Do you have a garden space at your home? At your studio? Can you describe it? Do you grow cut flowers for your business? How do you find the time to work in the garden while running your business?
Yes, I do have a garden space which is in fact my family garden. We have about 2000 square meters of grass, trees, fruits, vegetables, cut flowers and… chickens 🙂 It is a lot of work, so it is not always perfectly clean but I don’t mind, I like it a bit wild! Apart from the chicken (LOL!) I use almost everything from the garden for my designs: foliage (so easy to forage for foliage directly in the garden!), fruits, vegetables and flowers. As for cut flowers, I grow: garden roses, dahlias (about 20 varieties), cosmos, scabiosa, daucus, helleborus, tulips, anemones, sweet peas, clematis, lavender, heuchera, alchemilla, hydrangea, astilbe, skimmia japonica, tropaeolum, amarantus, camomile, lilies, peonies, iris, dianthus, nigellas, zinnias, sunflowers… I certainly do not have enough of my own flowers to cover an event, but I use them when I feel that something is “missing” in my designs.
Laetitia Mayor (Floresie)
I don’t have a garden but my parents have so I kind of “adopted” that one. It’s a small garden next the ocean so it’s a quite harsh place for many plants but they/we grow some roses, lavender, peonies, ferns, poppies, cosmos, honeysuckle + berries and foliage. I use as much as I can from the garden and nature but it’s more like a complement.
I have a flower farm with a little over 2 acres in production. It’s decidedly a working farm and not a pretty little garden since I originally set out to be a flower farmer first and foremost, and then the floral designer part kind of grew out from that naturally over time. Our little design shed is sitting right smack in the middle of this flower growing operation with a large free-standing walk-in cooler next to it. Being able to design right next to where the flowers are grown makes the whole operation far more efficient and provides boundless inspiration while working on an arrangement. As we work on the designs for an event, we are often going out with snips to find that perfect crooked stem that will add a graceful gesture to polish off a bouquet. It sounds dreamy and perfect to have a flower farm or big cutting garden. And on many levels it is. But you were smart enough to ask a very important follow up question… where do I find all the time to do both growing and designing? It’s really not easy. Quite often it’s very overwhelming! And it takes a lot of courage and faith in Mother Nature if you are relying on just the blooms you grow yourself like we do here at Love ‘n Fresh. If you want to tackle growing in addition to designing, there will be a lot (a lot!!) more moving parts in your operation, and I’d advise you to build up a team as quickly as possible to help manage it all. Growing flowers is a full time job. And as we all know, being a good floral designer is a full time job too. If you’re considering starting to grow your own, I would suggest keeping it very small to start. Maybe just two raised beds in your backyard where you plant some interesting perennials and herbs for the foliage. Test out how that feels for a season….Could you keep it weeded and watered without any struggle? Did you enjoy the work or dread it by the end of the season? Did you feel like it was “worth your time”? If you can answer yes to those kinds of questions, then add several more beds the following season and just build from there as it makes sense for your business (and not just to keep up with the Instagram hype). And I always encourage designers to find existing flower farmers to partner with so you might not even need to grow your own unless you really love that idea and know you can manage it all. A strong partnership with a local grower can do wonders for your business and be much easier on your back!!
Jennie Love (Love ‘n Fresh Flowers)
Yes, we have two acres that totally influenced my career as a designer. Our property is loaded with hydrangeas, viburnum, peonies, lilac, spirea and now lots of annuals. The garden is an always evolving part of our business. For many years I grew for farmers markets, then I was asked to do weddings and soon I had so many weddings and so many babies that I had to back off of the gardens. Thankfully the shrubs, peonies, and most perennials are old faithfuls that waited in the garden while I fed my children and my babies. Four years ago my husband quit his job and came on board with HHC to restore the gardens and he brought back all of our annual beds. We also have a small orchard. Just one month ago we bought a 25 acre farm two miles from our home and we will increase our production considerably. Gardening and growing has always been a part of my business model.
Holly Chapple (Holly Heider Chapple Flowers)
Yes, I have lots of garden space at my home where my studio is situated. I grow as much as I can physically grow by myself. My garden is not a neatly designed one, but one that serves a purpose.. and allows me to grow the flowers I love for my business. It is hard work keeping all under control during busy periods.. but I love it.
I hope you enjoy the images that friend & photographer David Wickham took this summer..
Jo Rodwell (Jo Flowers)
I have 2 big garden pots at my studio which I absolutely love filling every season. They are manageable and since they frame the doorway into the studio it’s an easy reminder to take care of them. My garden at home is a work in progress which often gets neglected during my busy season. I just moved into a new home so I am constantly at the garden center on my days off or for a break from work for ideas on new things to plant. I love watering and dead-heading, etc. early in the morning before work or with a glass of wine after work, it’s a nice way for me to unwind and have a little peace and quiet. The only blooms from my personal garden that I use at this time for events are Limelight Hydrangea, a handful of Peonies and some clippings from my blueberry bushes.
Elisabeth Zemetis (Blush Floral Design)
The studio is in the back yard and we have a small shady garden space. Lots of hellebores spring bulbs late winter and early spring; the rest of the year it is a textural foliage garden. I don’t grow cut flowers for my business. When I started the business I overhauled the garden into a perennial garden as I discovered that I did not have the time to spend much time in the garden during the busy wedding season as I always have worked by myself.
Francoise Weeks (Francoise Weeks)
I planted up in my garden for work use for the first time ever this year. I bought my parents’ house two years ago but this is the first year I have had time to look at the garden. Or at least I thought I would have time before the mammoth summer of weddings and events hit our studio. I mainly planted hydrangea, peonies, larkspur, sweet peas, echinops and senecio foliage. I have cut (and sold) some of the hydrangea and senecio and used them in designs at work, the sweet peas eventually flowered and I displayed them in the house, the echinops flowered but I only got a few heads this year and the peonies never flowered – so it’s back to the drawing board with those for next year. As a side note, the weeding never got done and by mid summer the weeds were higher than the plants! I would love to be a flower farmer but for me it’s a question of finding time – upwards and onwards in 2016!
Nick Priestly (Mood Flowers)