With the excitement around the annual Chelsea Flower Show next week, it is time to talk about my love of gardening. There are so many professional gardeners exhibiting their talents at this prestigious show that it is easy to think it is just for professionals and not know where to start!
Above: Rose Button-Front Dress
When I last visited the Chelsea Flower show I picked up contact details for bulb suppliers and bought some seeds, that I sowed straight away. Now I see the fruits of my labours, it inspires me to plant more!
Check out my Instagram page to see my garden in full flourish! @rachelrileydesigner
Nothing gives me greater pleasure than picking flowers for my house. It makes me so proud to think that I have planted, nurtured and grown these flowers by myself, and the satisfaction is worth the patience it requires. Plus seeing the beauty in nature makes me feel calm and happy, and is a welcome break after the busy week!
Florals are a ‘perennial’ when it comes to fashion fabrics. I loved them for my daughter, 25 years ago when I would make smocked dresses for her out of ditsy florals, as I enjoyed choosing the embroidery threads to match back to the print. I enjoyed smocking these myself, and I love designing children’s garments with hand sewing, as I appreciate the love and attention that has gone into every stitch!
Princess Charlotte wore our Ditsy Floral Button-Front Dress
at the Chelsea Flower Show 2019.
Above: Forget-Me-Not Smocked Dress
Forget-me-nots are one of my favourite flowers (along with tulips, peonies, roses, lupins, daisies, the list could go on and on…) as they are so easy to grow. I sowed them from a packet the first year, and now they have all self-seeded and grow like weeds. I don’t have the heart to remove them though, and I’m waiting to see if they take over the whole garden! They make the sweetest print idea too for a lovely ditsy blue floral dress. It was such a pleasure to see Princess Charlotte wear our Forget-Me-Not Smocked Dress to the Easter Sunday Church service at Windsor Castle in 2022.
Daisies are such happy little flowers, when you look up close and see the detail, they are like little beams of sunshine! It brings me great pleasure to take this close-up and print an over-size Daisy onto our dresses - the perfect dress to bring Spring joy!
Above: Tulip Bouquet Jersey Dress
Here are my tulips from Spring – I love putting strong vibrant colours together!
I am also drawn to oversized florals that lend a trendy ‘vintage’ feel, perfect for summer weddings and other special occasions. It’s the mix of colours that are so fun and happy to wear!
Above: Cactus Floral Dress
Above: Wild Flower Smocked Dress
And there is nothing like mixing all the available flowers I can find in my garden, and putting them all together to make me feel happy – I really like the clash of strong hot colours together!