‘Who does your flowers?’ is one of the most frequently asked questions we get at Elm.
When we were designing Elm, we knew we wanted to create a space with a cool, clean color palette inspired by a morning view on a Whidbey Island beach—foggy white, sea gray-blues and silver with driftwood beige to balance out the warm red exposed brick. That said, we try to always have a few bright, fresh and seasonal floral arrangements scattered around the shop for a cheerful pop of color.
We rely on two sources for the greenery you see around the cafe: our lovely Pioneer Square neighbors, The London Plane Flower Shop, and our owner’s mom, Marian. She is a Seattle native and former garden designer with a keen eye for color, form and the all-important ‘will it live for a while when we forget to water it.’
We tagged along on a visit to Marian’s favorite source for greenery, Seattle Wholesale Growers Market. The marketplace, open year-round and stationed in Georgetown in the Original Rainier Brewery, is a farmer-owned cooperative providing unique in-season flowers and ornamentals from 16 farms in Washington, Oregon and Alaska directly to professional floral buyers (they are, however, open to all on Fridays from 10:00 am to noon. We highly recommend a visit!)
Even in December, at the time of our visit, they had a dazzling array of plants, ranging in looks from traditional to downright extraterrestrial. Fresh-cut boughs of pine and generous bundles of eucalyptus filled the high-ceilinged industrial space with the brisk, wintry smell of a forest. Makeshift worktables and shelves were packed with buckets of branches heavy with red and purple berries and snowy puffs of cotton, and lush green wreaths lined the weathered concrete and brick walls. It was quite a refreshing sight in the gloom of winter, and we left with a bucket brimming with bright green things for Elm. Check out Seattle Wholesale Growers Market website and Instagram to see what they have to offer currently—it’s been quite a colorful spring so far.
A few tips on how we make our flowers last? When making your arrangement, cut the stems at an angle, so the flowers have as much surface area to soak up water as possible. Throughout the life of your bouquet, empty and refill the vases daily with ice cold fresh water. Of course, some flowers are naturally hardier than others; simply removing wilted stems and letting the others shine will extend the life of your arrangement, too.