If you’ve ever wanted to create a super cool floral arrangement (like, perhaps for a special mama in your life this weekend), or if you’re interested in getting the most bang for your buck when you buy from a professional florist (hey, who doesn’t), you’re going to love this interview with Courtney Sayner, florist and owner of The Floral Loft in San Francisco. Her work has been featured in Martha Stewart Weddings and she’s been named a favorite florist by sources like Racked SF, California Home+Design, and Yelp.
She came into her line of work while working at a flower shop in a small Colorado ski town after graduating college.
“I was sweeping up at closing time one night and I looked out at the parking lot which was piling up with snow. I looked around me at a fridge full of brightly colored flowers, shelves full of plants in bloom, breathed in the warm, slightly humid and earthy smelling air, and I just felt so at home there. I remember thinking to myself, ‘This could be your life. It doesn’t have to end.’ And from there the dream of owning my own shop was born … and the dream of being a historian went out the window.”
She and her husband have now owned and operated The Floral Loft for the past eight years — which means she’s got plenty of knowledge to share with us!
What’s the easiest way to make an arrangement look beautiful?
A good place to start while choosing blooms to work with is the color palette. In my experience, simplest is best. Stick with just two or three colors, preferably from one section from the color wheel (red, yellow and orange, or blue, green and purple) or, riff on a monochromatic theme exploring all the shades of color, such as peach. It’s easier on the eyes and lets you really appreciate the combination of elements rather than getting distracted by competing hues.
What are some common mistakes we should avoid?
I think one of the most important steps in flower arranging that a beginner florist may not think of comes before you even start putting the bouquet together: cleaning the stems. Once a flower is cut, it is no longer going through the process of photosynthesis, so the leaves no longer help the flowers survive, and in fact, they can drain the stems’ remaining resources and make the bloom wilt faster. Before you begin arranging, make sure to clean the stems of all leaves except for one or two sets near the top. This will also help keep the water in the vase cleaner, which will extend the arrangement’s lifespan as well.
Do you have any advice for choosing the perfect arrangement?
If you are ordering from a florist, the best way to get the most for your money and the most beautiful arrangement is not to give the florist too many specifics. It may seem counter-intuitive, but this gives them the freedom to choose the most beautiful blooms in their shop and put together flowers that really compliment each other. I find I do my best work when I have just a few guidelines such as, “My mom is kind of a funky-free-spirited woman, and she loves tulips,” or, “my aunt’s house is very sleek and modern and her favorite color is purple.” From these little details, I begin to imagine the person I am creating the arrangement for and search our inventory for blooms that will make them feel that this creation was made with them in mind.
What trends are you loving right now? Bonus points if it’s budget-friendly!
If you are creating an arrangement at home, a good way to get a lot for your money is choosing just a few pieces of tall branchy foliage (eucalyptus, camilia or ruscus) and a just a few large focal blooms (peonies, hydrangea or protea) to make a sparse but sprawling arrangement that is any minimalist’s or interior designer’s dream. Choose a vessel that is wide at the bottom and has a thin neck. Leave your branches long (removing the greenery that would be below the neck of the vase) and then cut the large blooms to varying heights between 4 inches and a foot above the neck of the vase. This makes a stunning centerpiece on a kitchen counter or in an entrance way and won’t break the bank.
Who else can absolutely envision that feeling of being in a gorgeous flower shop, surrounded by colorful blooms? While I love the ease of calling a florist or ordering online, there’s definitely something special about ducking into a brick and mortar shop, right? —Kristen