Q&A: Birchwood Floral Design owner McKenzi Burtchaell advises on her favorite Valentine’s Day arrangements | Bakersfield life


BL: Can you tell us about yourself and your business?

Mo: I was born and raised in Bakersfield and graduated from Garces Memorial High School – Go Rams! My husband, Blake, and I met at Bakersfield College 14 years ago and have been married for just over five years now. Blake, too, remained anchored in Bakersfield; he is a lawyer and recently opened his own law firm in Bakersfield called Bakersfield Law Group just over a year ago. We have two little dachshunds, Dukes and Dane, whom I admit we can spoil a bit too much and definitely treat like humans, but we wouldn’t want it any other way.

I am the owner and chief floral designer of Birchwood Floral Design. I mainly offer flowers for weddings and events, but I also like styling for intimate settings.

Prior to becoming a florist, I obtained my BA in Kinesiology and was a personal fitness trainer for many years as well as a case manager for chiropractors and a chiropractic neurologist. As you can see, just a few years ago I was far from getting involved in floral design. I’ve always loved art and design, but I didn’t realize my love for floral design and wedding coordination until I started planning my own wedding.

BL: What made you want to get started in flower creation?

Mo: I planned and designed my own wedding in 2015 and fell in love with the whole process. I enjoyed the attention to detail and the excitement of it all. So after the dust on our wedding settled, I decided to give wedding planning a try! I was planning a wedding and my bride was wondering how to stretch a small floral budget. I simply offered to make the flowers myself and haven’t given up since!

BL: Why do you think a gift of flowers is special?

Mo: For me, the act of giving is special in itself. When you receive a gift that reflects someone’s heart and memory, it reminds you that you are loved and appreciated. When you receive the gift of flowers, you remember that someone thought of you. Not only did they order or designed the arrangement for you, but they also selected the flowers that they think reflect you. Maybe they remembered your favorite flower or just your favorite color, but they were thinking of you when they chose this arrangement and that to me is very special.

BL: How do you find different floral designs and what is your process like?

Mo: My process always starts with getting to know my clients on a personal level. One of the reasons weddings are so special is that the day reflects who they are as a couple. I not only want to understand what their dream wedding flowers are, but I want the flowers to tell their love story.

After getting to know my client and their floral needs, I begin the design process. Designing an arrangement is similar to designing a room or putting together an outfit; I research specific flowers to be my focal point and then decide to coordinate a color palette that creates balance and fluidity in the arrangement. Once the design and palate have been decided, I start adding texture to create depth and bring the arrangement to life.

The beauty of floral design is that there is no wrong way, there is just your way. This is why it is extremely important to me that if someone hires me as a florist that they get me, which is why I am personally involved in the design of each item.

BL: In addition to being a floral designer, you are also a stylist. How do you imagine different scenographies for your photo shoots?

Mo: Designing for photoshoots is when I get to truly be myself. I like to design for my clients, but I always put their wants and needs before my own. When styling a photoshoot, I prioritize myself and get lost in the creative process. Usually the initial inspiration for a shoot comes from a place I’ve been, a place I’d like to explore, or a color palette I’ve encountered. I also do flowers for many shoots which were designed by very talented wedding coordinators. When I’m invited to a pre-designed photoshoot, I lead by taking inspiration from their color palette and influence on the design, then add my own design and perspective to the photoshoot to make it my own.

BL: What is your favorite bloom, load, and foliage?

Mo: My favorite flower should be the clematis (kleh-muh-tuhs). I love unique flowers and I love vines; this flower brings these two elements together and I think it’s beautiful. However, my favorite flower in most arrangements should be the ranunculus (ruh-nuhng-kyuhluhs). The detail of this flower always amazes me; it comes in many colors and variations as well as layers upon layers of petals. One variety is called the cloony buttercup, which I actually use as a focal point in today’s Valentine’s Day-inspired arrangement.

My favorite foliage is blueberries. The leaves are perfect on their own, but with the mixture of unripe blueberries hanging from their stems, ahh, I fall in love every time! However, jasmine vine, southern greenbrier and Italian ruscus also hold a special place in my heart.

My favorite filler would have to be the majolica roses. I love these roses because they look like miniature garden roses and add texture to any arrangement. I must say, however, that using flower fillers is not my forte. Sometimes the fillers make it seem like a cheaper product used to fill the empty space, but for me each flower has been selected to stand on its own to accentuate the arrangement, not to stand on its own. hide in the background.

BL: What furnishing element can you not live without when setting up your designs?

Mo: Oasis Wet Floral Mousse is definitely a product I can’t live without! When creating an arrangement I’m known to be a bit of a perfectionist, OK, definitely a perfectionist. I touch every flower and piece of foliage that goes into an arrangement, and I keep moving each item around until it finds its perfect place – even though that placement is only half an inch away from it. where it was before. Floral foam allows me to place a flower exactly where I want it to be and then maintains that placement even during transport.

BL: What exciting things are you working on this year?

Mo: This year, I’m excited to be working on creating packages for small weddings and intimate getaways. Along with many other florists, almost all of my weddings in 2020 have either been canceled, postponed or reduced. As heartbreaking as it has been to see couples having to put their marriage on hold, having to downsize a marriage certainly has its perks. Small weddings and runaways allow couples to focus on every detail that makes their day special for them, instead of focusing on the needs of their guests. Weddings are a celebration of two people and their love for each other, and I am thrilled to help them plan their perfect, intimate day!

BL: As Valentine’s Day approaches, what kind of flowers do you suggest someone buy or organize for their special someone?

Mo: My first suggestion would be to make your flower arrangement unique to this person by selecting the flowers they like! However, if you are looking for flowers that are easy to organize, hydrangeas are still a great option. Hydrangeas fill a lot of space and are very forgiving when organizing. If your loved one loves tradition, roses are always a great flower for Valentine’s Day. However, if your partner is sentimental, maybe arranging potted flowers in a single container would be a great route for you too!

BL: Other than giving flowers, what else do you suggest someone buy for their special someone on Valentine’s Day?

Mo: Gift ideas should come from the heart, especially on Valentine’s Day. One idea is to consider your partner’s love language. In a book called “The Five Languages ​​of Love,” author Gary Chapman discusses five ways to love or experience love with your partner.

These five languages ​​include: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical contact. My suggestion would be to consider the love language of someone special, and then make a thoughtful choice about what they would like to receive. Bakersfield is full of creative companies that can design bespoke gifts such as a sign made with your birthday or personalized baked goods. Creating something personal might be all you need. But my husband knows a bit of cheese and Tlo wine is all I need to create the perfect Valentine’s Day.

BL: Are there some popular floral trends that people should be following?

Mo: A very popular trend right now is dried flowers and foliage. In some arrangements, the dried flowers and / or foliage is only used to add texture, but some florists create arrangements made entirely from dried produce. This trend is especially unique if you are a sentimental person and want to keep your bouquet as a keepsake or create something entirely new with it afterwards!

BL: What’s your favorite floral design style, look and vibe?

Mo: My favorite floral design style is a semi-loose, whimsical garden style that creates a freshly picked look. I also like when my arrangements have movement; placing flowers with dimension creates depth but also allows the arrangement to move as if it were in its natural environment. However, the perfectionist in me cannot place a flower without creating a balance as it goes; so while my style may seem casual, it’s actually very methodical.

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