Alby ThompsonBy Alby ThompsonApril 11, 20207 Minutes

All my grandparents were very keen gardeners and my grandmother Dove had been a florist when I was very young.  We lived next-door to Dove & Grandpa and I loved spending time in their garden surrounded by all the colours and deliciously sweet fragrances.  My absolute favourite was the heady rose covered walkway to Grandpa’s workshop and greenhouse, as soon as I smell a rose I’m transported straight back there. These happy memories sparked a lifelong love of nature and the dream of working with flowers myself one day when I “grew up”. 

In 2017 when I was very much grown up (!) I took on an allotment and started a cutting garden to help me through the sudden and unexpected loss of my lovely mum.  Whilst digging and weeding I started reflecting on how precious time is and the importance of trying to live your happiest life doing the things you love most surrounded by the people you care about.  

 By early spring the following year I had left my fashion job and started a career change course in floristry.  

Dove & Myrtle is now a Brighton based creative flower studio joyfully bringing the outside in for window displays, homes, weddings and events across Sussex, London & the South East. 

My relaxed wild signature style is forever inspired by seasonality and the natural world.  I especially love taking inspiration from secret walled gardens, wild foraged finds and nature left to her own devices.

I try not to be trend led or swayed by what others are doing and to focus solely on what inspires me.  I graduated in weave as a textile designer so layering colour and texture along with form and balance really excites me and has played a big part in how my style has developed but overall my love of wild meadows, hedgerows and rambling roses has and always will be evident in my work.  Clients come to me for relaxed, luxurious and natural styled flowers with a modern edge.

I’m heartened to see how the floristry industry is now more than ever starting to reflect our mindfulness towards sustainability issues and the future of our planet. When it comes to their flowers I see my wedding couples especially moving more and more towards natural styling – unstructured freshly gathered bouquets and wild flower meadow aisles, everlasting dried flowers, seed pods and grasses and an interest in locally grown seasonal flowers.  

I am delighted to see the British flower movement gaining momentum and a decision to use locally grown flowers whenever possible ensures a more sustainable event.  Clients choosing locally grown know their flowers will have been cultivated with every consideration for the soil and wildlife.  By choosing British flowers we support a growing industry of passionate ethical growers producing truly seasonal, longer lasting and beautifully fragrant blooms with character.  Just like the ones our grandparents and their parents had in their gardens!

As much as my greatest love will always be fresh flowers, I have started experimenting more with dried flowers.  Some I buy dried and others I have dried myself.  The one thing I always try to avoid are the bleached (sun bleached is fine) and dyed versions.  I’m the first to swoon at a fuchsia pink and lilac dried installation but the amount of chemical processes those stems have undergone to create that colour goes against the sustainable approach I am trying to adopt for Dove & Myrtle.

As a small business I have the ability to adapt and respond to what my customers are asking for so in the coming months you can expect to see more in the way of dried flower workshops and kits, dried clouds & installations to buy and to hire (ideal for shop windows, restaurants & exhibitions) and a wonderfully wild & dreamy everlasting Bridal Collection.

Written by Jane Hartley founder of Dove & Myrtle and friend of Woven.