A Floral Designer’s Love Of Flowers

– Posted in: Miscellaneous

s-photos7Fran says: “I had heard about Jane’s artistry with flowers for many years from several sources. We also had some mutual friends. So when we passed each other at our local Farmer’s Market, we would chat for a few moments. When I approached Jane about doing a post for GGW last fall and she responded positively, I was thrilled. She is a welcome addition to our roster of contributors!”

My love of gardening and flowers went more than a little wild when I discovered flower arranging: first as a sport, then as an art and later as a career. Trees captured me for their strength, branch structures, and leaf forms. Flowers: perennials, the magical rebloom (when it happens), annuals, the colors shapes and textures, and of course my very favorite, the tulip.

Pink tulips in a glass vase were my first arrangements done weekly through a long winter. I was enchanted by the idea of bringing the garden indoors and the ability to change the look of a room instantly. The path led me to the Philadelphia Flower Show which gave me a chance to try lots of different designs and win (and lose, as in a sport) lots of prizes.

My inspiration led me to take classes here in Pennsylvania at Longwood Gardens, around the U.S., and each year a trip to Europe. The language of flowers needs no interpreter. Today I have the good fortune to teach floral design at Longwood Gardens, give lectures around the country, and still manage to sneak in a few flower jobs for weddings and parties.


It is so cold this morning with just a little snow, and I am remembering a cold January wedding filled with flowers.

s-photos1The bride and her family are avid gardeners and also a very lively group so the focal flowers were POPPIES!!! Lots of dancing Italian poppies combined with ranunculus, tulips, roses and quince branches made the cold winter night come alive. Warm oranges, pinks, and yellows set off by candlelight glowed after being coddled and cosseted through the snow and ice.

I like to think of what flowers suit what people and ask my students, “If you could be a flower, what flower would you be?” What would you be?

Jane Godshalk

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Lisa at Greenbow January 30, 2009, 12:02 pm

I would probably be a bright red poppy. I am so looking forward to some color in the garden. White on white on grey is what we have now. Love seeing some of your work.

We have a lot of white on gray here in Pennsylvania, too. Can’t wait until the red poppies emerge again!

Helen aka patientgardener January 30, 2009, 3:19 pm

I have never thought of flower arranging as a sport before but I suppose it is when you think of it in terms of competing. I like the idea of associating your clients with flowers. Not sure what I would be now but when I got married I insisted on having sweet peas.

Sweet peas are a wonderful choice. I loved you dahlia pictures on your website and admire you for your patience. I must get some lessons.

Raquel at Cool Garden Things January 30, 2009, 5:28 pm

Hmmm…I think I would be fennel. It smells delicious and it has a very delicate look about it.

I have never met a “fennel” before. What a creative choice—delicious, too.

Helen @ Gardening With Confidence January 30, 2009, 7:58 pm

I’m always amazed at all the talent people have. Wonderful.

Sweet peas are a wonderful choice. I loved you dahlia pictures on your website and admire you for your patience. I must get some lessons.

Pam Kersting January 30, 2009, 10:17 pm

I once worked in a flower shop myself. It seems like a perfect job – what I remember the most was the smell of the flowers. I loved it! It is amazing what cut flowers or branches can add to a space. Thanks for sharing!

jodi January 30, 2009, 10:36 pm

For all I use blue poppies and other poppies as my ‘signature flower’ , I would be an echinacea. They’re sturdy, longlasting, showy without being ostentatious, provide food to birds and bees and other pollinators, have winter interest, and are just all around great plants.

Blue poppies are a favorite of mine, too. Each March at Longwood Gardens, they are on display in the Conservatory. I make it a point to go and admire them between classes. It is a real lift. I love your choice of echinacea, you must be a woman of much grace and talent.

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