The Flower & Vine is a private, boutique studio delivering weekly, artisan floral to homes and businesses on Mercer Island.
Have a minute? I'll tell you the whole story as to why I wanted to go into the floral artistry business and create beautiful, contemplative pieces for my dearly-appreciated clients to enjoy every single day. But first..
Flowers breathe life. They signify growth, reaching, beauty, joy, serenity, luxury, gratitude. Flowers are grounding - they help us to stop and smell the roses. When we pause to contemplate nature and it's simple artistry, we imbue our spirit with peace and appreciation. An artist who purposefully places each piece in a arrangement, showcases something that is not easy to replicate. So much pride, attention to detail, care, and love are put into every piece. They are little works of art - living sculptures, if you will. Flowers here are sourced from local growers, whenever possible, to support small farms, and every step is taken to ensure long-lasting blooms, scent and impact.
Growing up in the Pacific Northwest on acres of hills, cedar forests, wetlands and fruit trees, I was surrounded with natural beauty that was untouched, wild and enchanting. Add to that my mother’s experimental green thumb and love for teaching, I was further captivated by abundant perennials, ever-changing annuals, organic fruits and vegetables, a greenhouse, and free-range hens that kept everything entertaining and fertile. She taught my brother and I how to plant, collect seeds, prune, mulch, re-invigorate wilting stems, and genuinely appreciate the art of PATIENCE and hard work in the dirt.
Since I was 12, I could name every plant and flower on our property. When I moved to a different climate zone, she came to visit and not only named all of the new flora I had not yet encountered, but taught me how to maintain and help them flourish in the seasons to come.
My mother’s roses, peonies, tulips and irises are to die for. She has heirloom plants that have been in the family for decades, passed down from my grandparents. Flowers to her are like children. She talks to them, loves them, picks them up when they are down, and showcases their beauty with a quiet but poignant appreciation. She also has an intimate relationship with bees (another story). She and my father now have a blooming lavender-farm business. Every day, they get look out into the fields they’ve created and - when the season is in - celebrate the many gifts that unique plant has to offer.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve adored the simple, symmetrical, colorful and zen-inducing beauty of flowers, stems, twigs, moss and leaves. I’ve been arranging flowers for my home, friends and family for just as long, and always have a fresh bouquet in my space every week. For myself, I only buy roadstand and farmers’ market floral. I love supporting local and want to continue encouraging it, because the flowers are grown nearby, smell amazingly, and help keep business in-state. On the contrary, when I go to a wholesale growers’ market, I find the flowers to be generally scentless, GMO (to sustain 2-3 weeks of transport, stability, and vase-life after cutting), and out-of-season (which means they’re coming from other countries, closer to the equator). While I respect that this gives opportunities to other climate zones, my concern is with the significant amount of pesticides, antifungals, and other chemicals used in mass-producing these fields of plant-life.
That said, my number one criteria in arranging is scent. Flowers should smell like flowers! I love using Gardenia, Stock, Freesia, Roses, Peonies, Jasmine, and anything else that makes me close my eyes, inhale, and feel nothing but pure bliss. I also love looking at an arrangement and seeing the artistry of design – the intent and thoughtfulness – by displaying cuts and greens in their most astonishing, natural way. I am obsessed with the Japanese art of Ikebana. The arrangements are simple, purposeful, steeped in tradition and symbolism, and absolutely exquisite to behold, despite their minimalist design. These are the foundations upon which my aesthetic is built.
As a professional commercial photographer, a client of mine – a florist – further opened my eyes to the joy of flowers, specifically on the arrangement and display side. We've worked together for years and I've held on to every word of wisdom she has shared. She was an outstanding mentor and it was the perfect trade. I had a rotation of beautiful pieces in my home and many valuable lessons learned about the purchase, preparation and delivery of glorious, long-lasting flowers for clients - in exchange for photography and promotion of her work.
I have since moved away and am excited to design with my own unique perspective, while creating centerpieces that smell divine and force you to pause, say, “Wow..” and enjoy a brief moment of quiet contemplation and appreciation.
I understand now why floral arrangements seem so expensive. There is a lot that goes into them! From driving around, curating the perfect stems, knowing your clients' likes and dislikes, processing the flowers in the correct way so that they’ll last, designing the arrangement(s), and then delivering them to joy and applause – it’s quite the process. When I walk into a grocery store now, I see the flowers on display. The blooms are already at their fullest, they’ve been sitting in old, bacteria-laden water, and don’t look or smell like a professionally-prepared arrangement would. Depending on the stem, they’ll last maybe a few days, at best.
My philosophy is to cherish and showcase botanicals in their most natural state, when possible. While I love juxtaposition in photography.. mixing tropicals with NW autumnals makes my eyes cross. I want to honor flowers within their own season - with their best friends - and arranged in way that glorifies the best possible scenario that they would naturally be found.