This weekend was free of wedding work and coincided with dog-sitting at my parent’s home. This isn’t strictly a flower related post but spending a couple of uninterrupted days in the house where I grew up was something of a revelation in terms of realising where certain personal tastes and influences on my work come from. I visit my family home all the time but for the first time in a long time I lounged in it as if I were a teenager again.

The purpose of the visit was of course to keep Winston company. Winston came to my parents five or six years ago from the shelter with nothing but a tennis ball and his love for tennis balls has not diminished over the years. He is one of the most noble beasts I have had the pleasure of knowing.

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 Remy was selected in large part because of his vague resemblance to a smaller Winston. Winston is definitely needier and will happily sit in your lap nose to nose, staring into your eyes. I should mention that we cannot be completely sure of his heritage but he is certainly part German wire-haired pointer and by no means a lapdog.

Spending time with the hounds meant spending time in the garden which after the heatwave looks amazing. Grasses have burst into flower, ferns are overflowing in dappled light, and tiny apples are appearing on trees.

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One of my favourite plants has to be the Sempervivum (semper - always, vivum - living) - like the succulents that I love using in my work they have the same compact, dusty, alien appeal. They were grown on roofs traditionally to stop lightning strikes.

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My mum has little families of these spilling out of gravelly beds and weathered pots which brings me on to collections.

I’ve been accused of hoarding over the years. Only recently have my final crates of university essays, Mexican memorabilia, scarves, hats, letters and postcards left the family home (albeit only to my studio). Having spent most of my adult years believing my parent’s house was sparse and minimal I was delighted to see that my love of collecting very clearly came from them. As I looked around the house I saw all my leftover roses from work were dried and in vases all over the house and I mean ALL over. I saw collections of glasses, keys, books, tiny animal skulls, postcards, holiday photos, records, fabric and the list goes on.

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In all honesty I wouldn’t have it any other way. All of the most interesting people I have met find it difficult to part with these little things of beauty and spend their lives dragging box loads of the stuff around with them.

Light is getting the final mention. Admittedly the weather has been incredible lately but the light against the white walls was unreal. I did have a short-lived rebellion against white walls when I was younger but decided if you can’t beat them, join them. I can’t fault white walls. At the end of the day it’s all about the shadows and light (and flowers).

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