Blog Interview; Ellie McCombie, Florist.
This our first blog interview with interesting local people finds us talking to Ellie McCombie, a local florist specialising in arrangements with a natural hedgerow style that we particularly love.
I had a very unusual start in life as I lived in a caravan with my family until I was 4 and then moved in to a very sweet two bedroomed cottage in Frampton on Severn. My mum loves gardening and so the garden was full of vegetables and cottage style flowers such as lupins and delphiniums, which I have now planted in my own garden. I specifically remember wall papering the garden shed which I used as a little house of my own. I loved it and spent hours making “beef stew” using stones and grass from the garden, mixed with water!
How does this compare to your current home?
Interestingly the cottage I grew up in looks very similar to the cottage I live in now with my own children. I have lived in many different houses in between, including a traditional Greek house in Crete in my early 20’s and a Victorian mid-terraced house in Bristol.
What brought you to the Stroud valleys?
I was brought up in and around the Stroud Valleys and although I moved away as a young adult, I always felt a pull to return home one day and did so, like many people do, once I had children of my own.
A person’s home always says a great deal about them, what would be your dream home? Architect designed or Cotswold stone charm?
My dream home would be a contemporary house on the coast, with a garden full of beautiful wild flowers that reflect the natural landscape. The inside would definitely be filled with light and naturally materials (I think I have probably watched too many Grand Designs!)
If you had to pick one thing, what do you love most about living here?
Have you always worked with flowers or is it a passion that has developed over time?
My passion for flowers developed as my interest in gardening grew. I spent most of my career working with young children in schools and nurseries but two years ago decided to focus on developing my own floristry business.
Your floral designs are synonymous with authentic, relaxed country style, what inspires you?
Rachel Wardley who owns the Tallulah Rose Flower School in Bath, where I trained as a florist, is probably the person who has inspired me the most. Her arrangements are always exquisite and she introduced me to a number of different blooms that I wouldn’t otherwise be aware of. Visiting the flower market in Bristol on a weekly basis is also a real joy and is the place where I can experiment by putting varieties and colours together to see what is going to work best before bringing them home to arrange.
Your work must be very seasonal – do you have a favourite time of the year?
My favourite time of the year is definitely the summer when the biggest range of British grown flowers is available.
We are very blessed in this part of the world with open views and breath-taking countryside – do you have a favourite place to visit?
My favourite place to visit is Katherine’s Farm Flowers near Wotton under Edge, where I buy all of my locally grown flowers. It is such a beautiful, peaceful place and the owner Jacqueline Stamatopoulos always makes me feel so welcome.
The festive season is rapidly approaching, what makes Christmas special for you?
I adore Christmas and am so excited that it’s only a few weeks away! Spending time with friends and family is definitely my favourite part but I do love the decorations that add to the festive feel and always enjoy making my Christmas wreaths that I sell locally, and try to make sure they have a natural Hedgerow feel.
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why?
Ultimately if I could live anywhere in the world I would still choose Gloucestershire. It’s a beautiful county and is where all of my family live. Why would I want to live anywhere else?!
Saturday morning brunch would take me to The Bank in Dursley. I love this cafe. It has a wonderful vintage feel to it, the service is excellent and the food amazing – I particularly recommend the Bank Robbers breakfast – very satisfying!
Click here for more information about Ellie and her work.