Prepare for some serious “avant-gardening”—an intriguing but apt introduction for the lineup of unique floral arrangements I feature today. It was uttered by the host of the Netflix battle of the blooms series The Big Flower Fight, where floral artists, landscape architects, and gardeners compete against and outdo each other. I am totally obsessed with this show.
It’s true that creativity knows no bounds. Locally, we have fabulous floral designers who can go beyond the traditional or expected, and come up with refreshing creations that are extraordinary.
Growing up, my mother would buy fresh flowers and create arrangements that she would scatter around the house. I didn’t realize it when I was younger, but being surrounded by beautiful flowers just elevates one’s mood.
Later on, I would occasionally attempt to make my own floral bouquets and tabletops. I wasn’t schooled and had no formal training, so I did it freestyle. This influence extended to my sister Cindy, who made the bouquets and table arrangements for her own wedding years ago. I remember accompanying her to the San Francisco flower market to personally pick the blooms. It’s such a sweet memory. I equate the positive aura emanating from blooms with good vibes. I would go even as far as saying that flowers plus creativity equals happiness. But we don’t have to stop at flowers; we can go beyond them and it will still be amazing.
Here are four delightful floral, farming and garden enthusiasts exhibiting their interesting and even fun arrangements that will surely make you smile.
Stephanie Coyiuto Tay
Founder, Fig and Vine Floral Studio
Aside from traditional floral arrangements, Fig and Vine Floral Studio has unique novelties such as floral video boxes, preserved arrangements, and lighted centerpieces. What caught my eye were their lovely glass domes. They are so pretty and remind me of vintage Victorian glass-encased decor. Some of their glass domes include lights that illuminate the florals in the dark, and even have a built-in Bluetooth speaker to play your favorite tunes. Talk about innovation! They do bespoke creations for their clients as well, such as creating the perfect proposal bouquet, congratulatory arrangements, and other personal celebrations. Their floral artists love working for the needs and requirements of their clients. They also arrange tablescapes for small gatherings.
According to Stephanie Coyiuto Tay, “Fresh flowers themselves are my inspiration. We try to create floral arrangements where the blooms stand out. Since our floral studio is within our furniture showroom, floralscapes that work well with homes is also a design inspiration.”
Their favorite flowers to work with are ranunculus, English roses, peonies, tulips, and proteas, because “their beauty and elegance are unparalleled.”
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Maye Araneta Gutierrez
Vegetable stylist/florist, Edible Blooms by Maye
At the height of COVID, health was the primary concern of everyone. It still is. Furthermore, the WHO stated that 25% of the population experienced anxiety and depression.
Edible Blooms by Maye was conceptualized as a curative answer to these needs. More importantly, it is a social enterprise under UrbanFarmers.Ph which was founded by her entrepreneur husband, Louie Gutierrez. A part of the proceeds of its sales go towards sustaining urban farms in BGC and Makati. With the motto “To Spread Happy, Healthy Vibes,” Maye Araneta Gutierrez says, “What makes my creation unique is that it serves three purposes. The artistic arrangement makes an attractive home decoration, the healthy vegetables can be cooked for consumption, and the foliage, which is already planted on the soiled terracotta pot, can be grown or replanted in the backyard. As a farmer and vegetable stylist, I make sure that everything is put to good use.”
So instead of sending the usual flowers, these nutritious arrangements make for a practical gift. According to Maye, she mostly uses vegetables and edible flowers harvested from their farm, the Urban Farmers of Bel-Air. “My favorite vegetable would be the unique, flower-shaped heirloom tomato as it brightens the overall look. I also like using basil buds and oregano leaves because they give off a fresh herb fragrance. The contrasting shapes, colors, and texture of the vegetables when put together produce a surprisingly beautiful effect. All my designs are one-of-a-kind depending on the harvest, and my artistic mood at that moment.”
Her creations are grouped according to the seasons: The Colors of Autumn (rustic browns, sunset orange, and fallen leaves), The Colors of Spring (fresh greens, lemon yellow, rich purples), and The Colors of Summer (with edible flowers like marigold and hibiscus buds).
Though 99% of her customers give her a free hand with the design of the arrangements, sometimes she gets requests for bespoke creations. “Once, I was asked to create an all-white ensemble and I called it The Color of Winter. My second bespoke was when I got a request to make an extra-large arrangement for a celebrity. The total weight was over 100 pounds, and three men were called to lift it.”
For personal requests, two weeks’ notice is recommended. Sending a vegetable arrangement is truly a gift of health and happiness.
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Edible Blooms by Maye is available at Urban Farmers of Bel-Air, Comet St., Bel-Air Village 2, Makati City. Contact nos. are 0920-9030992, 0920-9665679, or you can visit their website , follow on Facebook and Instagram.
Judith Zapanta Berenguer-Testa
Owner/manager, Floriade, Inc.
Floriade’s aesthetics when it comes to flower arrangements adheres to more modern and contemporary designs. At the helm of the flower shop is Judith Zapanta Berenguer-Testa, who says, “We are a big believer in using organic material like twigs, vines, leaves. We believe that it is possible to incorporate a modern look, while at the same time using as many materials from nature as possible. We also do a lot or research on the latest styles that are being presented internationally, and see how we can reinterpret them while adding our own signature touches.”
Their funeral wreaths definitely stand out in wakes. The wreaths are lush but elegant, understated, and dignified. Interesting arrangements they make are fruit and flower baskets, for which they work with the fruits in season. It is a lovely and practical gift.
Since it is summer, they create luscious mango baskets. A fun arrangement is their “booze basket.” These arrangements were (and still are) in demand during the height of COVID and the multiple imposed lockdowns.
I asked Judith why they created the booze basket, and she said that it is difficult to give purely flowers to men. By adding a bottle of wine, vodka, or a drink of choice, it is more appreciated. Given enough lead-time, Floriade also makes customized arrangements that embody “the spirit and message of the giver while taking into consideration the personality and preference of the receiver.”
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Floriade, Inc. is located on the G/F, Zeta II Building, 191 Salcedo Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City. Contact nos. are 0917-5263976 or 8812-4210. You can also email them at [email protected].