All Hallow’s Greenery

The seasons change, autumnal hues mark the start of the run up to Halloween

Article by Joanna Rhodes, managing director of Hayford & Rhodes Photography by Andy Barnham

Four times a year, with the change of season, I change my lipstick. On the first day of Autumn I changed my summery Geranium Red to Romantic Pink, which compliments perfectly the softer tones of the new season. We’re nearly a month in to autumn, and the atypically mild weather means my chunky knits are still in mothballs, but I’ve still made the switch from white wine to red wine, indulging in my favourite Rioja.

Every new season brings to life a whole new palette, and in the floristry industry, it’s a chance for us to get wildly creative in response to the new trends. This year, we’ve infused our designs with burnt ruby reds, pinks – ranging from light, almost white through to darker crimson – coupled with lots of foliage.

The return to greenery in flower design was driven by Pantone’s 2017 colour of the year imaginatively called… Greenery. A reinvigorating zesty hue, Greenery allowed us to soften the colourful, intensely floral displays that were all the rage in 2016. All creative industries have their trends, and just like fashion, floral designs are definitely of an era and date quite quickly. For London Fashion Week this year, our display for Yahoo! at Somerset House played into the green and white design trend, trying to create a sense of texture to reflect the textile-driven fashion industry, using pastel pink and purple Hydrangeas, Scabius, and Dahlias infused into the foliage. We also took it upon ourselves to bring back the long-unloved Carnation, using Cappuccino Peach, which is so rich and creamy.

Halloween has been my favourite time of year since I can remember. I used to host some legendary Halloween parties in my parents’ dusty old barn. We’d bob for apples, scare each other witless with ghost stories and everyone had to dress up. Long before the undesirable trend of sexy zombie nurses, Halloween was about having fun, feeling child-like and letting your imagination run wild and free.

Happily for me, some of the more corporate clients Hayford & Rhodes work with are willing to let their guard down and have asked us to install Halloween-themed displays. Dried hydrangeas partnered with Physalis Alkekengi (also known as the Chinese lantern plant) are the perfect backdrops for such a design.

During August, Physalis produce fruit pods that resemble Chinese lanterns, which at first are a shade of light green. Come September, they’re a beautiful, rich and deep orange, perfect for the pumpkin-themed months to come. When dried, the pods turn almost silver from the veins of the plant, and it looks almost like a skeleton.

I’ve always been a bit envious of how Americans celebrate autumn. Drive around a residential street in the US any time after the beginning of October, and you’ll see how much they embrace the Fall: Autumnal wreaths decorate front doors and an incredible array of amusingly-shaped gourdes and squashes gather around pumpkins with gap-tooth grins. On my bucket list is a week spent driving around New England seeking inspiration from changing colours of the leaves.

Our Autumnal palette reflects the healthy, rosy glow after spending the day outside collecting conkers: Warm clarets with plum accents, fiery oranges balanced out with sunset-soft peach. Now is the perfect time to explore the ancient woodlands around England. Collect crunchy ombre leaves and pinecones to add seasonal warmth to a windowsill, table display or empty hearth. In September, we decorated the Farrow & Ball showroom in Notting Hill for the launch of their new floral wallpaper range. Their paint colour Radicchio (number 96) is a perfect autumnal magenta and crimson, begging to be complemented by some pumpkins and russet leaves.

Bringing nature inside reflects the tradition of Harvest when our homes and kitchens were packed full of provisions for the winter ahead. We’re using blackberries in some of our seasonal designs this autumn, but for eating purposes, blackberry season came early this year. My freezer is rammed full of them, to partner with apples for crumbles and pies, and my all-time favourite, thick, creamy home-made custard with blackberries stirred in. You have to try it… riddle_stop 2


Enquiries: Hayford & Rhodes 5 Morocco Street, London SE1 3HB / 0203 1309219 /

Send this to a friend