Colour conversation with Suki Day - teacher

To celebrate our Colour of the Month, Harvest, Melissa joins her long-time friend Suki Day on a colourful tour of her West Dorset veg patch. A primary school teacher and owner of two stylish Airbnb properties, Suki’s bountiful garden is bursting with colour at this time of year, from bright orange pumpkins and rainbow chard to blackberries and Borlotti beans – the perfect reflection of her Autumn palette!


Hi Suki, so lovely to be out in the September sunshine with you. It’s such a magical spot…

Thanks, Melissa. Yes, it’s very special. The original farmhouse dates back to the 1700s and has been extended over the years (at one point it was lived in by one woman and her 12 children with just one downstairs tap and a loo!). Last year, my husband and I turned two of the outbuildings – one of which is an old cider barn – into holiday accommodation with beautiful views over the countryside. It’s been such a fun project and lovely to see the smiles on the guests’ faces when they arrive.  


Clockwise from above: the family’s Dorset farmhouse dating back to the 1700s; Suki at the backdoor in her Copper Roxy Jacket; Suki’s perennial border, including her favourite sunflowers

I love how the beginning of autumn is the start of such a delicious new season of fresh fruit and vegetables. What are your favourite things to grow?

Courgettes, beans, rainbow chard, onions, marrows, pumpkins, among others – and I’ve had success with growing purple-podded sugar snap peas this year, which are good as they don’t turn green when you cook them. And I have a whole greenhouse full of different varieties of tomato. I’ll grab one of my favourite hogla vegetable baskets – I have an assortment of shapes and sizes from my sister-in-law Sheenagh’s company, Maison Bengal – and head up to the vegetable patch to see what I fancy cooking for the evening meal. Tonight I’ll be making marrow stuffed with a chilli bean sauce.


Clockwise from above: Suki picking tomatoes in the greenhouse; Borlotti beans and radicchio; handwoven fruit picking baskets made of hogla (local Banglasdeshi seagrass) from Maison Bengal, her sister-in-law Sheenagh’s fair trade company

You took a little persuading to get your colours done but now your Autumn palette looks amazing on you.

Yes, I think from the moment I met you back in 2008 when we shared a car together to a school hockey match with our girls, you were curious about my colours. I think at first I said: ‘Oh no, don’t take my favourite colours away!’ We had been living in Tobago up until then for 7 years [read about it in her husband Owen’s Colour Conversation], wearing all sorts of very bright colours, and it was a real culture shock returning to the UK, and buying a whole new wardrobe wasn’t on the menu. But you bought it for my 50th birthday and I really enjoyed it!’


Suki picking apples from the orchard; blackberries for an Autumn crumble, and runner beans

And then you could see it – although in many ways it was just confirming what we already knew…

Yes, the colour consultant placed an olive drape around my neck, and it looked completely wonderful. It was the exact shade as a ball gown I’d worn when I was 19. I don't even think it was real silk but it was really beautiful, and I remember her saying that the thing about the right colour is that in many ways it becomes more important than the fabric. And that’s quite true because I once wore a jumper that was pretty much 100% acrylic in a beautiful rich ochre colour to visit my sister, who is a designer, and the first thing she said to me was, ‘Look at you in your cashmere!’ 


Melissa and Suki talk all things gardening, cooking - and Kettlewell of course! Melissa is wearing her Gianna Skirt in Gold Giraffe, a Camel Rachel Jacket and a Silky Scoop in Papaya.

Do you have a favourite piece of Kettlewell?

I really like the Lace Cami – it’s such a good length and doesn’t ride up – and because I look for styles that have a bit of shape but are neither too loose or too clingy, I love the Hetta Tee and with winter coming up, I’m loving the Merino Infinity Scarf... it’s so soft and cosy and the Autumn colours are beautiful. I'm going to a family wedding this weekend and I'll be wearing my Roxy Jacket after the wedding lunch on Sunday - it goes really well with a dress!

What would you say are your favourite colours?

I love green and rich, vibrant orange – that’s probably why I love growing nasturtiums and Calendula ‘Indian Prince’ so much. They’ll keep on going strong and giving a lovely tinge to my salads until the first frost arrives later in the Autumn.

Linda Wale on Oct 23, 2022 12:13 PM

I loved the article, but have to agree with Angela Davidson it can be difficult finding clothing for a spring palette in the winter times when most retailers have the dark and earthy colours.

Lesley on Sep 26, 2022 1:20 PM

I love the article and how beautiful Suki looks in her beautiful autumn colours. I recently had a colour consultation and am an autumn too. It’s amazing how many commments I get now I dress in colours that suit me!

Lorraine on Sep 26, 2022 10:40 AM

I'm an 'Autumn', so I focus more on articles etc at this time of year. I agree with the comments made by Angela Davison. I also tend to have the same issues, but in summer, when it can be difficult to find lightweight fabrics in my warm and soft autumn colours. Isn't it time the fashion industry took note!, for all of the seasons at all times of the year!

Chris Pole on Sep 25, 2022 12:39 PM

Beautiful article in every way!

Angela Davison on Sep 25, 2022 10:02 AM

Melissa looks lovely in her colours. The problem with finding colours to suit is that the Fashion industry in general appear to think all tones suit everyone. Autumn/winter collections rarely have any clear light colours from my Spring palette. I love Autumn season but I sigh at all the dark navy, bottle green & burgundy red in the shops. It can be hard to find my colours in warm fabrics.

Rebecca on Sep 25, 2022 9:22 AM

Wonderful Autumn colours, so rich and earthy!

Jude on Sep 24, 2022 7:44 PM

Suki looks lovely in her autumn colours but I am more captivated by her beautiful smile 😃. Note to self - must smile more often! Jude x

Helen Williamson on Sep 24, 2022 12:21 AM

Fabulous & I love all the gorgeous autumn colours. Beautifully reflected in all the delicious fruit & veg.

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