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Emily Eberwine of Pick-a-Petal Floral Design

Former archaeologist Emily Eberwine dug deep into her soul to unearth a floral style that is both gathered and tailored.
Emily Eberwine
Emily Eberwine, founder of Pick-a-Petal Floral Design in New Orleans

“I’ve always loved getting my hands dirty,” says Pick-a-Petal founder, Emily Eberwine. “The smell of marigolds immediately transports me back to my Mississippi childhood and hours spent tending to the garden with my mama. Our backyard would become almost overgrown with flowers until we brought the bounty inside and filled our home with color and fragrance.”

Although it seemed like a natural fit for Emily, a career in floral design wasn’t an idea that she initially entertained. In fact, that seed wasn’t planted until after she obtained undergraduate and graduate degrees in archaeology and moved to New Orleans to pursue her profession. A few years in, Emily found herself daydreaming about a life focused on flowers. After earning acclaim for wedding arrangements she did for a friend, she decided it was time to permanently dig into floral design.

“So much of floral arranging just came to me, and a lot of it I can’t explain,” Emily says. “But I believe that my professional experience with the dirt, along with growing up in the garden, helped me cultivate an enduring appreciation and fascination for the elemental shapes, colors, and textures that occur in nature. There’s a beautiful and amazing world that lies beneath the surface, with stories of what once was and what is yet to be born. The past and the future are rooted in those seeds.”

Emily Eberwine's Spring to summer arrangement
Emily Eberwine's change-of-season arrangement captures the transition from spring to early summer.

Inspiration:

Emily Eberwine created this arrangement to express the change in season and temperature. Yellows and pinks represent the warm, soft shades of spring, while deep reds announce that summer (and its notorious New Orleans heat) is just around the corner.

roses, sweet peas, ranunculus, strawberries and other flowers
Materials for Emily's change of season arrangement

MATERIALS

  • Geranium foliage
  • Gardenia foliage
  • Star jasmine vine
  • Eucalyptus stuartiana, grey
  • Feverfew flowers
  • Bombastic garden spray roses in light pink
  • Sweet Pea Brownies
  • Ranunculus Butterfly Helios in light yellow
  • Lisianthus in apricot
  • Ranunculus in peach and pink
  • David Austin “Darcey” garden roses
  • “Princess Hitomi” garden roses in blush
  • Strawberries on the stem
fastening mound of chicken wire to compote for flower arrangement

STEP 1 Create a mound of coated chicken wire, and mold it to shape inside the bowl of a compote. Fasten the mound to the rim of the compote using waterproof floral tape to keep the chicken wire in place, making an “X” shape. Add water to the bowl of the compote until half full.

adding geranium stems to compote for arrangement

STEP 2 Build a base layer of greens by inserting individual stems of foliage diagonally into the mound of chicken wire. Begin with the geranium foliage, followed by gardenia foliage, star jasmine, and eucalyptus stuartiana.

adding feverfew and spray roses to arrangement

STEP 3 Add in the filler flowers, starting with the feverfew and followed by the spray roses to soften up the shape the foliage has created.

adding sweet peas and medium sized flowers to arrangement

STEP 4 Add in the medium-size focal flowers, starting with the sweet peas and followed by the Ranunculus Butterfly Helios, lisianthus, and ranunculus.

Adding roses and other larger blooms to arrangement

STEP 5 Add in the larger blooms, starting with the darker hued “Darcey” garden roses. Fill in any empty spots with the blush “Princess Hitomi” garden roses.

adding strawberry stems to arrangement

STEP 6 Add the strawberry stems intermittently with some bunches spilling over the vessel.

spritzing arrangement with water

STEP 7 Turn the arrangement 360 degrees to make sure the flowers are evenly distributed. Gently spritz the arrangement with clean water to hydrate.

“Our backyard would become almost overgrown with flowers until we brought the bounty inside and filled our home with color and fragrance.”–Emily Eberwine

Produced by Margaret Zainey Roux

Photography by Sara Essex Bradley