Olla Urban Flower Project

It was a wet January day that I visited Olla Flowers to learn more about  this new florist on the edge of Gastown.  I was well rewarded for my visit and discovered much about the Flower Project that has very strong ties to the community around it.

The store sits in a very beautiful building at 235 Cambie Street with large windows and brick walls.  Everything I saw was for sale and the unique arrangements came in modern and vintage planters. From gorgeous terrariums to fair trade roses and flowers sourced locally,  Olla was alive with colour.

Megan Branson and Dionne Finch are set on urbanizing flower production and working with social enterprises through work with DTES community gardens, local flower lovers and even backyard growers.  They came to this new enterprise through their love of design and landscaping. One of their goals is to ‘bring the outside in’.

Their work within the community includes working with mature gardens for flower cultivation, working with individuals with land available to host a garden and share the crop, hiring locally and purchasing flowers grown in community gardens and then sharing the bounty from corporate events, such as work with Amnesty International with non-profits in the DTES.

For weddings they have everything an engaged couple would need.  Olla Flower Project promotes living wedding favours and centrepieces.  The creative skills of Megan and Dionne can create stunning bouquets and floral displays.  Their living arrangements can be purchased or rented for the big day.

Manifesto for Horticultural Wedding Design
“We are convinced that the bounding vibrancy and evolved design of living plants be at the center of wedding decor. We offer a pair of flowering viburnum bodnantense with an underplanting of snow drops to frame your winter vows, flowering lilac trees in spring, mixed perennial grasses with wild flowers in summer, and berry shrubs heavy with fruit for autumnal nuptials. These living containers will act as metaphors for the sustained love being celebrated. 
 
We support a wedding design movement that celebrates humans’ relationship to the plant world and gifts its clients with beautiful plants that will continue to grow and thrive long after the last dance draws to an end.”
 Olla Urban Flower Project
 

I was very grateful for the opportunity to spend an afternoon wandering the store and learning so much about this unique new florist hub.  This spring will find the shop blooming with new ideas and work in the community.  Megan and Dionne have (no pun intended)  their roots well planted in this neighbourhood and as they expand so will the gardening community around them.

Olla Flowers will be an exhibitor at The Grassroots Wedding Fair on February 12 at Heritage Hall.

Shona Dion

photography by sweet earth photographics

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