In 2011, she created the Flickr group Flowers and Vintage, to which hundreds of talented photographers upload their own vintage images. It’s easy to lose an hour or two browsing the hundreds of stunning photos.
Ingrid was an early What You Sow customer and has been incredibly encouraging and supportive during the first few months of my venture. She even featured some What You Sow Washi tape in some of her shoots, like this one featuring purple asters, just beautiful!
I asked Ingrid a few questions about how gardens and flowers have inspired her work.
Can you tell us about your favourite flower styling shoot?
My favourite styling shoot would be where everything falls into place and is just right. It is when I find the most gorgeous flowers in absolute perfect condition, when I can pick the perfect vase or container from my collection of props, when the flower arrangement almost creates itself and where the light is beautiful and soft making everything look great in the photograph. Well, of course that never happens, instead the flowers start wilting, I can’t find the right size or colour vase, all the props are the wrong colour, the flower won’t do as they are told and there is too much strong light or not enough daylight. Well, you often have to compromise and it all turns out fine in the end.
Describe your favourite gardens.
One of my favourite gardens is at Sissinghurst Castle in Kent and I have visited it several times. It was created over many years by Vita Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicholson. What I love about it is the mix of formal hedging in straight lines and overflowing herbaceous borders. The garden is divided into smaller areas or rooms, each different from the other. There is a restrained but stunningly beautiful white garden, a rose garden and other areas with a riot of colours throughout the year.
Another favourite is Great Dixter, the late Christopher Lloyd’s garden in East Sussex. It is another garden that I have visited many times. I love the abundance of colour and textures; the mixed borders, high maintenance but wonderful to look at and be inspired by.
Where do you live and is there much green space?
I am very lucky because where I live in north London I am quite close to both Hampstead Heath and Regent’s Park. Hampstead Heath is a bit wild in areas and has heath-land and large ponds. There is also the amazing Kenwood House that is full of Rembrandt, Vermeer and Gainsborough paintings. The Heath is a fantastic place to go for long relaxing walks as well as a place to find inspiration.
Regent’s Park is much more of a manicured city park, but it has many different areas and a large lake with a surprising amount of birdlife. It has an amazing rose garden with hundreds of different roses.
It also has what everybody in the know calls “The Secret Garden”. It is a small, well hidden garden in the center of the park, very peaceful and quiet and it was originally built for contemplation and meditation.
What memories do you have of gardens when you were a child?
As a child back in Sweden I would spend every summer at our house in the country surrounded by fields, woods, a small stream and a nearby lake. All around the house was a large garden with apple, pear, plum and cherry trees. We also grew strawberries, raspberries and gooseberries. A large area was devoted to growing all kinds of vegetables including potatoes and cucumbers.
Ever eaten anything you’ve grown from seed?
As a little girl all the vegetables we ate during the summer months were grown on our land from seeds planted by my father and I.
My husband cooks almost every day with herbs that I grow in our garden.
Do you have any gardening advice to share?
There is no point fighting nature because nature always wins in the end!
Any advice on how to keep slugs at bay?
I am totally organic and I am not very keen on killing things. I just don’t grow plants that slugs love. The only plants that I continue to grow are a few Hostas in pots but some years I just give up and every leaf ends up in shreds! Often it does not matter what you do because the slugs will always find a way to get to the plants and even when you can get rid of some slugs new ones will take their place.
Are there fellow artists you admire who make you think of gardens or cultivation?
The painter Claude Monet’s garden, outside Paris, is a place to visit for anybody who is interested in looking at gardens. Visiting the garden, looking at his paintings and reading about his life have been a great inspiration. The garden and his art were so closely connected and it is fascinating to visit and see the water lily ponds and the Japanese bridge with wisteria.
What is your proudest gardening moment?
Apart from being able to maintain a beautiful and tranquil garden the proudest gardening moments are when something that you’ve planted actually grows and thrives because despite using all the tricks of the trade there is no guaranteeing that a plant will actually grow to its full potential. But as a gardener you are always optimistic and if something bites the dust - it is just an opportunity to plant something new.
Many thanks to Ingrid for sharing her thoughts with us, I’m so excited to see which new colour stories she dreams up as the seasons change throughout the year.
Antonia and Fabio Duealberi interviewed me for their blog DueAlberi.
Featured Photographer and Writer: Ingrid Henningsson from Of Spring and Summer Blog.
If you, like us, love flowers and go around flea markets in search of vintage treasuries, if you like extraordinary and fascinating combinations of colors and objects, then you have surely noticed Of Spring and Summer Blog. Today we have the pleasure of interviewing Ingrid Henningsson, the author of the blog who creates and photographs sophisticated and spectacular sceneries of flowers, mixed with vintage. The Swedish London-based creative combines with skill and attention to detail, her innate Scandinavian taste with the typically Englishrichness of colours and patterns. We learned that in addition to creating great photos, styling and blog editing, Ingrid is a multifaceted creative, trained garden designer and connoisseur of vintage items.Enjoy the interview with her and learn more about her taste and favorite flowers. Also enjoy the beautiful colours of her romantic photographs.
Copyright Ingrid Henningsson
Tell us about yourself.
I have been writing the blog Of Spring and Summer for three years and it is a place where I can share and inspire with my flower arrangements, my passion for colour, photography and my love of vintage.
My creative path started with ceramics followed by textiles and then art school where I did painting and collage. I went on to do three years of training in garden design and horticulture at The English Gardening School in London, where I then lectured for many years in botanical nomenclature and horticulture and supervised the student's Plant Portfolios. I have worked as a horticultural researcher for the BBC at the Chelsea Flower Show and as a horticultural consultant on a TV quiz show.
I have also worked as a researcher for Gardeners World presenter Rachel de Thame on her book Top 100 Star Plants and have contributed writing and book reviews to gardening journals.
Over the years I have studied flower and plant photography with Heather Angel and Clive Nichols, done photography courses at Central St. Martins Art School in London and completed an Open University course in Digital Photography.
For many years I ran a small successful business buying and selling vintage articles. As a result I have an extensive collection of props made up of antiques, vintage, retro, reclamation items and garden antiques.
I have taken numerous flower arranging classes with top London florists Paula Pryke and the late Jane Packer as well as workshops at Petershams Nurseries and some great flower arranging classes with the gardener and writer Sarah Raven.
What inspires you?
Inspiration is all around - we just have to focus and look for it. Using a camera is very useful as it forces you to literary ‘focus’.
When visiting flower markets I find it impossible not to be inspired. Using flowers that are available seasonally is an important starting point. The colour of the flowers often dictates the colour theme, but I often play with contrasting and unusual colour combinations.
Other inspiration also comes from the huge collection of props that I use in my styling, as a big part of what I do is combining flowers with vintage.
Sometimes my Scandinavian minimalistic design sensibility takes over and sometimes it’s more of a cluttered granny chic look.
I am a great lover of books and magazines and I have a large collection covering all of my interest in gardening design & plants, interior design, photography and flower arranging.
Visiting flea markets and vintage fairs has become part of what I do; recycling old and used things are great for the wallet and good for the environment.
The internet is also a source for even more inspiration - not only blogs but also Flickr. I read a long list of blogs every day and I am always amazed how many talented people there are out there. Lately I have become a big fan of food blogs and many food bloggers are also fantastic photographers.
Copyright Ingrid Henningsson
Where does your love and passion for flowers come from?
My passion for flowers and plants goes back to my childhood. As a little girl in Sweden I used to spend the summers gardening with my father. He grew lots of different things and was a very knowledgeable gardener. We dug the beds, sowed seeds, planted, weeded and of course picked lots of strawberries and I still have some of the old tools that we used.
All around the house were large wild areas and big fields with wild flowers where I loved getting lost and picking bouquets that I later arranged in rows of jam jars. My favourites back then were forget-me-nots and bluebells.
What is your favourite flower and what is your favourite flower arrangement?
My favourite flowers, constantly change as each season has its own delights from winter snowdrops to autumn dahlias.
Branches with cherry blossoms or crab apples, cornflowers, wild poppies, forget-me-nots and lily-of the–valley are plants you can find in your garden or growing wild in a field are all very close to my heart.
My favourite arrangement is often something simple and slightly wild so that it looks like it is picked straight from the garden. Some of my favourites are hydrangeas, ranunculus, tulips, dahlias and peonies.
What are you working on at the moment?
I have just had an invitation from Getty Images who want to license a number of my photographs and I feel very honoured to be asked.
I am working on a series of photographs for the greeting card market and they will hopefully be published in the near future.
I am doing an online workshop called Branding Your Small Business with the very creative Fiona Humberstone and her team at Flourish.
Last August I started a Flickr group called Flowers and Vintage. It has become a great success and a great source of inspiration; there are over 3,000 images by many talented photographers that all love flowers.
In the meantime I continue to be creative with flowers, styling, taking photographs and of course writing my blog.
••• My love of flowers has grown into a great passion and being able to pass on my knowledge and expertise is a wonderful privilege. Working with flowers on a daily basis is such a pleasure and to style and photograph flowers - what could be better and who does not love beautiful flowers? ••• Fresh flowers will make any room come to life, whether they are large arrangements in a hallway creating a warm welcome to your guests or small arrangements with individual flower stems in bud vases or jam jars on a side table. •••
I love to inspire with creative and fun ideas and show how flower arranging doesn't have to be difficult, complicated or expensive. My philosophy and approach is focused on using beautiful seasonal flowers combined with interesting containers to create simple, quick and easy yet beautiful and creative everyday flowers.
FLOWERS - a collaboration between Ingrid Henningsson and Titti Malmberg
Two bloggers, two friends - passionate about flowers – together we created FLOWERS - a unique collaboration where we used our love for flowers, photography and styling to work on inspiring floral projects.
Link to my FLOWERS collaborator Titti Malmberg's blog