UK-based Joanna Rodwell who hails from a family of gardeners says, “Being in my garden, surrounded by the sounds and the scents of nature, is where I am happiest”
Known for her romantic take on florals, Joanna mixes textures and colours, locally-sourced and home-grown blooms to create her trademark style that is as timeless as it is on-trend and perfectly aligned with this year’s mantra of mindful, serene living. “What others call my ‘style’ is more a philosophy for me,” she says of her unique, purposefully ‘wild’ looks. “From the stem that got blown over, so it’s all gnarled and twisted, to the light-hungry flower that went on a bit of a wander, I seek out irregularity and often cultivate imperfection in my stems. Simply put, I let nature express itself.”
Working with her own garden produce means that Joanna understands each stem. Local growers who share her passion for seasonality and provenance complete her creative circle. Be it her unconventional use of dried flowers that lend an other-worldly aura, or dew-fresh blooms that she so effortlessly arranges into dynamic compositions that could inspire painters, Joanna transforms the most humble of flowers into showstoppers.
Bringing together some of her favourite arrangements and this season’s most heart-breaking species – fritillaries, malopes and tulips – Joanna proposes spring’s most magical table decorations for Bazaar Interiors.
A Serene Palette
Some of Joanna’s springtime favourites sit pretty in this arrangement in a fresh colour palette of muted peaches and pinks. “I love using flowers such as buttercups, anemones, and tulips for their beautiful tendency to meander towards the light. I’ve mixed these with the early spring blossoming branches with their delicate flowers, as it’s exciting to capture this fleeting seasonal moment.”
Soothing tones and wispy lines
Wild and Free
With many of us seeking a little more lightness in our lives, Joanna creates a seemingly organic design featuring dainty, bell-like fritillaries that lend a perfectly elegant finish with their long stems. “I wanted this piece to feel weightless and free.” For a hint of drama, the designer includes hellebores. To finish, she adds vines to create a romantic, deconstructed, free look.
Natural compositions create a whimsical effect
Heeding the design community’s call for simplicity, Joanna turns to the humble malope flowers. “I started experimenting with the white variety in my garden last year, and I’m in love. Soft and almost weed-like, it adds a jolly wisp to an arrangement.” A minimal arrangement that also features amaranths and nasturtiums, this dainty presentation is an oasis of calm.
Pristine petals against leafy greens look fresh and crisp
Tobias Gibreel, co-founder of Volét, one of Dubai's leading floral boutiques, advises us on how to achieve Jo's romantic look and how to help seasonal blooms last longer.
"Being a bulbous plant, tulips have delicate stems and need to have their water changed daily. The same applies for Amaranths – you need to change their water three times a week and cut their hard stem regularly. Malope meanwhile loves plenty of sunshine, making it ideal for Dubai, and you can find it at most of the nurseries here. Majolica spray roses are always popular thanks to their layered petals akin to a garden rose. They make for perfect wedding centrepieces," says Tobias.
Photography: David Wickham and Joanna Milling. Styling: Joanna Rodwell
This article first appeared in the Spring 2016 issue of Harper's Bazaar Interiors