As we continue our blog series exploring local flowers, I wanted to chat with Gabriela Salazar of La Musa de las Flores in Mexico to see how her market has changed with the seasonal flower movement. [Be sure to catch up on the first three segments of this seasonal design series featuring Holly Chapple, Susan McLeary and Zoe Field.]
Gabriela’s education and experience in art, interiors and photography, spans two continents. Prior to launching her floral design business, Gabriela worked in real estate and interior design in Mexico City and later moved to London where she studied architectural interiors at the Inchbald School of Design while also working with contemporary artists. After training with and working alongside some of the best in the floral design industry, Gabriela returned to Mexico to share the beauty and bounty of seasonal flowers.
In the Farmer & the Florist interview I did with you three years ago, you shared that you felt limited by the flowers and colors that were available locally. Since then, you started growing flowers in your own garden. Can you share more about this project? How much land are you using, do you have greenhouses, what plant varieties are you growing?
My garden has grown over the last three years, but it’s still small. I have a third of an acre. Some of it I use it for new varieties, where I experiment with flowers that haven’t been grown before. We observe them for a season and try to understand how they behave in this type of weather and in our soil conditions. We also recover some seeds to see how they have adapted. This is a long process and we have to be patient.
Eighty percent of the garden is dedicated to varieties that we have grown successfully before, like dahlia, phlox, strawflower, scabiosa, and chocolate cosmos. This year we are growing three times more dahlias than last year.
We have three to four months of heavy rain here in Valle de Bravo, so yes, most of what we grow is under greenhouses.
Are Mexican-based designers and brides attuned to new color and variety trends such as you use? Perhaps you can say a few words about the status of the seasonal flower movement in Mexico.
I think that a naturalistic, loose, organic and nuanced aesthetic is becoming more prevalent all over the world, and Mexico is no exception. Brides are also seeing that this style is possible, and they are asking for it more.
In the center of Mexico were I have my garden, the temperature is very mild and stays relatively even all year round, and that is true for most of the country where there are really no marked seasons. Here, you can really grow different varieties at the same time of the year, and that is a very interesting thing to see. I have cosmos, scabiosa and anemones blooming at the same time. Experience has shown us that late summer flowers fare particularly well in this climate almost all year round.
Has the local, seasonal flower market changed? If so, how?
Yes, the market has changed a lot over the last 3 years. I am very proud of the work that we have done to make this change happen. Three years ago, we were beginning to grow varieties and colors that hadn’t been grown in Mexico before. Now, I can see other growers doing it. Even some florists have also started growing the varieties that we first introduced. This makes me really happy.
This style of flower arrangement is getting stronger; the florists and brides that used to believe that this wasn’t possible in Mexico are seeing the aesthetic change and leaning in that direction. Now when I visit the flower market in Mexico City, I can find garden roses and ranunculus in colors that were unthinkable 3 years ago.
Finally, what flowers are stealing your heart this season?
I am very happy with Floret’s Phlox ‘Cherry Caramel’; it’s really amazing. Of course your ‘Nimbus’ and ‘Chocolate Flake’ Sweet Peas are also stunning. The Calendula ‘Coffee Cream’ and Foxglove Digitalis trojana are stealing my heart as well.
Thank you, Gabriela, for your willingness to share your knowledge and help grow the local flower movement internationally.
Gabriela Salazar is a pioneer in bringing a larger palette of locally grown flowers to Mexico while inspiring flower lovers to use more colors in new and creative ways.