In our newest Countryside Conversations series, we welcome Diana Yates, business owner and gardener, to chat with us from her home in the Scottish Borders. I first came across Diana's beautiful work through her gardening Instagram account, @growing_greenfields. And just as her garden is truly stunning, she also owns an interiors business where her excellent taste and hand-sewn curtains can be marveled at.
Would you tell us a bit about yourself?: My name is Diana. Previously a COO, I now own an interiors business, where I spend my days making curtains and other furnishings for clients around the UK and beyond. When I’m not sewing, you’ll find me in the garden. I began my gardening journey, after moving with my husband and children to our 240 year old home in the Scottish Borders in 2017. It came with a beautiful, overwhelming, and somewhat wild garden with mature trees and masses of potential.
Any tips for those beginning their gardening journey? I would say start small. Research your growing zone or look at what’s doing well in your neighbours gardens. Try to wait a full year before moving plants, shrubs or trees to assess where the seasonal gaps are. I keep a gardening journal, which has become a great reference to look back on each spring for reminders on past experiences, what worked and what failed. Most of all have fun experimenting!
What does a typical day look like for you? Each day is very different which I love. Depending on the season I will either be in the garden at first light, picking veg and flowers, and watering seedlings in the greenhouse before heading into the studio. Or I may start the day with clients choosing fabrics. I usually spend around 6 hours sewing each day before I tackle any admin. Late afternoons usually involve a walk around the village with my husband Andrew and our terrier, Coco, before heading home for dinner and family time.
What project are you currently most proud of? In the garden, I am most proud of our productive kitchen garden. The ability to nip out to the garden for seasonal vegetables and fruit is extremely rewarding. I am also a very proud business owner. I launched a month before the pandemic and the road has been monumentally tough, but the business is coming through the other side and growing. Seeing my work in clients homes as far as the USA is a dream come true.
What inspires your interiors work? Are there certain brands you love to work with? Mostly, my inspiration stems from the want to create a beautiful, warm and practical home. Nothing too precious, as children, dogs, and mess are usually never far away, but equally I want something beautiful and cohesive to look at. I love pattern, colour and texture, and homes that have evolved over time. My family is also a great source of inspiration to me. I am a self taught maker, but I come from a long line of creatives in the textiles industry. My uncle was a fashion designer in Paris for a boutique label and eventually his own. My grandmother was an haute couture dressmaker. My great aunt and mum, were both curtain makers. My mum also ran her own interior design business for many years. Their high standards and attention to detail inspire my own. There are too many excellent brands to name them all here, but my go to’s are Lewis and Wood, Cloth & Clover, Charlotte Gaisford, Morris & Co and GP&J Baker for their versatility and quality. I often veer towards fabrics from women owned fabric houses, as women supporting women never goes out of style.
FOR MORE INSPIRATION FROM DIANA, FOLLOW ON INSTAGRAM @greenfieldstitchery and @growing_greenfields