My Yorkshire: Florist Heather Hutchinson on her favourite people and places

After studying at the London College of Fashion, Heather Hutchinson returned to Yorkshire to become a partner in the family florist business. The Hedgerow, which was set up by her mother Wendy, is in Threshfield, near Grassington.

Florist Heather Hutchinson.

What’s your first Yorkshire memory? My dad was a ‘stay at home dad’ and we had a garden nursery at our home near Keighley, so I grew up amongst the plants, learning all about them and how to grow and pot them. For as long as I can remember my dad has had the National Hebe Collection, which is now at the Hedgerow, so some of my earliest memories are of all the visitors who came to our home to look at it. It was a wonderful upbringing which has inspired my love of plants and the outdoors.

What’s your favourite part of the county and why? Saltaire – I’d always wanted to live there since I was little, mainly because of the amazing bookshop that they have in Salts Mill, and now I rent a little house in the village on one of the streets that Sir Titus Salt created. I have 
the best of worlds: working in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales and living in Saltaire. The Hedgerow’s been doing the weekly flowers for Salts Mill for the past three years, so I also have the perfect excuse to go and soak up its wonderful atmosphere.

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Do you have a favourite walk, or view? I have so many. My boyfriend laughs at me as I am always gasping at the effect of the changing seasons on the drive to work. A particular favourite is the silhouette of Rylstone Cross against the night sky at dusk; it looks so dramatic.

Heather Hutchinson would like to take Yorkshire sculptor Dame Barbara Hepworth to lunch.

Do you have a favourite restaurant or pub? The King’s Head at Kettlewell is a particular favourite, which I discovered when we started doing their flowers. The drive up past Kilnsey Crag is breathtaking, and the pub is warm and friendly, with the most amazing range of vegetarian dishes.

Who is the Yorkshire man or woman you most admire, and why? My mum and grandma Marie. They’ve inspired me to always work hard and have a goal, and have helped me to get where I am today. If I don’t know what to do, I always think, “What would they do in this situation?”

Which Yorkshire stage or screen star (past or present) would you like to take to lunch and why? Not quite a screen star I’m afraid, but I would love to take the Yorkshire artist Barbara Hepworth for lunch. Her sculptures are fantastic, and I think the 60s art scene in Yorkshire was a really exciting time. I love going to the Hepworth Wakefield when I visit my grandparents who live near there.

What’s your idea of a perfect day out in Yorkshire? It would start with morning coffee at the Hedgerow followed by a place at one of our seasonal flower schools which we host in the shop. The River Wharfe is just a few minutes’ away, and the walk downstream takes you to the stunning Linton Falls. The day could then be polished off with a drink and a bite to eat at the Fountaine Inn at Linton which has to have one of the most idyllic settings next to the village green and the historical almshouse.

The view across to Rylstone Cross is one of Heather Hutchinson's favourites.

If you had to name your Yorkshire “hidden gem”, what or where would it be? On a beautiful spring or summer’s day I love to escape to up to Deepdale which is tucked away in Langstrothdale, and have a picnic by the river. This is the starting point of the Wharfe and the river – which is ideal for paddling in – is flanked by flat grass topped limestone, just perfect for laying out a picnic rug. There’s some fantastic walks and pubs up this part of the Dales too, like the George Inn at Hubberholme.

What do you think gives Yorkshire its unique identity? Its friendliness and community spirit. The Hedgerow has been supporting Yorkshire Aid which is a group of volunteers who collect vital resources for refugees in Europe. We’ve been a donation point for nearly a year and have already collected a full container of winter clothes from our wonderful local community.

How has Yorkshire influenced your work? We have a foliage garden next to the shop where we grow all our foliage, which means that all our bridal flowers and floral bouquets contain greenery grown in our limestone-rich Yorkshire Dales soils. I really enjoy getting back into the garden to harvest this for the shop.

What are you working on at the moment? We’ve got a very busy year ahead with our wedding flowers which we will be taking to all sorts of beautiful locations across Yorkshire. We are also renovating the kitchen at the Hedgerow because our coffee shop has grown in popularity since featuring in the Northern Independent Coffee Guide; so drinking coffee in between the blooms is about to get even better.

Heather Hutchinson would like to take Yorkshire sculptor Dame Barbara Hepworth to lunch.

Find Heather at the-hedgerow.co.uk. Yorkshire Aid is appealing for donations of sewing machines – especially industrial ones – as well as fabrics, to help refugees become more self-sufficient. For details and donation points visit www.refugees-start.co.uk; www.facebook.com/YorkshireAid

The view across to Rylstone Cross is one of Heather Hutchinson's favourites.