Flower Arrangement Inspiration

SF-based florist Louesa Roebuck is all about “breaking the rules of floral arranging,” as she says. “I find imperfection so much more interesting and beautiful.”

Roebuck recently gave an impromptu ikebana floral arranging lesson. She brought along armloads of foraged flora from her Oakland neighborhood—buckeye branches and buckets of magnolia blossoms.

“I got into foraging when I moved from Ohio to Oakland and landed a job at Chez Panisse,” she says. “The idea of the menu constantly changing and being hyper-seasonal, that whole philosophy really appealed to me. I started gleaning with my friends and I realized there is so much fruit and bounty out here in California.” Roebuck, who studied painting and printmaking at the Rhode Island School of Design, worked at Erica Tanov and owned her own shop, August, before going full time into foraged flower arranging; to learn more about her work, go to A Fearless Forager Open Shop in SF.

Photography by Jay Carroll of One Trip Pass.

Above: The buckeyes are from a tree that grows in the yard of an abandoned house in Berkeley. “The tree is like a friend now, and the branches are just starting to bud out and be that brilliant Japanese-y green. I also love the big floppy magnolias, I spotted them in a garden and I just knocked on the door and asked if I could take them. I am always making mental maps of flora, noting where things are blooming or where branches have a specific line and form, when plum trees are in bloom and when fennel is tall and yellow. There’s always something blooming in California.”

Above: A small display in a vase by Berkeley potter Jared Nelson.

Above: The flowers are arranged in an Indian pot once used for indigo, set on a piece of fabric from Kapital, both from the collection of Jay Carroll. “I am part Cherokee,” Roebuck says, “and my dad taught me about a certain way of looking and observing nature. I learned to let go of any feeling of control.”

For more of Louesa’s adventures, see A Fearless Forager Opens a Flower Shop.

For more floral inspiration, visit Gardenista.

63 comments

Bill and Katie D.
Katie D3 years ago

All the trees are blooming right now would make a good vase full!
Good Article!
Thank You

Latoya Brookins
Latoya Brookins3 years ago

I need to find some of these for a cheap price to give to my mom for Mother's Day.

Bryna Pizzo
Bryna Pizzo3 years ago

Thank you for the lovely inspiration of ikebana.

Danial W.
Past Member 3 years ago

Thanks for sharing beautifull Idea

Jennifer C.
Past Member 3 years ago

Thanks.

Les M.
Les M3 years ago

when you have beautiful flowers, they'll look great no matter what arrangement i know this b/c my husband used to "arrange" flowers to give me.

Emelie Hangsel
Past Member 3 years ago

Beautiful! The flowers are perfect for this arrangement. I do some Ikebana inspired arrangements with flowers from the garden. There's so much more to it than just putting flowers together!

Monica D.
M D3 years ago

An enjoyable article to read, thank you.

Kath P.
Kath P3 years ago

Very organic arrangement....natural in appearance. Thanks

Estelle s.
Estelle S3 years ago

ty