This season, we’re expressing our love language for the mother figures and loving caregivers in our lives through flowers. Elegant, aromatic blooms, and whimsical branches placed in beautiful vessels. Whether you forage and arrange them yourself or support your local florist, there are innumerable ways to say “I love you” through a bundle of flowers.
Sophia Moreno-Bunge, Floral Designer, Founder and Creative Director of ISA ISA Floral sat down with us to offer some refreshing ideas and ways to connect with the artist within to cultivate a bouquet that is authentic in its expression and takes into account the likes of the receiver. Sophia’s work is multi-dimensional, including weekly fresh floral and foliage arrangements throughout the Santa Monica Proper Hotel. She and her team work closely with the hotel’s interior designer, Kelly Wearstler, doing photoshoots, and different installations for various projects.
Photos by ISA ISA Floral.
Here are some of Sophia’s tips and tricks to create something special for the ones you hold close.
Colors & Considerations
Creating something with feeling is a good foundation when arranging. Playing with color and thinking about the person you’re gifting flowers to: What are their favorite colors? Are there flowers that are sentimental for them? Did they grow up somewhere that poppies bloomed, or did they live near the ocean where there were a lot of palms or grasses?
Thinking about aspects like this makes it fun and personable to the one receiving the bouquet. If you decide to create your own, visiting your local flower shop and picking blooms that you love and are drawn to as an authentic expression of your love. What reminds you of your loved one or how she makes you feel?
If you’re arranging a bouquet, giving things dimension with contrast and different heights. Using dry grasses as the canvas of your bouquet allows the juicy flowers to pop in their vibrancy. Utilizing the color wheel and working with complimentary colors is another option if you want to be precise with the arrangement.
Walking with the Wildflowers
Taking a stroll and intentionally picking things is so sweet and perhaps the most special. It has your energy infused into it by taking the time to be present and gather a bouquet that feels personal and authentic.
Flowers from a walk can be sustainable; you just have to be mindful of what you’re picking. It’s wise to do a bit of research to discover what’s invasive in your area where picking these blooms could actually be helpful to the land. Invasive species could be taking up a lot of space where native plants normally would grow but at the same time we want to ensure we aren’t picking something that is limited to the area.
Depending on where you live, exploring what’s in season and what’s safe to cut. In California, for example, you can’t pick wild poppies but you can cut so many other things like wild mustard, wild radish, and many other beautiful plants.
Finding a special vessel to place your bouquet in is another way to make the gift personal to the receiver. Even just a bundle of lilacs is so beautiful in the springtime and then placing the main focus on finding the vessel to hold them in. Looking at what you love and what the recipient loves and creating something that feels genuine from there.
Gifting someone a beautiful pair of metal shears along with the bouquet that will last for decades holds the idea of passing them down for years to come. They can be sharpened for continued use and also look lovely. I was recently spending time with a friend who’s a gardener and his friend had gifted him his grandmother’s clippers-it’s like an heirloom to pass down for years to come.
Buying flowers at your local farmers market is a good option because often they have organically grown material and it’s always in season so it’s not traveling far to get to you, lessening the carbon footprint. Although it’s hard to be fully sustainable with flowers given that they’re flown in from all over the world and require a lot of water, this is an opportunity to support smaller florists who work seasonally in their practices. Thinking about what’s the least amount of impact, buying flowers that are grown locally is the best option.
Beautiful Spring Blooms & Combinations
I love to pair anything with Jasmine this time of year. It has the most beautiful and aromatic smell. Pairing jasmine with grasses like milky oats is whimsical and fun. Foraging nasturtium is plentiful this time of year and working with scented blooms like hyacinth is a way to add effortless aromatics. Ranunculus and all of the blooming branches that are only in-season for a few months like the cherry blossoms, dogwood, and acacia pair lovely with jasmine.
A material my team and I have been using lately is called the Chinaberry Tree and the flowers smell incredible. If you’re unsure, stick with two to three elements and create a base with those, or you could do the opposite and have one of every flower. Make it fun and unexpected, give the bouquet some personality.
Photos by ISA ISA Floral.
Care & Technique
The basics: check the water daily and ensure that the stems are still underwater, because flowers are still alive and they drink the water fast in the Spring. Add a splash of fresh water everyday, or change the water if you’d like. You can take out any blooms that have died or that are molding; the more you cater to it daily the longer you can make it last.
When working with spring branches, after you cut the branch, hammer the tip of the branch stem to mash it down. This gives the base of the stem more surface area to drink water. Smashing it almost gives it a fresh cut because if you cut it without mashing the base it almost seals up.
Whether it’s a peaceful stroll in nature to collect things that speak to you, or visiting your local florist to artfully curate a bouquet that ignites the senses, there’s many ways to express your love for the motherly figures in your life. This is a time to move with the season of spring and to tune into the natural world around you to create something beautiful.