The Big Reveal: 2024 Botanical Couture

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You’re invited to download and share these beautiful graphic badges for social media. Please right-click to download. Tag the designer, flower farmer and photographer (see credits that follow each item in the collection).

Use @slowflowerssociety and #americanflowersweek tags!

Poppy State of Mind

Poppy State of Mind by Jenny M. Diaz
Poppy State of Mind by Jenny M. Diaz (Landscape Scaled)
Poppy State of Mind (Square Badge)
Poppy State of Mind (Square Badge)
Poppy State of Mind (Portrait Scaled)
Poppy State of Mind (Portrait Scaled)
Poppy State of Mind (Story Scaled)
Poppy State of Mind (Story Scaled)

DESIGN + CONCEPT:
Jenny M. Diaz, Jenny M. Diaz Design, @jennymdiaz
PHOTOGRAPHY + EDITING: Jenny M. Diaz
FLOWER SOURCES:
CamFlor Inc., Watsonville, California, camflor.com | @camflorinc
MODEL: Kara Trukki, @luckytrukk1
VENUE: Shaver Lake, California


Past and Present

Past and Present by Alanna Messner-Scholl of Waverly Flower Co.
Past and Present by Alanna Messner-Scholl of Waverly Flower Co. (Landscape Scaled)
Past and Present (Square Scaled)
Past and Present (Square Scaled)
Past and Present (Portrait Scaled)
Past and Present (Portrait Scaled)
Past and Present (Story Scaled)
Past and Present (Story Scaled)

DESIGN + CONCEPT:
Alanna Messner-Scholl, Waverly Flower Co., waverlyflowerco.com@waverlyflowerco
FLOWER SOURCES: Waverly Flower Co., Schwenksville, Pennsylvania
PHOTOGRAPHER: Ashley Meier, ashleymeierphotography.com, @ashleymeier26
MODEL: Lindsey Gerstlauer, @lindseygerstlauer
VENUE: Life’s Patina at Willowbrook Farm, lifespatina.com@lifes.patina_willowbrookfarm
MAKEUP: Ashley Novak, Glam on Demand, glamondemand.com@glamondemand
VINTAGE CAR: Little Figgie, @littlefiggie


Strands of Gold

Strands of Gold, by Hannah Muller of Full Belly Farm (Portrait )
Strands of Gold, by Hannah Muller of Full Belly Farm (Portrait )
Strands of Gold, by Hannah Muller of Full Belly Farm (Square Scaled)
Strands of Gold, by Hannah Muller of Full Belly Farm (Square Scaled)
Strands of Gold, by Hannah Muller of Full Belly Farm (Portrait Scaled)
Strands of Gold, by Hannah Muller of Full Belly Farm (Portrait Scaled)
Strands of Gold, by Hannah Muller of Full Belly Farm (Story Scaled)
Strands of Gold, by Hannah Muller of Full Belly Farm (Story Scaled)

DESIGN + CONCEPT:
Hannah Muller, Full Belly Farm, @wreathroom@farmerhands
PHOTOGRAPHY: Elliot Schoenig
FLOWER SOURCES:
Full Belly Farm, @full_belly_farm
MODEL: Hannah Muller
VENUE: Full Belly Farm, Guinda, California


Unwritten

Unwritten, by Niesha Blancas of Fetching Social Media (Landscape Scaled)
Unwritten, by Niesha Blancas of Fetching Social Media (Landscape Scaled)
Unwritten (Square Scaled)
Unwritten (Square Scaled)
Unwritten (Story Scaled)
Unwritten (Story Scaled)
Unwritten (Portrait Scaled)
Unwritten (Portrait Scaled)

DESIGN + CONCEPT: Niesha Blancas, Fetching Social, @fetchingsocial
DESIGN ASSISTANT: Ana Quinata
FLORAL SOURCE: CamFlor Inc., Watsonville, California, camflor.com | @camflorinc
MODELS: Niesha Blancas, Rami Blancas
PHOTOGRAPHY + EDITING: Ana Quinata + Niesha Blancas


Masquerade

Masquerade by Linda Spradlin of In the Garden Flower Farm (Landscape Scaled)
Masquerade by Linda Spradlin of In the Garden Flower Farm (Landscape Scaled)
Masquerade (Portrait Scaled)
Masquerade (Portrait Scaled)
Masquerade (Square Scaled)
Masquerade (Square Scaled)
Masquerade (Story Scaled)
Masquerade (Story Scaled)

DESIGN + CONCEPT: Linda Spradlin, In the Garden Flower Farm, @inthegardenflowerfarm
DESIGN ASSISTANT: Nan Matteson, Queen City Flower Farm, @queencityflowerfarm
FLORAL CONTRIBUTIONS: In The Garden Flower Farm, Queen City Flower Farm, City Farm Studio,            CCS Blooms, The Flower Lady OTR, Maygical Garden
CamFlor Inc., Watsonville, California, camflor.com | @camflorinc
MODEL: Ericka Leighton-Spradlin
PHOTOGRAPHY: Zachary Spradlin
VENUE: In The Garden Flower Farm, Seven Mile, Ohio


We’re so excited to share this just-released story from CA Grown, the agricultural marketing and branding agency that promotes California’s crops — including cut flowers! It tells the story of Jenny M. Diaz, our Slow Flowers Society graphic designer, who also provides design services to CA Grown.

Jenny has designed four botanical couture looks for American Flowers Week – she’s a multi-media artist who fell in love with our campaign years ago and who has contributed some incredibly beautiful floral fashions over the years. This year, her friends at CA Grown asked to join in the fun. In addition to their story, the agency will also share social media posts during American Flowers Week (June 28-July 1). You can follow CA Grown here.

Flower Power American Flowers Week and Jenny M. Diaz on CA Grown's blog
Flower Power American Flowers Week and Jenny M. Diaz on CA Grown’s blog

The 2024 American Flowers Week artwork was created exclusively for Slow Flowers Society by Lesley Goren, an illustrator and designer whose work focuses on the natural environment.

Lesley Goren self-portrait
Lesley Goren, self portrait

Lesley Goren is interested in “place,” be it the woods, the city, or somewhere in between. Her work depicts the beauty of California’s natural environments, and uses informational illustrations to explain plant life and fire ecology. She loves using images and text to make ideas more accessible, while her contemporary and lively drawings are scientifically accurate.

We first connected with Lesley in 2021 after following her on social media and falling in love with her focus on native plants, wildlife, and ecology. It’s taken a few years to pull things off, but we’re thrilled that Lesley was available to create our 2024 original American Flowers Week illustration.

No Need to Roam for LA Times Plants
No Need to Roam for LA Times Plants

Lesley has shown and sold her work in galleries, boutiques, and park visitor centers throughout California and beyond. She creates custom illustrations for clients, especially in the environmental-based nonprofit sector. She also creates commissioned art for clients and collectors. Lesley resides in Ventura County, California.

Square Post or Badge for American Flowers Week 2024
Lesley Goren’s illustration for American Flowers Week 2024

We love how Lesley thoughtfully research native flowering annuals and perennials “across America,” which supports one of our important insights for 2024. 

Recently, our founder Debra Prinzing connected with Lesley to discuss her story and her relationship with flowers and nature.

AFW: Lesley, can you describe how your studio started focusing on art inspired by nature?
LG: I found my niche working with native plants, but I was also doing logo design, surface design, and illustrations. I was doing so many different things, but over the past year, I have started saying “no” to many. It was a little scary, but it has been really good to do it. In the end, I feel that it’s better to be good and true at who and what you are.

AFW: What got you started down this path?
LG: I’ve always had art-related jobs, but I was usually someone’s assistant – architectural restoration, decorative painting, digital arts. After I became a mom, the idea was that I would go back to work when my children were both in school. I assumed I would find something similar to my past jobs, but I really wanted to start my own studio. My life was about the natural world, the environment, native plants, gardening, being out on the trails, so I decided to align my personal and ideological selves with my professional self – and it just clicked in a way that my work never had before.

AFW: What were some of your first projects?
LG: It started very small. I was printing my own cards and it got to the point where I’d be up at three in the morning trying to keep up with orders. I took lots of baby steps, like having the cards professional printed. Then people started hiring me for client projects. That pace has continued for the past five years.

California Classics for LA Times Plants; Poster design for The Center for Early Education
California Classics for LA Times Plants; Poster design for The Center for Early Education

AFW: Can you point to a specific project that shifted your focus to native plants?
LG: Yes, the California Native Plant Society contacted me two or three years ago. They needed a logo for their “Bloom California” campaign, which was aimed at getting more growers and nurseries in California to grow native plants.

AFW: How do you approach your client commissions?
LG: Generally, unless a client has something very specific, the easiest way for me to start is to select the color palette. Once I have that, I’ll pick the plant species based on those colors. For example, right now, I’m working on something that includes blue, purple, orange, and creamy white. The design includes milkweed, poppies, goldfields, lupins, and baby blue eyes. I’ll then block out a composition based on those colors and research the flowers so I can make sure they’re scientifically accurate, even through the illustration is going to be stylized.
Working with a mood board with reference images and colors, I’ll move on to the line drawings. From there, I’ll send a loose sketch and color palette to the client. Once we have those elements figured out, I start refining the drawing and basically, I “digitally paint” it.

AFW: When you say “sketch,” are you still using a pen or pencil, or can you do that digitally?
LG: I use Procreate, which is an illustration app on the iPad, and draw with an Apple pencil. Of course, it doesn’t feel like paper, because it’s a glass surface, but besides that, it’s very similar to drawing on paper. It’s just a faster process. If a client asks me to move three flowers to the bottom of the illustration, it’s literally a two-second change. For a hand-drawing, that would be a lot more work.

AFW: Do you miss hand-drawing?
LG: It’s super important to continue doing it – even if not for a client project. Hand-drawing keeps your skills sharp and fresh as an artist, so it will always be part of my practice, even if not for a specific design.

AFW: If you’re out on a hike, are you mainly using the camera on your phone to snap images of real wildflowers or do you take a little sketch pad with you?
LG: I draw the plants. I love drawing from nature even if it’s something no one else ever sees. It’s such a meditative process that teaches you a lot more about plants. There’s only so much you can see from a photo, but when you can get around a plant and see it from all angles, even smell its scent, you just have a different tactile experience with it.

AFW: You talk like a botanist! Have you researched and studied the plants you illustrate?
LG: Yes, I’m reading a lot and trying to go to in-person events that are led by botanists

AFW: Do you consider yourself a botanical illustrator?
LG: It’s a little different. There are so many people who draw similar plants that I draw, but they tend to have more of a traditional watercolor style, which is so beautiful. But I am setting out to do something a lot more design-forward and contemporary. It would be meaningless if I didn’t have the science behind it, though.

Superbloom Bandana design for Theodore Payne Foundation; Map Sticker for Rivers & Lands Conservancy
Superbloom Bandana design for Theodore Payne Foundation; Map Sticker for Rivers & Lands Conservancy

AFW: Yes, your work feels very contemporary, but retro at the same time.
LG: Yes, I’m constantly looking at inspiration from the turn of the last century to the 1970s and 1980s. I love looking at old World War II posters and victory garden era images from the 1940s. I take different color palettes and bring them more into the contemporary environment.

AFW: Other than your American Flowers Week illustration, can you share about some of your recent or current projects?
LG: Right now I’m working on an illustration for Los Angeles Times Plants’ digital feed. The project is about how “all blooms are super.” Another project is with a landscape architecture firm.

AFW: We’re excited to see those pieces! Let’s talk about your wallpaper designs, too!
LG: I’ve created wallpaper for the gallery space at Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers and Native Plants. It coordinated with my display of small digital paintings. Also, I recently designed wallpaper for an architect that was installed in a beautiful Craftsman home.

AFW: What motivates you as an artist, Lesley?
LG: I’m sometimes asked, “What can you possibly do with the plants you’re drawing?” And I think my objective is just that you can’t have a connection to something if you don’t know it. Maybe someone will send one of my cards to a friend and the friend thinks it’s a cute drawing. But then, they turn it around and read the plant name, maybe even the Latin name. And the next time they’re out on the trail, they see the plant and recognize it.
Whether it’s really small-scale or more obvious, my mission is helping other people with their mission.

AFW: Tell us about your own garden!
LG: When we moved here, the previous owner had made this unbelievable garden that I could tell was a passion project with about 40 roses. But as I’ve learned about gardening, over time, I started replacing those plants that were high-water-use with drought-tolerant plants. With the help of Nicole Calhoun, of Artemisia Nursery in Los Angeles, we’ve converted the front of our house to native plants. And all these little baby natives now are taking off!

DOWNLOAD Social Media badges of our 2025 American Flowers Week artwork by Lesley Goren

Click below for the full list of native plants featured in Lesley’s artwork.



Square Post or Badge for American Flowers Week 2024
2024 American Flowers Week Branding
by Artist Lesley Goren

We’re thrilled to unveil the 2024 American Flowers Week branding, created exclusively for Slow Flowers Society by Lesley Goren

Lesley Goren is an artist and illustrator interested in “place,” be it the woods, the city, or somewhere in between. She creates original work depicting the beauty of California’s natural environments, as well as informational illustrations explaining plant and fire ecology. Her drawings are contemporary and lively while remaining scientifically accurate. She loves using images and text to make ideas more accessible. 

Lesley has shown and sold her work in galleries, boutiques, and park visitor centers throughout California and beyond. She creates custom illustrations for clients, especially in the environmental-based nonprofit sector. She also creates commissioned art for clients and collectors. Lesley resides in Ventura County, California. 

We first connected with Lesley in 2021 after following her on social media and falling in love with her focus on native plants, wildlife, and ecology. It’s taken a few years to make this work, but we’re thrilled that Lesley was available to create this original American Flowers Week illustration shown above! 

We love how Lesley thoughtfully research native flowering annuals and perennials “across America,” which supports one of our important insights for 2024.  

Our designer Jenny M. Diaz has added American Flowers Week branding to Lesley’s illustration for your social media use. We hope you use these graphics to show your support of American Flowers Week — it’s not too early to start sharing the joy of native American flowers!

Botanical Couture Inspiration From Across America

Slow Flowers Society will commission at least FIVE Floral Couture Looks for our 2024 American Flowers Week Collection. If you’ve been thinking about contributing, NOW is the time to commit!

We’re soliciting proposals from farmer-florist creative teams for this campaign. Those submitting must be active Slow Flowers members. Consideration will be made for new regions and botanical elements not previously featured. We have a special focus on inclusion and representation!


Fanciful headpieces worn by models in the “Fleurs et Couture” runway show

Hat Day by Evelyn Frolking of Studio Artiflora
Hat Day by Evelyn Frolking of Studio Artiflora

Design by Evelyn Frolking, Studio Artiflora, Granville, Ohio
artifloragranville.com, @artifloragranville.com
Photography by Shellee Fisher

Evelyn Frolking (left) with her Hat Day models
Evelyn Frolking (left) with her Hat Day models, Karin Stump and Dani Rosler

For the 22nd Hat Day gala to benefit the Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus, Ohio, Evelyn Frolking, a Slow Flowers member and owner of Studio Artiflora in Granville, Ohio,, styled two fanciful headpieces worn by models in “Fleurs et Couture” runway show on May 5, 2023.

Hat Day 2023
Hat Day 2023
Evelyn with her models on the runway
Evelyn Frolking on the runway, with her models

The event, attended by more than 600 supporters, raised in excess of $475,000 in support of the Conservatory’s pre-K and K-12 education and outreach. To acknowledge Hat Day’s ultimate beneficiaries, each of twelve participating designers was asked to create two hats associated with a key word attached to programming for children. “I was given the word ‘connect,’ so you may notice that each of my headpieces has a point of connection to another part of the body, the waist or wrist,” Evelyn explained. “I was also assigned the colors red and pink, primarily.” Within those parameters, she designed two chic styles that exemplify local and domestic botanicals.

Hat Day 2023 with tulips

I was given the word ‘connect,’ so you may notice that each of my headpieces has a point of connection to another part of the body, the waist or wrist.

Evelyn Frolking, Studio Artiflora

Large red anthuriums are focal flowers for the  headpiece, worn by Karin Stump, and built on a sisal-wire structure. Other elements included pink hypericum, burgundy amaranth, and sweet huck, which soared high above the model’s head. Curled red cane accents the design and trails from the headpiece to connect with a striking, heart-shaped anthurium at her waist.

The second piece, worn by Dani Rosler, features tulips from the Studio Artiflora garden, attached to a wire and honeysuckle vine structure to drape in an asymmetrical fashion beyond the model’s shoulders. Evelyn harvested from her crop of 800 specialty tulips, which typically supplies a seasonal subscription service. Accent flowers included asters, eucalyptus, and string of pearls, the connecting element to a bronze wrist cuff. “The piece was not particularly lightweight and was a bit of a challenge to secure,” Evelyn said. “The models were conservatory volunteers who had never worn such a ‘hat’ before, so they needed to learn to balance their headpieces before zipping down the runways and doing spins!”

DESIGN + CONCEPT:
Evelyn Frolking, Studio Artiflora
FLOWER SOURCES:
Studio Artiflora, Granville, Ohio. Dreisbach Wholesale Florists
VENUE: Franklin Park Conservatory, Columbus, Ohio

A floral wrap jacket with two sources of inspiration

Urban Secret Garden by Nan Matteson of Queen City Flower Farm and Linda Spradlin of In the Garden Flower Farm
Urban Secret Garden by Nan Matteson of Queen City Flower Farm and Linda Spradlin of In the Garden Flower Farm

Design by Nan Matteson, Queen City Flower Farm
Cincinnati, Ohio
Linda Spradlin, In the Garden Flower Farm
Seven Mile, Ohio
Photography by Jill Bader @jillmbader

“The urge to grow can take root anywhere,” says Nan Matteson of Queen City Flower Farm, a devoted city gardener. “Pick your city. If you’re walking down the street you might get a glimpse of a private garden, seen from an alley or through a gateway.”

vintage Japanese firefighter's coat
One source of inspiration: a vintage Japanese firefighter’s coat
1920s women's coats with fur collars
1920s women’s coats with fur collars

The idea of a pocket garden led Nan Matteson and fellow grower Linda Spralin of In the Garden Flower Farm to create a wrap jacket with two inspirations — a shawl collar composed of dried botanicals to suggest a 1920s fur-collared woman’s coat and a 19th century Japanese firefighter kimono, often, traditionally, only a plain garment with a decorative textile lining.

I just love the whole concept of a guardian inside the fireman’s coat, providing protection even if you didn’t know it was there.

Nan Matteson, Queen City Flower Farm
Urban Secret Garden for American Flowers Week 2023
Urban Secret Garden for American Flowers Week 2023

The coat, sewn by Nan from a pattern she adapted, has a sky blue lining against which a spring flower garden is displayed — a secret border rooted in small, moss-covered bags that provide a water source at the hemline. “I just love the whole concept of a guardian inside the fireman’s coat, providing protection even if you didn’t know it was there,” she says, smiling. Similarly, the flower-lined garment illustrates how much our gardens can provide a sense of comfort and protection — even if we’re the only ones who see them.  

Dried flowers collar detail by Linda Spradlin

DESIGN + CONCEPT:
Nan Matteson, @queencityflowerfarm and Linda Spradlin, @inthegardenflowerfarm 

FLOWER SOURCES:
Collar: Dried amaranthus, craspedia, love-in-the-mist, celosia (plume and crested) scabiosa, gomphrena, spirea, dock, foraged grasses.
Secret Garden: redbud, tulip, bluebell, daffodil, hyacinth, hellebore, columbine, moss. All flowers grown by the designers.

MODEL: Carmen Sanders @Carmen.sanders3

VENUE: Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, Ohio, @cincyartmuseum

Men in bloom for American Flowers Week, with a nod to Neverland

Flowers in His Hair by Sarah Wagstaff of SUOT Farm + Flowers

Design by Sarah Wagstaff, SUOT Farm & Flowers, suotfarmandflowers.com, @suotfarm
Burlington, Washington
Photography by Cecily Gubitosi Photography, @cecilygubitosiphotography

Flowers grown and designed by Sarah Wagstaff of SUOT Farm + Flowers
Flowers grown and designed by Sarah Wagstaff of SUOT Farm + Flowers

Sarah Wagstaff of SUOT Farm + Flowers wanted to flip the script on who wears flowers and so she recruited her husband Keith Chaplin, their 8-year-old son Huck Chaplin, and Steve Hayes, a willing friend, to model her creations for a American Flowers Week celebration.

A nod to Neverland
A nod to Neverland

Dressing adult men and a younger boy with botanicals reminds Sarah of Peter Pan and Captain Hook. “Remember when Pan comes back to Neverland after he becomes a grownup and has forgotten how to be childlike? That’s a story within us all,” she says. “I wanted to remember and recognize the child within each of us, especially in men.

Sarah wanted to attach flowers to every part of Steve’s body — his head, shoulders, neck, chest, back, arms, wrists, fingers, and legs. The botanical headpiece, a sunray shape, extends around neck and shoulders, covers his shirt, and fills the chest pocket. She used eyelash adhesive to glue flowers to his skin and wrapped his shoulders and arms with a 20-foot-floral boa fabricated from cedar boughs, tulips, peonies, and other cuts from her farm.

Bejeweled with blooms
Huck, the designer’s son, bejeweled with blooms
Flowers in his Beard - and more.
Flowers in his Beard – and more.

For her son Huck, whose interest in the project peaked when photographer Cecily Gubitosi encouraged him to take a few photos with her camera, Sarah devised a floral mohawk headpiece (a nod to Rufio), wrapped his wrists with floral cuffs, and donned his fingers with floral rings. “It’s really beautiful to watch him developing this connection with the world of gardens and plants, because I helped to cultivate it, too.”

I really wanted to use male figures leaning into this aspect of botanical couture . . . to show how flowers can be gender bending.

Sarah Wagstaff, SUOT Farm + Flowers

In the final moments of the photo session, which took place at SUOT Farm + Flowers, Sarah’s husband Keith agreed to model a floral headpiece and have his beard flowered. “I often feel like flowers are assigned a feminine trait, but they don’t have to be gender related,” Sarah says.

DESIGN + CONCEPT: Sarah Wagstaff, SUOT Farm & Flowers, @suotfarm
DESIGN ASSISTANCE: Olivia Yates O’Donnell, FloravoreNW, @floravorenw
FLOWER SOURCES:
SUOT Farm & Flowers: Tulips, peonies, frittilaria, ranunculus, poppies, daffodils, ferns, Spanish blue bells, bleeding heart, alliums, lilac, violas, hellebores, forget-me-nots, grasses, ivy, cedar, clematis, bones/shells
MODELS: Steve Hayes, Keith Chaplin, Huck Chaplin
VENUE: SUOT Farm & Flowers, Burlington, Washington, @suotfarm

A medley of pink and orange botanicals covers the skirt with bold bands of marigolds and a floral pattern of lisianthus, celosia, sunflowers, and snapdragons.

Cutting Garden Couture by Blair Roberts Lynn of Sweet Blossoms
Cutting Garden Couture by Blair Roberts Lynn of Sweet Blossoms

Design by Blair Roberts Lynn, Sweet Blossoms, sweetblossomsllc.com@thesweetblossoms
Ijamsville, Maryland
Photography by Kirsten Smith Photography, @kirstensmithphotography

Sweet Blossoms designer Blair Roberts Lynn on location with her 2023 Botanical Couture design
Sweet Blossoms designer Blair Roberts Lynn on location with her 2023 Botanical Couture design
Sweet Blossoms mood board for creative inspiration
Sweet Blossoms mood board for creative inspiration

Blair Roberts Lynn is an experienced wedding and event florist whose feminine, two-piece floral ensemble expresses her affection for seasonal and local flowers.

I feel passionately about local flowers and I loved being able to highlight what Tom and Sarah are growing at Grateful Gardeners.

Blair Roberts Lynn, Sweet Blossoms LLC
Grateful Gardeners' dahlias in the field and on the gown
Grateful Gardeners’ dahlias in the field and on the gown

Her friends Sarah Daken and Tom Precht contributed flowers from their farm and invited Blair and photographer Kirsten Smith to use Grateful Gardeners’ fields as the photography setting. Blair cut mop head hydrangeas from her own garden to fashion a delicate bandeau top covered in tiny florets. A full-length skirt is finished with hydrangea foliage and ostrich fern at the waist; Annabelle hydrangeas form a ruffle at the hips and Limelight hydrangeas trim the hem and flirty slit.

The vivid floral pattern epitomizes the best of late summer cutting garden beauty
The vivid floral pattern epitomizes the best of late summer cutting garden beauty

A medley of pink and orange botanicals covers the remaining skirt silhouette, including bold bands of marigolds and a floral pattern of lisianthus, celosia, sunflowers, and snapdragons. Dinner plate dahlias dance across this colorful floral background to finish the look.

DESIGN + CONCEPT:
Blair Lynn, Sweet Blossoms, sweetblossomsllc.com@thesweetblossoms
FLOWER SOURCES:
Dahlias, Lisianthus, Marigolds, Celosia, Ostrich Fern, Snapdragons, Hydrangea (Grateful Gardeners, @grateful_gardeners); Hydrangea blooms and foliage (Sweet Blossoms, @thesweetblossoms)
MODEL: Tanya Ferrell
HAIR + MAKEUP: Tanya Ferrell
VENUE: Grateful Gardeners Farm, Poolesville, Maryland, @grateful_gardeners

A sunflower petal bodice flows into a flared skirt embellished with flower heads

Tú tienes mi corazón, designed by Niesha Blancas of Fetching Social Media

Design and Photography by Niesha Blancas, Fetching Social Media, @nieshamonay
Fresno, California

Slow Flowers Society’s social media manager Niesha Blancas is not a florist or a grower, but she is a fashionista, having graduated from California State University Fresno with a B.S. in Fashion Merchandising. Niesha brings both talent and heart to her floral fashion this year, her third contribution to American Flowers Week’s botanical couture collection.

The strapless full-length gown, an upcycled Jessica McClintock prom dress that Niesha thrifted for $2, features a bodice covered in sunflower petals that flows into a flared skirt embellished with flower heads — strawflowers, pincushion proteas, yarrows, sunflowers, and craspedia Billy balls. Pointed flames are outlined by deconstructed yarrow and yellow-orange sunflower petals. “This dress was easily 40 pounds,” Niesha laughed. Fortunately, her friend Irys Jazmin Flores was up for the modeling assignment.

Niesha’s inspiration was highly personal, as she revisited childhood memories of growing up in a small Fresno community called Calwa. “I lived there until I was in sixth grade. My late father was born and raised in Calwa; my grandma had her house there.” For the photography venue, Niesha chose the Calwa playground where she remembered climbing an iconic rocket ship play structure as a kid.


This year’s theme is an homage to my childhood and my love of Chicano culture, which my dad introduced me to while growing up. Calwa is populated by many Hispanic farm workers, and I wanted to give this place my love.

American Flowers Week 2023 Botanical Couture by Niesha Blancas of Fetching Social Media
American Flowers Week Botanical Couture design and photography by Niesha Blancas
American Flowers Week Botanical Couture design and photography by Niesha Blancas
Fetching Social Media Niesha Blancas Botanical Couture for American Flowers Week 2023

The love is symbolized by a Corazón (Heart), which Niesha displays as the Sacred Heart, created with red alstroemeria petals layered over a heart-shaped piece of chicken wire. Its “flames” are made with green acuba foliage, a botanical element that also has appeared in Niesha’s previous botanical couture looks. “I intended for my dress to bring life back into this dull community, and serve as the heart of this neighborhood that I love,” she explained. “It was important to use bright and colorful flowers, especially yellow ones to convey my concept.”

This stunning gown gains authenticity from Niesha’s styling, prop selection, and accessory choices. “The sacred heart reflects the Chicano heritage, but so does the lowrider car, which I knew I wanted for my photography.” She put out the call and a friend’s brother who is involved in California car culture helped her find and borrow “Purple Haze,” a dazzling magenta Cadillac, completely suited with gold-rimmed wheels and custom detailing. “I could not have envisioned a more perfect car for this photoshoot, especially when it comes down to the littlest details.”

Accessories are also a nod to her Chicano culture, from the model’s Ray Bans, the oversized bamboo hoops and gold jewelry, to the pair of Nike Cortez sneakers. “Before heading to our photoshoot location in Calwa, we stopped at the local corner market for some last-minute props. I brainstormed many different Mexican snacks and settled with two of my go-tos — a Mandarin Jarrito and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Once we finished with the photo shoot, we realized we had forgotten to incorporate them. But then my model started snacking on them, and I realized how truly perfect they were for my story.” Of course, as both designer and photographer, she captured that perfect moment on camera.

DESIGN + CONCEPT:
Niesha Blancas, Fetching Social Media, Fetching Social Media, @nieshamonay
FLOWER SOURCES:
CamFlor Inc., Watsonville, California, @camflorinc
MODEL: Irys Jazmin Flores, @irysjazmin
HAIR + MAKEUP: Irys Jazmin Flores
VENUE: Calwa Park, Fresno, California, calwarecreation.org
DESIGN ASSISTANCE: Ana Quinata, @anaquinata