Floral designers often remark that "you're only as good as your materials." We spend a lot of our time sourcing out the highest quality flowers from wholesalers and growers, and trying to find exciting varieties to experiment with.
Growing my own flowers has become an important part of my sourcing practice. Growing allows me to use flowers that are too delicate to withstand global shipping, too difficult or too rare to grow at scale, or too new to be on the market. It also allows me to see the whole lifecycle of a plant and to use flowers at different stages (including after they have gone to seed), not just the stage of most efficient harvest.
As the garden moves through the seasons, I pay attention to how plants relate to one another. Just as violets carpet much of my garden in spring, I like to layer them underneath taller flowers in arrangements, and as we move into fall I begin adding more grasses and seed pods in amongst more luscious blooms like roses. Sometimes it can be frustrating to be at the whim of the weather and each plant's growth cycle, but then I'll find that one perfect bloom in just the right shade of lavender and all will be forgiven.
Ultimately, my garden inspires my floral design work, and my floral design work motivates my gardening. The processes are inextricably linked.
After several years of softening in English winters, I am thrilled to leave behind Albertan winters to make a move to Vancouver Island in fall 2018. While I will miss the Edmonton gardens I have created (in frigid Zone 3!), it has always been my dream to move out to the West Coast, where there are real springs and it never reaches -30C. I am looking forward to throwing myself into the project of building a new garden and nursery full of the interesting annuals and drought tolerant perennials I’ve come to love through my time studying gardening in the UK.