When My Love Blooms: Australian Florists Celebrate Mothers

Mother’s Day is one of two of the biggest days of the year for flower gifting. It is up to our florists to find the perfect flowers for our leading women each year, but who and what inspires them for this occasion?

Article by Jordan Turner

Bess Paddington florist SydneyArrangement by Bess Paddington. Photography by Jordan Turner.

We asked five florists and creatives from around Australia to create an arrangement that celebrates the mothers and mother figures in their lives. Each florist has made an arrangement that symbolises what Mother’s Day means to them through stories, traditions and memories.

Arrangement by Bess Paddington. Photography by Jordan Turner.
Arrangement by Bess Paddington. Photography by Jordan Turner.
Arrangement by Bess Paddington. Photography by Jordan Turner.
Arrangement by Bess Paddington. Photography by Jordan Turner.

Bess Paddington, Sydney

Bethany Scott, owner of Bess Paddington in Sydney, grew up on her parents’ Australian native flower farm and was always inspired by the amazing women who shopped at her father’s flower market stall. “They used flowers in a really artistic way, rather than conventional floristry. They saw themselves as artists. They seemed to make sculptures that you could hang from the roof or on a wall,” says Scott.

In her arrangement for T Australia, Scott took inspiration from her mother’s non-traditional approach to life. “My mum’s an artist and an art teacher, and has always encouraged an unusual or creative approach. She has taught me to think about things upside down, from a different perspective,” says Scott.

Using in-season native flowers, Scott has crafted an arrangement that is both delicate and strong, with warm and bright colours that her mother loves. “I’ve used calicarpa, sea crest, kangaroo paw, paper daisies, flannel flowers, cat’s whiskers, and wattle. All of them are native flowers from my parent’s farm, and some of them are my mum’s favourites. It feels like a personal connection to my mother, but also a general feeling of connectedness to family,” says Scott.

An arrangement by Emilie Cervelli, Director of Kilter. Photography by Matthew Schirripa.
An arrangement by Emilie Cervelli, Director of Kilter. Photography by Matthew Schirripa.

Kilter, Adelaide

“Italians love their gardens,” says Emilie Cervelli, Director of Kilter, an experimental floristry house in Adelaide. “Growing up, I had a lot of relatives with these incredible, sprawling garden spaces. I think those moments, wandering around all that beauty, must have left some kind of mark on me. Every time there was an event or a dinner party, I’d create a sort of elaborate arrangement for the table. Eventually, it turned into something more than just a hobby.”

Cervelli notes that her mum is the inspiration behind everything she does, making it only fitting that this Mother’s Day marks Kilter’s third anniversary. “The amazing mothers and mother-like figures who inspire us every day deserve to be recognised and celebrated. I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for my mum and the other incredible mother-like figures in my life,” says Cervelli.

Cervelli recreates her mother’s strawberry cheesecake through both scent and structure in her arrangement. It is a family recipe that Cervelli’s mother inherited from her auntie. “My mum has a magical way of bringing warmth and colour into everything around her. I wanted my arrangement to hark back to those moments of nostalgia, the colours of my old childhood home,” says Cervelli.

Photography by Jordan Turner of an Acid Flwrs creation.

Acid Flwrs, Sydney

Claire Mueller, the owner of Acid Flwrs, is a brand strategist and still life stylist. She calls herself a “professional flower destroyer” because “one usually needs to break flowers to get the right proportion for the shot,” says Mueller.

When it comes to showing appreciation for her mum, Mueller tries not to wait for a calendar date to acknowledge this. “We lost my father ten years ago, so mum has had to navigate a different path to what we had imagined as a family. We live on opposite sides of the country and have very different schedules but check in regularly on the phone. Mum has always let me be myself, and I am forever grateful for her encouragement of my creative pursuits,” says Mueller.

Inspired by her memories of travelling in Scotland with her mum, Mueller’s arrangement is a perfect example of an Acid Flwrs creation: art and flowers. “One of my favourite flowers is the thistle, the national emblem of Scotland, for its striking colour and silhouette and the fact that it represents bravery, courage and loyalty in the face of treachery. I’ve used a neon purple in my piece, which echos the vibrant thistle flower and reminds me of this special time with mum.

“My work incorporates a classical Greco-Roman feminine bust, painted in my signature “future marble” finish, surrounded by matched flowers. To me, this represents a perpetual evolution of female strength, which we have all felt the power of through mother figures in our lives,” says Mueller.

Arrangement and photography by Rose Studios.
Arrangement and photography by Rose Studios.

Rose Studios, Melbourne

Drawn to the ephemeral and seasonal nature of floristry, Emily Rose Hill, owner of Rose Studios, sees flowers as a way to communicate feelings. “There is something significant and moving that comes from working with, and incorporating, a dynamic and ever-changing palette. Whether it’s the red maple in the autumn months or the rich burgundy hellebores in winter,” says Hill.

For Hill, Mother’s Day is something unique to each person. “It is a day to appreciate motherhood and the selflessness that comes with it. It is about unconditional love. It is important to acknowledge that Mother’s Day means something different to each individual … flowers have the unique ability to represent and signify occasions, without being prescriptive or biased towards any one circumstance,” says Hill.

In her arrangement, Hill uses flowers to symbolise a mindful Mother’s Day, inclusive of all emotions surrounding it. “We chose to use various, almost contrasting colours in order to reflect a vast array of emotions,” says Hill. “The bouquet being soft and feminine yet bold and strong, for me, is also a perfect depiction of my own mother.”

An arrangement by Annabelle Hickson, author of "A Tree in the House" and Editor of Galah.
An arrangement by Annabelle Hickson, author of "A Tree in the House" and Editor of Galah. Photography by Annabelle Hickson.

Annabelle Hickson, Tenterfield

Annabelle Hickson, an author and creative who lives on the New South Wales-Queensland border, has come to flowers and foliage simply because she likes to look at them. What started as a natural desire to spruce up her home became a venture into growing and gardening that she’s never looked back on. “I don’t have a full-time florist on-hand to execute my vision, so I have taken on the role of the on-staff florist myself. I use what is growing around me to create,” says Hickson.

Celebrating mother figures and role models is essential to Hickson. She uses her friendship with a local antique business owner, Mandy Reid, as the inspiration behind her arrangement for T Australia. Hickson met Reid seven years ago. Since then, “we have bounced crazy ideas off each other, filled her van with wild wisteria, picked thousands of dahlias and supported each other to do things we might not have otherwise done.

“When Mandy lost much of her 20-year-old garden in the drought, she pulled out the dead trees and shrubs and turned the plot into a small but productive dahlia, peony and rose farm. Something that could ebb and flow with future dry times. I admire Mandy, who again and again shows me how important it is to be open to change. Whenever I see dahlias, I think of Mandy. These we picked together in her garden,” says Hickson on her arrangement.