Every month, we are highlighting “Our Garden Tour Stars” -- landscape architects, florists, and interior designers who have participated at our annual Garden Tour and Showcase Estate at the Virginia Robinson Gardens. We want to let you know about these very talented designers, their inspirations, and their creations.
This month, we are featuring florist George Martinez, owner of George’s Garden. At the 2018 Garden Tour, George created an exceptional floral display with purple and burgundy snapdragons, lush peonies and roses, viburnum, and other flowers on the Pool Pavilion balcony. This stunning and exuberant arrangement, adorning the balustrades, was the favorite backdrop for photos that day.
We asked George these five questions:
1. How did you decide to become a floral designer?
Oh gosh, I am about to date myself…haha. And it’s a bit of a rollercoaster ride.
But, this was back in 2005/2006 when I was a senior in high school. I had narrowed down my choices to either Event Planning or an Attorney. (Talk about a 180 from each field). Back then, my dear friend, mentor, and colleague – the late Marc Byrd was teaching a floral sales and design class in Santa Monica. My mom, my aunt, and I took his class. I loved the energy, the beauty, and more importantly, how I was able to express my feelings through flowers. Marc encouraged and pushed me to create. I enjoyed every single moment of it -- it was like a drug. I wanted to keep on making more flower arrangements.
I graduated from high school, went to FIDM, and kept in contact with Marc. I would assist him in various events on which he needed help. During this time, I was working in operations and logistics. (Not what I had in vision for myself. Especially after attending and graduating from FIDM). Jump to Halloween of 2014, I was very unhappy with my boss and the people in my department. During my lunch break that day, I had phoned Marc to catch up and vent. During my call, I asked him if he needed an extra hand. He said I was always welcome to work with him. After my lunch had ended, I was so pumped from my pep talk with Marc that I walked into my boss’s office and told her that I was quitting. That Halloween I left the operations and logistics field behind to pursue my freedom and joy of working and creating masterpieces with flowers. I felt like I had returned home.
2. Where do you find your inspiration?
I find my inspiration through nature. I usually head to Pacific Palisades or Malibu and walk around the beach to gain clarity and inspiration.
I also love to look at what is going on in the fashion industry, especially in Haute Couture. Something about the fabrics and beadwork that is used on the gowns just brings joy and awe. I am a HUGE fan of Elie Saab. Can we talk about his 2012 collection? Oh my goodness! Those pastels… simply divine.
Another source is through what my friends and I call “play dates.” We pick a date, buy flowers, a cheese board and wine, play music, and just design away. We bounce ideas, inspiration, and materials off of each other.
3. Can you share some photos of your favorite floral arrangement(s) and/or projects you have worked on?
4. What is the book that inspires you the most?
Does a cookbook count? If so, 50 Shades of Chicken. This cookbook is a parody on the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy. Food is what brings us together; it’s a universal language that we all understand dearly. I love to cook in my spare time; something about tasting, and blending spices and aromas of food brings joy and at times nostalgic memories. Prior to the ongoing pandemic, I loved hosting and cooking for friends and family.
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, if you’re looking for a self-help book. I would highly recommend this gem.