Organic Style with Fleurie Flower StudioOct 24, 2016 11:00AM ● By Jordan Venema
Bloom Where You're Planted
By Jordan Venema
“I mean, it could be,” says Laurie Garza with a laugh, when asked if Fleurie Flower Studio is a pun on the word flurry. It’s fun to imagine a florist, who usually conjures a calm, refined portrait, clipping and cutting stems and stalks in a whirlwind of petals and colors. But Fleurie is a gentler, much more sophisticated play on words than that.
Fleurie is Garza’s personal portmanteau of her first name and the French word for flower, and like the name itself, Garza is a unique florist – or fleurist – whose business is rooted literally in her backyard.
Step into most florists’ shops and you’ll find cut roses propped up in tubs of water, arrangements displayed behind glass refrigerator doors. Not Fleurie. Her shop is found in the fields and furrows, and her stock – well, it’s still on the stalk.
“I try to grow all of my flowers,” explains Garza. “It definitely adds a unique look to my work to have homegrown flowers. So I try to grow what I can’t buy at other places, but when I do buy flowers, I buy California grown first.”
Garza grows her flowers in her own backyard, trying to make use “of all the space that I have.” She admits to growing more than she has time for, and while she’s never gotten around to counting how many varieties of flowers she has, she boasts more than 100 different roses, as well as dahlias, zinnias, tall robinias, ranunculus, sweet peas, quince blossoms, viburnums. You know, “just the basics,” she says.
Her favorite flowers depend on the season, but her all-time favorite, she says, “isn’t even a well-known cut flower. It’s the pansy. They’ve just been a constant in my whole life. My grandma grew them, and I always have them.”
Incorporating a garden-variety flower like the pansy into a bouquet isn’t typical, but Garza likes to pop them in when she can. “They’re difficult, because of the short stems.” But Garza’s arrangements, and her style, are characterized by the natural, garden-grown buds.
Even her roses are the big, blooming roses you’d find in a garden, unlike the perfectly manicured flower shop variety. “I like them like that,” says Garza. “I think it’s more artistic looking.”
Call her style organic. It might be a trope when applied to an artistic process, but for Garza, organic is the medium of her art.
“I like the surprise of what the flowers are going to bring me that day,” she says, “working with the natural world, and following along with where the flowers take me. I use a lot of colors and textures, and I use a lot of foliage.” She calls it the “garden look,” inspired by the Dutch Masters, whose style of painting she particularly loves.
Growing her own flowers can be difficult, especially since her product can be limited by season, region and other factors outside her control. But her history in horticulture has prepared her.
“I spent a lot of years in the nursery industry, so I know what to plant, and what will grow here. And if it doesn’t work, I don’t grow it,” she says matter-of-factly. “I started working in a flower shop when I was in high school. It’s just in my blood.” She even attended Reedley College to study horticulture.
Garza made the jump to start her own business around 2010, and while she had the green thumb, she admits finding her approach as a florist required growth.
“I had the basics and I knew how to do everything, but then it was about refining a style,” she says. She adapted to an “organic garden-grown look,” which appeals to those looking for a more natural look with the floral arrangements. It also appeals to the growing trend of consumers who want to know where their product is made or grown.
Like other florists, Fleurie specializes in tabletop styling, centerpieces, arrangements and bouquets, corsages or just a single-stem ranunculus. “I’m also pretty well known for my flower crowns,” she says, which have been popular for photo shoots with photographers. In other words, with an appointment, Fleurie can provide an elegant arrangement that also looks like it’s straight from the garden – because it is.
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