Nikki Tibbles is the creative force behind A-list favourite florist Wild at Heart. Having always been an avid dog lover, Nikki not only shares her gorgeous home with four rescue dogs but also runs her own dog charity, Doghouse. Taking time out of her Chelsea Flower Show preparations she tells us about her office dog crèche and her favourite place to walk her pack in London.
Nikki and Lenny.
Tell us about the exciting projects you are currently working on at the moment?
It’s always busy at this time of year with summer weddings coming up, and we have a great range of chic city and beautiful countryside weddings that we’re working on.
I’m also supporting Carden Cunietti’s new fundraising event for Kids Company, The Spring Clean. The very talented interior designers Audrey Carden and Eleanora Cunietti have arranged a pop up designer sale where shoppers can pick up incredible bespoke, prototype and designer bargains alongside art and photography, with all proceeds going to charity.
And I’m always delighted to help Battersea Dogs and Cats Home with their annual fundraiser.
Are you doing anything at Chelsea Flower Show or anything to celebrate the occasion?
Absolutely! I can’t resist getting involved. We’ve been busy working with Kate Spade New York to transform their Sloane Square store into a tropical paradise for this year’s Chelsea in Bloom, and our display won the Gold Award at the event!
I’ve also been working with the very talented artist Christopher Brown, who has kindly created stunning window designs for Wild at Heart, Pimlico, with a procession of Chelsea’s most notable residents adorning the store.
And we have a range of Chelsea inspired bouquets available to celebrate the Chelsea Flower Show.
Kate Spade New York’s stunning window display for Chelsea in Bloom.
What breed are your dogs?
My gorgeous Reuben is a ridgeback cross, Lenny is a Spanish mastiff, and Smith and Tia are both crossbreeds.
Do you take them to work?
I do when I can. We’re actually moving office soon and will have a dog crèche so I’ll be able to bring them in then – all our staff will be able to bring their dogs too.
Tell us about your charity the Doghouse?
I’ve had rescue dogs ever since I was a little girl and my parents would often wake to find me curled up with our two boxer dogs in their beds, so dogs have always been a part of my life.
After visiting a dog charity in Spain, I realised that I had to do something to help rescue, re-home and prevent cruelty to dogs; and that’s when I started my charity, Doghouse.
Lenny, Tia and Smith are all from Spain and have all suffered from mistreatment. Lenny was found at the bottom of disused well, starving and in a really bad way. To look at him now it is hard to believe the condition he arrived in, and really shows the difference that having a safe and loving home has made to his life. He’s been completely transformed.
The aim of Doghouse is to end the unnecessary suffering of dogs in the UK and Europe through education and veterinary intervention.
As well as this, I’m an avid supporter of the charity No to Dog Meat, which campaigns against, and raises awareness of, the dog meat industry worldwide. And on top of that I also help to rescue abused and stray dogs from Romania and find new homes for them.
Weekend walking: Reuben, Tia, Lenny and Smith patiently waiting to be let off.
How do you manage to keep your house looking so gorgeous with so many canine companions?
People always ask me this question and to be honest I am just very lucky to have fantastic dogs. They have never broken anything in the house which is amazing considering the size of them, especially Lenny, and the number of vases and artwork I have displayed around the house. All the dogs sleep on my bed or in my bedroom every night and they all make themselves comfortable on the sofa but I have the wonderful Alcina who helps me make sure the house isn’t covered in dog hair!
Tell us your favourite local places to take your pets.
Hampstead Heath is really the closest you can get to a slice of countryside in London. It’s very tranquil if you get there early and I can just let the dogs off their leads for a long run.
What do you love most about your dogs?
Will you be taking them to Chelsea Flower Show?
Lenny had a special dispensation to sit with me at my artisan retreat at Chelsea Flower Show two years ago. It was wonderful to walk around the show with him. But sadly they won’t be seeing the show this year as it’s usually only open to guide and assistance dogs.
Nikki and Lenny outside her bespoke artisan retreat at Chelsea Flower Show 2012.