Sometimes your career takes an unexpected—and wonderful—twist. For Michelle Hodgson of Blossom & Vine Floral Co., it was the best possible change that could have come her way.
And we're thankful because her floral designs add a welcome bit of wonder to the wedding scene. Here's what she has to say about spring floral trends in 2016.
Tell us about how you got your start as a florist.
My journey into the industry is a long and winding road. By trade, I’m actually a teacher, but after years of working with kids and bringing my work (and sometimes stress) home with me, I needed an outlet. I’ve always considered myself a creative person, but I never thought I was good enough, or could make a living in a creative industry, so “playing with flowers” had only been a long-time hobby. But in the summer of 2013, at 29, I was laid off from my job. Rather than launching into a search for a new teaching gig, I took the opportunity to start Blossom & Vine Floral Co.
What excites you most about floral design in 2016?
In floral design, people seem to be honouring nature more now. Instead of the structured, perfect and overly manipulated arrangements of the past, wild and natural is becoming more popular.
It’s also exciting to see more acknowledgement of environmentally conscious practices in the industry: upcycling items in lieu of another boring cylinder vase, using local and seasonal flowers, omitting the use of floral foam, municipal composting programs. These are becoming standard practices.
What types of requests are you seeing from B.C. brides?
I get a lot of similar colour palette requests: the combination of blush, marsala and ivory, as well as lavender, grey and muted greens have been two of the most popular requests for the 2016 wedding season.
Floral arches and backdrops are also a big hit this season.
More interesting tablescapes are requested. No one wants the plain old fishbowl vase placed on a mirror with glass stones scattered around any more. I’m getting requests for table garlands, loose greens and groupings of bud vases more than ever.
Do you see a trend with local and seasonal flowers?
While I don’t disagree that seasonal and local flowers are becoming a trend, I think that it’s a reflection on florists educating their customers about the benefits of those two movements more than customers seeking them out. Peonies, anemones and ranunculus are still the most requested flowers for every single wedding I pitch, regardless of time of year. When clients realize the growing season for those flowers is usually over three months before their wedding, they may express disappointment or request to import them from another country
Where do you source your florals and other greenery?
We’re still a rather small boutique so we tend to use a few different wholesale flower distributors in the city rather than using the auction directly. In the summer months, we source a lot of our flowers directly from growers in the Fraser Valley. We’re lucky to have an amazing resource of local growers. Roses, peonies, dahlias, stock, ranunculus, scabiosa, amni, anemones, tulips, and more are all grown at B.C.’s doorstep depending on the time of year. So why not use what’s fresher, grown nearby and often cheaper than imports? I also have a few spots in my neighbourhood where I forage handfuls of greenery such as lavender, pieris, jasmine vine, clematis and chocolate geranium on occasion.
How are florals being requested beyond the bouquet?
A lot of flower crowns are requested. I think people are really noticing and understanding how much life flowers bring to an event. I don’t get requests for an excessive amount of event flowers but people do want to sprinkle them everywhere like bud vases for the bathrooms, foliage on the seating chart and boutonnieres for the guests.
What other materials do you use in your designs?
For my retail customers, I stick to a couple different vase options, using what fits my style and works best for my designs.
When it comes to weddings, clients tend to have a specific idea of what they’d like and I do my best to provide that. In my designs, I always try to add some texture and visual interest with foliage. I love using leathery greens like pittisporum or ruscus mixed with velvety dusty miller or sage and ruffley greens like silver queen pitt and mint.
What’s your favourite colour?
For flowers? Peach and peachy yellows (right now, anyways).
For life? Red!
Do you have a favourite flower or plant?
It’s too difficult to choose just one. Romantic antique or caramel antique garden roses, dusty orange combo roses, mint, scabiosa, ranunculus and pale yellow peonies top the list though.