As a full-time floral stylist, author, blogger and mum, Willow Crossley is always juggling exciting projects. This week, Willow has decorated Liz Earle’s store for the annual floral art show, Chelsea in Bloom . She’s currently working on her third book ‘Flourish’, which follows her second book ‘Inspire – The art of handmade living’. We sat down with her to talk hosting, home and (of course) flowers.
What does a home mean to you?
Everything. It’s my safe place. The minute I walk in the door I relax and feel calm no matter what’s going on outside.
As a florist, you must have seen thousands of flowers. What are your favourite kind and why?
I can’t pick one! Solomon’s seal in May, I adore the little white bells, that lush green colour and their elegant shape. Peonies I adore, Coral Charm is one of my faves. They start off life as these tight, bright coral coloured balls and then slowly unfurl into huge creamy, plate sized fluffy visions. A garden rose can’t be beaten really. Their scent is so heavenly and reminds me of summers at home when I was little. And a Japanese anemone. I don’t know what it is about them – their pinky tones, the little bullet-like ball balls, tall skinny stems – they’re like ballerinas.
What are the things in your house that make it feel like a home?
My boys. My husband and our three small sons. If you mean bits and pieces, I have a lot of beautiful scraps of old textiles draped over sofas and chairs that make me very happy. Lots of French straw baskets. My Odd rocker. Which is also draped in fabric.
What do you do to make yourself feel most relaxed in your home?
Hide all the Lego and toys that are permanently strewn over the whole house, get onto the sofa with my husband Charlie, and watch one of our favourite box sets. With a roast chicken.
What do you enjoy most when you invite people into your home?
I love treating people, spoiling them with delicious food and drinks. And lots of flowers.
What are your tips for setting the perfect table for a summer dinner party?
Beautiful plates and glasses – we have a lot of Tuscan speckled plates that I only really use for special occasions. I’m rather precious about them. Lots of small vases of mismatched flowers down the table. Scent is important whether from flowers or scented candles. Robbie Honey makes the most delicious smelling candles on the planet.
How did you set the table decoration at the spring lunch we did with Hemsley + Hemsley?
The table flowers for the lunch were very relaxed, springy and wild. Lots of foxgloves and Solomon’s seal, lilac and spring branches picked from the garden. I wanted to keep them very natural and stuck pretty much to a green and white colour palette – I love how they looked with the green glassware and vibrant green courgette salads.