Susan McLeary's Passion for American Grown Flowers

Meet the lead designer for Detroit's Field to Vase Dinner, Susan McLeary of Passionflower

The Flower House is the backdrop to our beautiful and delicious al fresco dinner on October 16th, with the hand-crafted designs created by dozens of floral artists around the country. But when we sit at the farm tables in the garden just outside The Flower House we will be treated to tabletop floral decor designed by Susan McLeary of Passionflower.

Susan’s design studio is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she specializes in flowers for weddings and events, floral jewelry commissions and floral workshops. She is one of the first florists to join Lisa Waud’s dream of The Flower House. Attendees will tour the entire house, including Susan’s botanically-transformed kitchen on the first floor of The Flower House.

Floral artist Susan McLeary of Passionflower Photo (c) Amanda Dumouchelle

Floral artist Susan McLeary of Passionflower Photo (c) Amanda Dumouchelle

MSAMFbadgeWe’re so thrilled that Susan’s creativity will adorn the table for the Field to Vase Dinner Tour.

Just this week, Susan learned that Passionflower is the only design finalist in the floral category of Martha Stewart’s 2015 American Made contest! Check out the details and cast your vote for Passionflower!

Here’s a bit more about our guest floral designer:

Before I was a florist, I made jewelry for friends. When one such friend got married, she asked me to design her wedding flowers in addition to her jewelry. As I had her flowers in my hands, I knew I’d found my medium. One wedding turned into many more, and before I knew it I was working as an event florist. I still adore designing for weddings, but have found that I enjoy creating floral wearables and (not surprisingly) floral jewelry even more. I’ve recently added a line of living succulent jewelry that I sell locally and on my Etsy shop, Passionflower Made. I source my plants from a local family-owned greenhouse called Graye’s, and my jewelry bases are handmade in Arizona. I’m also passionate about teaching, and have been teaching one-on-one professional florist sessions and group sessions for last last 3 years. I see more of this in my future, and plan to create a teaching program specifically for flower farmers eager to learn floral design.”

We had a few more questions for Susan, which she graciously answered:

A Susan McLeary floral headpiece.

A Susan McLeary floral headpiece.

F2V: What are your plans for The Flower House kitchen?

SM: I chose the kitchen because I love food almost as much as I love flowers. I envision creating a beautiful green table that almost looks alive with the foliage — a still-life with herbs, fruit on the vine. It will be a sensory explosion. I’m hoping to use a lot of berries, fruited branches, pods, herbs and foliage. From a local farm, I’ll be using ornamental peppers, cabbages and other amazingly beautiful produce. Imagine it spilling out of the cupboards. We want a dreamy still-life of textural farm goodies.

F2V: You will have volunteer helpers, right?

SM: Yes, and my main collaborator will be Francoise Weeks of Portland. Francoise will be in Detroit to teach one of her famous workshops on October 12 and 13, so I’ve asked her to create the kitchen with me. She will be designing our living chandelier over the kitchen table, with little goodies spilling down from above.

F2V: As if that wasn’t enough, you’ll create more than 100 linear feet of floral tablescape for the Field to Vase Dinner guests to enjoy! What plans are in the works?

SM: We are planning an American Grown garland down the center of the table, something simple and beautiful representing foliages and ferns. Into that garland we plan on inserting vases donated by Syndicate Sales. The vases will provide color and texture and they will be filled with all local, seasonal flowers grown by Cornman Farms of Dexter, Michigan. Cornman Farms is owned by the famous Zingerman’s specialty food company and their latest venture is a food and flower farm and event venue. We’re excited to highlight a local farm with the American grown greenery and garlands.