Our Garden Tour Star Jelena Trifunovic, Owner of Viola Floral

Every month, we are highlighting “Our Garden Tour Stars” -- landscape architects, florists, and interior designers who have participated in 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 Jelena Trifunovic, owner of Viola Floral. At the 2021 Garden Tour, Jelena created breathtaking and exquisite floral displays in the Yellow Salon in the house at VRG. After the tour, she donated these stunning flowers to her church and families affected by cancer. On December 7th, Jelena will be teaching a Holiday Wreath Making class, in-person at the Gardens and virtually for those who want to follow at home!

We asked Jelena these four questions:

1. How did you decide to become a floral designer?

My journey as a florist originated in my family’s kitchen. I recall spending countless holidays and family events arranging flowers with my mom, sharing stories, sipping wine, laughing, and blooming with love and joy. Flowers have always been a special part of my life.

I had a wonderful career in education prior to floral design, teaching science to at-risk youth in inner-city Los Angeles, and training science teachers at the university level. After losing my mom to pancreatic cancer, I followed my passion and launched Viola Floral (named after my mom). After losing a loved one, there is a gravitation towards pursuing your passion and doing things you love; flowers were calling my name and I was ready to answer.

A surprising part of my journey was experiencing the healing power of flowers, and the mindfulness aspect of floral design. Working with flowers, I expected to transform fresh blooms into flower arrangements - but what actually ended up happening was that flowers transformed me. Flowers helped me heal, grieve, and become who I am today. Although my mom is no longer with us, I strive to keep her memory and spirit alive through flowers. Every arrangement is lovingly handmade, and includes that special touch that moms love to give.

2. Where do you find your inspiration?

I draw inspiration from being in the most dynamic city in the world. From the street art to the hidden gardens of the city, I love finding new places to inspire my floral art. If we take time to pause and reflect, the beauty of the natural world is inescapable. This was instilled in me from a young age growing up in Serbia. Flowers bring us back to beautiful moments of the past, and spark memories long forgotten. For example, the beautiful smell of a flower can help us re-live a whole scene. This is especially true now as we are waking up from the past couple of years of this pandemic. Flowers bring so much joy, and always remind us to live in full bloom.

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?

The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo.

I’ve read this book too many times to count, and during many different periods in my life. It is enchanting and magical; simple and beautiful. Every time I read it, I learn something new about myself.

Contact information:

[email protected]
Instagram: @violafloral


3 Responses

  1. Flora Toro
    | Reply

    Jelena’s talent, creativity, attention to detail, passion,
    and beauty added to each flower arrangement she works on, leaves me in awe. Congratulations!

  2. […] Linda Meadows’ December newsletter interview with Jelena conveyed, the alchemy of Viola Floral infused our morning with “enchantment — simple and […]

  3. […] four judges, talented florists George Martinez of George’s Garden, Jelena Trifunovic of Viola Flowers, Ines Garstecki of Flowermaid, and Beth Shoenmann, boutique manager […]

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