Styling Using Flowers & Interview with Michelle Crawford

Can you introduce yourself?

My name's Michelle Crawford. I live in the riverside village of Franklin in the Huon Valley, in an old bank known as the Bowmont (accomodation, studio & event space). I work as a stylist, a writer, cook, whatever. I guess a freelance creative. 

What are you cooking for Christmas?

I like to keep it simple. A really beautiful ham, raised by some friends who are free-range organic pig farmers. Probably will do it with a whisky marmalade glaze. Plenty of pink eyes, plenty of cherries, and maybe a tomato and burrata salad if there's any ready to go. But it's all about cherries, pink eyes and ham. They're the three cornerstones of our Christmas lunch. And I'm going to make a trifle, I might make a panettone with a Prosecco jelly and roasted peaches. 


What are your favourite flowers to grow?

Dahlias. Absolutely addicted. Well, actually I have five. Dahlias I adore.

I love roses. I'm a beginner, newbie rose grower. I just think they're so beautiful. My next rose will be a Pierre de Ronsard that I want to grow around the new black shed. 

And I just love cosmos, because they're just delightful the way they, what's that word, they sway in the breeze. They're kind of willowy. They just keep going and going and going. They're just a really easy, beautiful flower to grow. 

I also love nasturtiums, because they're easy to grow, they grow everywhere. I went to this Christmas lunch the other day with some friends, and my friend uses nasturtium leaves like Glad Wrap. She lined a tray with nasturtium leaves, picked all these berries, put them on top. And then put the nasturtium leaves on top as a cover, rather than using plastic wrap. And I'm just like, hello, forget beeswax wraps, nasturtium leaves are here...

Lastly cornflowers, I reckon. They grow really easily. They're pretty. But then I do love strawflowers, though I've never managed to grow them. I have this car park out the back, and I planted a meadow mix. The cornflowers are just so beautiful. And now they're popping up in the driveway, which is kind of cool, but straggly.

What are your tips for using flowers when styling?

I always think you should just go for what you love, because I think you'll always love it if you pick flowers that you love.

People like to say you should keep it tonal, stick to a small color palette. So maybe one main color palette with one or two supporting colors.

When I'm putting together an arrangement, I'm pretty haphazard and pretty messy, I just really want it to look like how they look in the garden. So I like to have lots of space between flowers. I think someone once said it's nice to leave space, imagining that a little bird can fly through your arrangement. So I think it's nice to have a bit of air. And not make it look too clumpy, like a pouf. I try and make it look a bit natural with longer layers and shorter layers, and filling in any gaps that way. I don't mind if it's not symmetrical. I like it to look a little bit wild and natural.

Do you foresee any trends in gardening in 2024?

I reckon the trend is going to be for planting pollinators. Flowers that attract beneficial bugs to your garden. Because what I found with my garden is the more flowers that I grow, the more beneficial bugs I seem to attract, they just keep the aphids under control. So I think the more diversity that we can have in our own gardens just creates a much more healthy environment for all the good things to thrive. So I think people should be, rather than just going for single one type of bland agapanthus, or whatever it is, try and mix up and use... I hope the trend will be that people start mixing up their gardens and putting more diversity, with lots of different types of flowers. That's my prediction.  

Check out Michelle's The Bowmont AirBnB & event space here. You can also follow it here on Instagram and Michelle here too.