We've been huge fans of East London Parasol Co. for years. We're all for anything that pulls you out and into the garden, and these parasols really do just that. They create some of the most beautiful parasols you're likely to see, each one a work of art in its own right and the perfect addition to bring some extra charm to any outdoor space.
We caught up with their founder, Lucy Ferguson, to chat parasols and all things East London in our latest edition of our East London Heroes.
1. Your parasols are works of art and unlike anything else out there in the UK - tell us about how you fell in love with parasols and how East London Parasols come to be?
Thank you! I When I lived in Kerala, Southern India I fell in love with the temple umbrellas used there in religious celebrations. I decorated my home there with them and started to wonder why garden parasols had to be white, green and boring. Starting the company was a huge adventure and challenge, but all the way through I’ve met amazing people who have helped and lifted me along. I’m very grateful to them.
2. We love the amazing ranges of prints, colour and designs, what inspires them?
I’m constantly taking photos of patterns, light refractions, leaves and flowers. I find nature hugely inspiring, Mother Nature never makes a mistake - if you look closely at the combination of colours in a leaf or flower it’s astonishing.
3. What would your perfect garden set up be?
Obviously lots of colourful parasols, I’d have them as eye catching points above hidden love seats scattered in and amongst varied and spreading planting. I love the gardens of Sissinghurst and Charleston, I think you can feel and see if a garden is loved- and these are. The plants are unexpected and a real mix, the effect is a magical blur of foliage and flowers.
The Scolt Head. It’s my local pub and my favourite, I’m a creature of habit and I’ve celebrated ten birthdays there. It’s got all the vibes, niche crisps, Nuno Mendez cooking and a leafy beer garden.
Walthamstow Marshes, my best discovery of the past year. I love sitting on the jetties with tin of beer and pretending I’m in Dawson’s Creek.
The De Beauvoir Wholefoods (used to be Presto Food and Wine) it has absolutely everything. It’s a local challenge to try and find something they don’t stock and I haven’t found any gaps, they have it all, from baobab powder to aquafaba and 17 types of seaweed.
5. And finally, of course, we always love to know, what’s your favourite flower and why?
Hollyhocks, they’re delicate, unexpected and combine the most beautiful colours. They remind me of tutus in a Degas painting. A street near where I live is lined with hollyhocks and they’re a fleeting gorgeousness. For a flower arrangement I love ranunculus, they start out so unpromising as tiny buds and they open to a surprisingly vivid fan of petals.
You can find out more and get your very own beautiful parasol over on East London Parasol Co.'s website. Our current favourite is their lovely octagonal parasol frames, which have been crafted in Hampshire from sustainable ash wood working with local carpenters - be sure to check them out for something really special for your garden.