Garden Vignettes, a business that specializes in landscape, plantscape and floral design, is growing its own selection of fresh cut flowers.
"We're not a florist and we don't keep a lot of flowers here, it's mostly on an order basis," said owner Heather Wagner, who can order anything from roses to irises for specialty displays. "But we're also more of an urban nursery now. We do a lot of growing of the plants from seeds - perennials and cut flowers."
Wagner decided to expand her business this year by offering home-grown cut flowers that can be used in creative bouquets or in larger floral designs. She is growing bells of Ireland, zinnias, calendulas, liatris, sunflower and hops vines, with plans to add different species of cut flowers each year by continuing to expand the raised flower beds around her business.
"Of course, since I have the horticulture background, growing the cut flowers is just an extension of my business that makes sense," said Wagner, who studied horticulture and landscape design at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. "People are trying to think outside the box with floral arrangements to cut down on the cost. There's a wedding coming up in June and the bride just wants to use fresh wheat grass with a few fresh blooms."
She said the availability of cut flowers grown in Garden Vignettes' hoop house cuts down on the cost, because she doesn't have to ship in as many flowers. Although none of the cut flowers have bloomed yet, she said it won't be long before the carefully nurtured buds burst into color.
Wagner said she stays in tune with current trends. A display that has become popular recently is called a vision vase arrangement. Instead of flowers being arranged above the vase with stems submerged in water, the flowers themselves are submerged as well.
For the vision vases, Wagner prepares a clear rectangular vase of water. She uses variegated foliage from broad leaf plants as a backdrop and inserts the blossoms, such as an orchid, to stand out against the green background. She said the submerged arrangements are an elegant design to brighten up an office space or add a modern twist to a dinner setting.
Wagner's business began in North Chattanooga on Frazier Avenue five years ago, but she relocated downtown adjacent to The Chattanoogan more than a year ago. She said the new location has plenty of room for her to create raised gardens and expand her selection of fresh blossoms.