Carolyn grew up in Blackheath. From a young age, she was interested in plant life, as well as in painting and drawing. Her interest was re-awakened when she accompanied her husband on various postings with the Diplomatic Service, and the experience this afforded of the diversity of plant life in different parts of the world. On returning to the UK, she took the Botanical Painting Course at the English Gardening School in 2006, studying under Helen Allen. After gaining her Diploma in 2009, she joined the Hampton Court Palace Florilegium Society.