Hazel Gardiner is a floral designer and broadcaster, based in London. I was lucky to meet Hazel a few years ago at an event hosted by Nancy Straughn. I loved talking to her about our shared love of flowers, design, antique-hunting and art galleries. I've loved seeing how Hazel's world of floral styling has grown and grown. She now makes regular TV appearances on shows like BBC Gardeners' World and just when you think Hazel's beautiful floral installations can't get much better - they do. My personal favourite has to be her RHS Chelsea x William Morris project.
Without further ado, here's Hazel in her own words... (and my random questions).
When did you first start to love the thing you do, or was it always there?
Ever since a child I’ve loved experiencing nature. As a child I spent summers in North Wales with my Grandma. Standing on Snowdonia looking at the mountains was incredibly transporting. This feeling has stayed with me.
Describe your style in 3 words.
Unexpected, naturalistic and energetic.
What inspired you to build the business you have now? What impact do you hope to create?
A longing for autonomy in my career and to paint with flowers and plants. I see floral design as artistry. When I’m creating, my intention is to entice emotions and thoughts as well as beauty. I always want to educate people to embrace flowers, gardening and the outdoors as a tonic for life’s difficulties and struggles. If I can do that, I’m happy.
Where, who or what experience taught you the most invaluable lessons about the work you do now?
Was it university, career or the school of life?
After studying journalism and broadcast at the London College of Fashion I worked in high-pressured TV production and artist management. I then set up my own fashion event and retail company. This, in tandem with learning to navigate a life-changing health diagnosis, has shaped who I am today. It’s a common statement but navigating challenging times brings the greatest growth.
It’s your day off, what do you do? How do you unwind or find inspiration?
You’ll find me pottering in the garden, at a gallery, plant nursery or visiting a public garden for some inspiration. I’m very privileged that my hobbies feed my work. That said I also love mooching around antique fairs, salvage yards and Harrods beauty hall. I’m a skincare and make-up obsessive!
What’s on your lifestyle shopping list at the moment? (Clothing, beauty, home, anything!).
A Pooky portable lamp for the garden, Living Proof No Humidity Shield Hairspray and vintage tiles from Maitland & Poate.
Song you can’t get out of your head right now (or an all time fave):
I’ve had the uplifting ‘Relax My Eyes’ by ANOTR on repeat.
Someone special is taking you out for dinner next week, where would you most like to go?
Leos in Clapton headed up by Giuseppe Belvedere who was previously at my other favourite restaurants P.Franco and Bright.
A favourite staycation recommendation:
The Northumberland coastline is so striking and often overlooked. I’d head to Seahouses, staying at the coastal positioned Fishing Boat Inn.
Favourite place to travel abroad:
Mexico, such a beautiful and diverse country in not only floral and fauna but I’m also fascinated by the customs, cuisines, and traditions.
Words of wisdom, what’s the best life or work advice you’ve received?
Someone once told me instead of focusing on what you don’t have, remember what you’ve never lost, it always strikes a chord.
Who’s the funniest person you know?
I have three siblings; we are a tight bunch. Collectively our little world creates some of my biggest laughs.
Your desert island book?
Fiction would be too tricky as I devour books! It would probably be an inspirational photography or interior book that I could escape in such as Tony Duquette 'A Strange Eden'.
What item in your home gives you the most joy? Where did it come from?
Probably the thrifted 1950’s plastic black-tie groom cake toppers my husband and I picked up in up-state New York. We both love the thrift and kitsch bits-and-bobs to pop on our shelves. We loved these and it reminds me of such a special time and trip visiting this part of the USA in the autumn.
What historical figure would you most like to meet?
NYC fashion designer Stephen Burrows in 1972.
If I came around for dinner, what would you cook?
I’m very much the non-cook in our house but I have a penchant for making desserts. It would be my Grenadian rum and pineapple upside down pudding.
Your favourite season and why?
I have a favourite month rather than season which is May, just before everything is about to erupt the anticipation is sometimes better than the finale.
A guilty pleasure?
'Made In Chelsea' I can’t help it!
What’s the most surprising fact about you?
I played the Violin and went to music-writing school when I was younger every Saturday morning. Sadly, both skills have long gone.
Your proudest recent achievement?
Finding out I love presenting on live television and our amazing growth this year on Instagram. Our community is so special!