Down the garden path: the fragrant life of Willow Crossley.

Mention Willow Crossley’s name in aesthetically minded circles and the cognoscenti will almost certainly nod in ecstatic approval. For the Oxfordshire Cotswolds-based florist, stylist and publican seems to scatter joy wherever she goes, sprinkling it like the seeds in her well-cultivated greenhouse.

She designed the flowers for Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding. She won the Peoples’ Vote at Chelsea in Bloom. She’s penned the most beautiful books on how to bring flowers into our lives. She puts together seasonal flower boxes that can be delivered straight to your door. She holds regular workshops so that we too may learn the art of perfecting becomingly undone floristry. But, perhaps most winningly of all, she delighted us through the various lockdowns and beyond with charming and inspiring Instagram missives from her garden room, where she instructed on how to create natural floral arrangements, from diminutive wild posies to elaborate cascading table floral centrepieces.



And now, she’s turned her unerring eye to a collaboration with Brora, just in time for spring. The ten-piece capsule collection is joyful, colourful and brimming with floral references, from the block-print blouses with petal collars to the tiered floaty frocks.

Willow says, ‘Victoria and the design team translated my creative vision and love of colour into this timeless, breezy, life-enhancing collection that I see fitting into any wardrobe, seamlessly. I love the mix and match element and the fact everything can be worn by women of all ages.’



Meanwhile, Brora founder, Victoria Stapleton extolled the joys of the collaboration, saying, ‘Designing with Willow was as dreamy as you can imagine. Her knowledge of nature’s palette and way of nurturing optimism through creativity shines through in this deliciously pretty capsule. I’m thrilled with each and every piece. Bring on the spring!’

Here Willow shares her grand passions – and professes her eagerness to launch her own podcast. Surely, it can only be a matter of time…

Favourite place in all the world?




Tresco in the Scilly Isles. We’ve been going with my family every summer since I was tiny. It feels like home.


Dream holiday?




We would love to take the boys to Indonesia and travel around some of the islands. We have a great friend in Bali who we keep promising to go and visit!


Most coveted item right now?


This cabanna!


Proudest professional moment to date?




Recently, probably winning the Peoples’ Vote for our Ralph Lauren installation for Chelsea in Bloom. We turned the Chelsea store into a train travelling through a prairie. I picked wispy grasses for months.


Your dream future project?


I’d love to design a garden at Chelsea Flower Show. And I’d also love to have my own podcast and do more TV.



Who has been your most inspiring mentor, professionally or personally?


My mother, Kate Corbett-Winder.


Where would you live if you could live anywhere?


I actually love where we are now, in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds. Charlie and I spend a lot of time dreaming and talking about relocating though – I love moving house; any excuse to re-decorate – and we always look for houses close to the sea. I adore Cornwall and love the idea of somewhere on the Helford river.



What book is on your nightstand/ kindle right now?


I’m recovering from surgery and have been given so many books and magazines from friends – my bedside table looks like WHSmiths! I’ve just finished My Mess Is A Bit Of A Life, which I adored. Lots of Trip CBD oil, Aesop lip balm, rose quartz crystal, Bamford Be Silent Sleep Spray and my Yolke silk eye mask.


Best binge-watched TV show?


You on Netflix. I couldn’t deal with anything I needed to use my brain for post-surgery, so this was perfect.



Top podcast of the moment?


The Diary of a CEO for when I’m feeling energised. Sarah Raven’s Eat, Grow, Cook, Arrange for inspiration. Ukrainecast to keep up to date with what’s happening in Ukraine. And Table Manners for joy.


What did you want to be when you grew up?


A fashion designer or a policeman.



Favourite dish to cook?




Roast Chicken. Charlie is the chef in our home and everything else I make seems inferior to his creations. But roast chicken, this I can do!


Favourite café/ restaurant?




Am I allowed to say our pub, The Bull Inn in Charlbury?! If not, I love Asian food, particularly dumplings. I always love Eight over Eight.


What tune always makes you want to dance?


If You Want Blood by AC/DC; Sex on Fire, Kings of Leon; Sweet Soul Music, Arthur Conley; and, to my children’s absolute horror, My My My by Armand van Helden, very loud on the school run.



Most useful thing on your desk?


Printer.


Which five people, dead or alive, would you find most interesting to be stuck in a lift with?


Martha Stewart, Tory Burch, Anna Spiro, Monty Don and Robert Kime.



Favourite building?


Our home.


Your screensaver?


Charlie and the boys on the quay in Tresco.

By Nancy Alsop
March 2022

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