Gabriela of La Musa de las Flores

Kelly Perry - 00:01 - You are listening to the Team Flower podcast where we talk about flowers and the people who've dedicated their lives to sharing them with the world. My name is Kelly, founder of Team Flower, and I'll be your host today. The element of surprise. It's a driving factor in the design sensibilities of today's guest, Gabriela, from La Musa de las Flores. She says, I'm mixed all the flowers up before I plant them. I don't label anything. I like to be surprised when they blew this. Flash of delight is what makes gardening and arranging flowers positively fun for Gabriela. In this episode, she's talking about what she's learned by gardening and I think the unique perspective she has to share will really encourage both new and old gardeners alike. Learn about Gabriela's floral design process. Both how she starts in works through her striking arrangements. Are you interested in her thoughts on color petunias flocks? 

Kelly Perry - 00:55 - It's all right here on the Team Flower podcast. This podcast is brought to you by the 2018 Team Flower conference called the future of our industry will gather next winter at like monarch butterflies. Do celebrating our individual journeys, the moments where our journeys intersect with one another and being together as one big group online resources can only take you so far and nothing can replace being in the room with people like you. Get connected in a mastermind group. Enjoy stage presentations and panels and speak into what our industry will grow to look like. Let's leave a powerful legacy for the next century of floral industry professionals. You can find the most update information Our guest Gabriela is based in Mexico City and is just 30 miles from a monarch butterfly sanctuary, so I think it's quite fitting. She's joining us here today. Welcome Gabriela. Hi Gabrielle. It's great to have you with us today.

Gabriela Salazar - 02:01 -  Hi, how are you? I'm very good. 

Kelly Perry - 02:05 - Why don't you tell us a little bit about how you got started, uh, with flowers and you know, if there's a highlight you'd like to share, maybe along the way you can include that, but we'd love to know just a little bit more about you. 

Gabriela Salazar - 02:16 - Yes. I started doing flowers three years ago. I was doing my master degree in London and while I was living there, of course I started building a relation with flowers that has have been very important for me. And then, um, by the end of my masters I knew that I wanted to do flowers and I flew to New York and I had a class with Sarah from and that's how I started doing flowers. And then from there, I mean I had the opportunity to met incredible good flowers, a florist and um, by the end of my trip or my living period in England, I, before moving back to Mexico, I went to and I went to one of her design courses or design workshops and I got really inspired by all the growing um, idea. And then I knew very clearly that I wanted to come back to Mexico and grow my own flowers. So if I could mention a highlight, I think that's where I started to think very deeply about moving or trans. I mean, changing my life into flowers but grow in western. Definitely something included into it. 

Kelly Perry - 03:29 - Yeah, absolutely. That's so fun. The first flower arranging class that I took as well was with little flower school and shortly after that I met Aaron at at a different workshop and so I know how influential and encouraging both of those groups of people can be and I'm so excited that we have that in common. How Fun. 

Gabriela Salazar - 03:49 - Yes. I mean, what can I tell you? I, I, I think I'm very, very lucky to have met Sara, Nicolette and Erin and I also have worked with Sarah when word and with Ariana CSR and Suzanne with the Blue car with. I mean I have learned so much from all of them, so it's been, it's been very good. 

Kelly Perry - 04:09 - Absolutely. It certainly is better whenever we're working together. I love that. Why don't you tell us a little bit about your design philosophy and um, you know, maybe is there a quote or a phrase that inspires you in your work with flowers? Just tell us a little bit more about that. What gets you excited? 

Gabriela Salazar - 04:28 - Well, you know, it's like coming back to Mexico I think has made me really think out of the box and the very flexible in terms of color and shape and even if I have a mean, I have very fixed ideas of what I like and what I don't like. I do believe that Mexico has made me a better designer because the market is very unpredictable. You go there and you order something and it never arrived. Sorry, derives the wrong color and everything. So now I don't go with any expectations or a, you of course have a brief or something I have to do, but I really let myself to be surprised by a flower or via color. And then I take it from there. And if I could say something, I like to be very gentle with flowers. I mean I think that's the best approach you can have and I try to teach that to the people that comes and works or try to learn something from me is like being gentle to flower leads you to a more soft and romantic look arrangement. 

Gabriela Salazar - 05:28 - Um, so there's not really secret. Just being really kind and gentle with flowers when you treat them. Um, in terms of my garden, I think some, that's the part that has really changed my approach towards design. I mean I still let it grow. Things that I love, I do have um, intention when I grow and I choose my core or my seats or everything. But I'm kind of funny because I don't label them or I mix the box of course of running list for example. It's because I really liked the surprise. I love that. So when I go to my garden I lead the surprise like, oh, I know when they start to bloom I will see what color came out. And I guess I like to do that because then I feel more open minded to work with flowers and that's something I could say. It doesn't answer that question. 

Kelly Perry - 06:21 - It does. I think that's a really key thought to have to be open whenever you're working with flowers because there is so much, like you were saying, um, you know, where things don't come in or you know, you have that unpredictable piece of the flower shipment coming in and sometimes whenever you get everything in and you're like, oh, that's not how I thought it was going to be or how it was going to look. It can really stunt your ability to think creatively in those situations and it can make the whole process of working with the flowers beano frustrating. And um, I think that what you're, what you're talking about here, a key point is keeping an open mind and just allowing that one thing that surprises and delights you to be the thing that you focus your mind on. And I think that's really, really important. I love that. Would you, would you agree? Did I capture that? 

Gabriela Salazar - 07:15 - Yes,  totally. Like for example, when I start arranging, I know that a little bit more traditional way of doing. It's like you start feeling your base with foliage for example. And I do put some key folder to the beginning, but I really, I think I placed very, fairly early on the flower that I got as an inspiration and I do it because I wanted everything around her. It's like a dance for her so she will be at epb like they're high star or like the thing that will keep me going and don't forget what was my intention in terms of color and shape and texture. So I do place my flower, my star very fairly on. So I work around her. I make everyone dance around her. 

Kelly Perry - 07:57 - I love that approach. 

Gabriela Salazar - 07:58 - So it's fun 

Kelly Perry - 08:02 - I love that. So whenever you're selecting your ingredients, it's probably, you know, you're looking for that star whenever you start. And then what, what else in terms of when you're selecting your ingredients, how does that, what does that look like for you and is it the color? Is that the aspect of the ingredients that you're most heavily focused on when you go out into the garden to choose some things, to put an arrangement together? 

Gabriela Salazar - 08:25 - Yeah, I think, I mean for me color is really important. I love making combinations that sounds really great to me or, but I also think that Mexico has made me be more there to try different things, especially the colors here are very bright and um, I think they're very, very opposite to what you find in England. So what I was used to work with when I came here was totally the opposite and people loves color here and so I had to start working with like more bright yellows, reds, and oranges and corners that I didn't work before. So it, it's definitely color something that is the beginning of my design approach, but also I love texture. I love shape, I love the idea that I can have different elements and every time that I'm designing I try to. I'm just like, understand what is the person that is going to sit in front of that arrangement will experience what will be something that I can make to connect them with that flower that I was, um, intentionally putting in that place. So it's shape and color and texture I think are always what I'm looking for. 

Kelly Perry - 09:33 - Sure. Absolutely. Well, what would you tell someone who has been arranging flowers for a long time, but maybe they feel like they've lost their spark there a word of advice you'd give them. 

Gabriela Salazar - 09:46 - Yeah, I think, I mean nature is amazing. I mean I, I do believe that if we have a more or a closer relation with nature, we is, is impossible that we don't get inspired. I mean I, I go for walks sometimes when I'm a little bit like trying to think what I, what I want to do, what I want to say. I don't like to talk in terms of my style, but it's just my relation with flowers, what I wanted to be. So I do think that nature is always incredible. It is just everything is out there already. There's nothing we can make is in terms of color. It's there in terms of shape, in terms of everything. So if you lose a little bit of spark, just allow yourself to go out there and walk and observe and try to be really open with your eyes because it's incredible. All the shapes and textures are just there. There's nothing new. 

Kelly Perry - 10:41 - Right? I heard a quote once that the, the best things in life are free and the next best things are quite expensive. And I think about that sometimes with, uh, with flowers that really the flowers that make me so excited like that star that you're talking about, it might be a, the forget me nots, the grow in the creek beside our house or the pokeweed that just sort of pops up, you know, midsummer all of a sudden out of nowhere, you know, things like this that just have happened and that they are free. There's something in that that almost in receiving it, it fills us up and we're able to start sharing that with others. Again, I know I love flowers whenever they're shipped to me or they come wholesale, you know, there's so many great things out there that are coming from all the different parts of the world, but there's something really special about a picking the flower yourself or just seeing it, you know, out in its natural place that is really refreshing and can give you, um, just that, that connection that you're talking about that is so inspirational. I think, what would you tell someone who is maybe new to. That's a big part of what you do? 

Gabriela Salazar - 11:56 - Yeah. Well, I think be patient is totally worth it. You know, that's one thing I would tell someone that is starting to gardening. I do believe that you have to nurture it and take care of it is, is, it's really funny because in one hand I think nature is full of wisdom, wisdom and everything is there, you know, there's nothing that you can impose to nature. So when I'm growing I try to remind myself that of course I want a certain result. I want them to, I don't know, to grow and to be, um, all my seats to just like make it. But sometimes they don't. And um, I know that I'm doing something wrong, but maybe the thing that I'm doing mostly wrong is that maybe I'm not paying enough attention to the process or being patient enough or maybe I'm imposing my expectations to it. And I do believe that I have become 10 times more patient in life just because gardening. No. 

Kelly Perry - 12:55 - Yeah. That's a really great. That's a really great life lesson there. With that, are there three lessons maybe that have to do with a particular plant or just experience that you had in working with the garden that someone might be able to pick up and apply in their work in the garden? 

Gabriela Salazar - 13:13 - Well, I mean, I, I, I, I always tell people I feel like I know nothing. I have um, I came back to Mexico and I, um, I didn't have any bad experience or I didn't took any course on gardening or in growing and I just jumped into it, you know, so what I would advise to people if you wanted and you don't have, I mean people that sends me emails from what the model, our Panama or some of the South American countries where they don't have, um, or they have different weathers or we don't have, um, the same stations so marked as people in America. So I just tell people, jump into it and try to just like explore, you know, some things will grow incredibly well and in that sense the garden or the piece of land that you have, we'll show you how generous it is with you and some things will not. And then you just have to maybe try again and, or maybe just understand that maybe that's hour, it's not for that specific piece of land, you know. 

Kelly Perry - 14:17 - Sure, absolutely. Is there a one flower that has done particularly well in your area that you really love? 

Gabriela Salazar - 14:25 - Yeah, and I think daily as growth here incredibly well. I mean it even though some varieties that they grow endemic in the area, they grow wild in the forest. It's very tiny orange one and a really beautiful lavender color one that grows almost a century. And when I came and I lived in the countryside, I knew that probably that was a very good indicator that Dahlia's love it here, love it here. And then I jumped on the eyebrow on the colors that I loved from Erin and I just grew them last year and they were incredibly, it was amazing. I mean I had to put them to sleep because I was like, I, it's December and the weather is never going to send you to sleep, so I'm going to send you that. 

Kelly Perry - 15:14 - It's funny. I think you're so right that paying attention to what grows indigenously in your area is really quite important and can give you a lot of good clues about things that will do really well in your space. So that's a great word of wisdom to share with people, to pay attention to your what's, you know, what kind of native plants do you have that, that are out there in the woods, things like that. So I love that foxglove grow wild appear in the mountains of boone and they do really well in my garden. That's a good back and forth. And a good indicator. Absolutely. 

Gabriela Salazar - 15:49 - Yes. And some others, you know, like I'm very capricious about it. I really wanted some flowers here and I have tried and tried. And then for example, I love Japanese anemones so much because I don't know, they just remind me my time in England. So I try them on, I succeed after 11 months and now they are all over the garden. I'm trying to keep attention to whether they like it most and they are actually growing really well. So. 

Kelly Perry - 16:17 - Oh, that's very good. Tell us a little bit, what's the climate like in your area? Are the days, you know, warm or cool? And how are the knights, what's it like the temperatures in your. 

Gabriela Salazar - 16:28 - I guess I didn't um, makes it a complicated in terms of gardening. It's because we have a lot of fluctuation of whether during the day so we can have like for example in Winter Sera degrees in the north in, at night or early, early, early mornings. And then we go and jump into 18 to 20 degrees, you know, so um, so it's, it's quite like a long jump, you know, so are like just wanting some cool long periods. They get a little bit like, oh it's spring is here and guess what? It's not, but it's just the day gets a little bit crazy and then I have, this is my driest month of the year. We don't have any water. I mean it's something that, it's just around here. It's very dry. So I try to do say the month was, it's now it's, it's um. Oh, okay. March and April are very, very dry and then at the end of May we have rain season and the rain season is five months of heavy rain. So of course I have to grow my things on a green. 

Kelly Perry - 17:37 - Yeah, I noticed that and I'm. Okay. So that's rain protection, not necessarily temperature driven. Why you have those houses? Exactly, exactly, exactly. 

Gabriela Salazar - 17:45 - It's just rain because it can rain, but like hail rain, you know, like really like thunderstorms, we can have hail. Um, so that's why I protect them. Um, 

Kelly Perry - 17:56 - yeah, I noticed that it was just, just more or less like a, a roof almost. There wasn't any really cover on the sides or anything like that. So you still have the air flow, which would keep the temperature, you know, you're still going to have a little bit of a higher temperature underneath of that cover. Do you find or does it not affect temperature a lot? No, 

Gabriela Salazar - 18:15 - I think that everything that grows like on the, the, you know, like that kind of like wide. Well like that roof gets more even light, you know, so it diffuses it. Yeah, it does help. But I also think that at the beginning I was covering the sides but it wasn't enough air flowing in so I took them out. So now it's just like purely rain protection. But I do understand that it has its benefits in terms of like, just like making the light even for all of them, you know. 

Kelly Perry - 18:48 - Sure, sure. Well, I noticed in some of your pictures of your work, you started using petunias and that I fell in love with those last summer and so I was excited to see that you love them and we're using them to, um, I, you know, their stems are a little bit sticky and shorter sometimes, but I think in centerpieces they can be a really great little great little flower. And I had the latte variety for proven winners and um, this year I am looking for that good and plenty peach variety. It has been fantastic color variation in it. 

Gabriela Salazar - 19:29 - Oh, I love it. Soon as they are amazing. I mean I guess I love them because in England they are like very summary, you know, like in all the houses you see them, they're hanging in their parts or everything and I really liked them. I just, one of the things I had to do when I came to Mexico and I, I'm sure everyone does, but I don't limit my resources to the market or to my garden. I go and forage, but I also go to nurseries and then I get flowers there or foliage or things that I love and I'm petunias grow really well in Mexico. So I bought three parts for an event and then I put them back to my garden and they got crazy big, you know, it's such a nice surprise. So it was like, oh, this is such a good flower. And then I tried it in center pieces and people was writing to me saying like, do they last? And it's pretty amazing how much they last. 

Kelly Perry - 20:20 - It is. I thought so too. Are they did it. They do really, really well. Cut. I thought so. 

Gabriela Salazar - 20:28 - Such an amazing bridge. Color Flower. They highlight flower. They can almost like in some arrangements that you've power or like, you know, like punch to it. So I really love that. 

Kelly Perry - 20:41 - Yes. Yeah, I think they're fantastic. I'm also going to try some flocks this year. We have something here in boone called Dame's rocket that grows pretty wild and abundantly here it's pretty similar but it only comes in the pastel colors. So I think flocks will be a really great piece to have in the garden because it has so many of those great color variations in it. 

Gabriela Salazar - 21:05 - Yeah. Yeah. It's amazing. I mean I discovered it last year in the summer I went to England and I'm Tammy wild bunch of flowers. She had it and also Sarah from simply by arrangement and I saw them in the regard and I was like I need the seeds so I just become before coming back to Mexico and you order the seeds from seeds of extension and then I just arrived, put them and they are incredibly happy in the garden and I actually wasn't so sure they were going to be fine. But what I love about them is also like what you're saying in terms of like their variety of colors is incredibly good for making your wrench flow more and have a bridge color flower. But also they are this like so soft but at the same time like so resilient flower and I love that combination. They look so gender that they are like hardcore flowers that they last a lot in water. They they were here go the days that we've had some ice, they were good in the sunny day. They are just going and going and it's an amazing flower. 

Kelly Perry - 22:14 - Yeah. Yeah, it is really good. Well, I'm getting ready to head to England here in a few months. Is there a place or a place that I should visit or make sure that I get to while I'm over there? 

Gabriela Salazar - 22:27 - Yeah, if you go to London and no one knows. Well not no one but few people knows a pergola gardens up the top of constant heat and it's just like such a beautiful place to go. So. 

Kelly Perry - 22:27 - Okay. 

Gabriela Salazar - 22:27 - I recommend the Pergola Gardens. 

Kelly Perry - 22:44 - Okay, I'll put that on my list. Yeah, we were just, I was just talking to my mom and dad are gonna go with me for part of the trip and uh, we were just chatting last night about where we would go and what we would see. I think we're going to go over to a little sweet pea class by greening. Gorgeous. I'm Rachel has a flower farm over there, so I thought we'd go over and learn everything that we can about sweet peas while we're there and I'm going to do a little bit of going down to great dixter and kind of in that Sussex and Kent area and I think that the flower show, the Chelsea flower show is taking place while will be there as well. So I'm really excited to be, um, yeah, to be headed there. I love England. I couldn't wait to see. There's amazing. They're like incredible. Yeah. Yeah. I've heard great things about them and the sweet piece that I have in the garden this year, all from England. So, um, yeah, I'm excited to see how they excited to see how they go. So, um, one other travel related question for you being in Mexico, the monarch butterflies, are they near you? Where they go? Are they. 

Gabriela Salazar - 23:52 - He has, I mean there are different sanctuaries. One is farther down in Michoacan, um, but very close to here, like 30 minutes drive from my house, one of the biggest sanctuaries of the monarch butterfly. And it's, it's just so beautiful to see. It's incredible. It's one of those things in nature that are like, must see. 

Kelly Perry - 24:13 - Absolutely. Well, I saw a little, they, there was a documentary that was done for Imax a few years ago and I was at the Smithsonian in Washington dc and I just had a little bit of time and I saw that I bought, I think I watched three documentaries back tobacco. What about monkeys? And one about the ocean. And then this one about butterflies and I was the only person in the theater, but I'm like tears. It was so beautiful. I'm like crying over the, you know, it was just, it was so pretty. It was so beautiful. So ever since then I've always had a special spot in my heart for those and love seeing them. I always think it's such a comfort. And so one of my big dreams is to come and see the butterflies. So 

Gabriela Salazar - 24:59 - now you're going to have to make that happen. Now you know, you can come and see them here and come and visit my garden. 

Kelly Perry - 25:06 - Oh, that would be so fun. Thank you so much for jackets best today. It was so great to have you here. You're such a light and I know you've encouraged so many people all over the world, not only by bringing them to their, you know, bringing them to your garden, these different workshops and one on ones you do, which I'd love to hear just a little bit more about before we close, but just even through the photos on your instagram, you know, a fistful here and there of those flowers that are going out all over the world and encouraging people. I just think you so much for taking the time to walk in the calling that you have on your life and to encourage the world through that. It's a really special thing. Thank you. Thank you so much. Yeah. Well tell us a little bit about those, um, one on one workshops that you offer and if there's anything coming up that people in the team, flower community would love to know about or perhaps take part in, fill us in on what you've got going. 

Gabriela Salazar - 26:03 - Yeah. Right now I'm doing my one on one in my car. Then just because, um, I, I just really feel that I have a lot to share with people around me, you know, like when I choose obviously an immense variety of flowers that people can really get inspired and start working like with all of them. But um, I also know that if they get a little bit stuck we can walk around the garden and get some extra inspiration if they need. So, so it, in terms of that and um, I also feel that if you have a small group I can be very, very generous in my time and in all the information I can give them. So I love really small sessions of one or two people or three or small groups in my garden. But I'm also, I'm doing every year. I think I want to do it every year. 

Gabriela Salazar - 26:51 - My Dahlia workshops just because I think it's really interesting to come and see all the varieties of that is that are growing here. So this year I will be doing it. I am not so sure it's still about the date. I'm waiting to see how my dahlias cold with me. But if everything goes right, I think I will be doing different glasses. It may be July, August and September. I'm just a small glasses group is more groups, but hearing the gardens so that people can come and see and cut them and just explore with them. So I wouldn't know about that a little bit later, but that's the idea. 

Kelly Perry - 27:28 - Okay. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. We'll just at the end of the um, uh, you know, on the blog we'll put a link to your website so people can check in and see what you've got going on in. Reminds us your instagram. Can you spell that out for us real quick here on the podcast in case someone to just listening so they can connect with you? 

Gabriela Salazar - 27:49 - Yes. It's lamusandelasflores, which is l a m u s a n d e l a s f l o r e s 

Kelly Perry - 27:57 - perfect. You guys are gonna love falling along with Gabby, Gabriela and everything that she's doing in her garden. Thanks again so much for coming and for talking with us today and we look forward to talking with you again and hopefully getting down there to see those butterflies. 

Gabriela Salazar - 28:12 - Yes, please. Thank you so much. Take care. 

Kelly Perry - 28:17 - Okay. Bye everyone. Thanks so much for listening in. Remember, the deep importance of the work you do. A flower is not just a flower. It's a conduit for passing the hope and love inside of your heart to the people you share them with. Thanks so much for listening.

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