Everything’s Coming Up Roses: Meet Kitten Grayson Flowers

Everything’s Coming Up Roses: Meet Kitten Grayson Flowers

Blossoming with chat, the creative duo behind Kitten Grayson Flowers talk biodynamic gardening, favourite blooms and keeping houseplants alive.

Grayson, the eponymous founder, and creative director
Harriette Tebbutt are plant ladies with a refined yet wild studio
style – shrinking violets they are not.

An afternoon spent with the pair discussing favourite stems,
steely houseplants (suitable for even the most absent of plant
owners) and flower-filled memories highlights the transformative
powers of nature.

Where are you from and how has that shaped or inspired

Kitten Grayson (KG): I grew up in the
countryside in Somerset. I’ve always been drawn to the
extraordinary healing and calming powers of plants. As soon as I
left school I started to train in floristry; it’s all I ever wanted
to do.

Harriette Tebbutt (HT): I grew up in the South
London suburbs, where you can dip your toes in both the countryside
and the culture of London. Pulling the two together has always been

Tell us about Kitten Grayson and how it came to be…

KG: I trained as a florist, then came to London
and cut my teeth with big-name florists, such as Nikki Tibbles Wild
at Heart and Scarlet & Violet. I wanted to learn more about
growing from seed to plant, so I went back to Somerset and worked
with the truly inspirational flower and vegetable grower, Nicola
Morter, who taught me how to propagate seeds. After working on
several projects, set up in London on my own about 10 years ago,
designing flowers mainly for events and weddings.

HT: I transitioned into the world of flowers
from interior styling and art direction. After training at
Camberwell College of Art, I sold hand printed textiles to high-end
fashion designers – including DVF and Prada – and directed the
window design of shops along Westbourne Grove. My work as an art
director led me through TV and into luxury events, where my path
crossed with Kitten’s. Working together, she drew me deeper into
the world of botany. We have loads in common but also different
strengths, so we make a good team. We set up Kitten Grayson Flowers
in 2016. Together we have developed the studio’s unique signature
style – refined yet wild blooms paired according to habitat and

What is your first flower memory?

KG: One of my earliest memories is of playing
with my sisters in a beautiful walled garden while my grandmother
painted. The scent of the flowers, the vivid colours, the opera
music blasting – it was a captivating, magical world to

HT: I grew up in a family of keen gardeners –
my dad used to fill the house with chrysanthemums cut from the
garden; there were always flowers inside and out and that’s
something that has really influenced me. I always think of flowers
as a complementary feature of a room, like a piece of art or

Do you have a favourite flower?

KG: I love roses – I hate to be a cliché but
for me they are so romantic, regal, timeless and elegant. Sweet
peas are another favourite; they’re like a gaggle of flirty girls
having a riot down at the bottom of the garden with the runner
beans. It’s fun to use them together in arrangements – the pastel
colours and velvety petals of the flowers, with that incredible
scent, alongside the delicate curling coils and tendrils of the
bean plants.

HT: I love the folky colours and patterns of
sunflowers, rudbeckia and chrysanthemums. I also love the
serendipity of hollyhocks – they pop up joyfully in the street
where you least expect them.

Have you a favourite garden? Where in the world can it be

KG: My favourite garden is actually a farm
called Fern Verrow in at the foot of the Black Mountains in
Wales. Owner and gardner Jane Scotter is one of the most inspiring
women. She’s a biodynamic grower and each one of her vegetables,
fruits and flowers is like a work of art.

HT: Charleston in East Sussex is beautifully
surprising – it was the home of the Bloomsbury Group.

What destinations inspire your creativity?

KG: So many places. The
Scottish Highlands
; the forests there are incredible. Paxos in

, in the spring the olive groves are full of wildflowers,
it’s another world. So many other places, I could be here for

HT: Travelling anywhere is inspiring, whether
it’s in the UK, Europe or further afield. I love exploring
somewhere new.

Where should we go for a schooling in floristry?

KG: We run occasional workshops both in London
and at Heckfield Place, and it’s a joy to
work with people who share our passion. We are firm believers in
the restorative powers of plants, the calming effects of being
surrounded by nature. It’s wonderful to see how transformative an
afternoon in the garden or working with flowers can be for

Tell us about some creative references you return to time and
time again…

KG: Jane Scotter is a source of endless
inspiration – she has alchemy in her fingertips. Also Tom Petherick
– I’m loving his book Trees that Shape the World. The
Garden Museum
in London is a treasure, Cape Town’s Babylonstoren for its dreamy
fruit and vegetable garden.

HT: I’m inspired by beautiful architecture,
prints and paintings. The William Morris Gallery in
Walthamstow is a local gem along with the Wetlands for seasonal

What have been some of your favourite projects to date?

KG: The Chelsea Flower Show 2018 was an amazing
week – we designed a living garden to celebrate the Royal Wedding.
There were some hairy moments with 6m-tall trees on a lorry being
reversed through ornate gates… it was utterly exhausting but a
great honour and such fun.

HT: We’ve also worked on some stunning parties.
For one romantic wedding, we created wild hedgerows outside the
church and filled the venue with antique china vases overflowing
with creamy roses, scented jasmine, sweet peas and vibrant

Tell us about your work with Heckfield Place…

KG: We’ve been working as floral consultants
there for a couple of years now. Along with Jane Scotter and
Heckfield’s wonderful gardening team, we’ve designed and cultivated
a cutting garden that supplies all the flowers for the house. We
select a small set of seasonal hero flowers for each month which
are home-grown, hand-picked and used simply, en masse, in
arrangements throughout the hotel, connecting the inside with the
landscape outside.

We have also designed living indoor arrangements to reflect the
outdoor planting by the Rich Brothers. It has been the most
extraordinary experience; a constantly growing and evolving
collaboration with an inspiring group of craftspeople. We’re there
for a couple of days each week, and every time we come away with
more plans and ideas.

Heckfield Place aside, where would you most like to spend a
weekend in the country?

KG: I love exploring the
English countryside
. My husband and I enjoy mini trips and tree
houses – we recently stayed in a beautiful, cosy place called
Settle in Norfolk.

HT: The
South of France
; La Colombe d’Or in Provence is top of my list of
places I’d love to visit. Artists who travelled there were offered
free accommodation in exchange for their artwork, so it has the
most incredible collection of Matisse, Picasso, Calder and many
more. I love how their art is part of the natural environment
there. I would combine it with a visit to the Chapelle du Rosaire
de Vence built after plans by Matisse.

For those who travel a lot, what advice do you have for keeping
houseplants alive?

KG: Pick your plants wisely. You need ones that
don’t require regular watering – think of plants that come from hot
countries such as monstera and palms. They still do need watering
so if you can, get a friend to come and give them a drink and have
a little chat to make sure they’re happy.

What guides your holiday selections – is it food, hotel,

KG: The scenery, nature, music, food and

HT: Culture, landscape, food, weather and

Your fondest holiday memory…

KG: My uncle’s windmill on the Norfolk Broads
grows abundant with lilac buddleia. I have vivid childhood memories
of watching the blooms, heavy with golden-yellow swallowtail
butterflies, dipping up and down in the sun.

HT: We drove to the north of
one summer, singing along to Music to Watch Girls By and
stopping for picnics along the way. It was an amazing trip.

What are you reading at the moment?

KG: I listen to lots of audiobooks, I had about
10 on the go but haven’t listened to one since little Meadow came
into the world.

HT: I am currently reading To Throw Away
Unopened by Viv Albertine, her latest memoir.

Your favourite apps…

KG: Gardens Illustrated – always a useful and interesting

One piece of travel advice…

KG: Ask friends for recommendations, but don’t
be scared of exploring.

And finally, what’s in your SUITCASE?

KG: I’m in love with Pearl Lowe dresses; they
are beautifully cut and so comfortable. Aesop’s Damascan Rose
Facial Treatment. A notebook for jotting down new ideas and
inspirations. Flowers for my hair – very important!

HT: A film camera, a patterned scarf to wear in
my hair or around my neck, and some speakers – you should always
have music wherever you are.

Discover More
Where to Buy Flowers in London