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Behind the Scenes | Rosehip Flora

For a florist with a fondness for late night foraging, life is a blossom-scented, petal-strewn adventure.

The studio where Erin Knipp crafts her floral arrangements is cool, tiled, and perfumed—an organized, temperature-controlled environment. But though Knipp works indoors most of the time, she finds much of her inspiration, and some of her materials, from the abandoned yards and gardens of Austin. You read that right: Knipp, owner of Rosehip Flora, is a forager.

“I have kids, so I drive a lot around Austin,” she says. “And I’m always scanning the landscape—I can’t help it. If a color pops out at me, or a different texture or foliage, I make a mental note of it, and then if I need it or want it, I go back in the dark of night and I get it.” She grins mischievously. This is obviously the fun part for her.

But, Knipp explains, she’d never take from someone’s prized garden. Instead, she sticks to abandoned lots or seriously forlorn-looking plants. And she never decimates a plant. “I want to go back to it,” she says. “I want it to look great the next year so I can have that option again.”

Knipp enjoys foraging because it’s local and sustainable but also because it expands her palette, so to speak. “I clip stuff that wouldn’t necessarily travel well from California or Colombia or Holland.”

A former coffee-shop manager (Ruta Maya on South Congress) who holds a master’s degree in conflict resolution and mediation, Knipp first fell in love with flowers in grad school, working part-time for a florist to help pay her bills. “I answered the phones, swept floors, greeted customers . . .” She loved the job—and though she didn’t do much arranging, she learned by watching. When she moved back to Austin and her friends started getting married, she found herself offering to do their flowers.

“I was doing it for my own gratification and as a gift to them,” she says. But that gift quickly grew into a business; the vast majority of Knipp’s work is devoted to weddings. Her favorites, she says, are those where she is given creative freedom. “I want a bride who trusts me and my aesthetic and will appreciate being pleasantly surprised on her wedding day,” Knipp says. The satisfaction she finds in arranging—as she says, “all alone, picking posies”—may have once surprised her, given her education and the lack of entrepreneurs in her business-oriented family. But she followed her gut, embraced a passion for flowers, and twelve years later, Rosehip Flora is in full, glorious, and definitely local bloom.

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Erin’s tips for a perfect summer centerpiece

  • Use succulents and cacti; indoors or out, they add a touch of green when everything else is turning brown. Hearty plants hold up best outdoors and prefer indirect sunlight.
  • Find a container that suits the venue or occasion. With succulents I prefer to use containers that are low profile and generally more sleek or modern. This keeps the focus on the plants. Line the container with pea gravel to absorb excess moisture.
  • Shop for a variety of textures, shapes, and colors, and consider how they will blend in the container. Don’t crowd the pot; plants need room to grow.
  • For a floral touch you can also “plant” a small vase among the succulents. Go native and find roadside wildflowers to fill the vase. This will add color while also offering the flexibility to change out the flowers as needed.
  • Top-dress the arrangement with any number of elements: moss, sand, rocks, tumbled glass. This is another chance to bring in color and whimsy.

Credits

Photography by Leah Overstreet

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