• Frank Manzano

The Melodies are Still There, We Just Have to Find Them: Part 1

Like many of you in the floral community, I consider myself an artist. Though my creative journey has veered toward the path of poetry, music, and writing instead of floristry, I still consider us kindred; part of a larger, worldwide community who feels a calling to create. And in a time where the floral industry, along with many others, are taking a hit meant for the history books, the ability to design without the usual comfort of a functioning supply chain is leaving many florists with idle hands and heavy hearts. 

I have truly tried to challenge myself to understand the weight of this plight and in doing so I began to imagine a world without music. What if musical notes simply ceased to exist? How would I form even the simplest melodies or bask in the glory of the subtleties of tone and timbre? I feel this is what florists all over the world are experiencing. In many ways, stems are the notes skillfully aligned to form the beautiful melodies of bouquets, installations, and arrangements. Sadly, the industry is at a standstill, and at least for now, many florists around the country are having to make do with what they have in order to keep creating. 

Over the past few days, I have had the pleasure of speaking with a few florists and designers that have done their absolute best to both keep busy and inspire those around them in a time when all of us need it most. The conversations have led me to realize how strong and resilient many florists are, and even though times are uncertain, their internal creative fire and passion for flowers is unwavering. 

So, don’t be fooled. Music isn't gone and neither is the art of floristry. All over the country florists are giving new life to leftover product. Through public art installations, hands-on hangouts on Instagram Live, and even simply delivering bouquets to neighbors’ porches, pockets of hope and light are piercing the fog of uncertainty. 

Jason Vorse, owner of Pollen Floral Works in Castle Rock, Washington was a shining example of this when, last Saturday he and his partner, Vicente, chose to do something about the heartbreaking disposal of so many beautiful blooms. Quite literally on a rescue mission, Jason contacted a few wholesalers, including Greenleaf Portland, in search of the leftovers. Eager to get to work, Jason loaded up his truck with as many flowers as possible. He planned to bring at least a little bit of joy to the tight-knit community of Castle Rock after such a bleak few weeks. He and his partner Vicente accomplished this by creating an outstanding public arrangement at a local picnic area near the town’s entrance. While speaking over the phone, Jason mentioned that not only did the installation bring new life to flowers that would have surely gone unused, but the cold Washington weather has sustained the public arrangement through the week, leaving it in pristine condition for the people of Castle Rock to appreciate and enjoy.

As our call came to a close, Jason and I spoke about the future. And he, like many of us, remained concerned about the state of business, family, and health. But still, he remains hard at work, thinking about the future and preparing for what is next. I truly believe that, much like the relationship between the cold Washington air and the uplifting arrangement Jason created, the industry can be preserved through passion, creativity, and hard work. The melodies are still there, we just have to find them, use them, and share them with each other. 

Photos by: McKenna Morin

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