For as long as I can remember I've been in love with all things flowers. My first memory of loving flowers was when my grandpa would come to visit and we would go pick neighborhood flowers together. Looking back I’m not sure how much the neighbors appreciated this but I can only hope that they saw a future florist being born.
This is something I failed to see until I was “haze gray and underway” with the United States Navy. As a sailor, I spent the next 11 years working as an IT until one day I realized my true passion…Flowers. I still wonder why it took me so long to discover something that was always there. Looking back, it was so obvious. Every time I went to the market I would do laps around the flowers, fighting the urge to buy them all (something I still struggle with). My husband and I would stop at a garage sale and I would leave with nothing but some corky vase. I always seemed to notice the floral arrangement in the background of a movie rather than the plot of movie itself. It literally hit me like a ton of bricks that I was meant to be a florist and I’ve been working towards that dream ever since.
Once I rediscovered my passion for “sticks and stems”...pun intended… I began studying in the field of Nursery and Greenhouse specialization so that I might become better acquainted with our local flora. Many of my classes took place in parks, on a neighborhood walk, or in someone’s personal garden. It was here that I realized that being a florist wasn’t the only thing I craved; I also wanted to grow these flowers in my own garden. Visiting these places reminded me of when I first watched “The Secret Garden” and how I imagined having a secret garden of my own with oodles of roses, tulips nestled by trees, hydrangea bushes, vines creeping up walls, birds singing and even ducks quacking about the place. I loved the idea of being tucked away by plants. As it turns out, I wasn’t alone in this vision and the super talented TJ Montague of Garden Party Designs, was gracious enough to allow me to be her intern.
On any given day, the floral studio of TJ Montague carries the sweet scents of garden roses, rosemary, and Bells of Ireland. I loved nothing more than walking into her studio filled with buckets of blooms, hearing the jazz playing and then getting familiar with the big plans for all these flowers. TJ took me under her wing and introduced me to an array of colors, textures and design I had never seen before. She taught me how to look at all plants in the garden as a candidate for an arrangement rather than just what they display in the stores. It was here that I saw how flowers transformed an event and gave an occasion life! With her guidance over the years, I gained the confidence to open the doors to Jenn’s Sticks and Stems and I only hope to make my mentor proud.
With the help of my wonderful husband, I am happy to say that I now have my floral studio and my very own secret garden to pluck flowers from. I confess that after watching it grow, cutting a flower is still difficult for me. Though my mentor once told me “it’s a flowers dream to go to a wedding!” This thought really resonated with me and Jenn’s Sticks and Stems is eager to be apart of your big day!