Since she opened her iconic shop in 1993 in Westbourne Grove’s Turquoise Island, a very chic public loo designed by architect Piers Gough that now doubles up as a shop, Nikki Tibbles has become one of the most famous florists in London, and a firm favourite to the stars and fashion houses (Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, etc.). The most glamorous flower girl, who also owns a decoration shop in Pimlico Road and a concession in Liberty’s, gives us a few insiders secrets on how to choose and maintain your flowers.
A Wild at Heart bouquet
Which is your favourite flower and why? I guess it would have to be a rose -because of its colour, its scent, its texture and the way it opens, blossoms and then dies- and a peony because for me, both these flowers quintessentially represent the English summer.
What advice would you give to compose a perfect bouquet? I would never use too much foliage. I would keep to one colour palette: white and cream, blue and lilac, shades of green, pink and deep red for example. I would never use more than three or four types of flowers and would use the same shape of flowers: a rose with a tulip with a peony will give you more of a rounded feel.
Which flower is the most romantic? It has to be a rose again, not just because the way it looks but because it has such a wonderful meaning to it. In Victorian times, a yellow rose defined everlasting love and a red rose passion, and every colour had a meaning. Roses also typify love and sensuality and luxury and opulence: you feel that you can dive into it.
Do you have any tips on how to use flowers to decorate your house for a party? The first rule is to keep it very simple. You can use lots of different bottles and jars and vases, and put them all randomly at the centre of your table. It is also a good idea to use just one single stem, whether it be a rose or a peony or lilac or sweet peas, which is very easy to arrange but also very effective. You can also look at nature for inspiration and mix colours which don’t necessarily go together, like yellow and lilac: we tend to think too much of flowers in terms of design, but really there shouldn’t be any boundary, as nature can be quite random.
Is there any flower you don’t like? I hate tropical flowers like birds of paradise and anthuriums. They are sticky and last forever. I wouldn’t sell them and would never use them in a bouquet. I prefer seasonal and local flowers, which is much more easy and relaxed. May especially is a wonderful month for flowers.
Any tips you can give when doing a bouquet? You should always buy flowers from a reputable florist. Flowers are like everything else: if you buy cheap, you pay twice as much. Make sure you always cut your flowers before you put them in a vase. Put some sterilising tablets -like the ones you use to clean babies bottles- in your vase to keep it free form bacteria. Always make sure there is no leaf left in the water or they will rot. Keep the flowers out of direct sunlight and away from the heat.