As one of the UK's leading floral designers, flowers are a huge part of life. There is never a day that passes by without some type of plant or flower featuring heavily. Often I get asked, when being interviewed "Do you ever get sick of flowers?" and the answer is always "never!" Flowers keep me in tune with the seasons and the rhythm of nature, they exude a natural charm and naivety that I find so very inspiring.
Another question that I frequently get asked is " Where does your inspiration come from?" and the reply I always give is from nature and the countryside. However it is my much beloved dog that motivates me to venture out on a daily basis into our beautiful woods, moorlands and heaths.
Unequivocally I am what you would call a "doggy person". Throughout my life dogs have provided a constant source of companionship, loyalty and unconditional love. If I had to sacrifice flowers or dogs within my life then there is absolutely no question which one would go! Without my canine companion I just cannot function and the joy that they so freely bring into our lives is priceless.
Thankfully my two great loves are often combined and my current canine, a rescued 2 year old German Shepherd cross called Allegra is my absolute shadow. Allegra follows me into the studio, around the garden and on endless journeys to collect flowers and foliages from varying sources and suppliers. I often revel in magical moments when I watch her smell a beautiful scented paeony or watch tentatively as I gather a miscellany of blooms from my cutting garden.
She is both interested, intrigued and at times bemused by my foragings when on walks. As one would imagine I can never resist a gnarled twig, interesting fir cone or sumptuous berried bush. She stares as I gather my trophies and at times attempts to help me by gathering rotten pieces of wood or attempting to pinch the booty that I have taken time to gather.
Yes, Allegra is a thief and spends many happy hours stealing items from my studio to disappear with them down into the depths of the garden so they can be destroyed at leisure. Her favorite loot is anything that is chewable, this can include fir cones, flower stems, reels of ribbon, raffia, moss - you name it and she will chew it.
Many times I questioned my sanity, wondering why there was a visual gap in a design only to realize that the group of feathers had been secretly stolen by the four legged thief!
Dogs to me are a passion and they simply enrich our lives on each and every level. My walks with Allegra are often the most magical time of the day. Watching her run through our beautiful Derbyshire countryside, leap over dry stone walls or roll around frenziedly upon bouncy beds of purple heather clad moorland are sights which all gladden my heart.
Throughout the past thirty years having my various canine companions (at one time three dogs) have been the glue in my life that bonds everything together. Fabulous flowers have enabled me to have the most wonderful career, working with beautiful plant materials on a daily basis and sharing my passion for flowers at our amazing flower shows all around the UK.
So many fabulous people who follow my career and are regular "floral groupies" who always ask "....and how's Allegra?", yes she is almost as famous as my flowers!