Thursday, 20 March 2014

Inspire in English Abode


Willow Crossley describes herself as ‘neither a florist nor an interior designer. I am just flower mad with a serious passion for decorating.’ Having worked with her once upon a time I can attest to this; I don’t think that there were any phones or staplers left in the office that had not been  ‘Willow-ed’. But, given ingredients beyond office supplies (the fact that they were Vogue Russia office supplies didn’t make them any more glamorous – that is until Willow got her hands on them) and time and opportunity, Willow creates objects of beauty out of everything and anything. 

Nature has been a lifelong passion; from an early age she picked flowers and pressed flowers to decorate her bedroom, and “when I made a den with my brothers, I insisted on being chief decorator.” This book is divided into five sections: Woodland, Flora, Fauna, Beach and Edibles, and between them she shows us the art of effortless-looking flower arrangements, how to make acorn napkin rings (my children will love that one), quails’ egg baubles (perfect for Easter), sea urchin candle sticks and salt and pepper pots . . . her talents are endless, and very inspiring. 
Wayward Tulips:


Branches of budding beech (Fagus) trees
Blossoming hawthorne (Crataegus)
Vintage white porcelain pitcher
Viburnam tinus
Red and yellow bicoloured parrot tulips
Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum x hybridum) in muted colours

1. Arrange the branches of beech and hawthorn in the pitcher first, to create a base shape.
2. Add the viburnum, tulips and Solomon’s seal.
3. Stand back from the pitcher to see if the display can be improved and move the display accordingly.

Primroses for Tea


Gravel or wood chips
Pretty china bowl and cup with saucer
2 primrose (Primula vulgaris) plants
Potting compost
Sphagnum moss

1. Put a ½ in (1 cm) layer of gravel or wood chips at the bottom of the bowl or cup.
2. Position the primrose plants in the centre and fill in any gaps with potting compost.
3. Decorate the top of the potting compost with pieces of sphagnum moss, and water well.

Hydrangea Pom Pom


Fishing wire or ribbon
12 inch (30cm) diameter ball of florists’ foam
Thumbtacks (drawing pins)
4 dried hydrangea heads
Small scissors

1. Tie the fishing wife around the middle of the ball of florists’ foam, leaving two long ends.
2. Secure the wire in place with thumbtacks (drawing pins). I used about eight, to be sure it would hold.
3. Knot the two ends of the wire together.
4. Break off small florets from the dried hydrangea heads, making sure that their stems are strong enough to pierce the foam ball.
5. Start inserting the florets into the ball, keeping them all very close together to hide the foam beneath. When this starts to get a bit fiddly, you will find that pushing them in with a pair of small scissors is much more effective than using clumsy fingers.
6. Continue until the whole ball is covered. Hang it from the knotted wire in a place where it can be admired and enjoyed.


Inspire The Art of Living With Nature by Willow Crossley is published by CICO Books and is available from

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