Beautiful Blooms

By Shayna Mace | Photography by Shanna Wolf

Looking to stoke your creativity? Try flower arranging — and summer is the ideal time to try. Metcalfe’s Floral Studio offers a build-your-own bouquet option with individual stems in a walk-in cooler — many of them locally grown. This arrangement features flowers from local farms Lewiston Perennial Farm and Berries and Branches.

Design tip: When building your own bouquet, try using no more than three colors to allow the beauty and texture of the flowers to shine.


Christy Plesha, owner and lead designer of Opal Market Flowers, created this compote floral arrangement. She crumpled up chicken wire and placed it in the bowl, which gives the flowers “multiple support points,” she notes. Here, she shares the flowers she used.

“These are one of the first spring flowers, and they have a very long vase life.”

“This has the best flower fragrance ever!”

“[These] continue to open up [in a] vase … they’re great because they’re long-lasting.”

“These are easy to grow, but have a short season [when in bloom].”

“A show-stopper! They’re pleasing to the eye.”

“These are a great way to add dimension and texture as they’re frilly on a small scale.”


Although Plesha only launched her floral design business, Opal Market Flowers, in February 2023 — demand has been massive, she says.

“It has absolutely exploded!”

In high school and college, Plesha worked at several floral shops in the Madison area and always had a passion for the craft. Post-college, she worked as a dental hygienist — but created floral arrangements as a side gig for family and friends. They encouraged her to open her own business, and Plesha is glad she did.

Opal Market offers bouquet subscriptions, event floral design services and build-your-own bouquet bars. The bouquet bars are offered as pop-up events at places (like toot + kate’s winebar) or as a party activity. For home parties, Plesha assembles all of the materials, including stems and wrapping materials, and drops them off at the party location so guests can make their own bouquets. (She also offers a full-service option where she mans the bouquet bar.)

At her pop-up events, Plesha offers tips when making bouquets. There are three basic components floral arrangements should have, she says.

“You want a tall, skinny line; a big round flower for your focal point; and sprays of filler flowers, like baby’s breath. Those fill up space gently, but don’t take away from the big blooms,” she notes.

She also offers a great piece of advice for keeping your flowers fresher, for longer.

“When you buy flowers from a store or florist, cut the stems when you bring them home. Put them in fresh water with flower food. Every two days, change the water and put in more flower food. That’s the best way to extend your stems.”

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