When I first learned that Rachel Ashwell’s latest book would be about her adoration of flowers, I gasped. After all, Rachel’s style is inspired by petals at every turn. Whether it’s a salvaged dresser embellished with painted swags, vintage wallpaper with floral motifs, or her own line of fabric with names like Royal Bouquet on Oyster (my favorite), blooms are a signature element of all things Ashwell.
1. Hello, Rachel! What was your favorite flower as a child?
Daffodils. As a little girl growing up in England, it was a sign that spring was coming.
2. What is your favorite flower at this moment?
Always bluey-pink David Austin garden roses.
3. What is your favorite object to use as a vase?
I collect pretty shaped clear wine/drink bottles for single stems. I’m also partial to vintage vases and pitchers as often by the time they are deemed vintage their designs are nice and faded. I’ve collected quite a few from flea markets over the years. Occasionally I like something really fancy.
That’s hard, but probably a selection of pink and white garden roses. There’s just something so classic and nostalgic about a rose.
Second would be wildflowers. I love the casualness and organized chaos of flowers picked from a field.
5: Pick one and why: small floral bouquet or large arrangement?
There is something rather glamorous about a large display.
6. Pick one and why: peonies or roses?
Roses -- the ones in my garden are similar to peonies, but they have an amazing fragrance.
7. Describe your favorite shade of pink:
A bluey pink. Or hot pink. Just not salmon or coral.
8. What is your favorite fresh-flower scent?
I love gardenia and jasmine and lavender -- they emit a wonderful aroma, as well as a fragrant rose. I was once told when ladies walked up a pathway in the old days they would brush along lavender and capture the fragrance in their long skirts and petticoats.
9. Is there any flower you tend to avoid and if yes, what and why?
Bird of paradise. Was once given one by a date and that was it! It’s too orange and pointy.
10. Do you have any favorite floral designers?
I love the Fiore Design girls, Jennifer and Nicole in the US. In the U.K. Toria Britten, both featured in my book. I learned so much about their personalities observing how they would direct their vision with wire and frogs. Creating masterpieces of palette and shape. I consider myself a flowers “plopper” meaning I gather beautiful flowers and just plop them in a vase, trusting they will fall beautifully, different to a proper floral designer.
Thank you to Rachel for contributing to this blog post and to CICO Books for my review copy of My Floral Affair: Whimsical Spaces and Beautiful Florals and connecting us, once again! This beautiful book is brimming with inspiration... and permission to be a complete flower plopper!
Thank you for reading!