About Honeysuckle and Hilda
Honeysuckle and Hilda: a florist who likes to write and a dog who likes to model. Wherever appropriate, we travel as a pair. Based in Oxfordshire, in a tiny village nestled in the Chilterns, we share a love of country walks and foraging in hedgerows.
Whilst we often go back to London for work, our recent escape to the countryside has further developed our appreciation of the abundant, wild and spontaneous shapes nature has to offer and this has carried itself ever further into our works. Sometimes small and delicate, often large and flamboyant, everything we do reflects the outdoors at its untamed best. Constantly on the lookout for branches with an interesting shape, or vines, trails and tendrils in the garden, our aim is always to reflect the landscape around us.
Every season is our favourite season and there is always something to celebrate: in Spring we gather lilacs and spring blossom, tulips, beautifully scented narcissi and muscari, hellebore and one of our very favourites, fritillaries. Summer brings with it, of course, peonies, delphiniums and foxgloves, with old roses, and the heavenly smell of honeysuckle growing around our porch. Late summer sees the arrival of dahlias that last through Autumn and as the leaves fall from the trees we start gathering crispy bits of foliage to add to our festive arrangements as the star of the show, the Amaryllis, comes out once more.
We provide flowers for events and select weddings, and flowers for the home are a favourite, Workshops are taught in small groups to ensure that each participant receives the attention they need; we also hold 1:1s. Recent collaborations include flowers for Miller Harris, Berry Bros & Rudd, Daylesford, People Tree and The Burford Garden Company; Hilda has been seen modelling for The Gourmand, Mungo & Maud and (again) Miller Harris.
My passion for flowers began in the 1990s. As both a postgraduate student and lecturer in the History of Art, my imagination was captured by an exhibition of Dutch Flower Paintings in Dulwich in 1994. I was supposed to be looking at Seventeenth Century Baroque paintings for part of my thesis, but instead I was drawn irrevocably in another direction. Soon I was in The Wallace collection looking at Fragonard and Boucher. After that, I looked for flowers in the works of Nineteenth Century French painters - the "obvious" ones like Manet and Van Gogh - and ultimately in that of my favourite artist of all time, Odilon Redon.
But I started attending flower classes at a time when putting a single pink rose into some silver sand inside glass cubes was still a thing. Bending calla lilies into all manners of unnatural contortions was also popular. (If you don’t believe me, I still have the photographs). I found treating nature in such a way didn’t sit well with me and I instead continued my office job and limited myself to daydreaming of one day setting myself and these poor flowers free from our lives of incarceration. I moved to Hackney in the early 2000s to be near Columbia Road and spent my weekends creating but didn't yet dare to do more than that.
Years later, a series of events led me to give up that job and reassess my priorities.
In 2013, a tiny brown Schnauzer named Hilda entered my life and long walks through woods, across heaths, along canals and beside the hedgerows led to a renewed interest in flowers and foliage. On one of these walks, a chance encounter with a passionate environmentalist led to, amongst other things, a spirited campaign and a trip to Parliament to argue the case against the herbicides that were destroying our bee population.
Inevitably, discussions on nature, daily foraging and incessant flowery chat plus the kind teachings of many and various florists across the country led to the creation of Honeysuckle and Hilda. We are a floral design company that seeks to collaborate with the environment, working with the seasons, with natural, fluid and organic shapes to produce pieces that enhance a beauty which is already there, curating what nature has provided us with, and treating her with the respect she deserves.