When you see a gorgeous flower arrangement, probably the last thing on your mind is where it came from or how much work it took to get every bud and stem positioned just so. Well, after a trip out to Summerville to visit our amazing florist, Jonie LaRosee, in her quaint workshop, I learned a thing or two about flowers that I NEVER knew.
Jonie LaRosee, our amazing florist
The drive out there was an adventure in itself- I followed Leigh in a giant rental Enterprise truck that she drove like a champ back to the Enterprise lot in North Charleston (if you’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Leigh, she is petite and blonde and probably about .oooo1 % of the size of the rental truck). From there we were Summerville bound, jumping off the interstate to the strip of warehouses where Jonie’s shop is.
Jonie kept insisting that the shop was a wreck and nothing special, but I thought it was adorable, from the rows of vases lined up on the shelves to the bright green worktable next to the giant cooler.
There’s a story behind everything in Joni’s shop and the cooler is no exception. She told me about getting the cooler through a Swap’n'Shop in Columbia from a man who used the mammoth-sized cooler to freeze deer meet. Jonie thought the cooler was a steal, but when she had to buy a new cooling system to transform it from a freezer that went down to negative 32 degrees to a cooler to keep her flowers fresh, she might as well have bought a new cooler.
She can store six weddings worth of flowers in the cooler (read: hundreds and hundreds of flowers) and fills it on wedding weekends. Her production schedule is pretty tight- she makes the arrangements on Thursdays and takes them to events on Fridays and Saturdays, with help from her husband and her assistants Kat Brown & Mandi Kasey. Depending on the size of the wedding and the venue, Jonie will make anywhere from 40-60 arrangements for one wedding.
Getting the right flowers can be an ordeal- Jonie orders directly from growers in Holland, Ecuador, Israel, New Zealand, Canada, and all over the United States, depending on what the bride wants. Sometimes though, the color the bride wants doesn’t translate to the Israeli growers (Joni said “peach” to us is “orange” them) or Mother Nature simply won’t match the bride’s fabric swatch. Other times, natural disasters in different parts of the world will destroy the flowers or delay their arrival.
Even though her job can get stressful (and she’s been doing it since ’92!) Jonie says “I really still do like my job. I actually still love my job.” For her, the best part of the job is seeing everything come together and seeing the bride cry (a “good cry”).
“It’s amazing how much a venue can change, how different the outcome is depending on flowers,” Jonie said, “Your linens are not going to look good until there are flowers on it.”
Nothing is going to look good until Jonie’s flowers are on it…