Monday, January 30, 2012

who I love: barbara of growing wild!

I have the privilege of working with some amazingly talented professionals in this business, and one woman who I absolutely love working with is Barbara Von Elm of Growing Wild Floral Co. This is a bouquet she made for one of my April brides. Totally gorg!

Photo credit: Meredith Perdue

I thought it'd be fun to do a little Q&A with Barbara so you could get to know a little about the woman behind the flowers and why I love her as much as I do!

How did you get into the wedding business?
I was doing a Home and Garden show in DC selling my dried arrangements and a mother of a bride thought I would connect well with her daughter’s natural style... My first 2 weddings were actually done with dried flowers. I was knocked out when I started working with fresh (alive!) florals.. Sooooo much prettier!
Tell me about your farm.
I love my farm. I moved to my 65 acre farm in Delaplane (60 miles west of DC) from Alexandria in 2003, after my 2 daughters went to college. I literally packed up my dogs, cats and horses and moved west. Then I designed and built a house with a studio where we do all of our design work. 
What sets you apart from other florists in the area?

I am putting a lot of time and resources in growing organic florals for the business. We currently are focusing on high-end florals such as peonies, hydrangeas and my favorite cash crop—dahlias. Sadly, since we do up to 5 weddings per weekend (in high season), most of our flowers still come from the wholesalers…I am shooting to get 10 percent of all flowers used from the gardens.
What are good go-to flowers for the Spring? Fall?
Early spring (March-April) brings the classic Spring flowers including tulips, daffs, lilac, and hyacinths. It also is a good time to get flowers like ranunculus, anemone, that are cool weather flowers.
Late Spring (May-June) brings the ever popular peonies! 
My fall favorite is the dahlia. However,  one can find lots of other fun flowers including zinnia, sedum,  and of course, hydrangea.
What advice would you give to a bride on a budget?
Go for seasonal flowers or those that are available all year round (e.g. roses, etc.) and put your money in your bouquets and your centerpieces. Your bouquets (including bridesmaids) are in most of your pictures and your guests will be looking at the centerpieces all night long so that's what they'll remember. 
How much should a bride expect to pay for wedding flowers?
No more than she can comfortably afford.  At the end of the day, it is not about flowers.
What’s your favorite part of this job?
I love to find new ideas that brides bring to the table and I LOVE making gorgeous bridal bouquets! When I begin, I have no idea what it will look like. The flowers will take on their own personality. I let them do their own floral thing. They rarely disappoint unless I try to force them (that is why I ask for flexibility from my brides... it's when you get the best work)!
What is your favorite flower?
Love them all. Some are easier to work with. Some are so fragile that they are not practical.
If you hadn't noticed, Barbara, like me, is a woman who loves her work, and I love that! I'm not the only one who loves Barbara, either! Her clients do! Check out all the recognition she's received:
WeddingWire Bride's Choice Award 2009 the knot - best of weddings 2010 the knot - best of weddings 2008 and 2009 the knot - best of weddings 2007
To see more of Barbara's work, visit her website: or email her at, and let her know we sent you!


  1. She really is! She's truly one of our favorite florists in all of the DMV!