“Our landscape helps me inspire my color palettes,” says local floral designer Tali Bouskila of Flower Casita. “In the winter, I really want to do those eucalyptus blues, the grassy golden yellows – more of the dried color. I think there is something so pretty, when we have huge storm clouds and the bright yellow of wild dill.
Flower Casita opened five years ago, after Bouskila spent nearly a decade working in flower shops in San Francisco and freelance for studios focused on weddings and large events. She signed the lease for her Petaluma studio a few months before her daughter was born and quickly developed a clientele. “A lot of my clients have met me as a pregnant woman, climbing ladders and cleaning and wiping the store,” she laughs.
Bouskila and her team prefer to work with local producers and unique forage finds. Neighbors sometimes stop by the store with something interesting from their garden – an armful of pruning from an olive tree or a few fallen birch branches – and ask if Bouskila can use the materials.
Her trademark is a looser, less defined look, which has its roots in the idiosyncratic shapes and structures of plants in the wild. “We are inspired by what is already happening in nature. We find the shape of each rod, we find the colors; we like to look at things for what they really are and emphasize their natural beauty, instead of manipulating them into a tight ball-shaped design, ”she explains.
Bouskila draws lines between her natural approach to floral design and the farm-to-table approach to eating well in Sonoma County. “It says a lot about what we do here, even the way we make our wines. There is a lot in common with what we do and what the chefs do, the newcomers who prepare menus that are very seasonal, lighter and brighter, tasting every element of the dish.
As the holidays approach, Bouskila says she appreciates the gifts offered by our farmers and pickers at any time of the year. “Being in northern California, we have flowers year round, unlike the snowy parts of the country. So it’s about being really grateful that you always have something… that there is always something emerging from the ground.
Tali Bouskila’s favorite tips for making Christmas wreaths
Pallets and plans: Before Bouskila makes a wreath, she likes to have an idea of where she is going to go and how big she must be. She will often use a vine or curly willow base, and sometimes hang a wreath horizontally to create a floral chandelier.
Seasonal texture: Working with what is locally grown and available fresh, Bouskila searches for interesting shapes in conifers and flowers: “Not everything is a stiff, straight stem; it’s a combination of shapes and curls, then bringing in textures of pods and herbs.
A focal point: Bouskila usually builds a single point of interest in a wreath – a dried hydrangea flower, a sprig of orchids, or a loosely tied knot of velvet or raw silk. But there is no rule that she follows 100% of the time; Bouskila says you should let your decisions be guided by the materials available.
Crown making class, $ 100 per person, minimum of five people. Flower Casita, 140 Second St., Suite 116, Petaluma, 707-559-5243, flowercasita.com