Have you ever felt the allure of cultivating your own cut garden? You know, a haven of gorgeous blooms just waiting to be plucked and arranged in the most provocative way. If, however, your green thumb never fully blossomed and you cannot keep even a house plan alive, there is hope. Florists all around have spent years growing their knowledge and skill in floral design so others, maybe not so florally inclined, can also enjoy the beauty of flowers in their lives. One such florist is Ashley Sassoon, owner of Wildwood Floral Co.
Ashley began her journey toward becoming a florist many many years ago in her parent’s side yard. It was there she was allowed to explore her love of gardening and grew her first buds. While her love of tending the garden never slowed, she made the practical decision to pursue a “grown up” job. Ashley became a teacher. Anyone who has spent time in a classroom knows that she learned invaluable life lessons by being in the classroom, some of which do probably translate to gardening!
In March 2015 Ms. Sassoon started to pursue floral arranging. Despite living in a big city, classes were not easily accessible. Consequently, she had to create her own training. During her strengths coaching call, it was very evident that Ashley’s strengths of INPUT and FOCUS helped tremendously in her training of floral arranging. Rather than being daunted by the lack of education she sought out information in an exhaustive manner. She started shadowing other florists and learned from them. Another resource Ashley tapped into was local Master Gardeners. From these individuals she absorbed information regarding how to grow and care for a variety of plants and flowers. To practice her newly found skills with floral arranging, she volunteered to do showers and weddings, when her teaching schedule allowed. With the strong support of her husband Daniel, Ashley quit teaching and spent this summer as a full time florist for the first time!
It may seem like a romantic ideal, but being a florist is not all sunshine and roses! On mornings when Ashley is receiving a large shipment of flowers for a wedding, she wakes up at 4:00 to meet them at the airport. That’s 4:00 am. A.M! I am not sure much could inspire me to awaken quite that early. After processing the blossoms, she begins the arrangements. Bridal bouquets are completed first as they are clearly the most important! From there she works on center pieces, boutonnieres, and other bouquets. Although the arranging is complete, the work is far from over. The day of the wedding is bustling with activity for Ashley.
Part of what sets Ms. Sassoon apart as a florist is what she does with the flowers when all the hoopla is finished. Rather than throwing away flowers that still have days of enjoyment living inside of them, she takes them to a retirement home for the residents to enjoy. It warms my heart to know that people who need as much sunshine in their lives as they can get, are receiving it through Ashley’s flowers and a bride’s willingness to share! She is unique as a florist in other areas as well. Not only is her specific style of floral arranging more exclusive, but when possible she works a bloom from her own garden into the bouquets. When plucking from her own harvest is not possible, she employs the help of other flower farms to add a special bloom. One of Ms. Sassoon’s favorite farms to use is Rose Story Farms in California.
One final element that really sets Ashley apart is her strength of EMPATHY. With the strength of EMPATHY, she is able to relate to her brides on a very personal level. The fruit is evident in how much time she spends corresponding with brides and making sure that every detail of the wedding flowers is perfect. Having been a bride herself, Ashley knows the importance of communicating with all the wedding vendors, and how poor communication can cause unnecessary stress. Empathizing with the brides, she seeks to make the whole floral experience as stress free and enjoyable as possible.
I think it is pretty clear that Ashley works tirelessly to be the best florist she can be. In return, she asks very little of us by way of support. If you live in the greater Indianapolis, you have the great privilege of purchasing a romantic bouquet of flowers from Wildwood Floral Co. Based on the pictures of her work, I know you would not be disappointed in any of the arrangements available for purchase. If, however, you do not live locally, but still want to support this amazing woman in her love of flowers, there is a way! Ashley said a simple way to come alongside her is by incorporating flowers into your life!
This is where you come in. How do you incorporate blooms into your life?
Erinn, founder of Bridging HerStory, has a personal story on how to do this very thing:
I love to get a few bunches of eucalyptus from Trader Joes and make little arrangements in varied vases to go around the main living area of my home. Not only does it make the space a little more homey and cozy, but it is so fragrant. Hosting is such a big part of my life as well, so I enjoy getting a small bouquet and placing it in on a tray on the guest bed for a little extra love and color. It was so helpful and practical to hear Ashley talk about how to care for the simple flowers you can get in the ordinary stores, (where most of us do) and how to make their beautiful lives last just a little longer.
FLOWER CARE TIPS
Grocery store flowers may have the stigma of being “I’m sorry” flowers, but they are actually a great resource to assimilate beautiful blooms into everyday life. Of course, cut flowers are dying flowers. Ashley had several tips on how to care for store bought flowers to prolong their life span:
- Trimming– While many of us may know to trim the ends off of the stems, did you know that it is best to cut the stems at an angle? Flowers are better able to absorb the water this way. Additionally, cutting the stems multiple times, once every few days, will help them live longer.
- Leaf Care-Not only are you supposed to cut the stems, but also any leaves or foliage that hang into the water. The foliage ferments in the water, creating bacteria that kills the blooms faster.
- Water– Speaking of water, it is another integral aspect of flower care. Changing liquids often, and using cold water is important. While it may seem trivial to mention, adding the flower food to the water is helpful and recommended by Ashley. Make sure to follow the directions on the packets and store the extra food water in a water bottle in the fridge to use at a later date.
- Location– Finally, flowers like to be cool. If you are keeping your blossoms in a room with heavy sunlight, consider moving them into a more shaded area. If you have a room that stays cooler, it is probably the best place to house your buds.
Following Ashley’s tips will not ensure eternal life for your flowers, but it will help them live longer! I hope everyone takes the time to bring flowers into their lives, not just to support Ashley, but because it will bring sunshine and happiness into your everyday life!
Please submit questions below for Ashley about anything flowers!!!