These 7 florists are creating the most beautiful arrangements in America
In the last few years, there’s been a quiet renaissance in American floral design. From coast to coast, a tight-knit community of florists has begun creating artfully loose arrangements that feel both more personal and closer to nature than traditional bouquets.
The Los Angeles- and Vermont-based husband-and-wife photography duo of Gemma and Andy Ingalls spent nearly two years documenting the work of 21 of these next-gen artisans, which is captured in their new book “In Full Flower.” In its essence, it is a book about how we live now, about the ways we seek to bring the outdoors inside and the natural world into our rituals and routines. But it's also a book that appeals to our wanderlust, a reminder of the incredible diversity of the flora across the land and the many creative souls in different pockets of America who find unexpected ways to express and showcase the bounty of this country.
Here are seven from the pages of “In Full Flower.”
Amy Merrick, Brooklyn, New York, and New Hampshire
A self-proclaimed floral gypsy, Merrick has spent the past several years traveling the world teaching flower workshops and searching for inspiration and beauty. The artfully messy arrangements that have defined her style since she started her floral business in Brooklyn in 2011, have evolved, largely as a result of her extended study with Ikebana masters in Japan.
Mandy and Steve O’Shea, Moonflower, Comer, Georgia
Just outside of Athens, Georgia, lie five acres of farmland that serve as the life, work, heart, and soul of this dynamic husband-and-wife team, who bought the property that would become 3 Porch Farm in 2011 after moving from California. A subtropical growing climate means that the farm offers a bountiful harvest for much of the year; each season brings a new cast of blossoms to star in Moonflower’s wild and flowing designs — anemones, peonies, zinnias, cosmos, and dahlias take turns as the showstopping focal flowers.
Holly Carlisle, Rosegolden Flowers, Birmingham, Alabama
A former makeup artist and hairstylist, Carlisle was so captivated by the peonies that she bought to decorate the tables at her post-elopement reception that she was inspired to transition into floral design. Though she cites abstract expressionists like Robert Rauschenberg and Cy Twombly as influential to her work, she also pays homage to the grand dame of Southern interiors, Dorothy Draper, in her cheerful, bold floral choices — ripe, heavy-petaled ranunculus, voluptuous Coral Charm peonies, amaryllises.
Sarah Ryhanen, Saipua, Brooklyn, New York
Ryanen found her true calling in flowers when her partner gave her a bouquet of black dahlias for her 25th birthday. She specializes in the artfully imperfect, the wild, overflowing, and occasionaly macabre. The self-procaimed “closet romantic” gravitates toward garden roses and whatever happens to be blooming on her upstate New York flower farm, World’s End, in soft, moody colors: rose, mauve, brown, ink, amber.
Amanda Luu and Ivanka Matsuba, Studio Mondine, San Francisco, California
A motto of “simple but striking” anchors Luu and Matsuba’s design ethos: flowers that feel effortless are carefully selected at the wholesale market, foraged from the side of the road and friends’ backyards, or grown in the studio’s cutting garden, then thoughtfully arranged. Their stunning arrangements — whether minimal and Kikebana-inspired or lush and overflowing — highlight each seasons’ most special, unusual flowers.
Ashley Beyer, Tinge, Salt Lake City, Utah
Beyer’s stunning floral work — deeply influenced by the landscape of her native state — can be described as sumptuous layers of blooms with an emphasis on color and texture. Her feminine, refined, garden-inspired designs, rife with lush blossoms and trailing vines — honeysuckle is a favorite — emphasize subtle transitions in color and texture and seek to engender a sense of calm in the surrounding environment.
Holly Vesecky and Rebecca Uchtman, Hollyflora, Los Angeles, California
Just as influenced by their state’s scrubby chaparral landscapes and poppy fields as they are by the louche lifestyle of 1970s Laurel Canyon, Vesecky and Uchtman craft playful, wild arrangements that mix local native lowers — like proteas, banksias, and camellias — and favorites from all over the country. The resulting creations can be described as Dutch Masters meet the Mediterranean — lush, asymmetrical greenery; bold, brightly hued focal flowers; and trailing vines and branches, heavy with tropical citrus.