Episode 321: My lovely conversation with Robbie Honey + Holly Chapple’s Flowerstock recap and Syndicate Sales’ product launch
November 1st, 2017
We all have our flower crushes and those we admire from afar, never expecting to actually meet. So the chance to not only meet and spend time with Robbie Honey, world floral traveler, proud son of Zimbabwe, curious accidental botanist and amazing designer . . . well, it was a certainly a highlight of 2017!
Robbie and I met at Holly Chapple’s Flowerstock, the two-day design and creativity fest held for the second year at Hope Flower Farm, the historic compound she owns with husband Evan Chapple – in Waterford, Virginia, not to far from the nation’s capitol.
Holly and Robbie have collaborated on many occasions as instructors, but this was my first experience seeing Robbie up close and personal. Prior to this, my knowledge of him has been mostly by watching his Instagram feed.
Robbie is the creative director at the design company bearing his name Robbie Honey, based in London.
Robbie Honey has been immersed in botanical pursuits since he was a young boy roaming the wild grasslands of Zimbabwe. These adventures developed his already keen visual and olfactory senses and instilled in him a lifelong fascination with flowers and their scents.
By the age of seventeen, he was studying horticulture and went on to work in the floriculture trade in Holland and Kenya. Honing his creative sensibilities further, he studied interior design and photography at art school in Cape Town. Moving to London he trained with floral designer Ming Veevers Carter and gained a thorough grounding in event floristry. Incidentally, we posted a story about Ming’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show’s Gold Medal design for New Covent Garden Flower Market earlier this year. Check it out here.
Setting out on his own at twenty-five, Hermès was his first fashion client, followed by Dior and Armani, establishing Robbie Honey as an in-demand florist within the fashion industry.
With this rare combination of expertise: in botany, floristry and the visual arts, he started lecturing around the world on floristry and writing for the Wall Street Journal.
Robbie Honey’s first range of scented candles is inspired by individual white flowers, the scents of which have long beguiled him.
It was a delight to not only learn more about what inspires and motivates this talented human as an artist, but a joy to watch him design with American-grown flowers, including many grown at Hope Farm and donated by others, including Harmony Harvest Farm, both Slowflowers.com members — as well as to play with branches and blooms that Robbie foraged with fellow instructors Ariella Chezar and Holly herself.
It was also wonderful to sit down with Robbie and turn on my recorder for a conversation to share with you. Robbie discusses his White Flower Collection, a line of four candles fragrances inspired by lily of the valley, jasmine, the Casablanca lily and tuberose. Not yet available outside the UK, it is Robbie’s goal to bring the collection to North America in 2018. We’ll also discuss his forthcoming book, Accidental Botanist, scheduled for spring 2018 publication.
Of the book, Amazon UK writes:
Global adventurer Robbie Honey has spent the last ten years dissecting some of the world’s most exotic flowers. No plant is beyond his reach; whether growing deep in the Amazon rainforest or by the roadside in a Harare suburb, Robbie will jump, climb and clamber over whatever lies in his way to secure his floral prize. Dissecting the flower then and there, Robbie creates a miniature photographic portrait of each one following the traditional rules of botany, but with an aesthetic flair that transforms them into contemporary art. Over 100 flowers and plants are dissected, and organised into chapters on colour – reds, purples, whites, yellows, blues – together with information on what they are, where found, how to use them and other unusual facts.
Robbie’s publisher, Clearview, also published Shane Connolly’s books and I’ll have a link to more details in today’s show notes.
If you’re not already following Robbie Honey and his journeys and alluring posts, follow him at these social places:
Robbie Honey on Facebook
Robbie Honey on Instagram
Robbie Honey on Twitter
I also want to share a quick discussion with Holly Chapple as we recap the 2nd annual Flowerstock and discuss her new Holly Chapple collection for Syndicate Sales, unveiled at Flowerstock to much excitement. Sarah Collier, who photographed Flowerstock, has graciously shared a few photographs of designs that Robbie, Holly and Ariella created using the new pillow cage mechanics.
Thanks so much for joining us today! As Holly mentioned, there is a page to sign up for the product release announcements for all of the new mechanics she has developed with Syndicate Sales. I also wrote about the collection and posted photos of my arrangement using the pillow cage here.
By the time this episode is released on November 1st, I’ll be heading out on my last trips of 2017, first to a sold-out gathering hosted by Debbie Bosworth of Dandelion House Flower Farm & others in the New England Farmer Florist Connection, at Salted Root Farm in Marshfield, Massachusetts.
Then I’ll be in Phoenix for two days of teaching at the Desert Botanical Garden’s Artisanal Flowers series — with fellow Slowflowers members Morgan Anderson of The.Flori.Culture, and Arizona flower farmers Shanti Rade of Whipstone Farm and Anne of The Gardens at Tre Soli. I’m so excited to meet new and familiar flower friends at these gatherings.
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Thank you to family of sponsors:
Certified American Grown Flowers. The Certified American-Grown program and label provide a guarantee for designers and consumers on the source of their flowers. Take pride in your flowers and buy with confidence, ask for Certified American Grown Flowers. To learn more visit americangrownflowers.org.
Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of 50 family farms in the heart of Alaska providing high quality, American Grown peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com
Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, a farmer-owned cooperative committed to providing the very best the Pacific Northwest has to offer in cut flowers, foliage and plants. The Growers Market’s mission is to foster a vibrant marketplace that sustains local flower farms and provides top-quality products and service to the local floral industry. Find them at seattlewholesalegrowersmarket.com
Longfield Gardens provides home gardeners with high quality flower bulbs and perennials. Their online store offers plants for every region and every season, from tulips and daffodils to dahlias, caladiums and amaryllis. Visit them at lfgardens.com.
Syndicate Sales, an American manufacturer of vases and accessories for the professional florist. Look for the American Flag Icon to find Syndicate’s USA-made products and join the Syndicate Stars loyalty program at syndicatesales.com.
Johnny’s Selected Seeds, an employee-owned company that provides our industry the best flower, herb and vegetable seeds — supplied to farms large and small and even backyard cutting gardens like mine. Check them out at johnnysseeds.com.
Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Formed in 1988, ASCFG was created to educate, unite, and support commercial cut flower growers. It mission is to help growers produce high-quality floral material, and to foster and promote the local availability of that product. Learn more at ascfg.org.
I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.
The content and opinions expressed here are either mine alone or those of my guests alone, independent of any podcast sponsor or other person, company or organization.
The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Brenlan. Learn more about his work at KineticTreeFitness.com.