April 5

Dance of Flowers

An interview with Verde & Co. Owner Meridith Isaacson

In a shop filled with stunning arrangements in charming vases and a host of charming succulents, Verde & Co.’s Meridith Isaacson talks blooms, bouquets, and ballet.

How did you first find your passion for floral design and get started in the industry?

I moved here in 2007 and I decided that I wanted to get back to my creative roots. I’m a classically trained ballet dancer, and I really wanted to work with my hands and on my feet, and I had a real passion for color. I took a couple of floral design classes and they felt really natural and good. But it also felt like I was doing everything wrong at the same time, because you know the dancer is a perfectionist! I really tried to control everything and make sure it all looked perfect. That’s actually something about being in flowers that’s been incredible for me—it allows me to let go and be a little messy. So I connected to it, began to work in the industry, and it just kind of grew from there.

What is special about being in the Northwest as a florist?

Everything here is so lush: like the hellebores, tulips, and greens. When I first moved out here one of the first things that stood out to me was how everyone has their own garden! I’ve been starting to go through the neighborhoods, just driving around and looking at all these lovely gardens. They’re often not cookie-cutter, and I think it translates from the culture. It’s kind of like, do what feels good to you.

What are your most frequent requests?

We get a mix. We get phone orders, online orders, and walk-in orders. What I really like about being a retail shop florist is that I get to do a breadth of work. It’s not like I just do events and weddings. Also, we get to know our customers over a long period of time, and that experience—getting to know people and create for them on that level—really is my heartbeat and why I opened the shop.

For your seasonal classes, do you draw from what you’re doing in the shop or do you plan those separately?

We try to keep the elements as seasonal as possible so it’s usually a combination of what looks really fresh at the market and what we’ve been working with at the shop. We’ve also been offering a terrarium class, which has been really popular. Later in the spring, we’ll be incorporating a class focusing on tropical flowers, one on dry flower arrangements, and then this summer we might add a floral jewelry class.

 You’re a part of Slow Flowers, a directory of florists who source American blooms. How is that important to your work?

I grew up in small family business that’s been in my family for over 100 years and it supported four generations of my family. So to me, supporting local business is one of the most important things I think people can do. I want to support the farmers and businesses and give them an opportunity to continue to grow and build. The other part of it is from an environmental perspective—if I could buy something that’s grown in Mount Vernon rather than put on a jumbo jet all the way across the country, that feels better.

What are the colors you focus most on for spring?

This year, I’m going to focus more on smoky lavenders and greys, maybe a hint of periwinkle. Since we’ve had such a grey, wet winter this year, I’ve thought that the idea of using more of a bold palette just doesn’t seem like a fit. I’m gravitating toward more of a muted palette this spring.

One last question: what is your favorite flower?

For me a garden rose is a classic. I love the smell—I have a bunch of garden rose bushes in my yard. I also love poppies, and anemones are another one!

Story by Emmaline Cotter, Verde & Co. Photos by Daniel Berman

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