Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ask: Nicolette Camille Floral Design


A giant thank you to Nicolette Owen of  Nicolette Camille Floral Design and The Little Flower School in Brooklyn for giving us our very first interview here at Marginamia!

 Ask will be a regular feature here on Marginamia, where we will hear from some of our favorite designers and bloggers.  We will often be engaging them in fun name games, tailored to their various professions, as well as picking their brains and looking at their work!  

It's pretty simple; looking at the arrangements of Nicolette Owen makes me happy. I love the color combinations, the natural compositions, everything right down to how they're photographed for her websites. I feel like I'm wandering through the garden when I look at them. Nicolette's arrangements inspire me to run right outside with my girls and my scissors, and of course,  to think about beautiful botanical names. 

Speaking of names, her's is pretty awesome isn't it?  Her full name is Nicolette Camille Owen. It has such a beautiful flow, and she just sounds like a floral designer, right? 

Nicolette also co-runs The Little Flower School, in Brooklyn, alongside Sarah Ryhanen of Saipua, where they offer one day, three hour workshops. Below are some images of their recent workshop 

Color Study in Blue:

 Peony class:

Benefit for Japan:

and Dutch Masters:

I hope our next trip to New York lines up with a class; I'm in! 

Nicolette recently did a fantastic story on arranging your own flowers for Real Simple Magazine (July issue) where she shares some really great tips! I made three arrangements Tuesday with Nona. The tips are super easy to follow, but I just wouldn't have thought of them on my own, thus the need for professional consultations like Nicolette's. We had such a wonderful time making these arrangements. Our house smells of rosemary (Nona's idea to include it), and I'm as happy with the end result as I was with the process!

 Enough of my thoughts; let's talk to Nicolette! 

1. I know asking a florist for her absolute favorite flower can present a pretty big challenge, so I won't ask for the favorite, but can you tell us what your favorite few flowers are, lately?

Dahlias,  Garden roses,  Ranunculus, and Ammi.

2. Have you come across any botanical names on people in your Brooklyn community?

Cant think of any botanical names I've encountered but I've met some ladies, January & Winter.

3. I can't stop thinking about Fall! Are there any specific plants or flowers you're really itching to get your hands on this fall?

I really look forward to dahlias, porcelain vine with its beautiful robin's egg blue berries, plumes of celosia & amaranth, and of course all the beautiful foliage-- multicolored pear leaves, beautiful red maple, silvery grey russian olive, rusty maroon forsythia, and the dusty ochre color of persimmon branches.

4. Beyond switching up the flowers you work with in Autumn, does the overall style of the arrangement vary, depending on the season? 

Autumnal arrangements really lend themselves to lots of great texture with all the pods, berries, fruit and branches. 

5. I understand part of your own name has botanical origins? 

My middle name, Camille, was derived from my mother's favorite flower, the Camellia.

6. Do you ever use other aesthetic experiences like film, paintings, a great meal, or experiences out in nature to inspire your creations?

I'm very inspired by the natural world- I like my arrangements to evoke the lushness of the garden, the woods and the meadows. I also find the floral paintings of the dutch masters very inspiring in their sumptuous gestures.

This one, for example, on Little Flower School's blog is by Willem Van Aelst-- so stunning, Nicolette! And I think you are making creations every bit as lovely! 

6. Name Game time!  We're going to create a name using the answer Nicolette gave to the following question: 
What is a a flower whose name you love to say almost as much as you love to look at the flower, itself? 

Dahlia or Fern

I think both are such beautiful names. Thank you for playing along, Nicolette!

I (Kristen) would love to see them arranged this way:
Dahlia Elspeth and
Fern Koemi 

Some of my favorite botanical names found in blog entries by The Little Flower School:











And of course, from today's interview and inspiration:
















I don't think it's any accident that flowers have such beautiful sounding names. They are often (baring a few exceptions, of course) such perfect examples of aesthetic harmony. A Gardenia by any other name might smell as awesome, but it might not tickle the soul as much!

Thank you again, Nicolette, for a lovely chat!  Check out Nicolette Camille Floral Design, The Little flower School, and Nicolette's recent story in Real Simple. I hope you'll all be as inspired as we were!

(all images from Nicolette Camille Floral Design and Little Flower School, floral crown images up top  from O Joy blog)


  1. I've often thought Forsythia would be an interesting name and my six year old asked me the other day if I liked the name Chrysanthemum, because she thinks it's great. I'm reading a story about a little girl called Hepatica and the author has also written a character called Gentian (a boy). There's an Amarilla in my family tree, which may come from Amaryllis. And then, of course, my baby is called Iris.

    So, yes, I guess I like plant names too!

  2. eBirdie--totally with you on Forsythia! Just a few weeks ago in a book I was reading with Nona we read about forsythia golden, and the whole dang thing makes a nice name. and please tell your six year old that Margi thinks Chrysanthemum is so, so killer! love Iris, too... always have. Thanks for chiming in!

  3. Great photos as always.

    I love the flower names

    Calla - my daughter's name

    and think Wisteria would be an interesting choice. It could either be a bit dark and brooding or very light and girly. But a certain TV programme might have ruined it for most.

  4. Ah, lovely flowers, and lovely flower names! I know a little Fuchsia, which has long been an old favorite name of mine.

    As well as being such a lovely herald of spring, Forsythia's got great meaning too - the surname Forsyth from which it derives means 'man of peace' in Gaelic.

    I love Dahlias, one of my favorite flowers. Especially Bishop of Llandaff (not that I'm suggesting that as a name ;) )

    I like Fern too -- I associate it very strongly with Charlotte's Web, which was one of my favorite books as a little girl.

  5. I've loved the name Camille since I really started to take French seriously, because it sounds infinitely better when pronounced the French way, at least to me anyway.