Celebrated luxury florist Nikki Tibbles shares her top tips for spring flowers in the home, and tells us how a life-long love of dogs led to the inception of her Wild at Heart Foundation, a charity that works to help rescue dogs across the globe...
What are the best blooms for the home in spring?
It’s best to buy seasonally; in the spring we have the most amazing tulips and hyacinths, and daffodils are a great inexpensive choice.
What are your top three tips for creating a beautiful floral display at home?
Keep it simple, as simple as possible.
Always use a beautiful vase, because the vase should look beautiful without flowers in it.
Keep flowers the same length to make it easier, rather than lots of flowers at different lengths.
How would you describe your home style and what is your favourite room in your home and why?
It’s very eclectic, I love colour and mixing bold prints, and anything really goes. There should be no rules, you should just be able to live with what you like.
My home is a bit like the way I dress; I like to wear lots of print and texture. I also like to mix quite contemporary pieces with 20th century pieces. A lot of the artwork in my house I’ve found in car boot sales as well as bought from galleries - so my style really is anything goes.
I have a sitting room which is painted in a lovely plaster colour, with a blue floral sofa and patterned rug. I spend a lot of time here as it is the most peaceful room in the house, so that’s my favourite - in there on a sofa with a dog or two.
How do you update your interior for spring?
I love scented candles and always update the fragrances for spring. I have lots of blankets and throws on the sofas, partly because of the dogs, so these get changed to lighter fabrics. And I’ll change the cushion covers too, to give my space a lighter feel.
What are the key floral trends for 2020?
The key floral trend will be simple elegance. Take inspiration from foliage you could’ve picked from your garden, think wild influences - like using herbs and blackberries in season. Nothing should be too perfect.
What are your go to pieces at Amara?
I love the dinnerware, and Jars is my favourite brand. I love the Tourron range because of the colour range, I have a lot of yellow in my kitchen downstairs so it works perfectly with the greens and oranges.
What’s your favorite type of event to style with florals and why? And do you have a career highlight you can share with us?
We do a lot of weddings which I love because every one is different - every bride is different. Every event that we do we try and match the personality and that client’s wishes, dreams and it has to of course work with the venue. We work across the most amazing venues in London from private homes to Claridge’s, Spencer House, Lancaster House, The Dorchester, The Savoy. We have to make sure that the flowers work with those venues.
There are so many career highlights, but one that has happened in the last year has to be being accepted to create a garden for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. From our work with Bicester Village the concept evolved, we had been landscaping gardens for many of their outlets, and to celebrate their 25th anniversary we suggested doing one for RHS Chelsea.
I had never designed a garden before - I am not a gardener! Literally when we had an email about possibly coming into re-landscape this garden everyone in my office was rolling around on the floor laughing - ‘Nik you can’t landscape a garden’ - and I was like well I know, but I can learn.
I love a challenge and you know if you’re not taught to do something then you don’t necessarily have any rules - if I had been taught to be a landscape gardener then also maybe I would have done things in a very different way. We looked at the landscaping as almost like an event where there were moments that created interest and gave you that wow factor. So we designed a garden for Bicester Village and it was accepted - we found out at the end of last year. So we are doing our first garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show - I have to say that is probably quite a highlight!
What’s the biggest challenge when it comes to running your business?
Well I am very lucky because I have an amazing team. I couldn’t do the work that we do and the volume of work that we do and the creative work that we do without the amazing team that we have in our events department, in our landscaping department, and also in all of our shops so I am very lucky. I have an amazing PA who looks after me and enables me to do the work I do both with my business, the landscaping and of course the foundation.
What led to the inception of your Wild at Heart Foundation and can you tell us more about the Foundation’s work?
I grew up with dogs and they’ve been a big passion of mine forever, I’ve not had a minute in my life where I didn’t have a dog.
I went to Puerto Rico a number of years ago and I ended up rescuing two dogs I found on the side of the motorway. I named them Lily and Rose, and when they passed away I promised them I would get another rescue dog from abroad.
The life of a dog globally is not a very happy one, there are 600 million stray dogs in the world, most of which are not dealt with humanely. And so I decided that I wanted to do something about that and I felt very blessed that my business had done well and we continue to do well and I wanted to give something back.
So I decided I wanted to set up a charity or foundation where the biggest goal is to run sterilization clinics , where we can reduce the stray dog population and to educate people about how to take care of their dogs. If we educate one child how to be kind and on how to take care of animals then we will reach eight adults approximately, so it’s a good way of actually dealing with the problem.
Wild at Heart Foundation now funds and supports animal welfare projects worldwide by organizing and sponsoring rescue projects, neutering programmes, awareness campaigns and education initiatives.
How would you spend your perfect day off?
My perfect day would be walking for hours and hours in the country with friends & my dogs, and cooking; especially making big pots of soup.
Discover more of Nikki’s floristry and foundation at wildatheart.com.