The Strawberry Hill House Flower Festival in Twickenham, held in September, is a sustainable flower festival where floral designers use sustainable moss-free floristry techniques and outdoor grown British flowers.
And Nicola Hill, who launched her flower farm and florist business – Gentle Blooms – last year, had the honor of showing off her skills at the event.
She says she grows all of her flowers locally without pesticides or chemicals and uses them to create bouquets, wreaths and funeral flowers using no-foam floral techniques.
She also sells her flowers at Aubrey Allen in Leamington.
Nicola said: “I was shocked to find that the UK imports 90% of cut flowers from as far away as Ethiopia and South America, so I started growing my own cut flowers and I enjoyed it so much that I decided to expand.
“I have a design background, worked in architecture for many years and really love creating with flowers.
“My flowers have a very low carbon footprint, are bee-friendly and smell great.”
As a member of Flowers from the Farm, a non-profit organization championing over 950 independent artisan growers of local seasonal cut flowers across the UK, Nicola was lucky enough to enter the competition to create a design for the one of five windows in the Strawberry Hill Gothic Gallery.
Nicola said: “I was very nervous about creating the presentation, but everything went well because I had practiced before.
“I felt honored to be chosen and to have the chance to create alongside such well-known names.
“I used dahlias, strawflowers, scabious and asters with herbs and fragrant geranium leaves. To add height, I used foliage and grass branches to add movement and texture.
“I was thrilled that my design showed what can be achieved without the use of floral foam, which is full of microplastics that don’t break down.”
Nicola added: “It’s important to me to be as eco-friendly as possible, so being part of the only fully sustainable flower festival in the UK was wonderful.”
Nicola runs sustainable Christmas wreath workshops in December at Offchurch Village Hall. Tickets are available via their website: www.gentleblooms.co.uk