Known for her whimsical designs, we love how Holly Vesecky, co-owner of Hollyflora, gets inspired by nature with all of her arrangements. She recently created the florals for our simple, sustainable gathering and we loved them so much, we had to get the full scoop. Here, Holly shares her tips for buying flowers on a budget, her secret tool for tricky vases, and how she really feels about fake plants.
How did you get into working with flowers?
I was a pretty wild kid, running with a goth crowd. My mom insisted that I get a job to ground me. Goths have a romantic life view, so I landed in a local flower shop at 15 in Palo Alto, CA.
What inspires you when creating the florals for a party or event?
It’s important to play off the location and push it as far as possible within the client’s vision. Lighting, materiality, and exposure to the elements all play a factor as well.
How did you get involved with Annie Campbell and Heather Taylor? Tell us about your friendship/community and how you all collaborate.
Heather and I have been friends and collaborators for ten years now. She has been such an inspiration visually, and a sage business advisor since we met. Heather introduced me to Annie. She’s a truly endearing leader to our crew. Working together seems effortless.
Where do you get your flowers and where do you recommend others (who maybe aren’t floral designers) get their flowers?
We have an organic orchard in Ojai, CA, and I cut fruit and greenery there every Monday. Annie, Heather, and I also gather roses from Rose Lane Farms, whenever possible. Most everything else comes from the LA flower market. Another spot many people don’t think of is Trader Joes.
What’s your tip for doing flowers on a budget?
A simple garland of greens can easily be foraged and laid on the table without much stress. This year, I had to flip my living room to accommodate our family. I set up the table during cocktail hour, laid the greens, set and lit pillar candles and votives, then added young dates on the branches for a little local touch.
What are some eco-friendly ways that you use florals?
LA has so much to offer in the way of foraging (but please, not from public lands), it’s an essential part of making my arrangements personal. I planted my garden with every intention of using it for floral pieces—camellias, quince, and limes on the branch to name a few—it’s packed with usable plants.
What’s the biggest thing to keep in mind when creating a floral arrangement?
Finding that local element that makes it personal.
Any tips or tricks for vases or vessels to choose for displaying your flowers?
We employ ikebana techniques when using challenging vases. This is when you create a nest, twig bundle, or use a tool like a “flower frog” to help stabilize the flowers at the base to keep them in place.
What tricks do you have for keeping flowers more professional looking?
Mono-botanical options are better when pulling off a holiday table. There are so many details to manage, I leave the artistic explorations for days when I don’t have deadlines.
Any tips or tricks for getting flowers to last?
Cut the stems and change the water every day.
What’s your current floral obsession?
Epiphytic cactus blooms. My dream is to have a greenhouse filled with them.
Thoughts on fake plants or arrangements? A hard no?
Not a hard no, but I would only use silks or plastic in a pop art or nostalgic way, where it’s not meant to look real.
What’s a favorite holiday tradition or memory?
Our family loves a good sing-along in a British pub sort of way…swinging steins at the piano. We do a few carols but also simpler Kinks, Willie Nelson, and Beatles songs.
Want more sustainable holiday tips? Right this way…