Second Annual Floral Design Workshop

Update 8/6/2013: The workshop is sold out.  To get first dibs next year, “like” Pollen’s Facebook page!

We at Pollen are excited to offer for the second time our Client Appreciation Floral Design Workshop, exclusively for past and present Pollen clients!  It’s a chance for us to say “thanks” to our clients and to catch up.  This year’s workshop will be held at our new studio in Avondale on Sunday, August 18th from 11AM – 1PM.

workshop setup

Pollen clients can bring a friend, drink some mimosas, and design an arrangement with locally grown flowers.

The introductory two-hour class will cover:
– flower selection,
– cut flower care, and
– the basics of floral design.

Instruction will have an emphasis on working with seasonal farmers market flowers.  After some instruction and demonstration, each student will design a floral arrangement to take home.  Students are encouraged to bring the vase they use most often, but should only bring vases that are under 10″ tall and with openings 5″ wide or less.  I’ll be demonstrating in a 5″ x 5″ cylinder to create a low and lush table centerpiece.  These same cylinders will also be available to those who don’t have an appropriately sized vase.

To offer the most interactive instruction possible, the class is limited to 16 people, and therefore clients are limited to one additional guest.  Registration is $15 per person, and includes instruction, refreshments, flowers, and the use of tools.

Last year was a blast, and we’re excited to be able to include a few more people this year in our bigger space.  I’m so looking forward to it!  Past and present Pollen clients can get more information and register here.

Floral Design Workshop = Success!

Shears, handouts, bunches of flowersYesterday, Pollen held its first ever workshop at Pollen’s studio, located in Chicago’s Ravenswood neighborhood.  Exclusive to Pollen clients (and a sidekick), students learned the basics of floral design, with an emphasis on working with farmers market flowers.

After some instruction and demonstration (and mimosas and bloody marys), the students designed their own arrangements.  I was so impressed by how well they did!

happy students
We worked with all locally grown flowers to create a low and lush centerpiece appropriate for a dining table.  The flowers selection included dahlias, zinnias, gomphrena, viburnum berries, lisianthus, cosmos, coxcomb…  Lots of bright and beautiful summer flowers.  I set up an area for students to take photos of their arrangements (then lurked behind them and took some myself).  Check out the students’ arrangements below and on Pollen’s Facebook page, where many of the students have posted photos of their work.

zinnias asclepias viburnum

dahlias, lisianthus, coxcombzinnias, sedum, asclepias, tansyI’m seriously impressed with their work!  If you are a Pollen client and missed it, have no fear, I’ll be doing it again next year.  I had so much fun reconnecting with my clients, meeting their friends and family, and seeing their pride in their new design skills!

If you aren’t a client (or if you are, and can’t wait until the next one exclusive to clients), there will be another workshop in a few short weeks.   Sunday, September 9, 2012, I will be hosting a workshop/fundraiser to help out one of my flower friends with the costs related to his recent cancer diagnosis and treatment.  You may have met my flower friend, Les with The Flower Garden, while buying flowers at the Green City Market.  All ticket sales go toward his medical costs.  This workshop is limited to just 10 people, so sign up quickly!   Get more information about the fundraiser/workshop (open to the public) and buy tickets here:


Hands-On Floral Design Workshop: A Fundraiser (9/9/2012)

If you saw our floral design workshop exclusive to Pollen clients, and wished you could take it, we have good news!  Pollen and The Flower Garden are teaming up to offer a hands-on introductory floral design workshop to benefit Les, The Flower Garden’s primo peddler of petals, to help with the costs of his recent cancer treatment.

Sunday, September 9, 2012
11AM – 1PM
3717 N. Ravenswood Ave. #237
Chicago, IL 60613


The introductory two-hour class, taught at Pollen’s floral design studio in the Ravenswood Corridor, will cover:
– flower selection,
– cut flower care, and
– the basics of floral design.

Instruction will have an emphasis on working with late summer, locally grown flowers to create a low and lush centerpiece suitable for a dining room table.  After some instruction and demonstration, each student will design a centerpiece of flowers from The Flower Garden to take home.

We’ll work with seasonal flowers such as dahlias, lisianthus, coxcomb, zinnias, gomphrena, and billy balls.  Students are encouraged to bring their own vase, and we recommend bringing a vase roughly 5″ tall and 5″ in diameter.  Vases will also be available for purchase.

To offer the most interactive instruction possible, the class is limited to 10 people.  Registration is required, and at $100 per person includes instruction, flowers, the use of tools, and refreshments.  All ticket sales help pay for Les’ cancer treatment.


Why Buy Locally Grown Flowers?

This time of year is exciting for me…  For these few warm months in Chicago, locally grown cut flowers are available!  In May, when the first peonies and lilacs add life to local farmers markets, it starts to really feel like spring.

Peony and allium

When I’m sourcing flowers for an event, my first choice is for organic, locally grown flowers.  Of course, living in Chicago, that’s only possible for part of the year.  But while they’re here, I’m a happy camper!  And here’s why…

1.  Better for the environment.

About 75%  of cut flowers sold in the US are grown in South America.  With a stopover in Miami, most cut flowers destined for Chicago have traveled over 2,500 miles.  A shorter distance between producer and consumer means that fewer resources are used to get the flowers to market.  No planes needed, just the grower driving their product to their customers, and that means fewer carbon dioxide emissions.  Also, imported flowers are refrigerated for most of their journey to the US, so local flowers not only require less energy for transportation, but also less energy for refrigeration.

2.  Fresher, better product.

Imported cut flowers are cut at the greenhouse, put in boxes, put on a plane, and sent to a wholesaler, where they continue sit in their boxes until they are purchased or put into water.  By purchasing locally grown flowers, the transportation time is significantly reduced, meaning the flowers are happily drinking up water for much more time than flowers that travel some distance.

3.  Better deal for you and the producer.

By purchasing directly from the grower, you get a better price, and the grower gets a larger portion of the sales by cutting out the middle man!  What a great way to support family farms!

And if you can find a local grower who farms organically, all the better!  Double win!

You can find locally grown organic cut flowers at the Green City Market in Lincoln Park on Wednesdays and Saturdays.  I find myself returning to these two growers again and again:

And of course, for your weddings and special events, I provide floral designs using locally grown flowers whenever possible!