While Megan McHugh and Denise Richter have backgrounds in poetry and fashion, respectively, it was their green thumbs that brought them together. Richter, who met her business partner while working with the Edible Schoolyard program, says, "The beauty of tending school gardens is that we always had flowers. They're important for teaching about life cycles and pollinators and all of that."
Both women are passionate about educating young palates and minds, but these days, they're focused on their New Orleans-based floral business, Pistil & Stamen Flower Farm & Studio. Not afraid to get their hands dirty, this duo is growing their own blooms and creating whimsical, organic designs that mix in homegrown elements like berries, herbs, and foliage. Here, they teach us how anyone can bring seasonal beauty into the home in four fast, easy-to-follow steps.
Choose an opaque, rather than clear, vase to hide messy stems. Form a loose ball from a 5- by 5-inch piece of chicken wire, and then insert it into the vessel.
Use foliage as the filler in the vase. Here, a mix of coleus, tomato stalks, and amaranth provides structure and a base for the floral arrangement.
Remove the leaves from the lower parts of the stems, because they can make the arrangement require more water and then decay and contaminate the clean liquid.
Give the bouquet form and shape by adding large, lush blooms. "Café au Lait" dahlias and "Cherokee Sunset" coneflowers take center stage here.