with an abandoned urban industrial landscape; the neglected and cracks of man-made materials through which Mother Nature prevails, all delivered with a floral flush of artistic licence.

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